What Do You Want?

We all have different reasons for gaming, and might rate the myriad aspects of the hobby as a whole in a variety of ways. Is board gaming more your cup of tea than tabletop games with figures? Do you like collecting miniatures or is it painting or gaming with them that really floats your boat? Can you not bear to play games that use twenty-sided dice? Or only those that do? There are no right answers.

One of the reasons I think this is an intriguing and worthwhile bit of introspection is that it informs how you and I choose to purchase our toys (or not). Like everyone else, gamers have to be picky with their purchases. Few can afford all that their interest might demand. Do I have a point? Well, funnily enough I do. Getting to that.

To get the most fun for your buck I think you need to understand yourself. It’s easy to follow the trend, and jump though the hoops of the latest cool marketing ploys, but will that be the mostest fun you can buy with your limited funds? Perhaps. Asking yourself some questions before you part with your cash may help ensure you stick less of it back on Ebay after one play. I’ll give you an example. Me.

I like clever and elegant rules, beautiful models and gorgeous artwork. However, I never have enough time to paint or play all I want to (who does?). After thinking about this, I decided not to buy models unless they had a specific game purpose. Smog, for example, is a range of models of the most outstanding quality and wackiness, but I never bought any as I couldn’t do anything with them in terms of gaming. If I had the time to paint something (which is a whole other post) I’d make it something I could stick on the table and play with. Of course, now SmartMax have done a game for Smog, I’m poring over what my first purchase will be…

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14 Responses to What Do You Want?

  1. I’ve actually got a Frontline Gamer… erm… gamer matrix (yeah the title needs work) that I use to get peeps thinking not only about their hobby but that of their opponents as well. I think you’re right though many people buy stuff without thinking, hell I do it all the time. I actually brought a SMOG mini not knowing what the rules were like, so I’m really interested to see what its like and it’ll be cool to see what you think of it as well.

  2. Quirkworthy says:

    “gamer matrix”? Do tell.

    On the play through we had I’d say Smog was lots of fun. Going to take a run up at painting it cos the models are dauntingly lovely and I’d hate to make a mess.

  3. Yeah my Mei Ling has stayed firmly in box!!! Mainly because there was nothing to play and also that its quite a daunting prospect painting her.

    My Matrix will come out soon enough, I entered it into the House of Paincakes HoP Idol blogging contest because I think they were running low on numbers. I’ll whack it up on the tinternet tomorrow after the deadline for entries passes. Nothing major though just something to get people thinking about what sort of hobbyist they might be, most will cluster round the central spot to be honest as a balanced hobbyist but their are other types I’ve come across.

  4. Perhaps I have a bit of a different perspective I can share. I am testing skirmish rules to use for a campaign that run in conjunction with a railroad simulation on an operating model railroad. Model railroad operations (the term model rails use for simulation of operations) can be very complex, arguably to complex. What I started with was building a model railroad with a goal of deeper simulation of management decisions beyond the current consensus in the model railroading (bringing up the subject seemed to offend the model rails which was interesting as “you are not planing to play with your toys correctly” just seems like an odd issue). Thinking it through management decisions are often about people and management of risk which does not work well with figures glued to the table so enter table top gaming. The model railroad goal still remains (I have several thousand years of back story to cover fantasy environment concurrent with railroads) but my current activity is playing DKH and comparing it to my campaign needs (I have an orc and human survey team painted and ready to deploy after I have my first train table in place so it seems recreation can become a sickness). I was going to use the Lord of the Rings rules for my campaign but Jake has done such a good job developing characteristics for the races I don’t think I can go back to the LOTR rules. I don’t plan to play multiple war gaming systems just use the selected one as part of my unusually detailed campaign and the odds are very high the selected one will be Jake’s work or based on it. Model railroading tends to have very high modeling standards (correct rivet count and size for example) and that means some of my modeling tools and experience tends toward over kill for normal war gaming needs. I have enjoyed getting some figure painting lessons and am improving in that area (war gamers can teach a the typical model railroader a lot about painting figures) but I plan to paint what I need and then play with them until they are worn down to nubbins but you can be sure the population of figures will grow as ideas for new scenarios come up. With the railroad models I plan to construct them to a reasonable standard and run the wheels off. I am not avoiding modeling it is just not the primary goal.

    For my wilderness campaign (railroad seem to constricted in dungeons) I also need large monster types like trolls and ogres. Are humans and goblins part of the DKH plan? My campaign is premised on parties of mixed race (party development and limited hero development with no super heroes) to handle a variety of scenarios where the score is money accumulated not body count (after all what else would a railroad accumulate). I like the idea of a monetary goal over time because risk management can provide the gamer with complex choices when you want the prize and you do not want to lose what you have or the members of your party. I am thinking magic would be fun but I want to limit it so I am thinking along the lines of magic being hard to do in the field and that most magic would be created in a wizards lab and stored in vials so they could be bought and deployed by almost anyone. It seems right that a wizard figure would be unusual in a game and that they are busy in the lab making things to sell seems like a good reason for them not be be there.

    Currently I hang on Jake’s every word to make sure I can use his work in my grand plan and it is looking very good so far.

  5. Quirkworthy says:

    Wow, well there’s a different take indeed. Board games/tabletop games + model railroading. I’ve not heard of that mix before, and it just goes to show you that what I was on about is even more diverse that I had suspected. Don’s also right in the general standard of modelling in the model railway world. I’ve found some excellent model railway sites on building model scenery that put anything but the highest end wargames demo tables to shame.

    @Don: thanks for the complements. Always nice to hear your work’s appreciated. It sounds like a very ambitious project you’ve got there, and I’d be fascinated to see some pics when you’ve got it all fathomed out. I particularly liked the idea of not playing properly with your toys. Sounds like I can make an amusing T-shirt out of that 🙂

    As far as DKH development goes, basically I’ve got a load of ideas that could take it a number of different ways. What needs to happen next is that Ronnie and I agree on where Mantic are going to go with it in terms of specific products. When we know what boxed sets we’re aiming for, I’ll do the things that won’t make it into them as free pdfs to expand the system that way too. I can’t tell you what order things will happen in yet as I don’t know myself, just keep popping back and I’ll let you know when the plan’s been nailed. My long term aim is, and always has been, to make it playable with as wide variety of races as possible, and a fantasy game without any magic at all would be odd. We already have Necromancy, though I expect what people expect is fireballs!

    • I have been working on a two stage scenario where three dwarfs are trapped when the undead come to life and the dwarfs have to run for it. In theory they can win it all by making out the exit but you would need exceptional dice rolls. In testing as the dwarfs I never make it out the exit and take the option of running into one of the rooms along the way and locking to door to wait for help often with one remaining wounded dwarf. The undead can win it all in the first stage by killing all the dwarfs but that also has not happened in testing. Very happy with the first stage and the surviving dwarfs hold over the second stage. I am working on the second rescue stage but it needs more work on the balance I want to make sure the dwarfs try hard in the first stage and don’t just run into the first room with a door. The project is giving me a better understanding about the game balance with the dwarfs and undead which is good. When I get done I will post the information on my web site where I will be adding a DKH section. Is it ok If I use you excellent DKH graphic? I am starting to plan some more scenarios one which will use some cows I painted up. I will post pictures of the cows on the web site so you can see I am not joking. Can’t have a good war game without cows. 🙂 I don’t know if what I am doing is ambitious I see it as more of a commitment because I know exactly what I want so I can plan in advance and make the commitment to a multi year project.

      A narrow focus also helps me conserve time and money by avoiding things that don’t match the plan. Knowing what I want also helps me benchmark what I am doing. I can try something or make something and review it against my goals and see if I am getting there. Your rules are helping me get there so I am grateful for that.

    • fiend says:

      There’s precedent for board games + trains (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9209/ticket-to-ride (one of my old gaming clubs used to play this one regularly)), but I’ve not come across using railway modelling kit for it.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Absolutely. Lots of train related board games, it’s the model railways bit that I’ve not come across before (though when I was little we did fight a few battles across my mate’s railway layout).

  6. Quirkworthy says:

    Don, it sounds like you’re doing sterling work. Post up your web address so we can come and marvel 🙂

    Sounds also like you’ve got the right attitude to getting a scenario to work: play it lots! I like the idea you’ve got for your linked scenario too. Looking forward to playing it!

    And another T-short slogan: “Can’t have a good war game without cows” 🙂

  7. I got my scenario done and posted to my web site. I will take some pictures and add to it later. I am almost done with some doors what will work with my shale tiles and will take a picture with the scenario dungeon layout and the doors in place. I will also show the dungeon with the boxed tiles in the same layout so can be compared. The link for the page on my web site is http://www.12milestation.com/index.cfm?link_cd=dkh I have not done a link wordpress before so hopefully it will work.

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