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Subject: How important is a wargame having a historical context to you? rss

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Gareth G
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Poll
How important is it that a wargame is based on a historical battle/war?
Very Important - I want accurate historical conflict simulations
Average Importance
Not Important - I'd happily play a game based in a fictional universe
      317 answers
Poll created by frenzykitty
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brant G
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caveat - I enjoy hypotheticals. Not sure how that falls on your spectrum. There's "realism" in how you approach the mid-80s WWIII-goes-hot-in-Germany, but it's all fictional.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Difficult, but I voted not important.

There are two reasons, but one of them means I disagree perhaps slightly with the way the question was asked.

1. I have found when reading about historical battles how useful it could be for a historic simulation of a battle to not be about a historic battle, because with all the hindsight that comes with players already knowing about the historic battle. It seems like putting the players in a very historic and good game but make up (or randomly generate) a battle would in many ways create a much more historic game. So it would be a game about a battle, about a historic war (or about a hypothetical, but likely, and still well-researched war), not a historic battle. In practice I do not know of many board wargames that do this. But I think it means I can not support the idea that the game must be about a historic battle/war.

2. I'm fine with fictional wargames. Can't say I have played many, but I would not mind applying wargame-rules to fiction. Not that I do not also want accurate historical conflict simulations, but I do not mind playing also some accurate fictional conflict simulations (or less accurate sometimes).
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Leo Zappa
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There's more nuance here than the poll indicates. For example, hypothetical conflict (e.g Next War: Korea or any of the other plausible yet future wars) and alternative history scenarios (e.g. Corps Command: Dawn's Early Light - an alternate universe where WW3 began in Europe in 1989). Also, what about hypothetical scenarios within a historical setting (e.g. Operations Olympic & Coronet - the planned invasion of Japan in WW2). Do you consider these games to be "fictional" in their settings?

Me, I'm fine with any of these, plus wargames based on science fiction or fantasy settings, such as Star Fleet Battles or War of the Ring: The Game of Middle Earth, respectively.
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Edward Pundyk
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I suppose one's answer depends on whether one is more interested in history than gaming or vice versa. I was interested in history (military and otherwise) long before I discovered wargaming. I see wargaming as an adjunct to the study of history, so the first option best reflects my view of the question.

On the other hand, science fiction or fantasy-based wargaming holds no interest for me at all, despite the fact that I enjoy reading sci-fi (but not fantasy). Maybe it's because I don't "study" sci-fi but simply consume it for diversion and entertainment.
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M Hellyer
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Must have a real map not a Memoir '44/Battle Cry abstracted version of the terrain. Must present a fairly accurate setting, feeling, mechanics and overall game flow to what really happened. With that said, I don't have the time or patience (or IQ!) to devote to learning a 48-page rulebook. Maybe when I was 16, but not now, 50 years later.

So give me a good flavor of the historical setting and what really happened, an accurate map, good components and pieces, then let it turn into a fun game from there. I do not want to keep track of every unit's action points + distance from their commanding officer + supply level + morale + ammo levels + energy level + exact rifle types and so on. 15 minutes to set up, grab some dice and/or cards, and let's go to it! I admire those who love to play all the exact historical details and wish I was of that ilk, but I look for a balance between historical accuracy and streamlined playability.
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Mo Caraher
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Quote:
There's "realism" in how you approach the mid-80s WWIII-goes-hot-in-Germany, but it's all fictional.


Absolutely nailed it, for me.
Where historical conflicts are concerned I need the game to stick to the script for the most part. That's not to say that The Union needs to win the ACW every time or that The Nazis cannot battle their way out of Stalingrad.... I just prefer nothing outlandish to creep into games that cover actual events.

BUT I loves me some Cold-War-Goes-Hot gaming, too, maybe because the events depicted in these games are/were extremely plausible. Anyway, these are the only hypotheticals I've enjoyed. I like the Great War at Sea series, for example, but their Navy Plan (insert colour) games, which allow us to game naval battles that never occurred but were planned for, just leaves me cold.
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Jason Cawley
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There needs to be a qualification for scale.

Operational and strategic games, yes I want an historical context.

Tactical games, I want realistic historical context and "typical" situations, but whether that exact fight occurred on date X at location Y involving exactly forces Z is much less important. Simply because patterns in tactical fights repeat over and over, in varying match ups. So a system that allows flexible fights "by kind" can be perfectly historical.
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Joseph Paquet
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As posted the question is not very clear. If you want to know if its important for an historical wargame to be accurate, thats one thing. If you ask if we prefer historical based wargames as opposed to fictionnal setting based wargames, thats an entierely different question.

If the question is the first one : Yes but not at the cost of losing playability

If the question is the second one: No, as long as there is realism within the setting (i.e: no power blaster bazooka in an alternate English civil war game)
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Trent Garner
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For me, Battletech and Ogre are just as fun as Corps Command or ASL. I am a student of WWII history and love related wargames, but I am also a huge fan of WWIII hypothetical and/or what-if wargames. It is all about the experience of playing the game for me. History adds context and setting, but is certainly not a requirement.
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Bob Zurunkel
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I answered Not Important, because I enjoy alternate history and hypothetical situation games. I do prefer those types of games to be grounded in reality. As the above note said, no bazooka in the English Civil War, but I'll happily make an exception if something about the game strikes my fancy.
 
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Con
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It doesn't seem to be possible to choose both 1 and 3. I want my historical games to be accurate simulations (or at least with strong design for effect). I want my non-historical conflict simulations to be true to their theme, whatever that theme might be.

I want my Ameritrash ameritrashy and strong on theme. I prefer my euros strong on theme, and consistent with their theme. I guess that what I most want is strength of theme, and for games to be true to their theme.
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Hunga Dunga
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It all depends on what you mean by "historical"...
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James D. Williams
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Hungadunga wrote:
It all depends on what you mean by "historical"...


Right you are, sir! Correctomundo!
I don't think i'd like "Zombies in Space".
But then, Battlestar Galactica has a "history" (Cylons!)...and "Star Wars (Wookies!)..."
and, I suppose the sci-fi tradition of conflicts in Space...is a 'history' of sorts.(Xenophobes).
Heck, "Candy Land" is an abstraction of Real Life... which has a 'history' for the participants... 6 months or older.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Hungadunga wrote:
It all depends on what you mean by "historical"...


... and by "wargames"?
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Gareth G
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Hi everyone. What a great response! Apologies for my lack of clarity. I suppose what I meant is: Would you play a wargame set in a fictional universe (e.g. sci fi or post apocalyptic) or are you onmy interested in wargames that are based on real (or close to) history?
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Confusion Under Fire
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This;

JasonC wrote:

There needs to be a qualification for scale.

Operational and strategic games, yes I want an historical context.

Tactical games, I want realistic historical context and "typical" situations, but whether that exact fight occurred on date X at location Y involving exactly forces Z is much less important. Simply because patterns in tactical fights repeat over and over, in varying match ups. So a system that allows flexible fights "by kind" can be perfectly historical.


At the tactical scale I want to try to play the role of squad leader, platoon commander, Company commander etc. I want FoW and friction and be able to deal with sudden problems. If I know the historical information, eg enemy units and starting positions, reinforcements, weather etc then I am further from playing the role of a leader but also closer to playing a historical game.
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Moshe Callen
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I prefer historicity and also like good science fiction. History just tends to have more depth to it and so is more interesting.
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James D. Williams
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frenzykitty wrote:
Hi everyone. What a great response! Apologies for my lack of clarity. I suppose what I meant is: Would you play a wargame set in a fictional universe (e.g. sci fi or post apocalyptic) or are you onmy interested in wargames that are based on real (or close to) history?


How real is this Universe , anyway?
Here I sit in an ocean of air fifty miles beneath an interstellar vacuum suffused with microwaves that have travelled 13.6 billion yeras from the beginning of Time... on a sphere of silicon and iron hurtling around a monstrous hell-hole of a fusion fireball.
And I, a descendant of a pre-biotic molecule, a bag of hydrous polymers called a brain coordinating my post and ruling my moods with chemical hormones... liable at any instant to be mercilessly scavenged by invisible microbes.
What a fantasy!
Wargamers note: "God doesn't play dice."
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Moshe Callen
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George Brinton wrote:

Wargamers note: "God doesn't play dice."

He does too! He just uses heavy die modifiers and a CRT.
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Jason Cawley
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Gareth - I prefer historical conflicts because they are generally rather interesting in the command skill required. When people just make crap up, the result is generally "pants". An unplayable mess of no great interest. A combat system with a single optimum. Balance created instead by purely parallel vanilla to avoid the previous. Loose analogies to history, done poorly. Skipping on research to get right to the fun "making stuff up" part - for the designer, with the players an afterthought at best.

I have no confidence in your ability to create interesting fiction.

If you are JRR Tolkein himself, you may have proved your ability to create interesting fiction beyond the need for my approval. Bully for you if so. Otherwise, 999 chances in 1000, you are just getting ready to push some dumb "line" of your own in which I am not even remotely interested. Just trying to be straight with you, all very much one man's opinion, etc.
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David Janik-Jones
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I selected "Very Important" but remain confused a bit by the question.

Quote:
How important is it that a wargame is based on a historical battle/war?

I'm more than open to a war-game that proposes a scenario/battle that didn't occur within the framework of a specific war, for example, but that conceivably could have. I like the what-if of that situation. For example, what would an urban assault on Moscow have looked like if the Germans had succeeded in pushing that far.

I can also accept gaming a conflict that didn't quite occur but is within the realm of reasonable historic possibility (i.e., a WWIII type battle in 1970s or 80s Europe that resulted from tensions between two ideologically opposed enemies) as long as the forces are represented accurately.

Fictional universe though? Not so much. I like history too much.
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M Hellyer
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frenzykitty wrote:
Hi everyone. What a great response! Apologies for my lack of clarity. I suppose what I meant is: Would you play a wargame set in a fictional universe (e.g. sci fi or post apocalyptic) or are you onmy interested in wargames that are based on real (or close to) history?


Thanks for clarifying. I play wargames to replay and learn more about history so real settings and geography, and real situations are needed. Otherwise it's just an abstract and make-believe stuff doesn't hold my attention.
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Tony Doran
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frenzykitty wrote:
Hi everyone. What a great response! Apologies for my lack of clarity. I suppose what I meant is: Would you play a wargame set in a fictional universe (e.g. sci fi or post apocalyptic) or are you onmy interested in wargames that are based on real (or close to) history?



Thanks for clarifying. Doesn't change my answer, though. I prefer historical games, and even just ones depicting warfare. I've been interested in military history since I was a small child, and got into wargaming as a way to learn more and have some fun, too. Not interested in other board games at all.
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J J
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Not of the slightest importance at all to me. I do play and enjoy historical wargames, but I also play and enjoy sci-fi and fantasy. It's all good (except the period after Napoleon and before some form of FTL / fusion power / and portable lasers).
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