I'm lover of all games, but especially wargames and the heavier Eurogames. I've loved games from as far back as I can remember. It was often my favorite past time as a kid. We had a cabinet full of games, and I loved all of them — from the classics, like Monopoly and Pente, to newer games like Clue: The Great Museum Caper
. One of the things I looked forward to each time we visited relatives was getting to play all the games they had which we didn't have at home.
I got started in wargames, my primary interest, at a young age, over twenty years ago, when I discovered my uncle's copy of Jutland
) in my grandparents' attic. (I had previously found copies of Feudal
and Facts in Five
up there.) I was instantly hooked. The simulation elements were truly revolutionary, and the hexagon instantly took on a new meaning.
I soon after discovered a copy of Midway
, and my collection began to grow. Virtually every penny I saved up went towards a wargame. Unfortunately, soon thereafter TAHGC went under, and I was at a loss.
Thank goodness for MMP
, through whom I was able to buy up a good supply of Advanced Squad Leader
products. It was by following ASL
that I discovered the ConsimWorld community and I was back in Nirvana, with so many new-found companies to buy from.
Ever since, I've been gradually building my collection, concentrating on MMP/Gamers, GMT
, and old Victory Games
products, with a smattering of representation from other companies' 'essentials'. In my 20 years of wargaming, I've hit all the different shades of the hobby: tactical, grand strategic, monsters, one-mappers, CDGs. And I have favorites in every corner.
But over time, I've begun to gravitate towards the operational scale. The Gamers' OCS
; AH's GCACW
; SPW's Der Weltkrieg
; The Killing Ground
; &c. I find that it's just the right scale for exploring all the sorts of challenges I like to see in wargames.
If done right, an operational game should incorporate the complete lifetime of a campaign: inception, planning, gathering resources, pre-combat maneuver, attack, reaction, exploitation, and preparation for rest and possible counter-attack.
Sure, you get that in other scales, but in tactical scales, there's more focus on the combat; in strategic scales, there's more focus on the non-combat. At the operational level, there's exactly the balance I'm looking for.
I also find in operational-level games a better look at the interplay of the various arms of the military. How to effectively coordinate infantry and cavalry; or armor and air. Again, these ideas aren't lost on other scales, but they're less doctrinal in nature, I find.
I recently also began to specialize in PTO WWII games. There's something about the combined arms that really intrigues me. And the entire manner of the war almost necessitates an operational approach.
When it comes down to it, though, regardless of scale or era, I'm interested in games where the decisions a player makes map to real-world decisions and where the possible range of consequences of those decisions map to real-world consequences. That is my definition of realism and simulation.
In addition to the usual wargame fare, I also very much enjoy political games. That is, games with political mechanics (e.g., negotiation, deception, voting, deals); not just games with a political theme. Good examples of political games I enjoy: Die Macher
, The Republic of Rome
A third major area of interest is the heavier end of the Eurogame spectrum, particularly of the economic or 'build your engine' genre. I count Le Havre
, and Tzolk'in
among my favorites there.
Combining those few interests, it is probably little surprise that I also really
enjoy multiplayer grand strategy games. And if hard pressed to name my favorite wargame experiences, they would be of that variety: Virgin Queen
, Here I Stand
, The Napoleonic Wars
, A World at War
, &c. The foremost of those is probably my favorite game of all time. These sorts of games often make for a perfect mix of both simulating the period and a really enjoyable 'off the table' negotiation/diplomatic/political experience. So good.