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Subject: Why no good War of the Worlds game? rss

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It's just a ride...
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The title says it all really,

A fantastic, seminal, terrifying novel, with plenty of scope and material to base a great game on, but no great game of it exists. I'm aware of the one from the 80's (?), but it's a bit rubbish really.

It just seems a shame to me that this gap hasn't been filled.

Thoughts on reasons for this?
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Do we agree that you would have to change one of the main points of the book, that the humans didn't stand a chance militarily, and it was just disease that wiped out the martians? I suppose once you did that, you would have something playable. You would probably also want to introduce some variety to the martians' war machines.

I don't rally have an explanation why this hasn't been done.
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In its existing form "unstoppable aliens attack humanity, who are completely helpless before them until they die from disease" isn't terribly useful as a game premise. One could make a game where players run and hide from the aliens, but that just doesn't seem like a thrilling theme.

The old microgame Invasion of the Air-eaters is pretty obviously based on War of the Worlds, but its long out of print, and not exactly a major game.
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Honestly, the only way you could do a War of the Worlds game and remain true to the source material is to have alien hunting parties and humans hiding. Humans have to have X survivors by turn Y (when germs start killing). For instance, say you have 50 humans, each representing a million people, on a world map. After ten turns (each representing an hour or a day or what have you), the martians die from disease. The Martian goal is to eradicate humanity before they themselves die out (though really, the martians didn't know the germs were coming to get them, Barbara). Humans would have hiding actions and things like that. As the war went on, humans might have better places to hide, thanks to all the rubble, which probably makes life scanners more difficult to use.

EDIT: Though while I'm thinking about it, something akin to blip tokens in Space Hulk could work. The martians don't know whether that large mass of movement is human or animal, so some of the counters have ratings of, say, 5 (large population areas and mass migrations), and others 0 (lots of livestock, the life and movement still attracting, but none of it human). They could once per turn refine their search and allow them to flip one face down population marker.
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It's just a ride...
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Yes, the premise of the book would mean that it would be very difficult to make a wargame out of it, but surely some other way of approaching it could be found?

After all, humanity would stand very little chance if Cthulhu rose from Rlyeh thanks to the incompetence of some people in Arkham, but Arkham Horror is still a great game.
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A Fist Full of Tripods is a set of mini wargaming rules for the WotW.

www.tyler.net/tbeard/Tripods.htm" rel="nofollow">http://web.archive.org/web/20030212200955/www.tyler.net/tbea...

I think this is still messed up. Just "google" "A Fist Full of Tripods"



Suitable miniatures in 1/900 scale are at Brigade Models:

http://www.brigademodels.co.uk/Frames/VLI/VLIOlympians.html

Sure, they're small; you just need LOTS of them.

edit: urls messed up.

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Michael Barlow
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Just found the 1/300 scale Martians. I knew Studio Bergstrom did them, but I couldn't find where. Well, it's here:

http://studiobergstrom.com/index.php?productID=224
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http://dropshiphorizon.blogspot.com/2009/03/rebel-minis-15mm...

A 15mm Martian Tripod by Rebel Games that should be up and coming.

If you look up in the games library Alien Squad Leader then it's not quite war of the worlds but it would allow for skirmishes between a variety of alien and human entities.

Also, I don't have a link for it but Eureka Australia was going to showcase 28mm Martian Tripods and War Walkers I think... the pictures were simply amazing but I can't find them on The Miniatures Page.

I think Mike's Fist Full of Tripods is the best idea so far.
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mbourgeois wrote:


Now that just looks cool.
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Phil McDonald
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Sounds like a good idea to theme a game around. let's face it the Tom Cruise film shifted the timeframe by nearly a century

Personally I would prefer it if it went back to the original time period and was done as a Steam Punk kind of game, with humans trying to develop fiendish low-tech contraptions to forestall the tripods in the early/middle stages whilst DEVELOPING a bacteriological agaent to try and win the war. That way it could go either way.

After all, there's no point in having games about the great battles of Alexander if he always HAD to win in the game eh?
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Phil - while that sounds like an interesting premise for a game, it doesn't really resemble the source material anymore. I just don't like the idea of trying to tie something into a source that it doesn't really represent just to get a "name brand". Either you're limiting yourself needlessly, or you're just trying to cash in. Either way, a bad thing.
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Saw this at Comic-Con.

Set 14 years after the initial invasion in 1900, humanity gets ready for the second wave.

http://www.heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com/movieswaroftheworld...
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I'd really like to see a fight from the timeline when Wells had depicted it.

Cannons, torpedo rams (thunderchild), infantry and horsemen... I'm not sure if they had the early version of the Gatling or Maxim Gun.

That would be an interesting battle... I wonder if there really would be any challenge to it. The story does allow that a few walkers and tripods are killed by convential weapons. But it also shows that casualties on the humans side are always assured when retribution comes.
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To get a "Good" game you'd have to do something other than the combat.

For an example of what I mean you should look at ...

Around the World in 80 Days

and

Journey to the Center of the Earth

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It's just a ride...
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FNH1 wrote:
To get a "Good" game you'd have to do something other than the combat.


Yes, that exactly what I mean. Perhaps something around the deluded artilleryman not being deluded after all, and actually getting an underground civilisation started, and yes, "Playing cricket. Undergound..."

Or perhaps a game based around the narrator and the vicar in the ruined house after it gets hit with the cylinder.

It may well be necessary to 'zoom in' on one particular scene from the book, in order to get a good, workable concept for a game, whilst still being true to Wells' novel.
 
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dumwytgi wrote:
Honestly, the only way you could do a War of the Worlds game and remain true to the source material is to have alien hunting parties and humans hiding. Humans have to have X survivors by turn Y (when germs start killing). For instance, say you have 50 humans, each representing a million people, on a world map. After ten turns (each representing an hour or a day or what have you), the martians die from disease. The Martian goal is to eradicate humanity before they themselves die out (though really, the martians didn't know the germs were coming to get them, Barbara). Humans would have hiding actions and things like that. As the war went on, humans might have better places to hide, thanks to all the rubble, which probably makes life scanners more difficult to use.

EDIT: Though while I'm thinking about it, something akin to blip tokens in Space Hulk could work. The martians don't know whether that large mass of movement is human or animal, so some of the counters have ratings of, say, 5 (large population areas and mass migrations), and others 0 (lots of livestock, the life and movement still attracting, but none of it human). They could once per turn refine their search and allow them to flip one face down population marker.


I think this idea could work. Also, I'd add a somewhat random time limit, for example 10-15 turns. For the last 5 turns you've got 5 facedown tokens one with the end game and 4 with nothing. Each turn after 10 one of the tokens is revealed.
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Phil McDonald
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StormKnight wrote:
Phil - while that sounds like an interesting premise for a game, it doesn't really resemble the source material anymore. I just don't like the idea of trying to tie something into a source that it doesn't really represent just to get a "name brand". Either you're limiting yourself needlessly, or you're just trying to cash in. Either way, a bad thing.


I know what you're saying, but I guess we'll have to disagree. If you stick slavishly to the source material, the humans would never have any way of combatting the tripods consistently and the game would inevitably end in the martians being defeated by a virus which was completely out of human control.

At the end of the day it has to have an element of GAME and therefore cannot stick solely to source matter.
 
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By chance, I just re-read the book. Doing anything remotely realistic to it, the only strategic level game you can play is a "holding action waiting for a miracle" (which then turns up) game, which may not be that exciting.

Tactically however, as the machines weren't invulnerable (though they had to develop new tactics - which could be allowed or disallowed as required) that could be done, playing a rare fight where a machine might go down. The obvious form is as a miniatures game. It could potentially work well as a participation game (lots of humans who haven't any idea of the rules specifics versus one or more rule-bound Martian machines run by the game organisers).
 
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There are also many derivitive works that might make good games. The comic series Scarlet Traces was pretty well done and could make a good game setting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Traces
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Phil McDonald
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Yep, it would be rather difficult to deploy Thunderchild in Trafalgar square
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I'm assuming you've tried The War of the Worlds and found it wanting. I never saw that one. I do own The War of the Worlds II, but it is an interplanetary warfare game that has nothing to do with the book.
 
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Sphere wrote:
I'm assuming you've tried The War of the Worlds and found it wanting. I never saw that one. I do own The War of the Worlds II, but it is an interplanetary warfare game that has nothing to do with the book.


1. It's 30 years old.
2. Only 44 BGGers own it.
3. It doesn't look very good.

But apart from that......
 
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I have a large number of 30 year old games, many of which are excellent, so I try to avoid forming a hasty opinion.

In fact, now that I think about it, I would say that most of the truly excellent science fiction games are long out of print. Publishers like GDW, Metagaming and SPI took sci-fi seriously, and put out a very fine body of work. The few decent titles in print today don't come close to what was available 20 or 30 years back.
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Sphere wrote:
I have a large number of 30 year old games, many of which are excellent, so I try to avoid forming a hasty opinion.

In fact, now that I think about it, I would say that most of the truly excellent science fiction games are long out of print. Publishers like GDW, Metagaming and SPI took sci-fi seriously, and put out a very fine body of work. The few decent titles in print today don't come close to what was available 20 or 30 years back.


I agree with you in principle, but not about this example.

I have 30 year old games myself, so I'm not biased.

I was replying to your question as to whether we'd TRIED it.... it doesn't quite have the availability of Monopoly (spit).
 
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I'm one of the owners of that old game, and I've read the rules but not played. It actually does look like an interesting game to me, and I'm hoping to play it at some point.

The components are pretty bland, I'll admit. But that sort of thing doesn't bother me. It's not widely available, but it's not terribly expensive when it comes up. I think I got it for $10 or $15 plus shipping.
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