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Author Topic: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?  (Read 5239 times)

Offline Arrigo

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #75 on: August 20, 2022, 11:49:14 AM »

this is not necessarily true. There are systems (usually at tactical level) that allow you to get from one game to another with minimum effort. For example Herman Luttman Blind Swords, or his new Shatter Union, the late Richard Berg Great Battles of the ACW, or even Dave Powell Civil War Brigade/Regimental  Series. At the operational level Joe Balkoski Great Campaigns of the ACW also shines. And I have stopped just to ACW (maybe because I have A most Fearful Sacrifice on the Table?  lol ).  Also plenty of games have plenty of different scenarios.

So probably this is not a factor. And to be quite honest prices between a decent sized army allowing me to play several different battles and a series of games are not that different after all.

I do not see reading another rulebook as a marker of complexity. Yet I can see why some do. And here is one of the primary reason why rules that spans centuries if not millennia have a place. But here I think you are mixing complexity with comfort zone. We all have our comfort zones and I have seen several gamers whose comfort zone is system related. Once they find mechanics/scopes they are happy with they do not change. I fail to see the appeal, but for some this is the appeal. On the other hand there are also gamers who constantly switch from system to system abandoning the previous one because they seems unable to get what they want. Some are indeed just whiny people, but for some is the search of the system fitting their tastes.

But to return to your OP and your blog post, I do not think it is over collecting and choice of miniatures. It is settling on our comfort zone. I understand the appeal of these all encompassing systems, but for me they do nothing. I like flavor and systems that give me the feel of the subject. For example I like Lion Rampant, but I found some of the attempts to replicate it for different periods unsuccessful mainly because they were just face lift. Just renaming Knights Cataphracts is not working for me. Other who tried to use the skeleton but also to create feel of the period worked better (Rebels and Patriots  for example).  Also I am quite happy to play different systems 'at once' because I am keen to see different approaches. As once Kevin Zucker said (and Phil Sabin misunderstood and overabused...  ;D ) a designer can afford to go into detail only in one aspect of a design. Thus in each game you (should) see what the designer thinks is important for the topic. On the other hand you have designer that just wander around (ASL comes to my mind, it tries to do everything and fails everywhere, Empire too) or some that seems to just use such a large paintbrush that the result is bland (Phil Barker? FoW  :P ). But also these two extremes have their follower so... well comfort zone.

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Offline Norm

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #76 on: August 20, 2022, 12:16:17 PM »
On the boardgame side of things, I am now deliberately moving my collection to series based systems to gain rule familiarity and a proper grounding in each system.

Though it remains the case that I have some favourite situations and games that each rely on a single (i.e. non-series) rulebook and for many gamers, these one off rulebooks are common amongst their collections. Examples for me would be Guderianís War by One Small Step and Cobra from Decision Games.

Probably the greatest barrier that I have in putting the next game up on the table is reading or re-reading a ruleset that I have not accessed for months or perhaps years, the less complex that rule set is, the easier that path.

I played A fearful Sacrifice a few weeks ago and there are enough differences from the Blind Swords series to warrant a full rules read and there is a lot going on under that bonnet. Even within the Blind Swords series, the first 4 games carried differences in the main rules between each game, these are the sorts of things that I see as complexities, the sort of things that discourage me getting a game to the table on this lovely Saturday afternoon!

ASL is not complicated if it is one of the few things that you play and you play often - step outside of those parameters and it immediately becomes a complicated game. The bigger the collection and the more diverse its coverage, the higher the complexity of reaching for my Saturday afternoon game Ö or so it seems to me at least 🙂
« Last Edit: August 20, 2022, 12:31:58 PM by Norm »

Offline ithoriel

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #77 on: August 20, 2022, 12:35:26 PM »
Back in the '70s I played miniatures games, D&D and board games.

Games played ranged in complexity from SPI's (IIRC) intro game with five soviet and three NATO counters on a map the size of my hand up to Drang Nach Osten. One of the group bought Campaign for North Africa but we only got as far as laying out the map and initial counters and reading the rulebook before deciding life was too short and packing it all back up! But the number of games we had  between us was probably in the order of two dozen or so. We played alternate weeks, on a Sunday afternoon, alternating with D&D.

Tabletop wargames were WW2, Napoleonic, ACW or Ancients and, until the advent of the Blessed Barker and WRG, were all variants on Don Featherstones rules. Mainly 25mm with some of us heretics using 15mm Peter Laing figures for Ancients.

These days I play board games three evenings a week, online. All Eurogames - Settlers, Agricola, Carcassonne, Stone Age, Res Arcana, Splendor, et al. I don't know anyone who still plays hex wargames. We have access to literally hundreds of games and almost always start the evening with a new game. Some are simple, fast to play and largely luck, others are complex, take all evening and have little to no chance involved.

Tabletop wargames options range from my 15mm Homo Heidelbergensis tribe for Tribal, through my 2mm Roman army for Strength and Honour, my one page rules 28mm chibi ninja, to my 20mm 5 Parsecs collection and dozens of others besides. I have shelves of rules  and switch between them quite happily. Probably because none of us care if we get the rules exactly right so long as everyone has a good time.
"Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools." -Sir Douglas BaderThese days, there is almost literally something for everyone (everyone's a gamer it's just that some don't know it yet  lol ).

I have no hankering to go back to '70s style games, where the complexity was in the rules systems rather than the mastery of the game. For me, a good game is easy to learn, hard to master, takes enough skill that I win because I am brilliant, enough luck that I lose because I am unlucky and has a multiplayer option so I can blame my allies!  lol lol lol lol lol     

There are 100 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data.

Offline jon_1066

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #78 on: August 20, 2022, 12:56:30 PM »
The main change in my mind is spare time and access to computer games.  We played all day D&D sessions because there was sod all else to do on a Sunday.  Now Iím older I donít have loads of free time and youngsters have access to a huge range of computer games to play all day with minimal investment.

Offline Arrigo

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #79 on: August 20, 2022, 03:52:13 PM »
I think that some here have advanced a point that is the opposite of Norm's original one. They move to simpler system not because they are over-collecting, but because they finally can find what interest them. The existence of simpler rules allow them to over collect.

I don't know anyone who still plays hex wargames.

I always laugh at these statements, often read as absolutists... from the post it was clear that Ithoriel moved away from that genre rather than genre disappearing. I would say that the bulk of my international gaming group is into hex wargames. That is what we play FtF or via Vassal. The fact that I get paid to design them and to write review of them also means there is a market. According to the last inventory on BGG I also own 1329 complete games plus 194 expansions... so choice abounds!  Said that Ithoriel perfectly prove my point. It was the dearth of option that force some of us into playing games that probably they would not have played if there was choice.

As for complexity, it is all in our eyes. Like Norm saying reading rules is complexity added and myself enjoying doing that. I would give you an example I had two students in different years in ConSim. Both had no previous exposure to wargames, both were ladies, both were designing a game on the same subject. One had no issue in picking up wargame concepts (we are preparing for a virtual  play of Next War Korea...), the other was unable to grasp concepts like ZoC or movement points. I had a friend who picked up Mark Herman's Waterloo in minutes, and another (older, and doing an MA in strategy) who has problem with a simple game like 10 years in the trenches. For her the issue is the idea of all units can move in a turn.  And as I once said in Norm's blog while talking of rounding odds, I have an opponent who cannot figure the idea of rounding in the defender favor... so often complexity is also about concepts we get or we do not get.


Offline fred

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #80 on: August 20, 2022, 06:25:20 PM »
I think Ithorielís statement, was a simple statement of his personal experience with his gaming friends. Not an absolute statement about the genre.

Offline NotifyGrout

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #81 on: August 25, 2022, 10:07:54 PM »
I drift back and forth between systems because I'm interested in the rules designs in and of themselves. I like to see how different writers approach things like shooting, movement, cover, whether tactics or leadership have dedicated mechanics, and so on. I feel like I learn a bit about the authors and about people in general based on how they write a game, and I also make mental notes in case I ever decide to take any of my miniatures game ideas past the idea board.

Words like "innovative" and "elegant" have, unfortunately, been run into the ground, much like "premium" has in several aspects of life. They don't really mean much on their own anymore.

As for something that I think actually lives up to the word "innovative," I'd put forth Deadzone's grid-based movement and range mechanic. Based in squares (cubes when the vertical terrain components get involved), there is no need for a measuring tool. The catch, though, is that line-of-sight is still drawn model-to-model, so where a model is placed within a given cube could determine whether it is in cover or not. It fits the theme of the game quite well (fast skirmishes in sci-fi wastelands).

I would say that rulesets being simpler overall means it's easier to go back and forth between them, which, in my case, means I can show people more options and make my habit of ruleset collecting useful to the community.
Current projects: collecting way too many vintage Warzone models.


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