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Subject: "Obsolete" Game Mechanisms rss

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Leo Zappa
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Just musing on this subject, as there has been an uptick in wargame-related posts lately, both in journals and lists.

I often see comments concerning games whose mechanics are "obsolete", "dated", or which "haven't aged well". zombie I guess on a certain level this puzzles me. If the game is a "good" game, which is to say it provides meaningful game decisions, tension, and uncertain outcomes, should it matter that the mechanisms are no longer in vogue? I suppose the core idea here when such comments are made is that since the game in question was published, other games have come along that have found a way to model a situation either more accurately, or in "slicker" fashion. But should this relegate the old game to the dustbin? For example, I read comments about one of my old favorites, Panzer Leader, being dated, but it seems that I and my gaming buddies still have a lot of fun with this "old-timer" (I'm getting as bad as Grognads with the use of "" ).

I am guessing that a Geeklist that would illustrate games with supposed "dated" mechanics, or with games that replaced older mechanics, would be an interesting one. I don't know if I have the energy to put such a list together, but we'll see...robot
 
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Jorgen
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Read this
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekjournal.php3?action=viewcom...
 
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Michael Von Ahnen
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Obsolete or Proven?
I think the discussion of "obsolete" game mechanics is an interesting one. I noticed that playing cards are still being sold, as well as chess, checkers, etc.

I think it is simplistic to generalize which games are better. When RPG's came out, it was to be the demise of wargames. Then came computer games. Then CCG's. Now Eurogames. Each of these has had their time on top, Euro games holding the spot now. So of course all other formats have "failed" because Euro games are the current fad. What B.S.

I have played all of the types of games listed above and my view is that each has its place. I spent many years playing Magic, spending a fair amount of money on it. It was well worth the price. I continue to play all of these games, depending on the circumstances. Euro games are nice for personal interaction, but frankly they stink for PBEM, where the good old hex and counter are great for PBEM. Computer games are the ultimate solitare games, but you have to be a social zombie to play them in a group setting.

My point, just because somebody does not like a game system does not make it obsolete.
 
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Tim M-L
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I apreciate the variety that a combat results table can bring to a game, but I just think there must be a better way. That is one area where I feel the old Avalon Hill games and Ogre, to name a few, are dated.

I don't feel the new D&D deserves much praise, but at least it got rid of THAC0 and the To Hit table.
 
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(ron lee)
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although you'd think tastes would vary and that every good game should stand the test of time, it's quite possible for a game to become obsolete, to be replaced with undeniably better models. a century or two ago, whist was *the* game to play. but if you read the rules, you'll see why it's no longer played--it's basically bridge, but with a lot more convoluted rules and a lot more luck. You would get automatic bonus points just for drawing the better hand of cards. Can you imagine bridge where you automatically get 500 points for drawing 3 aces? There is absolutely no reason to play whist over bridge, other than to impress your gaming history buff buddies.
 
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Seth Owen
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Better models come along
Not every wargame becomes dated or obsolete, but sometimes games come along that do all the same things better at no cost (from the gamer's point of view).
Pehaps a good example is what happened to Stalingrad when The Russian Campaign came out. While S-Grad was always one of AH's more popular and analysed titles, once TRC appaered S-Grad basically died. This was beacuse TRC was no harder to play, but was was both more accurate AND more fun to play.
Panzer Leader is not quite so clear cut a case. I think you can still have fun with it, of course, especially if you haven't been exposed to other similar games. But most people into the topic of tactical World War II combat with platoon-level counters prefer Avalanche's PanzerGrenadier series, The Gamers TCS or GDW's First Battle, all of which are more realistic without being significantly more complex. That none of them has displaced Panzer Leader completely has more to do with relative market power than the quality of the games.
A good example of wargames that never seem to become dated are the block games, which are all still in print.
Older games often don't model some aspects people now recognize are important such as command control. Also, design techniques have simply progressed so that some things that were dealt with clumsily are now dealt with better. Lots of older games relied on referencing multiple charts to resolve a combat, for example, where a newer game will try to integrate the process so that one die roll will do it.
 
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Robert Wesley
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"dated" IS as "dated" WAS
The current onset of debate about the 'dinosaurs' of WARgames, does little to detract from the 'fact' that THEY were the 'ones' to "Set the BAR" as it were, in the FIRST place-for their 'time'! Now, given that UNTIL such a 'time' arrives in which the actual MINIS or pieces in a 'Boardgame' are produced, that will 'transport themselves ACROSS the playing field' without the AID and 'assistance' of the COMMANDING 'Combatants' involved, which then conduct AND resolve 'Combat' amongst themselves, then THIS is 'up' to the participants in THESE. The 'popularity' of the MINIS type of 'Games' based upon 'Historical' events, is a FINE means of introducing someone to that particular 'Period of Warfare', but by NO 'means' IS completely 'representative'-NOR is ANY 'kind or type' of "ConSim"! Relying upon the "draw of the CARD" for anything is just as 'random' as rolling DICE, although with the 'DICE' rolls, they can be modified or the TABLEs altered, or even the DICE can be 'upgraded' from say a 'd6' to a 'd10' or whatever. Whereas with CARDS, then unless there are many of certain KINDS, then ONLY the 'ones' in hand are given 'credence' for the time being. I don't begrudge THOSE games with the 'Card-driven' aspects, but I also don't CARE for these as MUCH as some others that I am partial to, simply because 'they' just don't interest ME! For the SAME 'reasons' about the more detailed KINDS of "ConSims", such as the "La Bataille" series, and they are 'pretty' to look AT, but I just don't LIKE them at all! This doesn't make ME any less of a "Grognard" nor do I consider anyone that LIKES 'those' as being any 'Greater' OR 'Lesser' of ONE!~we just have varied 'interests'. As for the 'P C' or CONSOLE based 'games', they are all fine and good, but I don't really CARE for them for the most part, although I do play some of these regularly, but usually just the 'ones' that are NOT available as a 'boardgaming' experience.

Those people that actually and actively 'participate' in "RE-enacting History", by donning 'costumes', and LIVING just like the 'real' folks did that THEY are 'mimicing', are about as close to THAT, as just about anyone else. For the most part, they aren't REPLAYING 'History' to try and 'change' IT, as what is being 'attempted' in a WARgame, so they follow along 'Historical lines' or what is PERCEIVED as that. Some of them MAY just be 'WARgamers' as well, and whatever their 'inspiration' for doing ALL of this for the sake of 'doing it', is something ONLY 'they' can comprehend and live with in 'comfort'. I don't belittle what they DO, and even admire their 'dedication' for this, as I would ONLY be 'willing' to indulge MYSELF as far as 'playing OUT' the same situations in a MINIS setting at the very most!

I've found that over the decades, I have NOT diminished in MY own personal 'interests' concerning anything having to 'do' with a HISTORICAL nature-in FACT, I've become even MORE 'dedicated' towards THIS, but that's just ME! I also can NOT 'impart the same attitude', as well as the DEVOTION to 'this', upon another since it is UP to THEM in which to decide to 'instill' THIS upon themselves. I do 'draw' upon MY own gaming and 'scholastic' experiences, most of which is 'self-taught' no less, in which to dole out these "bits of lore and wisdom", to whomever is willing to LISTEN and take note. But, I also don't NEED to 'make this stuff UP', as I have many an extensive and varied 'experience' with plenty of others that I can 'draw upon', in which to relate to others.
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J Boyes
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Particularly on the wargame front many of the rules heavy games have been rendered obsolite by computers. At a certain point, at a critical layering of rules it makes more sense to play a such a game on a computer for the ease and speed of play.

While changing tastes may certainly account for some games going out of favor, some games are just too much work for the experience.
 
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