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Author Topic: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?  (Read 5237 times)

Offline Norm

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Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« on: July 29, 2022, 05:43:08 PM »
Of late, I have tended to go for lower complexity type rules and just thought this was an age / cycle thing.

But the more I have considered this, the more I feel that low complexity games are reached for because they provide an easy path to the gaming table against the background that we simply have too many rule sets and games that compete for our time and grey cells.

Has over collecting caused a dumbing down of the complexity that is needed to deliver period flavour and militaristic aspects of the subject.I have put up a blog post that expands on those thoughts. LINK

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2022/07/too-much-stuff.html

Offline Pattus Magnus

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2022, 06:28:49 PM »
For me the main driver is probably the complexity of real life (spouse, kid, mid-career) taking up a lot of the mental bandwidth I have available. I just donít find highly complex games to be what Iím looking for at the moment. I do buy some of them and I enjoy reading them, but actual games I play need to be streamlined enough to be relaxing without demanding too much mental work. Basically, I want my mental work to go into game play, rather than figuring out the rules.

Offline Easy E

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2022, 06:37:33 PM »
To answer the OP question....

No.

It is being driven more by the growth of the hobby to a more diverse audience, and not just old, well-off, white guys* with time on their hands.   

   
* = I am firmly included in this stereotype.
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Offline Two Inches of Felt

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2022, 06:58:18 PM »
Basically, I want my mental work to go into game play, rather than figuring out the rules.

This is the crux of the matter.  And, there is actually a lot of potential for better rulesets that are both more realistic and detailed while also being easier to play than what is on the market today.

You can actually hide a lot of complexity behind an easy to play game by innovative mechanics.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2022, 07:16:47 PM »
Interesting post.

When it comes to complexity, though, I think that there are very strong arguments for elegance and simplicity over fiddliness - especially as many games contain needless complexity.

For example, if we compare HOTT (or DBA) with Warhammer, the simplicity of the former seems (to me at least) to be the result of better design: it presents more interesting challenges and decision points with greater distillation of random elements (so fewer but more consequential dice rolls).

Or, to take a skirmish example, compare Song of Blades and Heroes/Mutants and Death Ray Guns with Kill Team. I once played a game of each back to back on the same table with the same figures. The Kill Team game involved multiple dice rolls in close combat for a very small number of outcomes (three, I think - defender is unhurt, wounded or dead); the MRDG game involved a single opposed roll in combat for nine outcomes (nothing happens; defender is pushed back; defender is knocked down; defender is killed; defender is gruesomely killed; attacker is pushed back; attacker is knocked down; attacker is killed; and attacker is gruesomely killed).

So which is the more 'complex' game? When it comes to close combat, the KT game has much more for the players to remember (initiative, number to hit, number to wound, number to save), but the MDRG game has more decisions for the player to take (engage but don't attack; attack; attack with a power blow) and three times as many outcomes.

The difference, I think, is that a well-designed game can have a lot of complexity 'under the hood' so that it doesn't make it difficult for the players but also gives them lots of decisions to take.

Saga is another case in point. It's an extremely complex game if you consider the number of variables with the battleboards, yet it plays extremely smoothly - because the design is elegant.

I think part of this is how much a game requires you to commit to memory. I never need to remind myself how to play DBA or Song of Blades and Heroes (or MDRG or the other variants): the activation and combat systems are very simple and intuitive, even thought they produce complex decision-making points and widely varying outcomes.

Some complexity of certain games is just poor design, I think - the morale system in Chainmail, for example (the rest of the game is quite elegant). There are odd cases, though; Brent Spivey's Bombshell rulesets are pretty much uniformly excellent, but are hard to parse until you get them on the table - at which point they're some of the most fluent, fast-moving and intuitive games out there (Mayhem, Rogue Planet, The Battlefield).


Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2022, 07:17:34 PM »
You can actually hide a lot of complexity behind an easy to play game by innovative mechanics.

Yes, exactly! (Hadn't read this when I posted.)

Offline ced1106

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2022, 08:02:24 PM »
> Daft things like having 12 different Napoleonic rule sets

I'm playing two generic fantasy games, Lasting Tales and Song of Blade and Heroes, and it's driving me nuts when I switch from one game system to another. While you need complexity to better simulate something, sometimes complexity doesn't add game value, especially when it's semi-abstract mechanic (eg. "Roll 1d6 except if you roll a 1, you may spent a Fatigue token to roll 1d3+1 instead"). However, complexity is subjective, so that's why we have all these different rule sets that *should* all be simulating the same thing!

Should mention that in the non-historical gamespace, including plasticrack boardgames, you pretty much need a rules system to help sell those fancy miniatures. That, of course, means even more rulesets on the market, quite a change from the old days when model companies made the army men, and your buddy stapled together a wargame ruleset.

Are rules become less complex? Well, hobby games are still more complicated than mainstream ones. And, with more games on the market, gamers who don't play a "lifestyle" game (eg. Magic, Age of Sigmar), end up learning or being exposed to more rulesets, as well as having more "first impression" games than "thorough play" ones, and spending less time to play each game. Perhaps that's also led to simpler game systems as well.
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Offline Cat

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2022, 09:31:12 PM »
I've always preferred faster playing games, even since the 1970s when they were hard to come by!
 
Back then, I began collecting and painting miniatures, but largely stuck with boardgames because they were so much more playable.
 
Own Tractics (never played), Angriff (played once), WRG whatever armour game it was  (played once or twice), stuck with Panzer Leader until Command Decision came out, and then Blitzkrieg Commander.
 
Own Chainmail (played a few times), Newbury Fast Play Ancients (quite mis-titled, never played), WRG 6th (played once), stuck with SPI's PRESTAGS until DBA came out.
 
Played some Empire III with half the rules thrown out, then some Napoleon's Battles, now happily playing DBN or Snappy Nappy.
 
I've never associated endless modifiers and charts with 'realism' or a fun game.
 
The one game from 1977 that I am still playing is Ogre ó Sci-Fi Panzer Leader that looks really cool when played with minis.
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Offline FramFramson

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2022, 09:50:10 PM »
Remember that fiddlier systems with a great deal of tedious complexity tend to be the sort which would be better suited to be computerized - they often tend to look like a logic flowchart, with many branches and conditional. While that might have been acceptable, even well-regarded for a couple blokes playing an Avalon Hill game in 1975, nowadays, there's less tolerance for players to act as human computers.

I think that's actually led to a renaissance in wargame rules design myself, where designers have been challenged to produce something elegant which retains a wide number of outcomes and greater emphasis on player choices.


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Offline Cat

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2022, 11:28:16 PM »
Remember that fiddlier systems with a great deal of tedious complexity tend to be the sort which would be better suited to be computerized - they often tend to look like a logic flowchart, with many branches and conditional.

Empire III Napoleonics literally had fold-out flow charts to work through each phase of the game turn.
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Offline ithoriel

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2022, 12:16:16 AM »
Seems to me, as has been said already, that rules have got more elegant and streamlined rather than less complex.
I play computer games, board games, tabletop miniature games and pen and paper RPGs and buy every set that is both affordable and sounds interesting. Not necessarily to play, though I play most, but certainly to read and pillage ideas from.
I've always said that my ideal game is easy to learn, hard to master, has enough skill that I win because I am brilliant and enough chance that I lose because I was unlucky ... unless it's multiple players a side where I lose because my allies let me down  lol
There can never be too many rules nor too many figures IMHO ... only too little time!
 
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Offline Doug ex-em4

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2022, 01:56:03 PM »
I shouldnít have read this topic on the day I decided that I need to have a game of WRG 5th Edition Ancients for the first time in about 40 years!

Doug

Offline Dentatus

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2022, 02:35:21 PM »
Over-Collecting?
Might be a factor but I've preferred simple, fast-play games for decades. If anything, that fueled some *ahem* excess purchases.
I'll get these on the table in no time!    (Bwahahahahaha. poor fool)

In my experience, Time is more a factor. Juggling multiple obligations, it's a question of bandwidth. With a full schedule, it's much easier to get folks to the game table for a fast, fun game. No investment, no homework. Just snacks & drinks, minis and terrain, a few rules with a cool backstory, and start rolling.

Offline SJWi

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2022, 06:36:44 PM »
I would agree with an earlier comment that "easier" rules don't necessarily hide layers of tactical complexity. However asking myself why I prefer today's rules I would offer the following thoughts;

 I research and play multiple periods from ancients to moderns. I don't have the mental bandwidth to learn multiple sets of "complex" rules.

 I rarely have more than 3-4 hours to set up, play and take down a game. "Complex" rules usually assumed a longer playing time

I think innovative mechanisms have reduced the need for complexity whilst making games faster moving and leaving the players to think tactics not tables. Of course this means some rules match how you think the period worked.....others don't!




Offline War Monkey

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2022, 06:58:38 PM »
I try not to over collect in rules by just keeping a few gaming rules in each genres Sci Fi, Pulp, Apocalypse, and Horror. Only because I don't want to get a set of rules only play them once and never play it again.

Collecting figures on the other hand well that is just a whole other category on its own.
Just remember "If the Enemy is in range, so are YOU!

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