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Subject: Are the old WarGameNerds the new BoardGameGeeks? rss

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Steven Weisner
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After just rediscovering boardgaming again in 2004, and BGG just this year I find myself comparing my gaming now as compared to the seventies. Mostly I have replayed the old SPI Stategy & Tactics games and Avalon Hill games. It seemed, back then, that one waited for AH to put out the 1 or 2 wargames back then. Jim Dunnigan and S&T made it available to more people, but it was about military wargaming. It died in the mid-eighties for me and then diversed into a broader market.

Recently with BGG it seems to me that the educational wargame aspect ( a la JFD ), of games has lessened with an attempt to reach a wider audience. Though I understand it, the military wargamer seems to have suffered in the progression.

Back then, SPI seemed to work in overdrive too often, and over stepped itself, but it generated an amazing amount of wargames through the seventies and early eighties. Avalon Hill increased its production of wargames, but was never too interested in catering to the field to the same degree.

Now the topics seem to be less historical military than ' the old days ', and I wondered, am I now extinct? Are we all?




 
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I no longer wargame as I did many years ago. I am almost exclusively euro's today. I just don;t have the desire to play them like I once did.
 
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Philip Thomas
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I wasn't alive in the 70s and have never been a true wargamer. So, some* of the new Boardgamegeeks aren't old Wargamenerds.

*I extrapolate
 
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Allen Doum
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As with all new waves of games, there have become hybrids of the new and old forms, so some more recent games from the Wargame publishers have contained elements that have appeared in eurogames.

But wargamers are not extinct. The are still some Grognards that look down on BBG and most of things it stands for. You will find a more concentrated community of them on ConSimWorld (.con, of course), including seperte forums for each game and publisher with other features. Anyone may use the publishers forums there, and read all of them. To be able to post to the other forums requires a subscription.

There are regularly those who post on CSW that they don't like the format of BGG.
There are regularly those who post on BGG that they don't like the format of CSW.

And there are those of us that tolerate both.
 
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Leo Zappa
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Wargaming is still alive, and in fact, has probably enjoyed a resurgence since the mid 90's, when AH died. Now, wargaming has diffused into a number of variants, from the lite wargaming genre epitomized by games like the new version of Axis and Allies, Memoir 44, and the Eagle selections, the traditional wargames as still done by companies such as Decision and L2, and in between games, such as the lighter wargames by Phalanx (The First World War, A House Divided, Waterloo, ...etc.) Then there are games like War of the Ring and Twilight Imperium that, while not strictly traditional wargames, appeal to wargamers. Also in the mix are niche players, like some of the DTP games downloadable from the internet. Also, obviously, there are some companies like GMT and Avalanche that in some ways are reminiscent of AH and SPI from the days of yore. Wargaming has just taken on many faces - it ain't all just hexes and counters these days!
 
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Kevin Moody
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Quote:
Now the topics seem to be less historical military than ' the old days '
I believe there are more wargames being produced per year now than there were during the heydays.

They also are, for the most part, better.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "less historical military" comment. With the internet, and more historical sources available to everyone than ever before, most wargames today have far better research behind them than those of the past, and, without doubt, buyers are more demanding for historical accuracy and/or plausibility.

Welcome back! I returned to the hobby two years ago, after about a 25 year absence.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
I no longer wargame as I did many years ago. I am almost exclusively euro's today.


Same here...

MWChapel wrote:
I just don;t have the desire to play them like I once did.


I have the desire but not so much free time or willing players...
 
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John O'Haver
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Although I've drifted away from the traditional hex and counter wargames like the SPI/AH Classics, I still prefer War as the theme.


Trading, Bidding, Building, Tile laying, Auctions, Building Rails or Cities, Farming and abstract games just don't engage me and aren't as immersive as a wargame. One of the geek questions I answered was something about what I HAD to have in a game and my answer was Direct Conflict as early and as often as possible.

Having said that, I only post on BGG. It seems easier to navigate this site, I'm more comfortable here and if I have a question about a wargame, somebody here knows the answer.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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In general, I'd say yes. The old wargamers in general still love to game and many have gone on to expand into euros or switch over entirely.

The real question is why? The answer to that I feel is that times have changed a great deal since back in the 70s and 80s. There are more demands on our time and money so we want something that is better, cheaper and plays in a shorter time than some of the wargames in the old days. In general I think that the market reflects this. GMT still makes a lot of good, longer wargames but they have really branched out in the last year or two maybe into games that are a bit simpler or at least shorter. Columbia Games has really had some hits recently with their shorter, easier wargames. Even MMP has gotten in on the act with the ASL starter kit series.

And this is really where the euros have come in nicely. Many euros give a solid gaming experience in a short period of time and so this appeals to the gamers of old who now are older, with families, more demading jobs and little extra time.
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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Personally, I feel that wargames are experiencing a fairly decent upswing, as the designers play euros and start to appreciate the trim rule structures. And then euro player play yet another abstract strategy, longing for something with a bit more theme and substance. It creates a real supply and demand for...

(wait for it)

weurgames.

(You have to say it outloud for the pun to work, people)
 
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Bruce Jones
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I will definitely throw my hat into the ring as a former wargamer that now plays exclusively Euro Games. I ran a game store in the early/mid 90's, and after it closed in 1995 I lost touch for a while. My younger brother introduced me to Carcassonne a while back, and I was hooked. I have gotten rid of all my old SPI stuff, S&T mags, etc. and only occasionally partake in any kind of wargame when it has more of a Euro connection, such as Memoir '44. I will say, though, that it seems since becoming a member here that there is a little bit of a struggle between those percieved as one or the other, and I don't think it should be that way. Games, like art and music, can be shared with others but come down to personal taste in the end. ninja

p.s. Every single person I gamed with back in those but two have stopped gaming completely, except 2: they both play Euro games!
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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Damn, I'm good. I just coined me a new term... Gotta post it again...


WEURGAMES


devil
 
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Guy Riessen
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Wow, I think it's actually quite the opposite--give yourself just a little more time to work through the eurogames, and you'll find yourself heading toward a past that is much better than before--we're in the Good New Days of wargaming!

I agree with Kevin--there are more games of a significantly higher quality being produced than ever before in the "heyday" of gaming. Top that off with SIGNIFICANTLY more (and better) research into the wars they portray, and the value/quality of the modern wargame is through the roof.

Now add the fact that we widely dispersed wargamers, now have the internet with which to find and communicate with each other, AND the fact that you can play any game out there via some fantastic computer-based tools like VASSAL (www.vassalengine.org) using real-time play and voice-over-IP communication with a headset, to push virtual counters around the map, roll virtual dice, and play virtual cards, and there is no shortage of opponents.

Now don't get me wrong, eurogames are fun and thrilling way to bring a 70's wargamer back into boardgaming. But there is sooo much more out there these days. Best advice--go to some game conventions and start experimenting with the various genres!

Still doubtful? go take a look at

www.gmtgames.com
www.multimanpublishing.com
www.atomagazine.com
www.l2designgroup.com
www.clashofarms.com
www.compassgames.com
www.avalanchepress.com
www.columbiagames.com

There's a fantastic spread in level of complexity and historical simulation among these publishers, and there's more out there, but the list of games coming out this year for the wargamer will make your head spin and your wallet empty.


 
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Joe Steadman
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My story is a bit different. I started with War, went to designer, then back to War... cool
 
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Guy Riessen
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Same here Joe, but with a deviation into computer games and minis for awhile:

wargames > computer games > warhammer miniature gaming > eurogames > wargames

I like wargames the best, play them the most (in terms of time-spent), but I play a larger number of eurogames. My wife played warhammer for a couple years, and since, has moved solidly into eurogames, but she's started learning a couple of the quicker wargames (C&C: Ancients, Hammer of the Scots and Down in Flames...and the non-wargame-wargame Twilight Struggle).
 
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Bob Mosdal
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I just turned 40 today so dunno if that qualifies me as old or not but...
I read both BoardGameGeek and ConSimWorld and my personal game collection is about 3/4 "wargames" and 1/4 "Eurogames" and I play and enjoy both. If I have my druthers I'd rather play a wargame because when it comes down to it I get more enjoyment on more levels recreating the defense of Little Round Top in a Gettysburg game than I do getting wood for sheep But I do enjoy designer games, I do play them and they do scratch a different itch.

Also, when I do play wargames I'm not playing some relic from 30 yrs past but am enjoying many of the fine newer games from Multimanpublishing, GMT, Clash of Arms, OSG and etc.

I prefer the term Eurognard.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Happy Birthday Bob!

I'd say the real threat to wargames was computers and the demise of Avalon Hill, not euro/german board games. Many armchair generals happily said goodbye to the hex and counter and 30+ page rulebook and let the computer do the grunt work. That said, wargaming is alive and well and many of us old grognards happily play wargames and euro/german board games. As Kevin said, there are many good historical wargames being published today. I played Betrayal at House on the Hill last night, re-read the rules to Eagles of the Empire: Eylau today, will be playing Tikal and Union Pacific on Saturday, and have plans to play Europe Engulfed on March 4.

p.s. if you like Napoleonics, you owe it to yourself to check out Eagles of the Empire, where the designer is very true to the history of the battles.
 
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Thomas Eager
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Speaking only for myself (in answer to your title)...yes, yes I am. Also you've provided me a perfect opportunity to pimp my very first Geeklist: confessions of a retired hex-gamer...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

In our crew, I'd guess the ratio is about 66% Euros, 33% wargames (including simulations, minis games and war-THEMED games like WotR and Blood Feud). This ratio holds true for both games-owned and games-played, I think.

 
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Jason Sadler
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I am not an old wargamenerd, I am a new Wargamegeek. I play other things simply because everyone else does. At home, I always have Great Battles of History, ASL, and the multitude of GMT games that make my "normal" friends feel faint when I try to describe shock combat. I did cut my teeth on the old AH classics which my father gave me when it became clear he would never get to play them again.

Eurogames are enjoyable and many of them are design masterpieces. I would give them all up to have the time every day to play hex-based wargames.

 
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Dale Martin
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I have dozens of the old AH classics, as well as dozens of the newer Euro games. I make time for both styles with a key difference: while the Euros are played face-to-face, the AH games (especially ASL and a few others) are played via an online interface or email. It was primarily due to a lack of time and opponents that wargames were set aside by most of us. Playing online through such programs as VASSAL and Cyberboard have eliminated both of those concerns and reinvigorated the wargame community. It is relatively simple to have three or four games going simultaneously.
 
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Tim Benjamin
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I still love Wargames. Started with U-Boat (AH) in '68-'69 before I knew there were such things as Wargames. In '76 I was introduced to S&T via Wagram. Went into buying about 40 games a year (Quad counted as 4) until I was introduced to Euros in '02 by my sons. Buying got a little out of hand that year but I already knew about how quickly niche games go out of print.

I play Euros as social games, enjoying winning but I rarely put any deep thought into one as I play, much less study one between playings. Wargames, on the other hand, have taken as many hours in study as in playing; and playing is never fast, but always intense. The biggest drawback to Wargames for me is in finding proper opponents. The individual has to WANT to play such detail-intensive (rulebook) games AND they have to be enjoyable company as we try to destroy each other in direct conflict. I also play with lots of forgiveness in fixing mistakes so as not to have the outcome ride on a stupid error by either player.

My best times have been with my ex-wife (she played over 100 Wargames) and two sons (now Magic tournament player and interactive computer fantasy gamer, respectively). So, I play Euros but would love to play many, many more of my Wargames.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I still love wargames (I started playing them in the late 1960's), and enjoy good euros as well. My wargaming time got a bit thin for ten years or so, but never went away entirely.

I'm not buying Kevin's assertion that more wargames are being produced now than in the heyday (late 70's, early 80's). I bet that in those years SPI produced easily as many titles annually as the top two publishers today. Avalon Hill picked up their pace a bit too. Then we had Columbia, GDW, Conflict Games, SDC, Rand, Martial Enterprises, People's War Games, Aulic Council, Simulations Canada, FASA, Task Force, Yaquinto, West End, and I'm sure lots of others - that's just off the top of my head. Most of them small fry, but similar to the smaller publishers today.

Doesn't matter anyway. I agree that the wargaming community today is alive and well - more so, I think than is evidenced by what you hear on BGG. Guys like Kevin and myself, who participate both here and at ConsimWorld, are in the minority. A lot of wargamers just aren't going to show up here.
 
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Michael Von Ahnen
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As for my experience, I have been a consistent wargamer since the 70's. At the start, I played a lot, since my older brother and brother-in-law were also into them. I acquired the majority of my Avalon Hill titles in that period. As we grew older and went to college, etc, I had to switch to Play by Mail. Before the time of the internet or even email for the most part, this was a slow process, with games taking as long as the wars they simulated.

My wargaming increased in the mid 80's, when a group of us would get together. Then with the advent of Magic, the groups focus moved away from wargaming, so I was back to my play by mail, but now as play by email, that speeded up the process.

A year and a half ago, I moved to Switzerland, and given the time difference, I had to go to the internet to look for gaming. Then I found BGG. Since then, I have found three PBEM opponents and have played more games than even when our gaming group would play them in the 80's.

Wargaming has seemed to have migrated for many to a PBEM or play by web experience. It is a good way to continue a hobby, that might not be as suited for face to face play as simpler, quicker Eurogames.
 
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Robert Wesley
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Well, I'd have to admit that I am more of a "grognard" than any other kind of 'gamer'(BIG surprise huh?). I just finished an "Invaders" 1st TURN for "Fortress America"(I'm the USA in this) with a great fellow "Geek", known to some as "gwen" here, and she's from Belgium(but that matters not). YES, she's a mainly "Euro-gamer" sort, while I 'salute' and 'commend' her upon this endeavour, since this is her very first "Wargame". Now, I wouldn't mind playing some of the kinds of 'games' that SHE also enjoys, were I able to get my computer to permit this. I have played some such as "Settlers of Catan", & "Mississippi Queen", and "Euphrat & Tigris", or "Acquire" back in 1998 when I was over at a friend's down in Georgia. While even before this, then there were many others such as "Auto" or [/i]"Chariot"[/i] racings kinds, "Cosmic Encounter", and I also have been playing the 'crayon Rails' types of games, with even the computer "Eurorails" game that I play a couple of times a month, and have "Iron Dragon" in my 'collection'. There's some that are a bit "rare" to obtain, such as "DEMO Derby" and that is FUN, when you can get a game going upon this. This is not to say that I wouldn't find many others as enjoyable either, but I'm somewhat restricted upon just what is made available for myself. I'd be willing to try something entirely unfamiliar for what I'm used to, with certain exceptions towards plenty that I just don't care at ALL for. While I've even read upon plenty for such as "Die Macher" within "Wargaming" magazines WAY before this was the 'game du jeur' for others as they are today. It's just an 'evolving' manner for myself, as I read of the ones here and wonder if I'd like them or not. While "popularity contests" don't sway my perspective of those one way or another, although many here ARE guided along for themselves with such. If YOU 'like it', then so be it!
surprise
 
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Michelle Zentis
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I'm more of a new BoardGameGeek that's becoming an even newer WarGameNerd.

I had a brief period of geekgaming back in the late 80's, mostly with GURPS and Merchant of Venus (and a couple of quick deaths in Siege of Jerusalem). My gaming buddy back then was majorly into Squad Leader, but it just didn't interest me.

Fast forward 15 years, when I introduced my buddy Kevin to the computer version of Magic: The Gathering, which got him interested in the actual face-to-face MTG, which led him into Euro boardgames, into which he pulled me. I've been playing Euros now for about two and half years, and for the last six months or so I've gotten more and more interested in wargames. My current obsession is Paths of Glory, but I'm stocking up on everything that looks fun and plan to get the others to the table sooner rather than later. My main problem is that almost all my usual gaming buddies think I'm insane for venturing into the dark side. I've even heard rumors of a planned intervention...
 
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