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Subject: So what is the Next Big Thing, anyway? rss

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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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I thought deck-building might lead to some kind of paradigm shift, but frankly nobody's fulfilled the promise of the mechanic (though Asgard's Chosen will be a valiant example in the dudes-on-a-map genre).
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Jacovis
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Sort of a demi-paradigm shift was, I think, the "making wargames more accessible" bit that sort of began with ASL Starter Kits, and was continued with such titles as Washington's War, Conflict of Heroes, 1812: The Invasion of Canada, etc.

Not quite a complete shift, but definitely something that has possibly derailed or delayed the big shift you are looking for.

I'm quite grateful for this one in particular because finding Combat Commander and Conflict of Heroes opened up the door with some other gamers who were put off by the "complexity" of other war games I had picked up or owned previously and had gotten rid of because no one would touch them and playing/ learning them by myself was a bit off-putting.

Thanks to the accessibility of those games I finally made an account on BGG after lurking, and now have access to a ton of other games, as well as gamers online (Once I figure out how to use VASSAL, et. al.)

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Jacovis
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There was some supposed deck-building Panzer wargame that was on kickstarter a while back that looked kind of interesting, but it was extremely unclear how much product you needed to own to really enjoy the game, and so I stopped watching it and have now completely lost track of what it might be.

kenosha_kid wrote:
sdiberar wrote:
I thought deck-building might lead to some kind of paradigm shift, but frankly nobody's fulfilled the promise of the mechanic (though Asgard's Chosen will be a valiant example in the dudes-on-a-map genre).


Agreed. I thought that deck building would work well for a strategic-level wargame, but nothing so far has materialized.

I suppose the closest thing would be A Few Acres of Snow, but that's not quite what I had in mind.
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Well, I can tell you what I'd like to see:

Games whose rules are somewhat different each time you play, and the rules are only revealed, to both players, as they become relevant.

For example, in a typical WWII game, the 1940 France situation is known to both players, based on unit strengths, terrain effects rules, the CRT, etc.

But the real participants didn't know if Sicklestroke would work, or be a German fiasco. The only way to find out was to try it. Similarly the Allies didn't know how hard an invasion of France would be, until they tried Dieppe. The lessons learned there helped them plan Overlord.

Imagine a WWII game, where you don't get to see the CRT for a certain situation, like "2:1 with armor superiority" or "1.5:1 with air support" until you actually try it. And it's different every game.

Imagine if the terrain effects chart is different, and the effect not revealed until units actually try to cross that terrain type, so one game the Ardennes might be impassible to German armor, but the next, it might be a minor obstacle.

In such a system you would be in a similar situation to the real participants, fighting the battle for the first time, and not being able to plan everything out since you don't know all the "rules and charts," but you will learn with experience, as the real participants did, and modify your strategies and tactics accordingly.

I am not sure of the best, most elegant mechanism to implement this idea, but figuring that out is what would make it the next "paradigm" and not just an amateurish effort at something new.
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R K
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There's those weird euro-ized cube placing games like COIN, but they don't count if we're talking wargames.
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Gordon Blizzard
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sdiberar wrote:
I thought deck-building might lead to some kind of paradigm shift, but frankly nobody's fulfilled the promise of the mechanic (though Asgard's Chosen will be a valiant example in the dudes-on-a-map genre).


The problem is, deckbuilding rewards having a very small, efficient deck rather than going through a long, varied deck, and it's tough to see. I felt like that was the major problem with Wallace's game, that he hadn't really sussed out what deckbuilding really is all about.

I'm sure there's a way to mix a wargame with deckbuilding but i'm not sure the deckbuilding would end up being very central.
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Brian Morris
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I would include block games and their fog of war alongside area impulse and card driven game in terms of important wargame inovations.

The truth is though area impulse has been mostly a matter of unfulfilled promise when compared to the other two. I think in part because of what companies have championed each mechanic. GMT for example has really championed the CDG system and consistently produced games using it. The same goes with the block system and Columbia games. The area impulse however has mostly been used by MMP in terms of larger companies and they've had troubles in recent years getting games using the system out. Kawaguchi's Gamble: Edson's Ridge for example has been on their P500 list for over 5 years now. However when they have produced games using the system the results have been stellar with games like Monty's Gamble: Market Garden, Breakthrough: Cambrai and Storm Over Stalingrad (I regret so much for stupidly trading away my copy of Monty's Gamble).

So in my mind those are the big three innovations. As for the next one, I have to agree with the gentleman above that the deck building mechanic could be used very effectively in a wargame themed or maybe just a historical simulation framework. I've been playing Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game a good deal lately and it's such a fun game and much much better than it's ancestor Dominion which I find to be multi-player solitaire.

In 10 year however I think the big thing will be interactive LCD rolled maps. We're already seeing this technology and I can see it being useful for playing tradition wargames through the internet. This is how it will likely work.

You basically will have a rolled up LCD computer screen the size of a traditional wargame map (you're already seeing this technology today). This will be the "map" for your wargames. Basically you will download your wargame which you will play on your LCD screen/map on your kitchen table, game table or where ever you want to put it down in the house because it will be hooked up to your wifi. Instead of paper and cardboard it's all electronic but the big difference is instead of like Vassel where you're tied to your computer where ever that may be in the house it's on your kitchen table playing very much like a traditional game. You will then play against opponents either in person or your friend will be at his home.

That is where I believe we will be in 10 years. Some folks will miss the games on their bookshelves, the smell of cardboard and box farts but on the other hand how nice will it be to play Combat Commander on your kitchen table with a friend 2,000 miles away and not have to deal with long set up and break down times. No more lost combat chits either.
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Lucius Cornelius
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The next paradigm shift requires cumulative wargamer I.Q. Of one billion. This can be fulfilled by fanatic conversion efforts combined with the participation of my I.Q. Enhancing cap kickstarter.
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Mike Szarka
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mrbeankc wrote:

In 10 year however I think the big thing will be interactive LCD rolled maps. We're already seeing this technology and I can see it being useful for playing tradition wargames through the internet. This is how it will likely work.

You basically will have a rolled up LCD computer screen the size of a traditional wargame map (you're already seeing this technology today). This will be the "map" for your wargames. Basically you will download your wargame which you will play on your LCD screen/map on your kitchen table, game table or where ever you want to put it down in the house because it will be hooked up to your wifi. Instead of paper and cardboard it's all electronic but the big difference is instead of like Vassel where you're tied to your computer where ever that may be in the house it's on your kitchen table playing very much like a traditional game. You will then play against opponents either in person or your friend will be at his home.



And your cat will still want to sleep on it.
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Wargames on your COLOR TELEVISION!

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Nice. I love it!
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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kenosha_kid wrote:
Agreed. I thought that deck building would work well for a strategic-level wargame, but nothing so far has materialized.

I have in mind a DBWG on the Age of Absolutism, but nothing much has come of it yet.

Panzeh wrote:
The problem is, deckbuilding rewards having a very small, efficient deck rather than going through a long, varied deck[...]

Well, it does now but certainly you could design a game to make that efficiency difficult or even impossible.

Jacovis wrote:
Sort of a demi-paradigm shift was, I think, the "making wargames more accessible" bit[...]

The idea of "introductory" or "accessible" wargames is about as old as, well, wargames. The SPI quads were created for that express purpose in 1974.

chuft wrote:
Games whose rules are somewhat different each time you play, and the rules are only revealed, to both players, as they become relevant.

Oh, you mean Risk Legacy! Actually, the next "Legacy" type game has recently been announced (SeaFall).

I know those aren't exactly what you mean, but some thievery could be beneficial. Actually, Joe Miranda did some of what you describe with his Wars of the Imperial Age Series. The combat system centered on pulling chits from a cup, and there were extra chits that allowed cavalry or machineguns to have differing effectiveness - and a couple chits were removed from the game unseen before playing, so you never knew what the most effective mix was.

mrbeankc wrote:
The truth is though area impulse has been mostly a matter of unfulfilled promise when compared to the other two.

True to some extent, but games like What Price Glory? and Storm over Pearl Harbor have been pushing at the boundaries of what's possible in area-impulse in an innovative and challenging way.
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Tom Willcockson
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mrbeankc wrote:
In 10 year however I think the big thing will be interactive LCD rolled maps.


Possibly, but I'm sticking with the clunky old real thing map and cardboard bits and rulebook. I agree this is probably going to happen, I just suspect that as these things move to the computer they will inevitably become computer games. At first they will be traditional wargames in an electronic format, then slowly they will evolve to cover all sorts of rules and routines for the player and include flashy effects and before you know it they are just another computer game. I think a traditional wargame will still be one where you handle real bits on a real board, roll real dice, but most importantly have to learn/memorize/understand and internalize the rules. To me that is and always will be the intellectual challenge of traditional wargames and the brilliance of well designed ones that operate under those constraints. It's sort of like an ancient art form that you just don't mess with by moving to computer.
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rykirk wrote:
There's those weird euro-ized cube placing games like COIN, but they don't count if we're talking wargames.

I think nothing will ever count as a wargame if we refuse to escape the orthodoxy of the classic hex and counter genre, nor if we continue to brand as a heretic those thinking a certain specific CDG is a wargame.

COIN games are interdisciplinary games. You can't just stick to the idealized simple notion of these guys with these weapons and their supplies against those ones. There an inherent political dimension that has to be taken into consideration.

The CDG was the NBT for a long time. I think the COIN style of conflict simulation games will be the foundation of the next NBT.
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leroy43 wrote:
rykirk wrote:
There's those weird euro-ized cube placing games like COIN, but they don't count if we're talking wargames.

I think nothing will ever count as a wargame if we refuse to escape the orthodoxy of the classic hex and counter genre, nor if we continue to brand as a heretic those thinking a certain specific CDG is a wargame.

COIN games are interdisciplinary games. You can't just stick to the idealized simple notion of these guys with these weapons and their supplies against those ones. There an inherent political dimension that has to be taken into consideration.

The CDG was the NBT for a long time. I think the COIN style of conflict simulation games will be the foundation of the next NBT.


I'm partially teasing about COIN.

I have no problem with new and varied mechanics, but my issue with COIN is twofold. First, I prefer nuts and bolts inner workings, I like mechanics that show the 'how' and detail, rather than abstracting into general effect. This is probably why I mostly like tactical or operational level games, I'm open to strategic, but I find the level of abstraction in COIN is too high for my personal tastes. Second, and related to my last point, is that I find that because of the use of the cubes and the mechanics, COIN seems too generic, I don't get the flavor, and flavor and narrative are a huge part for me. With the abstraction, components, and multiplayer competitive game feel of things, COIN just doesn't match up with what I look for in a wargame.

To be honest I don't really care about the definition of 'wargame', that's just my own personal taste... I just wanted to see how long it would take someone to bite.
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Iain K
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Up Front was a paradigm shift as well. It may well have been a dead-end, but it certainly took wargames somewhere new.


As for the next shift ... no one can say, that's the nature of disruptive technologies.
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Iain K
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As for wargaming on tablets, I hope we'll see games with more intelligence gathering and other elements of fog of war incorporated without adding overhead for the gamers... but those aren't strictly board games and we've had computers promise wargaming innovation before.

The argument can also be made that the chit pull mechanic was a significant paradigm shift within the hex-n-counter model.
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chuft wrote:
Well, I can tell you what I'd like to see:

Games whose rules are somewhat different each time you play, and the rules are only revealed, to both players, as they become relevant.



I think there have been attempts. Unhappy King Charles (with
cards added to the game at random), and the variable hidden game
of Origins of World War II.
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The Next Big Thing

Collectible CDG Wargames !

Spoiler (click to reveal)
yuk
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TomW731 wrote:
mrbeankc wrote:
In 10 year however I think the big thing will be interactive LCD rolled maps.


Possibly, but I'm sticking with the clunky old real thing map and cardboard bits and rulebook. I agree this is probably going to happen, I just suspect that as these things move to the computer they will inevitably become computer games. At first they will be traditional wargames in an electronic format, then slowly they will evolve to cover all sorts of rules and routines for the player and include flashy effects and before you know it they are just another computer game. I think a traditional wargame will still be one where you handle real bits on a real board, roll real dice, but most importantly have to learn/memorize/understand and internalize the rules. To me that is and always will be the intellectual challenge of traditional wargames and the brilliance of well designed ones that operate under those constraints. It's sort of like an ancient art form that you just don't mess with by moving to computer.


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Mike Szarka
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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I'm thinking a computer-boardgame hybrid, where you give your orders to your XO and he passes them down the line. You get information on what happened in an imperfect way and have to respond. Units have "error bars" on where you think they are like the old Harpoon computer game. Eventually, there will be full voice recognition.

Then, you will don your virtual reality headset to get a dressing down from a screaming Hitler or Stalin, or maybe a slap in the face from Patton.
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The next innovation is going to be matte finish counters. So that you don't get a fog of war effect just from the glare of todays overly glossy crap.
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TomW731 wrote:
mrbeankc wrote:
In 10 year however I think the big thing will be interactive LCD rolled maps.


Possibly, but I'm sticking with the clunky old real thing map and cardboard bits and rulebook. I agree this is probably going to happen, I just suspect that as these things move to the computer they will inevitably become computer games. At first they will be traditional wargames in an electronic format, then slowly they will evolve to cover all sorts of rules and routines for the player and include flashy effects and before you know it they are just another computer game. I think a traditional wargame will still be one where you handle real bits on a real board, roll real dice, but most importantly have to learn/memorize/understand and internalize the rules. To me that is and always will be the intellectual challenge of traditional wargames and the brilliance of well designed ones that operate under those constraints. It's sort of like an ancient art form that you just don't mess with by moving to computer.

Don't think so much you got to worry about board games turning into computer games. The effort and expense to develop a computer game is huge compared to a board game with something like a VASSAL module.

What I would like to see is something like VASSAL that is more point and clicky for module development so that non programer non IT type guys can make modules that look as good as VASSAL modules. I looked at Cyberboard and Sun Tzu. But currently most of those modules are eye sores. And the interfaces do not appear as intuitive to me as VASSAL for playing the games.
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