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Author Topic: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?  (Read 4577 times)

Offline Vanvlak

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #60 on: August 15, 2022, 05:22:13 AM »
The original question was if over-collecting is driving us to simpler game systems, and in my personal case, I think this is partially true.

...
I had been meaning to answer this eventually, and diligently read all the posts, and Daeothar's says exactly what I would have said! Except the HeroQuest and Space Crusade and RPG bits at the very start, which I did not really experience.

A couple of year back I faced the issues of simplicity and complexity with an evening course of lectures introducing tabletop wargaming. I had to take people with potentially zero familiarity with wargames to potentially far more playing time in recent years than I had, introduce the typology, history and basic concepts of wargames (and that includes hex and card games), and then give them examples, leading up to playing a games. One of my choices was a game based on international aid to an earthquake-stricken country (Aftershock - this one, there are more than one it seems: https://paxsims.wordpress.com/aftershock/#:~:text=AFTERSHOCK%3A%20A%20Humanitarian%20Crisis%20Game,players%20grouped%20into%20larger%20teams))
The second was a home design of a matrix game - this stuff http://www.mapsymbs.com/wdmatrix.html, not the publisher.
The third was the miniature-based game (we did not have time for a hex -based game, as most were a bit complex to learn rapidly enough for one 2-hour session), and I finally went with Tanks, with Fow and other models.
The reasons for the choice were:
1) relatively few models needed - for a 2 player per side game I used about ten per side, which were more than enough.
2) due to the 15 mm scale, models and scenery were easily transportable
3) rules available online for all to read
4) mainly - and getting to the point at last - they were simple to grasp, but still permitted a fun game, with quick action, even though none of the players had tried it before. It's VERY basic, very fast, but permits some variety which is easily applied. This is included on cards which go with the units, but as the numbers of vehicles are not excessive it's manageable. I also added a couple of vehicles without rules for the game, and got the students to try their hand at it, which was an added bonus.

So far it's the simplest but still fun game I found, and the criteria in four make it worth the while. Although I got to this not through over-collecting, but having to teach the stuff!
It was fun, by the way! And the students insisted on staying late to finish the game :D

Offline Norm

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #61 on: August 15, 2022, 02:59:20 PM »
I'm sure there must be instances of systems taking a lot of complexity to deliver the same gaming conclusion that a simpler system might also deliver - but then we are perhaps looking at the journey as much as the outcome.

I know in my very early years of gaming, I had just a couple of sets of rules. They were not particularly simple, but I knew them very well, I would like to get back to that point.

Offline ithoriel

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #62 on: August 15, 2022, 03:11:13 PM »
The increasing depth of coverage of my collection has seen me drawn more and more to rule sets that cover more and more specific periods and campaigns ... which I then tinker with to fit other periods/ theatres!

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Offline McMordain

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #63 on: August 15, 2022, 03:33:29 PM »
I used to play 40k with my mates like that for years until I played in an actual GW store and had it pointed out to me that I was doing it wrong. we always did it as I move, you move, I shoot you shoot, I melee you melee.

Interestingly enough this is how their Middle-Earth game works. It is the rule set that I like the most out of everything I played so far.

As for the question of the topic, I have a lot of figures but it does not really impact what I rules I like or are looking for. However I always gravitated toward skirmish games with light rpg elements, so I don't mind if a game is more complex if it provides what I'm looking for.

What occurred to me though is with less complex systems which use fewer dice rolls, bad rolls or really good rolls can affect your game more than in games with rules that use more dice rolls for the same thing.

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Offline Mammoth miniatures

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #64 on: August 16, 2022, 10:56:10 AM »
Interestingly enough this is how their Middle-Earth game works. It is the rule set that I like the most out of everything I played so far.



that explains it then - I got into the hobby through lord of the rings and must have carried my understanding of those rules over to 40k.

Offline nozza_uk

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #65 on: August 16, 2022, 03:10:17 PM »
Going back to the original question, my collecting has driven me to seek out more generic rulesets that allow me to game a variety of genres - whether they're simple or complex.

I'm very guilty of buying/collecting miniatures and then waiting (potentially years) for a set of rules to be released that would allow me to use them.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2022, 11:10:55 AM by nozza_uk »

Offline tikitang

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #66 on: August 17, 2022, 04:43:59 AM »
I'm very guilty of buying/collecting miniatures and then waiting (potentially years) for a set of rules to be released that would allow me to use them.

There can't be many miniatures out there which can't be used in some set of rules these days?

Offline nozza_uk

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #67 on: August 17, 2022, 11:20:34 AM »
There can't be many miniatures out there which can't be used in some set of rules these days?

Yes, nowadays there is. I've been collecting since the early 90s and back then there were fewer rulesets around and it was either a case of massively modify a ruleset or not use those miniatures.

Offline AdmiralAndy

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #68 on: August 17, 2022, 01:10:26 PM »
Interestingly enough there's a not unrelated article in this months Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, which is more an aspect of are lower complexity/simplistic games diluting the historical flavour.

This is something that's been levelled at Black Powder that is nontheless a very popular ruleset, or that rulesets are doing this for heroic or Hollywood gaming as a get out clause on skipping over Historical grounding of the rules.

But then you do get TooFatLardies games, where there maybe trying to find a balance with this, but very much with an intent that there is an historical feel about the games.

I find the LittleWars TV review of systems to be quite interesting, where historical flavour is a category they assess.

Offline Arrigo

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #69 on: August 17, 2022, 03:16:43 PM »
I think the post was worth reading, even if I found the whole point a bit off for me. There are several issues at work here, from personal enjoyment to definition of complexity. And any answer will be indeed subjective and personal.

First a bit of background. I am a wargamer first and miniature wargamer second. So I will not agree with anyone who says miniature are somewhat 'superior' and I do no intend to get rid of my hex and counter collection anytime. I also do not find these games slanted toward complexity over miniatures. I will flatly said that I think that they are easier to teach and not that complex, despite bias. Having taught conflict simulation at KCL for years (before the charlatans took over) I did not find the concepts all that difficult to explain or pick up. Having a grid and values on counters also speed up playing a lot. Likewise CRT are often shunned in miniature wargames, but they are quick and easy to use, often much easier and quicker than plenty of dices.

Said that... I game for the period flavor so I tend to shun overly generic games. One of my great complaints about the DBx system was its genericity. It had zero period flavor and in the end you were playing abstract squares and rectangles.

For me complexity is neither good or bad.  It is a process. I am willing to accept it if significant results are produced. Classical example, combat. The hit-wound-save approach is mechanically simple but then it become tedious on implementation. In larger actions can become quite annoying. It is one of the reasons I dropped the Blitzkrieg series. I love all in the game except combat. I found O Group approach much more effective even Battlegroup. On the other side there are CRTs, I am used to them, and what they allow you to do is much more flexible and nuanced that raw dice system. The '4x series by GMT is a clear example. In a single table you can condense plenty of variable and also plenty of tactical decision.

And here the idea that complexity appeals only to 'grumpy old white men' appears. I think it is rubbish and basically another of these idiotic categorizations that permeates our society. Personal tastes have nothing to do with age, gender, or skin color. You cannot really use these to address wargaming.  It is like the comment in the seventies we were expected to be like computer. You can counterargue that it is just a knee jerk reaction by people who do not like to use their brain. To be quite honest I think some of the mechanically simple systems out of there (bucket of dice for example) are designed to cater to people who seems to be opposed to use their brain. The downside is that then somehow this creates false ideas about complexity.  There is also the added argument that maybe it is not so much the public expanding, but wargame elements filtering out to other games that then are bunched up in the same category.

Basically it all boils down to what we want. And not every one wants the same thing. And probably here lays one of the issues. Not every game is made for everyone. One of the product of the increase in the hobby base is the diversification of interests. So not everything has to cater for everyone. The game that appeals to everyone does not exist.

Not a great fan of 'elegance' or 'innovation'. I found the first a buzzword to cloak things we like in a fashionable word. But often it does not mean anything except 'I like it'. The second... innovation for innovation sake. You end up doing different things just for doing different things. Even worse is the 'innovation bandwagon' of people doing things only to follow the trend. Hate the pundits in BGG who always abuse of these words, or the people criticizing games because they are 'old school.'

A clear example of the 'fashionability' (yes I made the word on the spot) are Card Driven Games, I own plenty, like several, but found very few are indeed in necessity of being Card Driven Games. Same with the current  fashion of 'COIN' games. I really think only a couple are worth the price, the other are just crap (my favorite target is Fire in the Lake, something that basically fails on all count as an historical game because the game was fit to the system rather than viceversa).  You can argue that its miniature counterpart is Bolt Action. The game was indeed designed to fit 'popular' mechanisms to a popular period.


Yet the general bottom line is that we play games we like and gives us what we want. I dislike Advanced Squad Leader and found the complexity there being just for the sake of it. Yet I have friends who swear it is not that complex at all. And I have to agree the basic skeleton is not that complex. And the other bottom line is that by now we have choice. So yes some people gravitates toward simpler rulesets because they have choice by now. In the past they would have been forced to basically shup up and play more 'complex' ones.
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Offline Easy E

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #70 on: August 17, 2022, 04:11:01 PM »
A strong post Arrigo. 

Yes, it boils down to different folks like different things.  We have seen this "atomization" in many aspects of our modern culture thanks to Social Media and other more tailored marketing/sales focused approaches.

Now, there are enough Indi publishing arms and publishers to try to appeal to all types of gamers out there.
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Offline eilif

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #71 on: August 19, 2022, 10:35:01 AM »
There can't be many miniatures out there which can't be used in some set of rules these days?
These days there are plenty of rulesets with the flexibility to use any miniature.
There's scarcely a fantasy miniature that couldn't find a home in Song of Blades, Dragon Rampant or Kings of War.  Plenty of options for SciFi and every historical period had been covered.

Whether you can find a ruleset to your liking is another question entirely,  but they should be no such thing as a homeless miniature in today's Wargame world.

Offline Elbows

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #72 on: August 19, 2022, 09:17:26 PM »
I've typed out a lengthy reply to this post several times, only to delete it as I found myself rambling.  lol

I'll just summarize with this simple point; never before have people had more options for their spare time.  Manufacturers know they're competing (generally speaking) for a slimmer and slimmer slice of the pie.  In the 90's growing up as a teenager I barely had internet access (the occasional "10 hours" AOL disc, etc.), did not have access to social media, streaming services, nor the budget to buy loads of video games nor movies/TV, etc.  No cell phone, etc. etc.

If there were games outside of Warhammer 40K, Necromunda and my intimidating copy of Advanced Squad Leader, I was more or less unaware...and even less able to find/study/purchase other games.  Becoming dedicated to a single game, or spending an inordinate amount of time was more due to a lack of options than steadfast adherence.

Today in my 40's, I have access to...everything.  An infinite amount of ways to spend my time.  I can buy homemade rules written by someone on an iPad in Manchuria with the click of my mouse.  I can order bespoke miniatures from 3D printers all across the globe, etc.

I think major manufacturers (not small indie shops) are going to streamline as they're looking for the lowest common denominator to guarantee sales.  I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but the days of complex games with an intent for the players to invest in an 8-hour wargame, are less common.  Fortunately with the internet we have access to both.

I think it's fair to say that "most" people probably have less of an attention span than we did in perhaps the 80's-90's when we did not have access to so much variety in how we spent our spare time.  Big game companies know that, they know they're competing against all of those things - not just other wargames.
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Offline Arrigo

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #73 on: August 19, 2022, 09:53:59 PM »
Interesting point Elbows,

but with some caveats...  lol

I can agree with your description of the 90s, but I found much easier than you to expand and play my wargame collection. Either I was lucky to have two shops in Bologna at the time but even without the net and social media (that I rarely use for gaming news...) I was able to keep more or least abreast with upcoming games. Avalon Hill (and its sub-division VG), GMT, GDW, The Gamers... I had both access to choice and time to invest on them. Of course the advent of the widespread  net improved things a lot, but I would not say we were without choices. I still recall my 18 years old self discussing my experience with Jim Day MBT with my platoon commander at the Military Academy. And remember it was the Italian Army Military academy, so I was far away from the main sources of wargames.

As for the current situation... depends... I would not say that manufacturers in general are going toward the lowest denominator. If not because there are issues with that. I see that in some miniature games and producers (let's name call... Warlord, Flames of War in the Historical Field), but to a certain extent you can argue that they are all people coming out from the GW world so they are following the model... and one has also to wonder hos much the model is successful or how much the model is a myth. For example I have  quite large 15mm and 28mm collections with plenty of models from the aforementioned brands. But I do not play their games. So maybe their sales are successful despite their 'model'.

To move to the map and counters field, I have read plenty of people singing praise of the simpler games GMT is putting out. Yes they sell, but these people often forgot that games like the Next War Series, MMP OCS, and even a monster like Summon of the Trumpets sell.

Something that at times we fail to understand is not that the player base is shifting, but that companies that would have been difficult to access to the non initiates, have more exposure and thus they can present products with different targets. Sometimes I look at rating on BGG (oh the horror!) and link these with real people. You can often see that the crowd that sing praise of the WEURO (the new fashionable term, combination of Euro Game and Wargame) often are not wargamers. Even worse/better is in the 80s and 90s you could have argued that the main choice was between Risiko/A&A on one side, and ASL on the other (oversimplifying), nowadays there are plenty of products in the middle.

With miniatures is the same but also different. When I get the new game box the only thing I have to do is remove the shrink-wrap, punch out the counters, clip them, read the rules and set-up. With miniatures you have to paint them (not even talking about terrain!)... of course we all known there are some heretics that use unpainted miniatures and just put boxes on the table to make hills... but still the entry effort is higher. So it opens another question, for people who like to put a lot of effort in the miniature part, is the lowest common denominator applicable? Worth noting that in the two wargame magazines I read, WI and WSS, while there is clearly a strong presence of the two historical 'heavyweights' certainly other rules are in evidence. Battlegroup and CoC probably are even more popular than Bolt Action.

To summarize I do not think that over choice is generally leading to lower complexity. My experience is that lower complexity tends to attract people who have just passing interest in wargaming. Of course there are exceptions.

Also something that had not been really been mentioned is the difference between scope and complexity. Why I am playing Lion Rampant and its offsprings? For the complexity or the scope? I see a big advantage in LR in the scope. I can create a force I am marginally interested with much less effort than for a full size arrayed battle ruleset. Yes there are people that scoff at smaller games (I remember some post on the oldglory UK blog that were literal rants...) but definitely they have their own good points. They also make sense historically (no Leipzig everyday), allow us to 'manage' ( o_o lol :o seriously?) our buid ups and still provide us with interesting games. And some of them are anything but 'simple' or 'simplistic'.

Best,
Arrigo 'the rambling'

Offline Norm

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Re: Is over collecting driving us to lower complexity systems?
« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2022, 10:30:50 PM »
On the question of investment, yes it is easier to get into one boardgame than paint an army ……. but, the painted army can be used with one set of rules to play multiple battles and scenarios forever, whereas the boardgamer will likely have to buy several games to cover their battles of interest and it is the number of those games with their individual rulebooks that collectively give us our first marker of complexity as we have to read a different rulebook when shifting from game to game, i.e Flying Pig Games Gettysburg to Worthington Publishing Antietam and the to Decision Games Shiloh etc.


 

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