Pimpcron: What Is Best in A Wargame?
Pimpcron asks you a loaded question this week.
Look mom! The old Pimpcron is back again ready to tickle your brain’s under-region. Hmmm. That’s an odd mental picture; and I’m the one who made it up.
So let’s get into full disclosure mode:
I have been working on a skirmish wargame for the last year. And when you sigh and say, “not another wargame!” this one is different, I swear. And before you groan and say, “Oh, yeah, this one will be different!” it will be. Rules are free, use your own models, and the setting allows you to use models from any genre and really any scale (although I’ve designed it for 28mm). This isn’t a business venture; this is a game I’m making for myself and putting it out for free (when it’s finished) and hopefully people will enjoy it. I started it because I have so many models that either don’t have a game, or models from games I don’t play anymore.
Our very own BoLS Comment-Veteran Euansmith has been helping me playtest it! He’s a brother-from-another-tomb-world and has been a delight to work with. Thanks Euan! We’ve both decided to put the Revolutionary War behind us and get along despite what happened.
This is us. He’s the good looking one.
Anyway, all of this work on the game has made me really question: what is important to a wargame.
So What Is Important?
I guess it comes down to your preference in play style. Do you like a highly-detailed Wargame Simulation or do you favor a streamlined Wargame system? Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Age of Sigmar are two great examples of this. I won’t go into the minutia of it because if you are on this site, and reading my gibberish I assume you already are familiar with these two games. But you get the point, 40k is full of rules and complexity from its gameplay to its list building. AoS has very simple rules and list building with more complexity being added on the warscrolls, but still nowhere near 40k. I, for one love both of them but 40k will always have my heart.
Difficult Terrain- Is It Worth It?
When I first started playing AoS I was a little irritated on the lack of difficult terrain rules. Difficult terrain adds a whole level of depth and tactics to 40k that AoS doesn’t have. But with depth comes more complexity, and when you’re writing a wargame you have to ask yourself if the extra rules are worth it. I want to add options and tactics to my game, but are the extra rules associated with it worth it? I find this issue to be like having to pee when I’m asleep. Gosh, I want to pee, but is it worth the hassle of getting up? If I just pee the bed will my wife notice? Hmm. I GUESS I’ll get up. But my brain is on the fence.
“This doesn’t matter! I have Assault Grenades!”
What Does Cover Do?
Obviously AoS only gives one type of cover bonus and only for being IN it, while 40k offers several different types and levels of cover. I love the complex tactical options 40k has, but it does sometimes breed arguments over what is covered and what is not. Since AoS only has area terrain, it cuts out any argument. They are either in it or out, unlike your obese cat.
I think we can all agree that points should be a thing. That topic has had more coverage than this stupid election. I won’t go into it too far, but when making a wargame, balancing the points is not only crucial, but a pain in the ass. Points allow two differently-structured armies to have a fair game in theory. Do you play AoS without points? Well congratulations, because you either have an awesome and friendly opponent, or one of you is having a bad time.
The only way that “no points” works is if all options are equally effective/potent. Then points wouldn’t matter. If they really wanted AoS to be points-free, they should have made all units worth X amount of points in their formula and then had no points in the game.
D6’s might be a no-brainer for some of you because they are so plentiful and probably most of us play GW games. But Wild West Exodus uses D10’s to great effect and Deadzone uses D8’s just fine. A larger spread of possible results when you roll the dice allows for many more options in combat. What if instead of a 3+ to a 5+ to hit in close combat for 40k, you had a scaling possibility of 3+ to 8+? That would give a lot of different possibilities. Is it necessary? Maybe not, but it is something I’ve had to decide when making my own game.
if I have any suggestion, don’t require giant dice for your game.
I think we can all agree that the fluff of the game (the setting) is crucial to holding your interest. Many of us have started playing 40k after reading Black Library books. And I’d say most of us won’t start playing an army that we don’t like the fluff of. But do you need everything spelled out for you such as races and factions? Or do you like things open-ended and swirling in mystery with room to make your own stories?
I love Firestorm Armada, but the thing that really disappoints me is the lack of fluff for the races. I play Aquans and Terrans and when making my fleet, I have all kinds of questions. You can search forever and only find a few little scraps of the social structure, military structure, and what-not. I’m the type of person who loves making my own chapters and factions, but if I’m going to play their races, I want some sort of direction to go in. And no, fan fiction doesn’t cut it.
So What Are The 3 Most important Things That Draws You To A Wargame?
For me it would be:
- Easy-to-learn rules with depth to entertain a veteran
- Balanced gameplay where there are no “bad” units
- Good setting that makes you want to play
~I’m coming dangerously close to finishing my wargame. I’ll let you know when it’s finished! I’ve got room for a few more serious play testers if you’re interested!