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Subject: Just why I consider myself a war gamer first. rss

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Joe Lott
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Why is this not in war gaming sub forum? Because its not about war games.
What I want to say is this:
I recently read Garret's list BGG Con 2014 Hot Games with Mini-Reviews. I liked his reviews. They were helpful, but I noticed something about them, that reminded me of another friend, who (and this is judging purely from what Garret's reviews said, and how he has rated games) had similar taste in games. In many of his reviews a major part if not the first part of many (not all, for example Evolution and panmax) of his reviews describe mechanics, using terms we are all well aware of.

Some that is his nut shell 1st sentence:
Quote:
Nations: The Dice Game is a quick and simple dice based tableau building game with a civilization theme.


Quote:
Five Tribes can roughly be described as Through the Desert meets Mancala


Quote:
Aquasphere is classic Feld point salad with an awesome underwater research laboratory theme.


Quote:
Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men is a deck building/card drafting game similar to Dominion but using dice rather than cards.


Quote:
Historia is a primarily card based civilization game.


Quote:
Hyperborea is a tableau building area movement game that uses random cube draws from a bag as the mechanism through which you power the cards on your tableau and thereby interact with the shared map.


and so on.

Now I want to make this ABUNDANTLY CLEAR: I am A) not in any way criticizing Garret: like I said I liked his reviews, and its more that I just felt like talking about this now, and he made a very good demonstration of what I am about to say. When it comes to Euro's Mr. Buell and I seem to share some (not all) taste, though his thoughts on Primordial Soup are just wrong, wrong, wrong . B) The games either: Some look interesting, some don't and Garret actually helped in this regard. Having never played them, I have little direct opinion of them, but wish to try a few now.

What I am going to say is based on the way it seems the game is approached: The description, the idea, a major part of choice in a game is its mechanics it seems to a lot of gamers.

My friend that Garret reminded me of in his descriptions is like this. When I look at a new game, or something and ask "So what this?" his first response is "A worker placement," or "deck building" or etc... When I ask "What should be play next, he has said stuff like 'well we just placed a worker placement game, so maybe we shouldn't play ..." I'm not in any way exaggerating, I promise. To many this might be perfectly fine, but to me, I always then follow it up with 'what's it about?' or 'Well I feel like playing xyz. (where my choice was not based on mechanic).'

To me it feels like too much emphasis is put on what the mechanic is. (Though I gotta say, Garret's reviews pointed me towards Panamax because of his initial description that the theme was well integrated.) I mostly pick games based on theme (being a war gamer). I say 'I want to fight the Yom-Kippur war now' or 'What would happen if I invaded Georgia with Sherman via the Sea and marched inwards?' These are my primary drivers for 'what to play'.

So what's the point of all this: I don't know, I just felt like ranting, and getting roasted for it now. I've already slathered my self up in barbecue sauce, just waiting for the flames to come on in.


(Interesting note: War games have the same kind of mechanical definitions, we talk of ZOCs (hard, soft, rigid) area vs hex, impulse, strategic vs tactical etc... but read reviews of war games vs euro's it while both dive into the mechanics, war games spend a bit more time talking about the conflict etc... and other details, + their all the same anways .)
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No No No Sheep
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i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days
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Russ Williams
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dprijadi wrote:
i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days


Why do you think that? Do you have some examples? It seems pretty demonstrably false.
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No No No Sheep
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russ wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days


Why do you think that? Do you have some examples? It seems pretty demonstrably false.


based on my experience.. i started in ameritrash and then dip a bit into wargaming before turning to euro.

and i find euro fiddly and overly complex in rules , at least the complexity of wargaming rules are easy to follow (for me), unlike the eurotrash things
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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dprijadi wrote:
i find euro fiddly and overly complex in rules , at least the complexity of wargaming rules are easy to follow (for me), unlike the eurotrash things
That seems counter to everything I've ever heard. Could you give an example of hw I games you're thinking of?
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Ron
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dprijadi wrote:
i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days

In that case, I daresay you haven't played a real wargame yet meeple
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Eddy Sterckx
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PzVIE wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days

In that case, I daresay you haven't played a real wargame yet meeple


Games owned : Battletech, World of Warcraft, Warhammer 40K, ... yup, I completely agree that eurogames are more complex than these wargames
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Moe45673
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I agree with the OP. So the game is a worker placement game? Is that a WP game like Agricola, or Caylus, or Manhattan Project, or Dungeon Petz, or......
 
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Jonas Krainbring
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Well, if you take, say, kanban as a quite complex euro and the compare it to For The People, the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War-Series or maybe Conflict of Heroes with everything added, Kanban seems kind of like a trick-taking game (complexety wise; it's a great game, still).
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Matt Brown
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PzVIE wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days

In that case, I daresay you haven't played a real wargame yet meeple


Or likely a real euro. If people play games by Kninzia, El Grande, or a host of other games and want to call those fiddly, well, you don't know the definition of the word.
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Matt Brown
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My current keyword to avoid is "goods." Not trading them, not in some previous century, or whatever. If a new game has me dealing with goods, I would rather get something else as I already have games that let me deal with various goods. Bonus points for the lack of victory points.

"What do we do in this game?"
"We beat the hell out of each other."
"You know, if you whispered that into my ear I would accuse you of flirting with me."

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Kerstin
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To me that reason sounds somehow so "negative".
Isn't there rather something you like more about wargames and not something that you "not dislike as much" about them compared to other games?

It just to me sounds not very enthusiastic when someone says he likes something, because something else is worse compared to it. I'd rather know why it's even better than something else.
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Jacob Williams
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Speaking of war gaming, where is the war gaming forum? I don't see it on the main forum page.

Sorry to hijack the thread for a second, but I didn't want to make a brand new thread for this.
 
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
I say 'I want to fight the Yom-Kippur war now' or 'What would happen if I invaded Georgia with Sherman via the Sea and marched inwards?' These are my primary drivers for 'what to play'.


But then don't you have to chose how these conflicts will play out over the board?

In other words, we all have to deal with mechanics (the engine) at some point. The theme runs through and is washed in the rules and mechanics.

How is Sherman going to march? Via card play, dice, movement points, etc. How is terrain handled? How are battles conducted...dice, cards, CRT's...?

Once you get the theme you want to play, I would think you then have to deal with the particular engine of that theme.

I know there is a big theme vs. mechanics magilla on BGG pretty much everyday, but I'm a believer in mechanics driving us deep down. The theme is given life by the rules, so if the actual gameplay isn't to our liking, I don't know that theme can save it.

Or rather, the theme can make less palatable rulesets tolerable for us, but I don't think because I really like dragons, I will tolerate any ruleset with dragons.

You might really love Sherman, but if the rules (mechanics) suck, you won't play just for the theme (I don't think. You would just find another game).

So I think there has to be something in the actual gameplay that makes it feel like a game to you.

Again, theme mitigates this, but a game is simply a function of mathematical relationships defined by an insular and parochial ruleset.

Sherman can't do anything until the rules tell him how and what he can do. If I don't buy into the rules, the theme can only do so much.

Kevin



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    Most legit wargames defy the kind of simple mechanical description that Garret leads off his reviews with. Trying to explain D-Day at Omaha Beach via its mechanics first is going to result in one very long sentence. Instead, you're more or less forced to go to its thematic elements in order to introduce the game.

    I'm not terribly concerned with first sentences, though I'll admit Garret speaks the lingo with elan, similar to the way wine experts talk about the nine aromas they get from the cork. Most discussions on a game don't come into their own until someone starts speaking of the emotional response you get from playing the game. We all read the final paragraphs of reviews first here for a reason.

    On occasion, someone will open a review with a phrase like "it is my pleasure to review this game . . . " or "I just had one hell of a session with my kids . . ." which is a refreshing change from the "Feld Point-Salad" lingo that doesn't tell you anything about the heart of a game. People really don't care about mechanics, they care about enjoyment. Nobody sits down to the table thinking "I'm really hoping for a point salad title this evening."

    For the record, I have no clue what a point-salad is.

             S.

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Matt Brown
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ChromiumAgeCollector wrote:
Speaking of war gaming, where is the war gaming forum? I don't see it on the main forum page.

Sorry to hijack the thread for a second, but I didn't want to make a brand new thread for this.


Use the drop down menu at the top where it says Board Games in yellow.
 
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Sagrilarus wrote:
For the record, I have no clue what a point-salad is.


Where you basically get points for doing anything.
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matthean wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
For the record, I have no clue what a point-salad is.


Where you basically get points for doing anything.


Including showing up. Games where the scores are something like 185-180-179 and the person in last place was just introduced to the game.
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Joe Lott
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natsean wrote:
Quote:
I say 'I want to fight the Yom-Kippur war now' or 'What would happen if I invaded Georgia with Sherman via the Sea and marched inwards?' These are my primary drivers for 'what to play'.


But then don't you have to chose how these conflicts will play out over the board?

In other words, we all have to deal with mechanics (the engine) at some point. The theme runs through and is washed in the rules and mechanics.

How is Sherman going to march? Via card play, dice, movement points, etc. How is terrain handled? How are battles conducted...dice, cards, CRT's...?

Once you get the theme you want to play, I would think you then have to deal with the particular engine of that theme.

I know there is a big theme vs. mechanics magilla on BGG pretty much everyday, but I'm a believer in mechanics driving us deep down. The theme is given life by the rules, so if the actual gameplay isn't to our liking, I don't know that theme can save it.

Or rather, the theme can make less palatable rulesets tolerable for us, but I don't think because I really like dragons, I will tolerate any ruleset with dragons.

You might really love Sherman, but if the rules (mechanics) suck, you won't play just for the theme (I don't think. You would just find another game).

So I think there has to be something in the actual gameplay that makes it feel like a game to you.

Again, theme mitigates this, but a game is simply a function of mathematical relationships defined by an insular and parochial ruleset.

Sherman can't do anything until the rules tell him how and what he can do. If I don't buy into the rules, the theme can only do so much.

Kevin


I think you missed something in your reading of the post. I said 'too much' of course their is mechanics, see my PS, but the point is this seems to be the lead in description for many of our fine Euro players, and they way they are viewed.
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Moe45673 wrote:
matthean wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
For the record, I have no clue what a point-salad is.


Where you basically get points for doing anything.


Including showing up. Games where the scores are something like 185-180-179 and the person in last place was just introduced to the game.

I don't think that's part of the "point salad" definition. From the way I've seen the expression used, there are "point salad" skill-based games in which an experienced player will certainly win by a large margin versus a newbie. I've always understood the term to just mean that you get VPs from doing most or all of a variety of game actions, with an implication that they are "just soulless euros", but not that they guarantee everyone will have a similarly high score no matter how well or poorly they play.
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natsean wrote:

The theme is given life by the rules, so if the actual gameplay isn't to our liking, I don't know that theme can save it.


    Yeah, but does that come from a particular mechanic, or from its successful execution? Saying a game is worker placement doesn't mean it's good, it means it's worker placement. Calling a game worker placement is an academic pursuit. Calling a game good is when you start imparting understanding. You can argue that storyline does that no better, but at least there's something there to catch your eye. Spitting out a bunch of lingo isn't imparting useful information.

             S.



    By the way, I do know what a point-salad is, I just dipped into the poetic license pot for a moment. Didn't mean to derail the thread over such a trivial detail.
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russ wrote:
dprijadi wrote:
i think eurogames are more complex than wargames these days


Why do you think that? Do you have some examples? It seems pretty demonstrably false.


I guess first we must ascertain what he means by "Wargame". If I ask you you might think some WWII game like ASL. If you ask other people, Wargames are the likes of Warhammer 40K, Warmachine and the ilk.
 
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MWChapel wrote:

I guess first we must ascertain what he means by "Wargame".


    No. I'm playing my mid-turn veto card NOW.

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Quote:
Yeah, but does that come from a particular mechanic, or from its successful execution? Saying a game is worker placement doesn't mean it's good, it means it's worker placement. Calling a game worker placement is an academic pursuit only. Calling a game good is when you start imparting understanding. You can argue that storyline does that no better, but at least there's something there to catch your eye.


I think, though, "successful" is a sticky wicket of subjectivity.

My point was really that, to my mind, all theme gets subjugated to the mechanics at day's end, whether we think it does or not...that's what the game is: interplay through a specific ruleset.

The theme is the dressing or the trappings that give some semblance of order or "meaning" to what we are doing, but it is essentially an exercise in math that is hidden behind the curtain of theme.

I love Roman stuff...I'm not playing a Candyland retheme. This is an extreme (and perhaps absurd) example, but there has to be a "game" there for me to enjoy the Roman stuff...else I read some history or engage the "theme" some other way.

I've chose a game to play a game, so there has to be a "likable" engine there.

Mind, I don't really know where the line is. Will great mechanics get me to play a game with a horrible theme (for me)? Probably...medieval trading is not at all interesting to me, but I love the mechanics in many euros, so I play them.

I can't stand fishing at all, but I love Fleet. Theme of Small World seems silly to me, yet it is one of my favorite games. Seasons is bizzare, but I love playing it.

However, will an interesting theme get me to play a game with mechanics I don't enjoy? For me the answer is no, but that won't hold for everyone, I don't think.

For me, telling me it is worker placement gives me more useful information than telling me it is about building rockets or running a town.

The "guts" of the game are the mechanics and rules, so that is what my choices will be bounded in. The theme doesn't tell me what type of game it is or the rules of the choices I can make, so that ancillary to me.

The "good", as you say, will come from how well the mechanics and rules deliver interesting choices.

Kevin
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natsean wrote:

I can't stand fishing at all, but I love Fleet. Theme of Small World seems silly to me, yet it is one of my favorite games. Seasons is bizzare, but I love playing it.


But there are gamers who wont play games if the the theme and mechanics do not mesh well. They wont play Small World because of the silly theme, (or maybe under protest to please their friends.)

Take "Zombicide". The gun mechanic is an excellent mechanic, IMO, for setting up worlds of game tension and for creating a strong distinction between tactics (guns/vs hand to hand has real game mechanical meaning, with different risks). The mechanic sets up interesting game choices.

For those who aren't familiar, the rule is that if you shoot a gun into a space you will hit your teammates first before any zombies.

Zombie fans HATE that mechanic, because it goes entirely counter to simulating guns. People who defend the mechanic always do so by addressing theme.

So here you have a good game mechanic, but the value of the mechanic is dismissed because of theme.
 
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