Monday, 8 May 2017

Why I also play mainstream war-games.

When discussing the new 40K, a gentleman expressed a bit of surprise that I was intending to get into the new game, being a writer myself.
I've had similar questions regarding my interest in Bolt Action.

Since my ego is basically gargantuan, I figured I'd talk about why I tend to play "mainstream" mini's games despite being deep in the "indie wargaming" scene.

These are in no particular order of priority.

1:
It's job research!

This is a bit of a joke but I don't think you can really write well without knowing what is going on.
That means delving into the avant garde indie game fringe (like Rogue Planet, which you should all go buy) and that means knowing what the mainstream looks like.

The mainstream games like 40K, Flames of War and Bolt Action by and large set the tone and indie design must exist in relation to them.
In turn, we see "indie" mechanics sneak into these games here and there and the cycle continues.

2:
They are easy.
40K can get very sprawling but that's mostly due to all the units. The people I play with have pretty much always been role-players first, so a low learning curve is valuable.

3:
I enjoy most games.
The list of mini's games I've played and didn't like is very short, maybe because I have garbage tastes.

As a result, I can find a game of 40K or Void just as engaging and fun as a game of Stargrunt or Chain of Command.

Simulating hollywood warfare is as valid a design goal as historical simulation (for example).

4:
A different head space.
The games I write tend to involve a lot of alternative mechanics: Whether it's unusual activation mechanics, command systems or weird modifier-less shooting, it's a bit further on the indie-fringe.

When I play purely for recreation, I find it's easier to relax if I play something quite conventional.
When I am playing an indie game, I find it's harder to turn off the designer-vision and I spend more time watching for how the reaction fire rule interacts with close assaults or whatever.

5:
Social responsibility.
The kid is almost 10, which means his tastes are starting to diverge from those of his parents.

In a couple years, I figure he'll either decide toy soldiers are "like totally lame dad" or he will go full-on nerd.
If the latter is the case, I think it's important that he is familiar with at least a few mainstream games so he'll have an easier time going to a store, club or a new gaming group and being able to play with them.

Doesn't mean I won't teach him some FiveCore and Stargrunt on the side though :-)


Was this useful to anyone but myself?
I'm not sure, but then, blogging is partially about self-indulgence right?

So what about you? Do you enjoy both "indie"/"hardcore" and "mainstream" war gaming?
Is the distinction even meaningful?
Do my reasons ring true for you or are they self-absorbed junk?

Let me know!