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Author Topic: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?  (Read 4574 times)

Offline AdmiralAndy

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2022, 12:26:08 AM »

But what other examples are there of great yet complex wargames?

Well somewhat subjective anwers abounb!

But one of the oldest Wargames still in business is StarFleet Battles, though over the years there has been steps to simplify it. Which is also true of Battletech when playing with more than 4 Mechs a side, Harpoon Modern Naval System think on version IV or V? and faded away but Babylon 5 Wars not to be confused with the faster playable Babylon 5 Fleet Battles. Aside from SFB which I last played about 35 years ago schooled by an expert, using some simplified energy allocation rules, not played the others.

So seems ship combat seems to be home of the last refuge of the crunchy 'granular' wargames. Although saw a post earlier where someone thought Infamy, Infamy from TooFatLardies was overly complex so horses for courses really. Not played that meself so can't really comment if fair observation or not.

Offline Warren Abox

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2022, 06:06:48 AM »
The Lardography is an interesting case.

Full disclosure: I have never played one of their games. The couple I've read were off putting for their complexity and odd editorial choices. They look like a lot of fun, and in the right hands the right GM can really make them sing.  You wouldn't know it from reading the rule books though.

People I trust have explained that they are best learned directly from someone that already knows how to play.  Shades of Gygax style D&D there, if you ask me.  Regardless, the complexity of a game in play can often be exacerbated by the complexity of a game in presentation.

Offline Norm

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2022, 07:39:02 AM »
Again, if one has the time needed to dedicate to a system and to nurture and understand it over several games, then no doubt the complexity issue would likely be cracked, but for many of us, before getting that far, we are drawn to playing something else either from our own or others collections.   

Offline crafty

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2022, 09:23:42 AM »
I am an avid 'over' collector of rulesets...I have bunch of medieval minis and I would love to try as many variations of rules. I've got the Rampant games, To The Strongest!. Recently I picked up King of War, and the entire GW Lord of The Rings set of books.

The KoW had me shaking my head a bit...I just couldn't believe how simple and straight forward they were. They are so well written, as someone else said. I'm still yet to have a decently sized game of it.

The Lord of The Rings books...well...those rules seem a bit dated & overcomplicated for a mainstream game. I'll keep the books for the scenarios. Considering that those rules are a mid 2000s set, it is remarkable how far rules have been trimmed down and simplified since.

As I said, I'm collector of rules. This is probably a (bad) habit I developed as a board wargamer years ago. Back then, I dabbled in quite a few tactical Second World War games - ASL starter Kit, Advanced Tobruk System , Lock n' Load, Panzer Grenadier, Conflict of Heroes, Squad Leader...I've probably forgotten a few. I also had a massive collection of Avalon Hill, GMT, Decision etc etc games, courtesy of a board game collecting addiction that had to be managed.

I think I like the idea of more complexity...but the reality for me is that the board wargaming hobby just got so tedious, even with the complex tactical systems I was familiar with.

There were so, so many charts and exceptions and rules to learn. Plus...hardly anyone ever had the time, or even wanted to play those long-winded board war-games. My shelves groaned with well over 200 war-games. It may be different in Europe or the US, but board war-gamers here in OZ are a rare breed, and most of the people I played those games with well...they weren't really the kind of people I liked to hang out with.

To be brutally honest, it was never fun playing those old board wargames. It was as though I was doing my taxes.

I sold off most of my board wargaming collection about ten years ago, but I still have kept my ATS sets for the scenarios & maps. I've adapted some of these to devise Crossfire scenarios.

Being introduced to miniature wargaming really changed my thinking about my hobby time. I stopped trawling Board Game Geek for the latest 'hot' new game. For a few years back then, collecting and hanging out on BGG was my hobby, rather than actual gaming. You still see that a lot over on that site..it's a bit staggering to behold.

Now I spend my time painting and making things that I use in actual games. I've never had a problem roping in friends or colleagues to play a minis game. Not once. People are quite happy to come along and give it a try.

I've realised that I enjoy spending gaming time with people that I like rather than playing a 'system' or 'theatre' or 'scenario' with a stranger.

I started to keep a blog about my gaming because I simply love the spectacle and I just want to have a diary of all the games I play with my friends.

I feel that my time is spent productively and I have things to be kind of proud of, rather than simply a dusty collection of 'shelf queens'.

Plus, I've played games with loads of different people using simple and fun rulesets. I never want to go back to those old, chart driven, rules-heavy games that made my friends eyes glaze over & back away from the table...never to return.

For me, having access to simple rules - Lion Rampant & Dragon Rampant - has meant that I can actually play more face to face games, rather than simply collecting more boxes of unplayed games.




Offline NotifyGrout

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2022, 04:42:48 PM »
I think it's four things:

1) Less time. The world is a faster place than it used to be. Barring blocking out day(s) for conventions or game days, most folks don't have more than 2-3 hours here and there to play.

2) As has been mentioned repeatedly, complex is not the same as strategic or tactical. Game design has been studied far more intensively since the 70s, and the market has a lot more players competing for time and attention.

3) If a game needs to be complex in order to properly simulate something, a video game adaptation will handle it better. I don't play Blood Bowl often enough to keep up with all of the special rules, but the video game versions do all of it for me.

4) The social component. Real-life gaming has a social element that video games (even with chat and voice chat) simply don't have.

So I guess my answer is "mostly no, but a little bit yes".

Offline Belligerentparrot

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2022, 08:42:03 PM »
A question: does anyone have any examples of genuinely complex sets of rules that are also really good?


I'm not sure if this is quite the right answer but I always found 2nd ed. Space Marine (the precursor to Epic) a really good set of rules. The core mechanics are streamlined and simple (odd for a GW game, I think), but lots of people talk of the game as being stupidly complex because of the vast amount of special rules that applied to individual units. I actually really like that! It was genuinely fun looking across at your opponent's army after set up and thinking "I know what most of that does, but what is that vehicle squadron over there? How much of a threat is it?" and also knowing that your opponent could well be wondering the same about some of your stuff. The complexity created little in-game puzzles that had to be solved like that, without anyone getting confused about how orders or movement or shooting actually worked.

And if you were an Ork player, given GW's love of randomising Ork effectiveness at the time, you'd look at your own units thinking "I wonder what that will do today?" ... which wasn't so fun  lol

Offline Codsticker

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2022, 01:42:39 AM »
After reading through these posts I imagine that different people have different parameters for what is a simple game and what is a complex game. One of my regular gaming buddies describes some games as "simulations"; these seem to have more detailed phases or rules or more rolls involved, quite often using charts (several) and my impression is that he feels that these are more accurate representations of warfare because of this. I am not sure that is necessarily so and I think that a lot of gamers feel the same way. I think the general trend in rule writing is recognising this and writers - in general- strive to get an accurate representation of warfare while at the same time keeping the game streamlined, striving to model what is key to a conflict/period/battle on the table top and ignoring what is not, the result being less complexity. That being said, there are enough rules reviews out there showing that authors regularly don't get that balance correct, oversimplifying at the expense of accuracy.
 
So... no, I do not think that over collecting is responsible for lower complexity systems.

Offline ithoriel

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2022, 09:19:12 AM »
Personally, I prefer games that are top down to ones that are bottom up.
For me, top down games look at the end results and attempt to model those. "These things all tend to have the same effect, let's lump 'em all together." DBA, Warmaster, Blitzkreig Commander and the like.

Bottom up games look at rates of fire, penetration charts, time and motion. What a friend calls "rivet counter's games."
I feel the former usually get the right results for all the wrong reasons but I prefer that to the bottom up ones where writers often seem so mired in the minutiae of what they are trying to recreate that they achieve exactly the reverse of the top down game result.
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Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2022, 09:59:39 AM »
Belligerentparrot - that's an interesting case. I'm reminded of a common complaint against Song of Blades and Heroes (etc.): that it has too many special rules. I don't buy that because the special rules are so intuitive (e.g. 'Big' gives you +1 to hit in melee against smaller opponents and your opponents +1 to hit you in missile combat) and memorable. So it remains (for me at least) a simple game. It sounds as though Space Marine may have been similar (I can only dimly remember Adeptus Titanicus, but I recall that it was quite simple and streamlined too ...).

I think one definition of a simple game would be a game in which you rarely have to look at the rulebook during play. Song of Blades exemplifies that for me, along with Hordes of the Things.

That top-down/bottom-up distinction is a good one - and it's the latter that can often lead to multiple rolls for few outcomes. I mentioned Kill Team as an example of this above, but classic Warhammer is even worse: you have three rolls (to hit, to wound, armour save) for just two outcomes: dead or not (heroes and big monsters aside).

That's because it's a game built from the bottom up: how good a fighter is this person? How physically tough are they? How much armour are they wearing? You could get the same outcome from fewer rolls (e.g. Saga or Donnybrook) or even more outcomes from fewer rolls (e.g. Song of Blades).

Offline FierceKitty

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2022, 12:03:47 PM »
I've never seen the point of that hit - wound - save lark.
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Offline Elbows

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2022, 03:21:32 PM »
The hit/wound/save system is more or less about separating weapon abilities and trying to involve the opposing player, I think.

I understand the appeal at the core of it, but it's created an entire younger generation who think Warhammer 40K is how wargames should be, that's been pretty disastrous, lol.
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Offline CapnJim

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2022, 03:32:51 PM »
I've never seen the point of that hit - wound - save lark.

Not to argue, but I get it.  In my mind, the "Hit" represents the attacker's skill, etc.  The "Wound" represents the weapon used.  And the "Save" represents the defender's skill, etc.  It does involve a bit more dice rolling, but it does represent how combat works, at least how I understand it...and I've never played Warhamster 401K  :o, so......

That's my two cents, anyway...
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Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2022, 03:35:05 PM »
The hit/wound/save system is more or less about separating weapon abilities and trying to involve the opposing player, I think.

I understand the appeal at the core of it, but it's created an entire younger generation who think Warhammer 40K is how wargames should be, that's been pretty disastrous, lol.

Yes, I think that's right on both counts!

Another aspect of it (maybe fair enough when Warhammer was a small skirmish game and also an RPG in its first edition) is narrative. As a kid, I remember I quite enjoyed thinking "Ah, yes, you've hit my orcs/hobgoblins/Slann, but now you've got to contend with their Toughness of 4 - and that's before we get to their light armour and shields!".

But the problem with this is that it stretches out combat because rolling, counting and regathering dice takes so long. And the game went from six dwarves against a couple of dozen goblins and hobgoblins (in its first scenario) to massed battles with hundreds of figures a side.

More modern "buckets of dice" games (Lion/Dragon Rampant and Kings of War, for example) just have one roll of however many dice to decide things, which is a huge improvement. They still take into account aggressiveness/weaponskill, toughness and armour, but they achieve far more elegantly with target numbers, etc.

Offline Mammoth miniatures

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2022, 03:38:59 PM »
The hit/wound/save system is more or less about separating weapon abilities and trying to involve the opposing player, I think.

I understand the appeal at the core of it, but it's created an entire younger generation who think Warhammer 40K is how wargames should be, that's been pretty disastrous, lol.

I believe there was an old Rick Priestley interview in which he says much the same - the only reason for the three rolls was they needed a way to involve both players in combat whilst also having granular weapon values.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2022, 04:39:45 PM »
It's odd, though - because the saving throw just delays the lower-initiative side from getting its own attacks. So if you resolved everything with a single roll each for the attackers and defenders, the combat is resolved quicker with each side getting to roll the dice once, rather than having each side roll the dice three times.

 

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