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Pandora Caitiff
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ctimmins wrote:
Wargaming is (IMHO) a dwindling hobby. The drain into RPG, more-casual strategy board games, and computerized wargaming makes it fairly difficult to find opponents. In my area, there are a couple established groups that do Battletech miniatures battles. I envy their budgets.


It might be a location thing. The local minis gamign groups in my area have been blaming RPGs, boardgames, and RPGs for killing wargaming since I was too young to handle lead minatures, and yet they're still gaming (although they have to share their space with Warhammer/Flames of War/WarmahHordes players )
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Andy Linman
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Like many of the "more mature" set, I started wargaming before I ever heard of RPG's, after discovering 1776 in a store when I was 11; RPG's came about 6 years later with AD&D 1e. And yes, I do still play them, especially since I got my wife if not hooked, at least to the point of enjoying them. Most recently I've particularly been into the card driven games such as Washington's War, For the People, and Paths of Glory.

Wargames have unquestionably influenced my RPG'ing; the best recent example is a campaign of AD&D 1e I ran a few years ago, in which there was a great deal of naval combat -- I ported over a simplified version of the rules for Wooden Ships & Iron Men to handle that part.

Is wargaming dying? I don't think it's dying, but I do think it's approaching a "floor" in which the number of new players roughly matches the number of players that depart. Either that or it will evolve into something almost unrecognizable to the grognards. In the 90's it appeared to be dying, but at the turn of the millennium people began to use online tools to find each other and get games set up, and tools were developed to play online (although I must admit I've discovered I don't really care to do so; if I want to play a game staring at a screen I'll play a computer game.) In addition, many people have ALWAYS played solo, and that hasn't changed either.
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Yep, long-time wargamer, since 1960. I've had a hiatus or two, but in general have never stopped wargaming. Both cardboard and minis - I've even been to wargaming minis conventions, such as Historicon. They're a blast!

Current favorite wargame is The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition), which we prefer as a two-player game.

I'm not sure if my wargaming has impacted my roleplaying. I tend to prefer less combat in my RPGs than most gamers, so probably not.

Hmm - except maybe that because I've always been an active wargamer, I don't need as much combat in my RPGs as other gamers because I get it elsewhere? That might be true.
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Alex Nguyen
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Oh yeah and recently played Memoir '44. It's a nice little way to quietly slide some history at the kids without them knowing. ;-)
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As far as Wargame <--> RPG influence, I think it's right to left for us. We'll make up little stories about what's going on with the little miniatures on the wargame table. Or maybe that's a chicken/egg thing. I'm probably just stating the obvious (how RPGs grew out of wargaming in the first place).
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Hans Messersmith
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Hamilton
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All kinds. I cut my teeth on Squad Leader back in the day, I think I bought my copy in 1980 or so, I was only 11 years old! I still love that game, and would play it today, probably. I played Panzer Leader, Blitzkrieg, Afrika Korps, the old SPI War of the Ring, and others. I still have multiple Command magazine and Strategy and Tactics magazine games in my basement.

Since my youth and the advent of eurogames of various sorts and more modern designs, though, I have found that I can get the same or more enjoyment in half the time from more recent games. I still like fairly deep and complex games, but I just don't have the patience for the setup and handling times of a lot of the "classic" wargames. Also, I find the "rule by exception" nature of many historical simulation games more annoying than gratifying; i just don't care about historical "accuracy" anymore in a game if the game play itself suffers.

However, I adore Twilight Struggle and enjoyed A Few Acres of Snow a lot, and the GMT COIN Series game Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar has me wanting to play more games in that series. Also, the newer War of the Ring (Second Edition) is very good. I just don't have that many people around I can play the deeper historical simulation games with. That being said, Crusader Kings II is one of my favorite computer games of all time, with 100s of hours played, so apparently I have an endless tolerance for historical simulation as long as the computer is doing most of the math

Back in the day, I ran a whole session of Traveller (Classic) as a war game, but for the most part the people I play with these days would not be that interested in too much "war-gamey-ness" in their RPGs. I do like the tactical skirmish of Dungeons & Dragons (4th Edition) and tactical miniatures skirmish is a kind of wargame, although in general tactical skirmish games that are NOT RPGs are not my thing.
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If anyone has followed me in some way have probably heard this a 100 times. I am somewhat an omni-gamer, and have probably been playing chit and hex war-games about as long as I've been a RPG'er.

These are my first wargames, probably gotten around ~'83 from a neighbor who was a Air Force Pilot selling them before he moved away:



Then I moved into more Yaquinto and SPI titles. I tended to do more SciFi war-games. But also loved Squad Leader and ASL, and other that may or may not be considered a "wargame", depended on standards.

My RPGing had wargame elements, such as The Morrow Project, Phoenix Command, Twilight: 2000 (1st Edition), and others.

Here is my "classics" shelf that has most of what is left(most ASL is in bins)...


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Mike W
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RPGs have a long, historical root in wargames. Have you ever played a wargame?
Yes!

Have you ever used wargame-like experiences in your RPGs?
I am running a GURPS Traveller adventure right now.. and we wing it a little, but do use most of the rules for tactical combat. We just recently had an encounter with a ground car and and alien centipede where I "adapted" Car Wars rules for the maneuvers made by the car.

I would love to create an adventure in the Ogre universe -- specifically the post apocalyptic Factory States period, where the world has been ravaged by wars, and mostly city state enclaves survive. Some of them ruled by the sentient OGRE tanks!

Has a wargame ever influenced your RPG?
The Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition) game I am in is set in the World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour setting. We are all wargamers and the GM used a wargame map for one of our adventures.




I play a lot of wargames and I am only recently getting back into RPGs after a 30 year hiatus.

I definitely prefer board wargames over miniature wargaming.. I think they allow for more interesting looks at scale and complex simulations than miniatures. Nothing agains miniature wargaming, just not as interesting to me.

I am part of a relatively young online group of board wargames who play regularly -- mostly via VASSAL and Skype. I always have too many games to play rather than ever struggling to find opponents. For me, wargaming is no danger of going extinct.
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Mavis
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I started playing miniatures wargames when I was 8 or 9 years old but found that to play at the level I wanted, the cost of buying all the miniatures was too much for my 5p pocket money. Then I discovered Squad Leader and moved to hex and counter board wargames. Mostly I played solo, with occasional games against a few friends. Whilst looking for a copy of Cross of Iron in my local game store where I found Basic Dungeons & Dragons and as I could convince so many more of my friends to play at fighting giants and dragons RPG's took over all my free time.

I returned to wargames in 1989 when I left university and had a job and some disposable income which I spent almost entirely on beer and hex and counter wargames. I have a large collection of games, including all of the 'original' Advanced Squad Leader modules and a large number of the board wargames produced in the 1990's by The Gamers. I think their Operational Combat Series is a masterpiece of (relative) rules simplicity and yet providing complex gameplay.

This poor photo shows about half of what I still own. The files on the top shelf are entirely filled with Advanced Squad Leader scenarios and the little plastic drawers contain thousands and thousands of ASL counters.



From 1989 to 1996 I lived out in rural Norfolk but luckily my best friend Martin also lived about 7 miles away. Every Tuesday night we played Advanced Squad Leader and during that time managed to complete the Red Barricades: ASL Historical Module 1 campaign. Later when Martin moved away I played another friend every Tuesday night and completed the full Enemy at the Gates and Thunder at the Crossroads (first edition) campaigns. I consider myself to have been very lucky to have experienced these monsters.

Moving to the city in 1996 there was a larger group of friends to choose from and a group of 6 of us used to gather every Tuesday night to play the Europa Universalis Grand Campaign, which we played about two thirds of the way through. But then along came RPG's again and apart from a few games of ASL I have not played any wargames since. I miss them terribly and if I could find someone local who wanted to play Advanced Squad Leader I would jump at the chance.

Advanced Squad Leader has significantly influenced my roleplaying. Each game produces a unique narrative and it is the closest gaming experience I have found to playing RPG's, much more so than the supposed RPG / board game hybrids such as Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition).

For those who have never played it, ASL involves a lot of dice rolls and those dice rolls can cause unpredictable things to happen by triggering events which could in turn trigger other events. Conceptually not so different to the way the dice mechanics in Star Wars: Edge of the Empire or Savage Worlds work. Just add narration. Some games of the very best ASL games I have played have been emotional rollercoaster rides, not unlike some of the best RPG sessions. So many great war stories... For me Advanced Squad Leader is the finest game ever made bar none.

TLDR: A post filled with so many fond memories.
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Douglas Bailey
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Oh, yes. 7th Fleet and Air Cav and Flight Leader... and Phoenix Command (arguably a wargame) and stand-alone BATTLESYSTEM, all in the 1980s.

(I also own some wargames that I've never played, including a near-complete first-edition Advanced Squad Leader collection. You couldn't pay me enough to play that game, but it's amazing as a read and as reference material. And I bought many of the Command at Sea games and supplements for the same reasons.)

I never wargamed anywhere like as much as I role-played, and I've played less since moving back to the USA at the end of the 1980s; fewer of my friends back in the US are wargamers, and after college we had less and less free time (and RPGs take up a fair bit of that). So I don't consider myself a wargamer; more an RPG player who likes a few wargames.

I've never actually tried folding BATTLESYSTEM into a D&D adventure, though I like the published adventures that use this approach (e.g., DL8 Dragons of War, X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield). And I'm still struggling to come up with an ideal set of mass-combat rules to use in RPGs; there are elements I like in the D&D "War Machine" rules, the Pendragon Battle rules, the GURPS Mass Combat rules, and a few other sources, but none of them work out quite right for what I want.

Oh, and: I tried to write my own Battle of Midway wargame back when I was 9 or 10. It was based on D&D and not fantastic, but the urge was there. :-)
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RPGs have a long, historical root in wargames. Have you ever played a wargame?
Yes, but my role-playing came first.
I only started wargaming about 7 years ago with Warhammer 40K. I never thought I'd like painting miniatures, turns out I do. So I've become a big fan of 40K having Ork and Tyranids armies.

I've also got a small Bolt Action British Army, just the starter set. And I played Doctor Who: Exterminate! The Miniatures Game for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I'm now really looking forward to Star Wars: Legion.



Have you ever used wargame-like experiences in your RPGs?
I've considered it. The closest has been with Star Wars, using the Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back scenarios from the published adventure Otherspace II: Invasion.

Has a wargame ever influenced your RPG?

I created a lot of home-brew Warhammer 40K stats for star Wars D6 long before ever playing 40K.

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Dan Conley
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robbbbbb wrote:
If you follow the wargames forum over on the BGG side of the house, there's a constant, running argument about what is and isn't a wargame. There are the strict constructionists, who only believe in hex-and-counter (or maybe a really good game with territories or point-to-point), and then there are folks with more expansive definitions, who include miniatures, sci-fi settings, or even the card-driven stuff like Twilight Struggle.

I think the best definition of wargame revolves around "conflict simulation." So things like the GMT COIN Series totally count as wargames to me. Ask: Is this game trying to be a serious simulation of a conflict (real or imaginary)? If "yes", then it's a wargame.


Thanks, Robb. Really well said. I mentioned that I played Twilight Struggle in this context because, to me, it absolutely IS a wargame. It's a great simulation of the Cold War conflict that is so much a part of my youth. Not a hex to be found anywhere, so some of the old guard grognards don't call it a wargame. But I don't really see how it's NOT.
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Art Gorski
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I started in wargames, playing D-Day with my cousin when I was 13. About 5 years later I bought my first game of any type, which happened to be a wargame: The Flight of the Goeben, because it came with my S&T subscription. Later, I played Car Wars and Star Fleet Battles, getting way too far into SFB rules and errata.

I was first attracted to Classic Traveller because it was designed by wargamers and felt comfortably like a wargame in it's military aspects.
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No, no and no. The only thing that interests me about wargames are the miniatures and the terrain but I don't use these in RPGs.
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trystero11 wrote:
You couldn't pay me enough to play that game


Why do you not want to play it?
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Not considered a wargame by every standard but by the author it was, I have played Engage several times. I actually liked it quite a bit. But these few played are not enough to impact my roleplaying.
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Michael Daumen
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Yes, but we tended to keep the two flavors separate.
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I haven't looked at or participated in the BGG wargame debate (and I don't wanna start one here!) but I just wanted to input that I think there's gotta be some generational/definition thing going on.

"Classic Rock" is a loaded term and probably a good example because it is also pretty "controversially" debated. Whatever it's meant to mean I'd guess a kid born after these debates might classify a bunch of tunes as such because "hey it's classic man," not knowing that the term "Classic Rock" was coined to specifically apply to certain music from a certain period in time. So (to me) it is with wargames! Of course any game with "war" in it might be a wargame. But maybe the original term was coined to specifically mean something else.

But hey you know what, I'm cool with both definitions.
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Peter Robben
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Oh yes, I have for decades. Both counter and miniature wargames. Still do.
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Douglas Bailey
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Mavis101 wrote:
trystero11 wrote:
You couldn't pay me enough to play Advanced Squad Leader...

Why do you not want to play it?

Because just reading any random page of rules (or the sequence of play, or the guide to information on the counters that's printed on the binder endpapers) induces a terrible fit of giggles in me. Not because of the subject matter, but just because the sheer lunatic density of the rules — complete with abbreviations (like FFMO/FFNAM), cross-references, exceptions, etc. — gets me going. Legal documents aren't that absurdly complex; quantum physics (which I studied) isn't as bafflingly incomprehensible.

The only thing I can think of off the top of my head that's even more intimidatingly overspecialised beyond the point of practical readability is the "Shipbuilding" entry from the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (not available online to my knowledge, but look it up if you can find a copy), which essentially provides all the information you need to build your own 1911-vintage battle fleet from scratch. (I've always wondered who, exactly, that article was aimed at; if you could comprehend it, I suspect you wouldn't need it.)

Anyway, back to ASL. I admire those who can actually read, understand, and play it, but I have no desire to join their ranks. I'm a vicarious reader, and perfectly content as such.
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Paul Dale
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Narl wrote:
Not considered a wargame by every standard but by the author it was, I have played Engage several times. I actually liked it quite a bit. But these few played are not enough to impact my roleplaying.


We need to introduce you to Star Fleet Battles

Failing that, the far easier to play Stir Fried Beetles. I'll have to see if I've still got my photocopy of this and look to adding an entry....


Pauli
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Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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I think the only Wargame I've ever played was Risk. I have played this once with the board and friends and once without a board over the net with friends.

I don't think we've ever really gone all out war in an rpg. We've had wars, but nothing protracted and thought out with the minutae of detail that war brings about.
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All the time, still play wargames, even design them. There was a time I thought Squad Leader was the bee's knees; I've also joked it was the first RPG I ever played because of the blank leader chit, only SL players get it though. I also really liked Ogre/GEV, as well as Starfire, SPI's Third World War, Diadem, etc.; if it has tanks or spacecraft, that's great, I'm there.
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Ian Engleback
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RPGs have a long, historical root in wargames. Have you ever played a wargame?

I started in wargaming with model figures, graduated on to hex-and-counter games, then into roleplaying games.

Have you ever used wargame-like experiences in your RPGs?

I like RPGs with good combat rules, my first experience was The Fantasy Trip, or using rules from associated games like Snapshot.

Has a wargame ever influenced your RPG?

I'm keen on Classic Traveller and always wanted to play a campaign using Fifth Frontier War as a backdrop to events.
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Mixu Lauronen
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If my memory serves me right, there were four of us playing Scorched Earth - Fire in the East once. It simulated the Eastern front of WW2. Two of us played Germany, and two played Soviet Union. It took us almost eight hours to play two rounds. We never returned to the game, although it was interesting.

I used to play Imperium Romanum II by myself, studying different scenarios. I never found anyone to play with me, so I sold the game, even though it was quite entertaining.
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