Friday, January 13, 2012

My 2012 Resolution - Simplifying - Part 1

My first resolution, to post at least twice per month on this blog, is already off to a good start as this is my fourth post this month (fifth if you count my New Year's Eve post on resolutions)... the key will be to keep it up.

But now, onto resolution Number Two...

As posted earlier, one of the steps I need to take in order to make the most of my gaming is to simplify - concentrate more time on fewer games! I have been giving a lot of thought to the games I am interested in and I've come to the conclusion that there are just way too many. (I am sure I am the only gamer ever to have this problem...) So I did something I am not very good at: I gave up!

I surrendered and admitted to myself the reality that my time, talents and treasure have limits - and my gaming desires do not. So I need to discipline myself and concentrate on the games that appeal to me the most.

There is a reason I titled this post "Simplifying - Part 1." This will be an ongoing process, and changes in focus are inevitable. There will be updates as I refine and change my list. I know myself well enough to know that my interests are varied. Simplifying is meant to be a way to be able to enjoy more gaming, not a strait-jacket that will restrict me from anything not on my list. But since adding anything to my gaming repertoire will necessarily take time and money away from something else, I want to be sure I am adding games that will add value to my gaming. It does me no good to devote myself to a ton of great new rules if I never get to actually play them.

The games or companies that I will initially concentrate on (or re-concentrate in most cases), and why:

Song of Blades and Heroes (Ganesha Games) - This is a terrific set of fantasy skirmish rules, and Andrea has translated the basic mechanics into a host of other genres and historical periods. The beauty of SoBH is that, like Force on Force, it is not dependent on any one manufacturer's figures - they'll all work, and you can mix and match to your heart's desire. In fact, one of our favorite ways to play SoBH involves using Lego minifigures for the warbands. Stay tuned for several upcoming posts on Lego and gaming.
     In particular, I plan to concentrate on creating Lego and 28mm warbands and terrain for basic fantasy battles (dwarves, elves, humans, undead, etc.). I also want to model some small Napoleonic units to use with Song of Drums and Shakos. Skirmish-level games are about all I have the patience for when it comes to Napoleonics - painting 500+ figures to field an army is not my cup of tea. And, I will work on modern-day and/or post-apocalyptic warbands and zombie hordes to use with Fear and Faith and Flying Lead. Andrea has many additional settings and genres under development right now, all using the same elegant mechanics, and I am looking forward to seeing them as they become available. 

Dystopian Wars (Spartan Games) - this is a beautiful game, and has very elegant mechanics in my opinion. It is not overly complicated, which means that I can play with the kids. The miniatures for Dystopian Wars are beautiful! I am very much looking forward to getting some painted and on the table, as I already have a good start on an FSA fleet for myself and a Blazing Sun fleet for my son. And, as Spartan Games has shown with month after month of new releases, the game is expanding and they are continually adding new models to it.
     I also love the new look of the models Spartan is re-releasing for Uncharted Seas. From what I understand, the mechanics of the two games are similar, so sliding into Uncharted Seas should not require learning a totally new set of rules. But that is for the future - first I will concentrate on painting up the models I have for Dystopian Wars, and getting in enough games to feel comfortable with the rules. 

Flames of War (Battlefront Miniatures) - I've long been a student of World War II and its engagements, and the few times I have played FoW I have really enjoyed it. I think the scale is perfect for WWII gaming that includes armored forces as well as infantry. I already have the Second Edition rules (yes, I know they just announced Third Edition!) and many of the supplements, and I have a ton of models that need painting. I may need to add some small units here and there as I build my force, but for the most part I don't think I'll have to sink a ton of (more) money into this game right away (sorry Battlefront!).

Force on Force (Ambush Alley Games) - This is the latest ruleset I've bought, and I am very eager to try it out with some real games to see how it all goes together. My goal is to try this with 20mm figures. I don't have any yet, but I have started putting together a typical Middle Eastern-style building to see how the scale compares to 28mm and see how much actual terrain I'll need to fill a gaming table. 

Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (Games Workshop) - As a long-time fan of the Tolkien books, as well as the movies, this is a must for me. Especially as Peter Jackson is releasing the Hobbit films in December 2012 and 2013, which I hope will spur new releases and expansions for this game. I already have most of the rulebooks I need, and a ton of models to get me started painting, so I can get stuck in without a huge investment of additional gaming capital. Since Games Workshop prices are generally quite high, this is a very important point.
     The LotR gaming system has been exported to pirates (Legends of the High Seas) and cowboys (Legends of the Wild West), so once again, I can play several themes by learning one basic system. Besides, as you can tell from the title of my blog, I have a thing for pirates, and modeling ships is one of my favorite things to do. I've got LotHS and all the LotOW books, as well as bunches of models to paint up already in addition to some ships that just need painting and detailing to be complete.

That should be more than enough miniature wargaming goodness to keep me busy in 2012 (and beyond). Just before Christmas I picked up the Pathfinder Beginner Box, so I'm also planning to do some more role-playing gaming with the kids. I'm also hoping to play more board games ranging from Survive! Escape from Atlantis, to Lego Heroica, to the Dungeons and Dragons games Legend of Drizzt and Wrath of Ashardalon (we don't yet own Castle Ravenloft).

As you can see from the list, I tend to prefer systems rather than games - learning lots of different rules can be time-consuming, complicated and confusing. I like learning a system once, then apply the basics of that system to different themes and genres. Also, I tend towards skirmish level games, rather than army games. While I love the visual appeal of having hundreds of minis on the table, the reality is that at this stage of my gaming life that is just not feasible. 

What games do I own that didn't make the cut? (Please keep in mind that none of the statements below are intended as a knock against any of the games mentioned. They are purely my opinions in relation to my particular gaming situation. And since my opinions and my situation are subject to change, I may revisit any or all of them in the future.)

Warhammer and Warhammer 40K - first of all, I think Games Workshop prices are too high. The overall consensus of the reviews I have read for their new Finecast line of resin models has been negative. Also, I find that their world is too dark for my current tastes. This may be because my views have changed, or because their fluff has changed, or because now I am more interested in games I can share with my kids. But I do know that I am no longer comfortable with a lot of the backstory to their games.
     I have a ton of Warhammer and Warhammer 40k rulebooks (going back to the original Rogue Trader) which I will likely sell off or trade. I will likely hang on to many of the models, since I can use them with several other game systems.

Malifaux (Wyrd) - This is a tough one, but it boils down to the fact that I do not want to invest the time to master a new gaming system, coupled with the fact that the world of Malifaux is very dark as well. First the system - the use of cards rather than dice is a fantastic innovation, and I like it a lot. But in addition, every model has special abilities and triggers that play off of other models. At this stage of my gaming life, I don't have the desire or time to invest in learning all of the possible combinations and maximizing them to my advantage. Second - as I mentioned above when talking about Games Workshop, the world in which Malifaux is set is quite dark, and while that is not necessarily bad in and of itself (a zombie-pocalypse is dark too, and can be quite fun to game), it is too much for my kids and me. All of the characters cater to their dark, evil side in some way, with some being outright serial killers.
     However, I do love the look of the models, in particular the Guild guardsmen and some of the Outcast figures, and I plan on using them in other gaming systems rather than as their intended Malifaux characters.

Now that I have begun the process of simplifying my gaming, I can turn to the next step - organizing!
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