To board or not to board (game)

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MrsWargamer
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To board or not to board (game)

Post by MrsWargamer » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:49 pm

Since 97, I have been increasingly indulging computer wargames.

I suspect, most of my purchases could be best described as picking at a scab :)

No the games are generally speaking all good designs.

But my recent purchase of computer World in Flames, along with those awesome books, has forced me to go and re look at numerous board games I own, or in some cases simply look at a lot of web sites that sell board game wargames as a result of needing to ask myself, 'is this game worth this much really?' (in the case of 160 bucks for CWiF).

It turns out, most of today's epic wargames can run you quite a lot of cash. My old fav A3R in its A World at War guise now, is 175 bucks. Good grief, it sure never cost me that much in the 80s. A full set of WiF can go up to 300 bucks! not that 300 bucks is going to impress anyone that owns ASL. Hah! 300 bucks, wimp :)

But I have been confronting a lot recently the feeling, that so much of what I love of wargaming, simply doesn't exist in computer wargaming.
For starters, in a board game, you sit down, master the rules manual first, or nothing happens. There is no AI so if you want to play it you either play it solo, or you find another human. The game likely will see no patches or updates for 5 years, so what you see in the box is what you will be playing.

Not all wargames are massive mapped monstrosities. Most of my best games sit on a typical dining table just fine. Those that are not mounted, can be with almost no real effort. And it costs little if anything to laminate a map if you are concerned about it sitting flat and surviving use. It takes little thinking to device methods to store most wargames, as it is only a few of the truly epic ones that are space demons.

I find myself, increasingly wondering, not whether I can turn a board game into a computer version, but, rather, can I take a computer wargame, and convert it into a board game version. And this is not entirely stupid. I have the Civilization board game, and while it is a beast to sort out the counters on the first use, and needs a few minutes to set up to use, it's likely the best non wargame I have ever seen. It being originally a computer game, has not stopped it from being an awesome board game.

As such, I have taken to pondering, how many of my computer wargames, are actually board games waiting to happen?
I'd need to print out the map, which often is fixed and non changing.
I'd need to print out the counters, and while my set might not be 100% up to the usual industry standard, there are lots of easy solutions actually.
I'd then need to dig into the guts of the game, and decide on a 'manual' that described what anything did, why it did it the way it did it.
But essentially speaking, all you get with a computer wargame, is often a fancy interface, that you might not really need if you had a nicely written manual that was well enough read and understood.
I CAN be reached
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hmshood
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by hmshood » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:28 pm

Well said.....I still have and on occasion play some of the old Avalon Hill games...I think I prefer the old style unit counters showing traditional Armour, infantry, etc...that being said I enjoy both today.....Panzer Corps is a very good at capturing the essence of the AH's style of play...

MrsWargamer
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by MrsWargamer » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:43 pm

My love hate relationship with wargaming (the products in this case and how they exist, ie board game, digital, and platform of choice).

In the span of a year, I have gone from I hate my computer wargames, to I hate my board games, to, I can't even play my computer wargames, to do I have the energy and option realistically to set up my board games, and more recently, why I am greatly happy that wargames have broken ground massively in the tablet market, why am I personally desperate to play on one, when I don't really go out of the home much... in other words, why am I not playing it on my laptop?

Today, I am gearing up to take a cold bloody vicious look at my board game wargame collection because, life happens and I simply find myself unsure I can indulge them like I might have when I was 30 (which is a long span back now). I sat the other day, doing my best to want to play my ASL collection. I desperately wanted to play it. I am not saying I prefer solo, but I don't mind solo. Yeah sure an ASL player in town would be great. But the game would still be the same game. And I was thinking, maybe if I could re invent it, write up a more clearer rules manual..... and then I realized it was just a make work project, and doomed like most of my make work projects are. The thing is, I don't reeeeeally like where ASL went. The manual is too massive, the game is too massive and while it can play on a small map, with few counters, it still occupies the home like a teenager and his thrice pregnant girlfriend :) I mean, you look at it sitting on the shelf and it's good grief, that's a lot of stuff. And I contrast that with Up Front, just one box, and I likely would rather play that game. Sadly it is a card game and just isn't a solo thing.

I have a lot of other games too, and I keep telling myself, 'oh I'm going to get around to that one'. Maybe I should sell it, and let someone else tell themselves lies :)
I don't really find myself being all that impressed with guys showing pictures of shelves and shelves of board game wargames. Are you playing them? Often? All of them?
Because right now, my ASL is basically as I think it, a $1500 shelf decoration. Hmm even if I was given the insulting price of 800 bucks, well that's a brand new laptop. I'd at least use the brand new laptop.

I have bought a lot of very dumb impulsive computer wargames in the last few years. Great designs in a way, great accomplishments, but, likely as useful to me as my ASL game collection in truth. But at least the computer wargames are easy to store and not overwhelming my senses and making me daily depressed seeing them just sit there and collect dust. I almost never think of my copy of War in the Pacific :)

Age though happens, and I am not any younger. I was looking to sort out my ASL counters recently, and damn, I can barely see the details on the counters. I might just not be physically capable of playing some games.

I have found myself beset with some truths, some conclusions and some needs that likely will be as thrilling as a divorce usually is.
Do I just sell the damn things, cry a lot, and then take the money and buy some shiny new thing I can at least use?
It's too bad I can't sell off some of my computer purchases that were not among my brighter moments.
Some of the monster games though, at least I can take forever to play them, and not take up an entire room indefinitely while doing it.
And I can always project the game onto my TV screen if need be. I don't need to worry about being unable to see them :)

I have had to scale back my obsession with my tablet purchases. I have been lamenting not having an iPad so I can't get the iPad releases, but, then I would be playing them likely as much as my Android releases (not nearly as much as my gem games and tower defense programs :)).

ok bynow I have likely bored you to tears :)
Time for breakfast.
I CAN be reached
email me at sukunai.ni.yori@hotmail.com

shunwick
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by shunwick » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:27 am

Mrs W,

Your posts are never boring.

My solution to the board game v computer game problem was The Operational Art of War. Board game and computer game combined in perfect harmony.

Heaven. :)

Best wishes,
Steve
I love the smell of TOAW in the morning...

MrsWargamer
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by MrsWargamer » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:11 am

Yeah TOAW III was a good purchase. I have read comments grumbling about it in some aspects or another, but I think wargamers grumbling about something or other is a psychological defect of character :)

I likely should be spending MORE time with some of my proven classic titles, and LESS time with the shiny new baubles games promising the moon and only delivering a funny looking beach ball :)

I think the only thing keeping me from selling off the ASL, is a matter of venue. EBay is NOT what I call a great service. And the idea of shipping something the size of ASL is rather daunting. Oh if I could only get the HASL actually separated from the core modules (but that's a lot of staring at a lot of fine print on counters eh). I'm pondering afresh (yet again, but that's one of the joys of being a woman, changing my mind 5 times in a day :)), what to do. I might just mimic the counter array of original Squad Leader and maybe add a few counters from a few other nations to simulate the original games DYO chart (all one page of it).
I'm not expecting to actually have any fun trying to sell it. I might be cursed to just own it, and stick it in a box and pretend it isn't there :)

Meanwhile, I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to get things done (horribly unsuccessfully) and fiddled with my copy of Achtung Panzer Operation Star. I have decided to install all my games, and then write a brief review of why it wasn't installed in the first place. In the case of this game, I think the answer will be, 'most unfriendly and poorly planned interface I can recall in a long time, non intuitive simulation, and over all a game that might be 'realistic' but, is so unapproachable, that it is likely most wargamers will never have the chance to learn that. I have uninstalled it. It's a game I suppose that tried too hard to be real, and not hard enough to be fun.

I suppose there is a benefit from board games coming with extremely well written manuals, not saturated in artwork and focused entirely on communicating the message concisely and clearly. I'm thinking of using my board game manual for World in Flames to ease into grasping the computer game version even though I have the awesome hard cover editions.

I also have the manual for War in the East and Panzer Campaigns, two designs I want to fiddle with successfully some day, but there is so much interface to master just to do what my eyes and tweezers would do with no effort normally :)

Oh what we will do to protect ourselves from needing a large table that is immune to the cat and dust and a breezy day eh.
I CAN be reached
email me at sukunai.ni.yori@hotmail.com

shunwick
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by shunwick » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:26 pm

On the ASL front, there is quite a busy ASL forum over at Gamesquad. I don't now if you are familiar with it.

You might be able to sell your ASL stuff there. Never went the ASL route myself. Apart from a brief encounter with SPWaW many years ago(and which I have never been able to run properly) I have stayed away from tactical games.

Best wishes,
Steve
I love the smell of TOAW in the morning...

MrsWargamer
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by MrsWargamer » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:28 pm

Heheheheheheheheheeh that is me reacting to being told about the Gamesquad ASL crowd.

I'm aware dear, I was present on the forums there more than a decade ago back in the old days even before the merger with Armchair General and then the unmerger.

But the boys over at the ASL forums are a bit rough around the edges, and likely should be given a few smacks in the head from wives (assuming any are stuck with those lads). Tried approaching them, a very regrettable decision.

SPWaW, awesome program if you stick to the Mega Campaigns, the game is weak in the AI though with the long campaigns. I had the pleasure of helping out with Screaming Eagles. Driving me nuts though sorting out the game, always something, currently the artillery screen is acting up. At least the SP Camo versions behave (based on different code though, it used Steel Panthers 2 code, not 3 like SPWaW does).

There are a lot of tactical games out there though with a lot to offer. I think currently the most interesting might be Conflict of Heroes. Has a Squad Leader like aspect, a great interface, and clearly it works well. That and of course Battle Academy which pretty much owns the spot for most ASL like experience. Squad Battles is ok, it's just a bit of a dog for interface.

I'm mainly aiming for games that are rewarding played intentionally solo where the game is a simple matter to play hotseat both sides. I've missed out on a few wargames that looked good, but there was no hotseat angle, and it basically killed the purchase. It's like my Victory the Blocks of War board game. Likely one of the best board game wargames I have ever bought for infinite replayability. But it has zero solo aspect. Just like my Up Front game. Sometimes a great game fails if you have no way to play it against another human handy. My Civilization board game was a great birthday gift, but I have played it only twice. Never seems to be anyone available sadly.

Some people lament AI quality, me, I have no interest in playing the AI at all for the most part. I find the first few playings of a map in Battle Academy are mainly challenging as I don't know what to expect. You make an error in choices and it can bite ya :) But eventually it is a game you have to play against a person. Darned glad the multi player for it is so good.
I CAN be reached
email me at sukunai.ni.yori@hotmail.com

MrsWargamer
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Re: To board or not to board (game)

Post by MrsWargamer » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:59 pm

It has been a very rough season for my 'board games'.

I have gone from putting them on shelves and making them feel valued, to essentially putting them on notice I will sell them in a heart beat if my price is met.

But all is not fully well with computer wargames either. Sort of....

Today, June of 2014, and I just met an old friend who I thought I'd never see again. Ole mr Steel Panthers 3 Brigade Combat. I was pretty much convinced short of finding a museum grade computer it was over. I had tried all the dodges, but there are limits to my geek skill which to be honest, I don't deserve the label really. I can maintain my computer yes, even do some impressive stuff, but no, the moment you go into the guts of anything I get left behind.

My friend today managed to actually get Dosbox set up on my laptop which uses Windows 8.1 A lot of flack has been thrown at 8.1, but it's not really all that bad. It's just pointless to have a touch enabled OS on a non touch enabled system. But wonder of wonders, he managed to get SP3 running and heck even the mouse operates correctly.

Now the thing of it is for me, is that Steel Panthers is where it's at really. That the games hail from the late 90s means precisely nothing to me as a negative. I have no beef with the graphics. You are barking up the wrong tree making a play to promote fancy graphics.

The thing is I'd rather be playing this old game, than something new in a lot of cases. Which is of course a problem if you are trying to make a living selling software.
But the newer stuff, is often not really all that great.

I don't really see me moving forward with wargaming, I almost see a chance of my actually going back.

I've been looking at board games, and realizing that a lot of the newer designs, they try too hard to be too clever. They're really doing a lot of the same thing a lot of the computer games are doing, they are trying to sell me on glitz instead of substance.

I am currently in house hunting mode, that means a lot of things are going into storage and lock down mode, only the truly greats are getting a lot of attention.

I can see a lot of my complicated brain draining complicated creations being told to not call me and I will let them know when I require their attention :)
All I have the energy for, is the old classics by the looks of things.
I CAN be reached
email me at sukunai.ni.yori@hotmail.com

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