Recommend
33 
 Thumb up
 Hide
220 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [9] | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: There Are No Gateway Wargames... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Hunga Dunga
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
...for argument's sake.

I think there is a general consensus that some games can function as gateway games, and we probably need more in order to attract more people into the wargaming hobby.

But I don't think it works that way. Why? Because war gamers in general have above average intelligence (though you might want to dispute that from reading some of the threads here ), and we like to challenge ourselves by playing complex games. They're not that complex, you say? Well, you say that because you're really smart, not because the games are not complex.

People with an interest in history (as opposed to an interest in simply blowing things up) may find an interest in our hobby, but that will take them only as far as their intellect allows, or at least, as far as their choice to exercise their intellect in this way allows.

I think that is why (in my totally unscientific observations) many of the people who show up in the subdomain looking to get into wargaming very rarely return. But people who have the intellect and the desire find their way into this hobby pretty quickly.
32 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What this thread needs is context . . .

If 'intelligence' is measured as the quotient of Games Purchased : Played, you may have a point.
25 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robb Minneman
United States
Tacoma
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There must be gateway games, or none of us would be in the wargaming hobby. Something has to be our point-of-entry, and it's more likely to be a simpler game. After learning some of the wargaming concepts we can then lever up to more complex games.

I've been playing A House Divided with my 6 year old son. It is absolutely a gateway game. It's low-complexity, but still manages to convey the history of the conflict. He's learning to grasp strategy with it. It's something fun we can do together. It introduces him to the concept of wargames, so that we can enjoy them together as he gets older. (And my 4 year old son is fascinated by our games, and wants to get in on them.)

Nobody cracks Case Blue and gets into wargaming. (Okay, I will grant you Soren Narnia, and his intro with A World at War. But that's the exception that proves the rule.) People start on Tactics II, or A House Divided, or Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.
31 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Carter
United States
Marion
Iowa
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
robbbbbb wrote:
There must be gateway games, or none of us would be in the wargaming hobby. Something has to be our point-of-entry, and it's more likely to be a simpler game. After learning some of the wargaming concepts we can then lever up to more complex games.

I've been playing A House Divided with my 6 year old son. It is absolutely a gateway game. It's low-complexity, but still manages to convey the history of the conflict. He's learning to grasp strategy with it. It's something fun we can do together. It introduces him to the concept of wargames, so that we can enjoy them together as he gets older. (And my 4 year old son is fascinated by our games, and wants to get in on them.)

Nobody cracks Case Blue and gets into wargaming. (Okay, I will grant you Soren Narnia, and his intro with A World at War. But that's the exception that proves the rule.) People start on Tactics II, or A House Divided, or Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.


I think any game can be a gateway game and any wargame can be a gateway into the hobby. Because of that belief, I don't find gateway game to be a very useful term. I'd rather stick with light vs heavy.
22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff K
United States
Garner
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think Robb is probably right. There are some simpler games which serve the purpose of getting folks feet wet. Of course, these are the usual suspects, I cut my teeth on Afrika Korps and The Russian Campaign. There also have been some purposely designed games for this purpose, back in the day, such as Napoleon at Waterloo and Battle for Moscow (first edition).

But, having said that, I think Hunga still has a valid point. I feel like it is much more frequent that somebody starts into the hobby more at the deep end, than it is in the general boardgaming scene we see here at BGG. I know people back in the day that got in via Squad Leader. At any rate, they certainly don't spend long in the shallow end of the pool if they get in.

I think gateway games play less of a role in this hobby than a general gateway game such as Ticket to Ride for its purpose.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barton Campbell
United States
Jersey City
New Jersey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There Are No Gateway Wargames... I agree!
Years ago I purchased and taught my wife how to play Battle Cry. Guess what? She seemed to like it and we ended up playing every scenario. Unfortunately, it was way too vanilla for me but I was glad she was enjoying it and was excited to introduce her to something a little more challenging. However, after trying a few more games, we both realized that she wasn't interested in any games more complex than Battle Cry.

Moral of the story. Don't teach someone a gateway game that you don't actually like. You may end up playing a game you don't care for, for the rest of your life.

Gateway wargame that is actually challenging and fun, Bravery in the Sand. Don't worry or get too excited. My wife won't touch it with a ten-foot-pole.

I agree. Saying you need to play a simple game before a complex game is like saying a college student can't take college courses without going back to kindergarten. If you can take your average college course, you can certainly play any wargame.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff K
United States
Garner
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Dorosh wrote:

A unique characteristic of "gateway" games is that some players like them so much, they don't feel a need to move on. Look at the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits as an example. This was intended to be a gateway for experienced wargamers to make the move to full ASL, but became a game system in its own right, with three core modules, a couple of further expansion packs, a flow of magazine scenarios, and now a historical module.


While I think Michael makes a good point, I think this may not be a very good example. ASL-SK are hardly in and of themselves "beginners wargames." The shortness of the rules really belies the heaviness of gameplay here. And ASL (full-blown) itself is so incredibly heavy that it is hardly surprising that folks who do not wish to dedicate the enormous amount of time required to master this, treat it as a distinct end-journey of a game.

Also, as has been said many times elsewhere, by the time you get to SK #3, you are already pretty far in to the core system. Most of the other stuff is (more or less) infrequently used. The idea being that the jump to full ASL is not a great one. But then again I am parroting, as I am not an ASL expert (never having made it past the SKs myself)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"This is no time to be making new enemies." --Voltaire
badge
"Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drome; time for this one to come home."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jim Dunnigan would agree, I think. He called wargaming a hobby for the overeducated.

33 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James
United States
Fort Polk
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nexus Ops?
Axis & Allies?
Memoir '44?
Duel of Ages?

I agree that interest in history only goes so far. But interest in history (at least martial history) + interest in gaming should be enough.

If a large percentage of potential wargamers are showing up and shortly leading, then there is room for improvements.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ROGER DEAL
United States
Oak Ridge
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Kenneth Deal WW 2 Belgium 1944/45
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It was OGRE for me.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Who's the master?
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jur dj
Netherlands
Leiden
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
There's a lot of self congratulation in suggesting that wargamers are too intelligent to enjoy 'gateway games'. Just because you are trying to memorize 2,000 counters and 48+ pages of rules doesn't necessarily mean you are intelligent, just that you have a good memory. It also doesn't mean you might make a good commander.
60 
 Thumb up
1.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JE SUIS VENU. J'AI VU. JE SUIS PARTI.
msg tools
badge
Avatar
Twilight Struggle.

Duh.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hungadunga wrote:
....war gamers in general have above average intelligence (though you might want to dispute that from reading some of the threads here).


Who you callin' "above average," Willis?

Hungadunga wrote:
People with an interest in history (as opposed to an interest in simply blowing things up) may find an interest in our hobby, but that will take them only as far as their intellect allows, or at least, as far as their choice to exercise their intellect in this way allows.


I must respectfully disagree. I think you have it backwards -- the interest in history must preceed the intellectual capacity to play complicated games. Of course, this ignores the fact that there are also plenty of wargames out there which have no grounding in history at all (SciFi and fantasy sub-genres). And while there are plenty of smart folks out there who have absolutely no interest in wargames, there are converesly plenty of wargamers out there who aren't all that bright.

Hungadunga wrote:
...many of the people who show up in the subdomain looking to get into wargaming very rarely return. But people who have the intellect and the desire find their way into this hobby pretty quickly.


I think the key to this argument (which I've highlighted) is "desire." A true "wargamer" is someone who is drawn into the hobby because there's something about it which resonates for them personally, be it an interest in history, military science, complicated games, competitive games, or whatever...

That said, I've also seen a fair number of people who are "interested" in wargames at some point lose interest because there was some aspect about the hobby which they didn't find fulfilling. It may have been complexity, it may have been their inability to relate to the specific game(s) they were introduced to, or it might just have been that the chips being served at that session were stale -- who knows? There are probably as many reasons for potential wargamers dropping out as there are gamers who did so.

robbbbbb wrote:
There must be gateway games, or none of us would be in the wargaming hobby. Something has to be our point-of-entry, and it's more likely to be a simpler game.


Totally agree. I do know that, early on in my "wargaming career" I made the mistake of trying to introduce new opponents to the hobby via some of my favorite (and, coincidentally, more complicated games) in my collection. Predictably, that didn't fare well and most of them didn't return for a second session. Once I shifted to simpler fare, most of them were willing to try another (more complex) game later.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jurdj wrote:
There's a lot of self congratulation in suggesting that wargamers are too intelligent to enjoy 'gateway games'. Just because you are trying to memorize 2,000 counters and 48+ pages of rules doesn't necessarily mean you are intelligent, just that you have a good memory. It also doesn't mean you might make a good commander.


We may be backsliding early into the "if I think it, everyone must" mindset early, but you make some good points which have been discussed before, particularly the latter which I don't think anyone should seriously dispute - though if so, there are other threads we can revive to do it in.

I will beat the Stephen Johnson drum yet again and mention his book about pop culture being good for people, and his assertion that "junk" entertainment like D&D, bad sitcoms and reality TV actually make people's minds work harder. If one agrees with his conclusions, they certainly apply to boardgames - that means all boardgames, not just wargames, no matter how one chooses to define them. In short, gaming is good for you - like all things, in moderation and as part of a balanced lifestyle that incorporates the other essentials - romance, diet, exercise, family, work, etc. Making your brain work is always a good thing.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff K
United States
Garner
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Dorosh wrote:
I took it to mean a game that is intended for someone very familiar with relatively complex games already, just not history or war-themed.


I simply took it as meaning a gateway into playing wargames. However, I did not consider that it could well be directed at a gamer who wants entry into the genre. That might indeed be a big difference from someone who was not previously a gamer at all.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Doupe
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mlcarter815 wrote:

I think any game can be a gateway game and any wargame can be a gateway into the hobby. Because of that belief, I don't find gateway game to be a very useful term. I'd rather stick with light vs heavy.


Because you're exactly the sort of wargamer that Hungadunga is talking about - highly capable and motivated to learn. Some people will start a hobby or recreation that way - earnestly jumping into the deep end. Most will not. Some people decide to get fit by training for a triathalon. More typically, people take a yoga class, or join a casual jogging club.

Anyone can take up jogging by training for a marathon. Most people won't. The attitude of many wargamers seems to be that if you're not interested in running a marathon eventually, why the hell are you bothering to go for a jog.
9 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"This is no time to be making new enemies." --Voltaire
badge
"Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drome; time for this one to come home."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lucasbrooks wrote:
Twilight Struggle.

Duh.

With a BGG weight rating of 3.4, I'd say TS is more complex than the casual gamer would easily accept. The average BGGeek might be OK with it, but it's a big step up from the likes of gateway games like Ticket to Ride.

Unless I misunderstand, the OP's question is, Is there any light, accessible game that would lead John or Jane Doe into wargaming the way Ticket to Ride leads so many noobs into Eurogaming (or whatever it's called nowadays)?

Even back in SPI's day, Napoleon at Waterloo was more complex than the typical family gamer could handle. People who played Monopoly and Rummy, and maybe even Risk, would have regarded NaW as much too complicated. Yet it's small and fairly simple for a wargame, so it made a fine stepping-stone for those wannabe grognards who already wanted to play the bigger AH and SPI games.

Maybe Commands & Colors is kind of a gateway to wargaming.

But Twilight Struggle? I guess it could be a gateway between hardcore Eurogaming and wargaming. But a newcomer or casual gamer isn't going to be choosing between TS and TTR. They're a league apart.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve B
Ireland
Derry
flag msg tools
badge
EZ FLASH 3 FTW
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am relatively new to war games. Before this year, the most complex war game I had ever played was Call of Duty on the Xbox. Now I am a big fan of Unconditional Surrender, Ardennes '44, and Blitzkrieg Legend (I have some more but those would be my faves).

My gateway game? Agricola. Then Combat Commander. I don't see "war games" as anything other than a forum category on boardgamegeek. Just another type of board game on my shelf, where the theme is war.

Claiming "war gamers" are of a higher intelligence is pretty pretentious. I am sure you could find people who would say "war gamers" are just social failures who are forced to resort to fantasy to exert any form of control over others.

For me, they are just games, it is all fun, and a gateway game would be any sort of board game. I have a bunch of so called war games, but they are just board games in my eyes.
20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Collins
Canada
Prince Rupert
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nah.

Other games are the gateways to wargaming. Wargaming is the final evolution of gaming in general. Many never arrive. These chaff are winnowed away while only the most viable seed produce a rich harvest. Or like the millions of salmon spawn that swim out to sea each year, though only a chosen, select few will survive life's vicissitudes to return to the home waters to spawn and die...

At least that's what I tell myself when I'm sitting alone at my gaming table, trying to solitaire Empires in Arms or some such.

soblue cry


edit: for literary effect. shake
35 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff K
United States
Garner
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rob Doupe wrote:
The attitude of many wargamers seems to be that if you're not interested in running a marathon eventually, why the hell are you bothering to go for a jog.


Not to disagree with you in any way (it was a good post), but just wanted to point out that a truly surprising number of people who take up running do indeed have this attitude.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
"This is no time to be making new enemies." --Voltaire
badge
"Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drome; time for this one to come home."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bradelli wrote:
I am relatively new to war games.

It shows.

I suspect your take on wargames is very similar to that of many gamers today, and it could easily become the predominant attitude in the future.

But in the past, where I come from (I started wargaming in 1968), wargaming was at once a fun way to study military history and a complex form of "military chess." Board gaming as a hobby didn't really exist. Some played family games, some played cards or checkers or whatever, but hardly anybody saw board gaming as a possible hobby. There just weren't enough games and gamers within communicating distance. And of course there were no video games at all.

So, just about anybody who got into wargaming in the 1970s was a rare bird--someone willing to put a whole lot of time and effort into re-creating military battles and campaigns. If it wasn't done with miniatures on a tabletop, it was technically a board game. But it was a world apart from games like Sorry! and Clue and Scrabble.

Only today, with decades of board games and video games to explore, and with discussion forums in online sites like BGG, can wargames be "just another kind of game."
20 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Doupe
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If we use gateway boardgames (Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, etc.) for reference, a gateway wargame should have the following qualities.

1. Require no prior experience with the hobby.
2. Playable with no preparation.
3. Easy to teach to complete newbies.
4. Immediately gratifying to play.
5. Have qualities that reward repeated play.
6. Readily available if the newbie wants to buy it himself.

Some games that meet all the criteria:

Battle Cry
Memoir '44
Axis & Allies

Some games that meet all of the criteria except #6:

Sekigahara
Manoeuvre
Washington's War
Conflict of Heroes
Hammer of the Scots
A House Divided

25 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zigi Hogan
United States
The Ozarks
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
What's it going to be then, eh?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The exact reason I went to wargames very quickly after re-discovering modern gaming is because there is no Euro game that challenges me mentally. Even the most complex of Euro games (Agricola, Die Macher, etc) are on the light side of wargame complexity.

This does not mean I do not enjoy Euro games, I just do not enjoy them as much as a game that takes personal and mental effort to learn and that does not count actually learning the strategies involved to play the game well. I think Euro games can be enjoyed for what they are: a step up from party games that give enough strategy to be interesting yet not so hard that people are intimidated into not playing them (case and point: ASL). And that is what makes it easier to produce "intro" games for the Euro game genre.

As for "entry level" wargames I believe there are many of them; it (once again) depends on how much effort you are willing to expend on learning a game/system.

A House Divided is a great example of a game that can be played with most anyone (whether or not they have an interest in ACW) since it's basic rules are very easy to grasp (even for non-gamers) and the game play is more than rich enough for the more seasoned wargamer to get quite a bit of enjoyment out of a playthrough. Many other examples are/can be: Memoir '44, Axis & Allies and many others that may pique the interest of someone wanting to dable in wargaming without go all in with full ASL or World in Flames or any of the other "monster" systems out there.

However, there are many (what wargamers refer to as "moderate" complexity) that are easily learned with a little expenditure of brain power. Examples I would consider in this class would be Glory Series, France '40, etc. These are easily learned by someone who is moderately intelligent and has even the most cursory interest in the subject.

I think the greastest strength of wargaming is that you get first hand knowledge of the situation on the ground that is much more relatable than sitting down and reading a book (most of my wargame playing either starts with a book I have read or I start searching out books about the wargame I am currently playing) and there lies the draw that wargames have, it is as much about gameplay as knowledge gathering. You really get little battlefield insight from M44 but it is still fun. And those who have a greater interest will search out games that give them more historical insight to the actual conflict being portrayed than the typical "intro" wargames do.

I think ALL wargames are intro/gateway/introductory games it just depends on how much effort you want to expend before actually pushing counters around. Wrong or right that is how I feel.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Collins
Canada
Prince Rupert
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Dorosh wrote:
Xookliba wrote:

While I think Michael makes a good point, I think this may not be a very good example. ASL-SK are hardly in and of themselves "beginners wargames."




I thought Hungadunga was talking about "gateway" as being a different concept from "beginner's" games. I admit I may have missed his point entirely. I took it to mean a game that is intended for someone very familiar with relatively complex games already, just not history or war-themed.


perhaps more like marijuana is a gateway to pills, cocaine and heroin, which I think is the original usage.

yes, i like that better.

wargaming is the heroin of the gaming hobby.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [9] | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.