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Subject: Wargame publishers- open up to new players! rss

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Tanks Alot
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I am sort of new to wargaming (about 5 years which is young compared to a lot of you), and the hardest part of the hobby is the rules. I pick up a rule book at times and my head starts swimming. Especially when they are written by people who have been playing wargames for 30 years, they tend to substitute terminologies and switch wordings so it can be very confusing if you are not used to reading wargame terminology. I know know what a CU vs an army vs a Unit is now :)

I truly believe the hobby is supported by a generation of people wanting to share the hobby. In other words, if it wasn't for these old grognards, hardly any players would pick up a book. Why? Most are just too tough to pick up and read. I am thankful for all those nice enough to bear with me as we hammer through the details, and I do my best to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

In this age of youtube, and ease of making DVD I am surprised still that intro DVD's and youtube video's just aren't there to help a new person get a good feel for the game. Seeing is believing, and it takes a lot of energy to convert words into actions without being discouraged. I have given up on some games, only to be shown the game in action and I am wowed by the mechanics.

I know it takes a lot of time and energy to make a video presentation of a game, but when you see a video review of a good game it really gives you the aha moment.

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charlescab wrote:
I am sort of new to wargaming (about 5 years which is young compared to a lot of you), and the hardest part of the hobby is the rules. I pick up a rule book at times and my head starts swimming. Especially when they are written by people who have been playing wargames for 30 years, they tend to substitute terminologies and switch wordings so it can be very confusing if you are not used to reading wargame terminology. I know know what a CU vs an army vs a Unit is now

I truly believe the hobby is supported by a generation of people wanting to share the hobby. In other words, if it wasn't for these old grognards, hardly any players would pick up a book. Why? Most are just too tough to pick up and read. I am thankful for all those nice enough to bear with me as we hammer through the details, and I do my best to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

In this age of youtube, and ease of making DVD I am surprised still that intro DVD's and youtube video's just aren't there to help a new person get a good feel for the game. Seeing is believing, and it takes a lot of energy to convert words into actions without being discouraged. I have given up on some games, only to be shown the game in action and I am wowed by the mechanics.

I know it takes a lot of time and energy to make a video presentation of a game, but when you see a video review of a good game it really gives you the aha moment.



You do a great job of this now - do more!
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Tanks Alot
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Haha I am trying, maybe when I get some time (only 20 years to retirement), or a job working for GMT as their Customer Game Relations coordinator.
Wouldn't it be cool just to have a job to teach people games?
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Darrell Hanning
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charlescab wrote:
Haha I am trying, maybe when I get some time (only 20 years to retirement), or a job working for GMT as their Customer Game Relations coordinator.
Wouldn't it be cool just to have a job to teach people games?


I do this plenty enough with my own group to know that the answer is, "No".
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Larz Welo
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Actually, this would be super great. What would also be super great would be a geeklist that compiled all these instructional videos/informative reviews into one place so I could check it out.

As the only wargamer of my island (maybe...not too sure, but it seems likely), I am often wanting to try a new game (TCS for example), only to be frustrated by a dense rulebook (even if it isn't all the difficult). I have nearly been defeated by Under the Lily Banners, and Hunters from the Sky (trying the 4.0 rules. No one here to show me the ropes. Audio Podcasts are also great, I just don't know where to find any of these things.
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Brandon Pennington
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Actually with programs like Camtasia Studio it is incredibly easy to make an instructional video using VASSAL or ZunTzu, it is just Camtasia costs $300 on its own. John Kranz has done this very thing for Beda Fomm and it is very slick and informative. I recommend checking the videos out.

I am actually going to do something similar for Skirmish Wars and maybe some other games that I know fairly well to help out newcomers. Commands & Colors: Ancients comes to mind as a game that could use some beginner videos since there are several cross over gamers attempting it because of Battlelore and Memoir.
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Tanks Alot
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I sorta of tried a geeklist like that, but its a lot of work

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/48890/wargame-training...


http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/58241/vassal-training-...

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/vassaltraining/

Its a lot of daggone work and the pay sucks haha. I have a free version of camtasia that keeps crashing on me but I just cant shell out $300 personally to video review a game (Thats about the equivalent of buying 5 board games ;)
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Jim Howard
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I would so love to see one on "Fields of Fire" I've had this one since last Christmas and have yet to play it!blush
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David Dockter
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I've been thinking about putting a video together for my next game; here's how you play it. Is Camtasia Studio the best way to go? I've never made a video, but thought I might give it a try.
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Tanks Alot
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Well I dont even know if you can get the free version any more. I downloaded it way back and kept it after it went "Paid".
If you have a video camera or camera that uses video its real easy to upload to yourtube.

1) Break the game lesson into parts
2) Make sure they video's are no longer than 10 minutes in length
3) Make sure to at least have an outline and a game plan of what you are trying to tell, there are some good outlines for a lot of games out there, just download one and think it through for 5 minutes.

Or if someone is teaching you a game just record them telling you. I wish I lived close to my Buddy Kai, he is a patient and no stress teacher (he did the SPI video's with me and he doesnt get stage fright lol
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Windows user (XP, VISTA) enjoy a great free tool;

Movie Maker;

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default....


And for Windows 7, the new Live Essentials pkg is darned good;

http://explore.live.com/windows-live-movie-maker?os=winxp

------------

Take the Big Dive;

Ubuntu with

http://www.openshotvideo.com/

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My free screen capture choice is Screen Capturer;

http://www.screencapturer.com/

Try CamStudio if you don't like that;

http://camstudio.org/
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David Dockter
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Thanks, Bill. Would you recommend a novice starts with Moviemaker?

Also, why Screen Capturer vs the old standby of the"shift" PrtScn key on my keyboard, then pasted into Microsoft Paint?
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Try ScreenCapturer and you will see;

Moviemaker is very easy to use. Definitely novice friendly.

A Lifehacker article from 2006 on MovieMaker - Video Editing 101.

http://lifehacker.com/software/digital-video/alpha-geek-vide...
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Tanks Alot
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I tried screencapture and it worked pretty good.
I could only capture audio off my mic though which is ok
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Scott
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charlescab wrote:
they tend to substitute terminologies and switch wordings so it can be very confusing


Whether you're a veteran wargamer or not, I think that is a sign of a poorly written rulebook. While I've never designed a game, I imagine the rules have to be one of the hardest parts. It seems like the achillies heel for many games. Once learned they are easy to play though. Examples of well written rules are Combat Commander and ASL (despite its' complexity).

Just my two cents,

Scott
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David Dockter
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hank__hill wrote:
[q="charlescab"]I imagine the rules have to be one of the hardest parts.


Oh yeah. BY FAR the hardest part. Research, art, playtest - all fun. Rule writing is like volunteering for an extended root canal. Horrible. You just want it to end. Of course, the pain must be endured for as long as possible...and is required. The more complex your vision, the worse the rule writing pain will be.
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RHB is the worst - every game he seems to create new terms, use old terms in strange places, and invents acronyms.
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George Husted
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Player aids, such as flow charts of the sequence of play (with paragraph number references or even short summaries) would go a long way toward speeding up the learning process for most games.

I find the constant referals back to "sub-paragraph 212.4(a)", etc., are really tiresome and end up causing confusion during game play. Even executing detailed rules for various game actions could be handled smoothly by flow charting. Terrain effects charts and good information displays on the individual unit game components also go a long way toward facilitating good game play.

Ample game pictures of rules in play used as examples are also extremely helpful.

These concepts are not new. Most fast food restaurants use pictures on their menus and on their cash registers. Emergency dispatchers and help desks use flow charts to quickly move through various comlex procedures. Why not use these same proven techniques for gaming?

One last thought...many games use scenarios as a teaching device for layering game concepts over multiple plays, generally starting with very simple or basic play and then adding more and more complexity (increased diversity of units with new capabilities, terrain, weather, etc.) as the scenarios proceed in order. It is important in these cases to play the scenarios in the order they are presented until the game mechanics are mastered. Jumping to later scenarios often plunges players into the "deep end of the pool" in regard to the rules.

Happy gaming!
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Tanks Alot
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Sun Tahzoo wrote:
There's a nice Wiki with player aid videos for 1805: Sea of Glory


http://1805.wikispaces.com/


WOW! Now thats what I am talking about!!!
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John Welch
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This is a great thread! I'm definitely someone that learns a game best when shown how to play. Like David, all the parts of game creation, design, playtesting, etc. are enjoyable - rules writing is no fun. This is why I have to give some much deserved praise to Alan Emrich at Victory Point Games. Alan is the master rule writer - you can easily get a look as the rules for all the VPG games are posted on the website and you will see what I'm talking about. I just wish they could clone Alan as there are so many games that need his rule writing genius.

Thanks for linking back to the threads with video demos
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Jack Smith
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New games are often showcased with demos via vassal but you only know about them from the Consimworld folder, not here. So they are mainly preaching to the converted which is nice but not much use for marketing or teaching rules to the curious.

Personally I would never design a game and allow it to be released without some sort of marketing video and a set of rules designed to be read by the widest possible customer, which is easier said than done. I agree video demos including rules explanations would be great and could substantially increase sales if distributed properly. I think when it comes to wargames the hobby can be very insular and only companies like FFG actually even try to market their games. I don't know why that is, no other hobby I know does this.

Ultimately it's down to budget though. The hobby simply cannot sustain the cost unless the designers do it themselves and I assume it is not as easy to do as it may seem. If wargames sold 10 times more than they did I'm sure you would see a lot more than you do now. But wargames will never sell ten times more while marketing and presenting their game the way they do now.

In the last few years I have introduced about 5 new people to wargaming. Not one of them knew they even existed before then and not one would have had a chance with the rules without me teaching them the ropes first. They now really enjoy the hobby. But getting past that first barrier is the hardest thing and this hobby is terrible in helping new people do that, with few notable exceptions.
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Another Screen Casting option;

http://www.labnol.org/software/best-screencasting-tool/17855...

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Charles F.
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Lots of good ideas in the world that just need someone to realise them.

And in this instance, we're talking 100% volunteer work. Anyone who feels strongly enough about this can be part of the solution and make a couple such videos himself.
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Robert Wesley
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How about some of US work upon "Games"? While I won't only LIMIT myself with JUST "war games" either, yet, that's JUST 'moi' eh?
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Tanks Alot
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I am all about the user created stuff and totally support it, but my point idea was to have the game developers take a note that its hard to sell a game with a pdf of rules. That a little energy into video instruction goes a long way, especially for new players.
 
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