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Subject: What is a monster game? rss

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Evil Bob
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The term "monster game" clearly has different definitions for different people. For some, it seems to have to do with numbers of counters in the game. Others define it by size or scale of the maps. Still others define a monster game by the time required to play the game. And of course there are the "King of Tokyo" people ... sigh.

What do you consider the most important criteria when classifying a game a "monster game". If possible, provide an example of a monster game that fits your criteria.
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Joshua Gottesman
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Jeff K
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To me, a monster game is all about size. Size, size, size. That is the original definition of monster game. Like everything else these days, it seems to have been expanded/changed into something else, such as games with high counter density or number of counters, high time to play etc. Such games can be extremely time consuming and difficult to play, but really back in the day that the term was coined that described most wargames anyway. So it is still size for me, because that was the main difference between monster games and other wargames, NOT counter density or difficulty/involvement.
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Darrell Hanning
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Number of mapsheets and number of counters.
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Enrico Viglino
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Xookliba wrote:
To me, a monster game is all about size. Size, size, size. That is the original definition of monster game. Like everything else these days, it seems to have been expanded/changed into something else, such as games with high counter density or number of counters, high time to play etc.


Drang Nach Osten!, in and of itself, pretty much IS "the original
definition of monster game." The word was coined (in this usage) for it.
It has 5 maps, 1700 counters and BGG lists it at 12000 minutes.

The only thing that changed since then was some people started accepting
smaller, shorter games, based on things like complexity.

So yes, size is important, but so is length. I wouldn't consider a
short game with a lot of counters, nor a huge space-eater like Jutland
as monsters.

On the plus side, I can't think of any really big games (other than Jutland)
which aren't also long.
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Russ Williams
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:

I knew that was coming, but I didn't know it would be the very first response...
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For me:

>= two 22 X 34 maps (there are however many wargame with two maps that are decidedly not monsters)

>= 800 counters

> 2 sessions of 6-8 hours each to get the game rolling. Not done - rolling.

> best if we have a team to manage it all.

Now sometimes it gets a little unsure on the edges.

Monster means enormous amount of time that no normal human would give to the play of anything.

It might be easier to define what is not a monster game.

One Map
Not more than a sheet of counters for units, and maybe another for markers.
Play times of not more than two sessions of 6-8 hours each.

For some, more than one session is a monster game.

The Desert Fox might be a monster game - the campaign game can take a week of sessions to get done. More than one 22X34 map but not completely 2 of them, and not that many counters, but a huge expanse of simulated time with a robust complexity.

DAK2 is a monster - 11 ft long, OCS, weeks of play time.

It can be a broad category.

Like Demons, we have our personal definitions of Monster.

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Leo Zappa
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Like several have already pointed out, number of mapsheets and number of counters, and to some extent, play time required. For me, a monster wargame is any wargame that:

* Includes (3) or more standard sized maps (22" x 34")
* Includes ~500 or more counters
* Can't be completed in a single long session (8-10 hours) - requires at least two such sessions to be played to completion

Rules complexity does not really enter into the discussion. There are complex monsters, and "big, dumb" monsters. Monsters aren't about the rules, they are about SIZE!
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Joe Thompson
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There was a good thread on this recently:

How do you define a monster game?
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calandale wrote:


So yes, size is important, but so is length.


Fnar.
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Jeff K
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calandale wrote:

On the plus side, I can't think of any really big games (other than Jutland)
which aren't also long.


Yeah, that's kind of where I was going with that, but I get your point.

On a related note, oddly enough it seems like up to this point we pretty much all agree on what makes a monster wargame.

Am I in the right forum?
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Jeff K
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Shauneroo wrote:
calandale wrote:


So yes, size is important, but so is length.


Fnar.


Good God! I can't believe I missed that!
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I think it's generally accepted to mean Multi-map, 2,000 counter (+/- 500), weekend long affairs.

That said ... there's an argument that the time and complexity involved could constitute a monster as well.
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Evil Bob
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Empires in Arms only has 2 maps and about 1000 counters but it takes 7 players over 100 hours of playing time. Our last game was 250+ hours. So it doesn't meet most gamers' size criteria but it's definitely a LONG game. Still, many consider it a monster wargame.

On the other hand, I've heard some people claim that It Never Snows isn't really a monster, despite having the size criteria, because the rules are very simple and streamlined.


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Enrico Viglino
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russ wrote:
Joshuaaaaaa wrote:

I knew that was coming, but I didn't know it would be the very first response...


Case Blue wouldn't have been appropriate.
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Enrico Viglino
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Xookliba wrote:
calandale wrote:

On the plus side, I can't think of any really big games (other than Jutland)
which aren't also long.


Yeah, that's kind of where I was going with that, but I get your point.

On a related note, oddly enough it seems like up to this point we pretty much all agree on what makes a monster wargame.

Am I in the right forum?


There seem a lot willing to accept two-mappers (meeting other
criteria). For me, two maps is pretty much what I'm used to
for games. A monster has to be something special; something that
impacts my lifestyle in order to play.

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Apex
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calandale wrote:


There seem a lot willing to accept two-mappers (meeting other
criteria). For me, two maps is pretty much what I'm used to
for games. A monster has to be something special; something that
impacts my lifestyle in order to play.



They don't have to be mutually exclusive though. 2 mappers can require MANY sessions. The HASL module Red Barricades has a scenario called The Last Bid that takes most people 20+ hours to complete.

I believe Empires in Arms only has 2 maps as well and that sucker can take 50 hours or more to complete a game.

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Leo Zappa
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bbhalla wrote:
Empires in Arms only has 2 maps and about 1000 counters but it takes 7 players over 100 hours of playing time. Our last game was 250+ hours. So it doesn't meet most gamers' size criteria but it's definitely a LONG game. Still, many consider it a monster wargame.

On the other hand, I've heard some people claim that It Never Snows isn't really a monster, despite having the size criteria, because the rules are very simple and streamlined.




IMHO, the people that claim that "It Never Snows" is not a monster game are simply wrong. There has always been the concept of the 'big dumb monster' in our hobby, which meant a physically large game with straightforward and uncomplicated rules. Again, over time, definitions can morph to a certain degree, but I never remembered rules complexity being a defining element in monster wargames. They basically just had to take up a lot of real estate and have a lot of counters. DNO for example is frankly a fairly simply game - it just has so many pieces spread over a huge space, which is what you'd expect when you try to simulate the entire Eastern Front on the divisional scale! (I have FITE, it's successor, and only has like a 30 page rule book - no rocket science in there).
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Arthur Dougherty
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For me, it's all about how long it will take to play. Counter density, map size, none of that factors into what I call a monster. So right now I have Rommel's War set up. It has 384 counters, but if it takes me 20 hours to play, that's a monster for me (basically any game that is impossible to complete in one sitting... even a 16 hours sitting... is a monster to me).

Axis Empires Totaler Krieg also felt like a monster to me while I was playing it. Again lower counter density but a long time.
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Steve Willows
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desertfox2004 wrote:
IMHO, the people that claim that "It Never Snows" is not a monster game are simply wrong. There has always been the concept of the 'big dumb monster', which is a physically large game with straightforward and uncomplicated rules. Again, over time, definitions can morph to a certain degree, but I never remembered rules complexity being a defining element in monster wargames. They basically just had to take up a lot of real estate and have a lot of counters. DNO for example is frankly a fairly simply game - it just has so many pieces spread over a huge space, which is what you'd expect when you try to simulate the entire Eastern Front on the divisional scale! (I have FITE, it's successor, and only has like a 30 page rule book - no rocket science in there).


Agree completely. However, I also think of "complexity monsters" AS monsters, NATO Division Commander comes to mind, but for somewhat different reasons than "normal" (whatever THAT means lol) monsters.
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Enrico Viglino
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medlinke wrote:
calandale wrote:


There seem a lot willing to accept two-mappers (meeting other
criteria). For me, two maps is pretty much what I'm used to
for games. A monster has to be something special; something that
impacts my lifestyle in order to play.



They don't have to be mutually exclusive though. 2 mappers can require MANY sessions. The HASL module Red Barricades has a scenario called The Last Bid that takes most people 20+ hours to complete.


So can one mappers. Or paper and pencil games. I wouldn't call any
of them Monsters. What I'm not so sure about is how I'd feel
about say a 20 hour game (which seems small for a monster) with a
big footprint. What about an 8 hour one? I do think there's a time
component as well as the space one.

Quote:
I believe Empires in Arms only has 2 maps as well and that sucker can take 50 hours or more to complete a game.



I'd say closer to 70 hours. It's a big experience. I know it's longer
than the full EU, which I get flak for saying is only 60 hours.
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Enrico Viglino
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desertfox2004 wrote:

IMHO, the people that claim that "It Never Snows" is not a monster game are simply wrong. There has always been the concept of the 'big dumb monster', which is a physically large game with straightforward and uncomplicated rules.


Yep. DNO (and all of europa) were. No great leap in complexity,
they were just BIG. And that's why they were called monsters.

Games that are just long should be called vampires or something.
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Jeff K
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calandale wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:

IMHO, the people that claim that "It Never Snows" is not a monster game are simply wrong. There has always been the concept of the 'big dumb monster', which is a physically large game with straightforward and uncomplicated rules.


Yep. DNO (and all of europa) were. No great leap in complexity,
they were just BIG. And that's why they were called monsters.

Games that are just long should be called vampires or something.


Another poster child would have been the original WiE. Really not a very complex game, so Leo's right it goes pretty far back. Also, relatively low counter density. It had a lot of counters, but that is partly because there were 3 sheets of each one. But okay, I suppose I did neglect to include "a lot of counters" in my description.
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Mike Hoyt

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Might make a very interesting poll. Which of the following characteristics is most important to your defintion of "monster"

Size
# of Counters
Playing Time
Complexity
Others?

For me, it's some combination of the first three, with an emphasis on playing time.

Flat Top takes up a LOT of space, and takes a long time to play, but has very few counters actually in play at given time and I wouldn't really call it a Monster. (Though I would love to play an umpired game at CSWExpo...hint)

EuroFront II takes up a LOT of space, and takes a long time to play, but has very few blocks in total, and I WOULD call it a monster (and have played it at CSWExpo)


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Dan W
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bbhalla wrote:
Empires in Arms only has 2 maps and about 1000 counters but it takes 7 players over 100 hours of playing time. Our last game was 250+ hours. So it doesn't meet most gamers' size criteria but it's definitely a LONG game. Still, many consider it a monster wargame.

On the other hand, I've heard some people claim that It Never Snows isn't really a monster, despite having the size criteria, because the rules are very simple and streamlined.




From the perspective of a non-war-gamer most seem like monster games. But this certainly monsterly:

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