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Subject: Designing the ultimate gateway wargame rss

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Hunga Dunga
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We're all aware of the half dozen games we consider to be gateway wargames, and unlike other wargames, these games can be found at Toys'rUs and other major online and bricks-and-mortar retailers.

But I recently ran this extremely unscientific poll Poll: Do you think military battle tanks are cool? on the BGG general forums, which I then subjected to an extremely unscientific analysis, and here is what I convinced myself of: while 75% of respondents thought military tanks we cool or sorta cool, a whopping 90% would be interested in a board or card game that involved military tanks.

One interpretation of these numbers is that THE GATEWAY WARGAME has yet to be published.

So, the purpose behind this thread is to see if we can knock together a wargame that will appeal to this untapped audience.

Instead of posting a completely thought-out game concept, call out an element of this new gateway wargame that you think is one of the important ingredients needed to help these boardgamers take the plunge.

Maybe we can fit some or all of these parts together and create the Ultimate Gateway Wargame!
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Bob Zurunkel
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I think that if you're trying to bring non-wargamers to wargaming, you have to have minis.
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Leo Zappa
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Element: tank minis, similar to those in Memoir 44 would be a better choice than counters.

Frankly, I think to a large extent, Memoir 44 is this game.

*EDIT* ninja'd by Bob!
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Axis & Allies miniatures. You have individual levels and scenarios.
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Paul C
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Zombies. And Cthulhu.
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Paul C
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capracaligo wrote:
Zombies. And Cthulhu.


Preferably with their tits out (especially Cthulhu), if you're thinking of Kickstarting it.
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Hunga Dunga
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Westie wrote:
I think that if you're trying to bring non-wargamers to wargaming, you have to have minis.

Chess uses minis, so that's an endorsement of the idea right there!
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Kurtis Swekla
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I would think that not using an actual battle, but something generic or possibly fantasy themed (although fantasy themed can turn off those that don't like that sort of thing)

I think of Chaos in the old World and Kemet (although they aren't wargames) as being good games that can lead into more traditionally thought of wargames
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suPUR DUEper
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Whatever type of game it is, the player should have the ability to load out his unit (tank, squad whatever) with equipment for the upcoming mission. There should also be a campaign element that allows the player's pieces to become more capable over time.

When my son plays anything (Xbox, Heroscape, X Wing, whatever) he is all about tricking out his units and customizing them for the battle to come. Panzer General (the computer game) had the same allure for me back in the day.
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Wolf Hoepper
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I remember this playing to death as a kid:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2598/tank-battle

add some more combat resolution mechanics (like differing strengths results in different number/type of dice a la risk or Axis and Allies), add some more terrain with different moving options/problems (difficult/normal/impassable,a double move for 1 unit f.e.), add some infantry stands, different tanks, nations, theaters (for expansion kits - money rules.. eeerh variety) and voila the tank grognards have an easy to learn, family friendly chess like game.
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Peter Collins
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Just make sure it's got ZOC.
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Bob Zurunkel
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PeteyWA wrote:
Just make sure it's got ZOC.


Shouldn't that be ZsOC?
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Little Idiot
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You should be able to complete a game in under an hour

It should have dice
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Hunga Dunga
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Hungadunga wrote:
Westie wrote:
I think that if you're trying to bring non-wargamers to wargaming, you have to have minis.

Chess uses minis, so that's an endorsement of the idea right there!

I think there is a qualitative difference between a game with lots of minis and a game with just a few minis (e.g. 30 vs. 300).
 
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Tom Swider
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I think that Conquest was a good gateway game. It takes the familiarity of Chess and adds some wargame concepts:

Moving more than one unit a turn
Movement allowances
Amphibious operations
Reaction move/reserves

The game used to have quite a following before the Internet became popular, played through mail.

Although they really don't do much for me, the pieces are also "miniatures".

Nice video from the game designer, Donald Benge (RIP).

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brant G
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Hungadunga wrote:
One interpretation of these numbers is that THE GATEWAY WARGAME has yet to be published.


Tank on Tank + Axis & Allies minis = winner, winner Chicken Dinner
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Filip Labarque
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Or the new Tanks! from GF9: Tanks: Panther vs Sherman.
Simple rules and you get to play with cool tanks.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Something like a step or two above Milton Bradley's old American Heritage Series or their decades-later reprints through the Mission Command Series.

Skirmish was reasonably close to being a true wargame.

An element for a new gateway game would be rules that can fit front/back onto a tabloid sheet of paper folded in half.

Of course, it should be a lot of fun to play.
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Pelle Nilsson
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What worked as a gateway for me: Games with 100s of counters, looking awesome (to me, at that time) ("so many little tanks and helicopters! And a rulebook that is only like 40 pages, which is NOTHING compared to any of those RPGs I have been playing lately.").

Maybe piles of tiny plastic minis will work better. Personally I think nice thick cardboard counters can work, and big stacks of counters look very nice in its own way, especially if you mix in a nice selection of colorful thematic status-markers.

If wargames were just about tiny skirmish games (nothing wrong with them!) I am not sure I would ever had noticed the genre at all. Big maps with lots of counters what was made the games stand out compared to other boardgames.

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Paul C
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PeteyWA wrote:
Just make sure it's got ZOC.

Zombies of Cthulhu.

Anyway, just in case this thread was meant to be semi-serious:

Cards- like those in Up Front, that handle all the multiple randomisation and look-up functions without having multiple reference tables such as CRT's.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Hungadunga wrote:

One interpretation of these numbers is that THE GATEWAY WARGAME has yet to be published.


uh, you sure ?

Spiel in Essen, Germany is this huge boardgame convention and over the past decade I've seen the presence of wargames there grow from tiny to pretty significant.

I wrote a 2-part article about it for the Wargamer website which can be found here :

http://www.wargamer.com/news/the-wargamer-at-essen-2015-part...
http://www.wargamer.com/news/the-wargamer-at-essen-2015-part...

That said, happy to play along, throwing out some ideas

Ok, 3D printing : people who generally know what they're talking about tell me that 3 years from now it'll hit the home market and prices will come down to the magical $199. This means that a viable business model could be to sell a boardgame completely digital - the rules and map/charts in pdf, the dice, miniatures and/or counters as 3D home-printable models, thereby reducing the production and shipping costs significantly. So a gateway game has to have miniatures.

Society : love it or hate it, but there are a lot more hobbies, interests and entertainment options open to kids these days than back in the eighties. Wargames can compete in this environment, but not 6-hour slow yawn-fests. This doesn't mean you have to create no-brain-required game - kids can handle complexity. If you don't believe that grab a Warhammer 40K manual or read a Magic the Gathering strategy article. So a gateway game has to be fast playing and somewhat intricate and a bit more than just checking who can throw the most "6"s

If this all sounds like Memoir '44, that's because the next gateway game will have to be a bit like that. Over 21K people have it marked as owned here on BGG, which I'm pretty sure isn't 10% of actual units sold. Who said wargames didn't sell 100K units anymore like back in the day ? They still do, only the definition of what's a wargame has shifted a bit.
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Russ Williams
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I think that there is no ultimate magic gateway game. E.g. some people evidently will be drawn to miniatures, while other people will be turned off by miniatures. Some people will be drawn to a specific historical battle or war, while others will prefer a more generic or fantasy or science fiction setting. Etc.
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Eddy Sterckx
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russ wrote:
I think that there is no ultimate magic gateway game.


Which reminds me. Magic. Not wanting to cause bouts of epilepsy here among our esteemed readership but fantasy wargaming is a gateway to historical wargaming.

Elven archers or English longbowmen, Dwarven battle-axe units or Varangian Guards, magicians throwing huge darts/fireballs or scorpions/trebuchets, what's the difference if you squint a bit ?
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Magister Ludi
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Needs buckets of dice to roll for hits a bit like risk. 5 or 6 is a hit.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Aussie550 wrote:
Needs buckets of dice to roll for hits a bit like risk. 5 or 6 is a hit.


Last century it was. These days every game has to come with its own custom dice showing some icon on 2 sides for HIT instead.
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