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Jeff's Gameblog
Thursday, 18 March 2004
Historical Wargaming is Hard
I sometimes feel bad about not doing more historical wargaming. My brother-in-law is a historical gamer. His game room is chock full of boxes of World Wars and Napoleonics. Obviously I enjoy wargaming enough to play BattleTech and things like that, but I haven't even played the copy of Tactics II that I've owned for years. I've been trying to put my finger on why I have this disconnect with such an august section of the gaming hobby. So far, I can think of three reasons why I don't do more historical gaming:

1) Authenticity is hard. When there's a glitch in a Star Trek game you can write it off as a "continuity error". When things don't jive in an historical game it's just a plain oldfashioned mistake. Making historical errors sets off my geekotronic brain. Inauthentic! Inauthentic! Exterminate! That's the main reason I'm so leery of actually running and writing a Jack the Ripper scenario for Call of Cthulhu.

2) Although I like the idea of fighting out whole wars, I don't feel any connection with playing pieces that represent a zillion troops. In BattleTech you move individual giant robots across the terrain. In Starmada you captain individual ships. In roleplaying your playing piece is "my guy". I don't feel the same level of empathy when a counter represent the entire 3rd Tank Corps.

3) Finally, I don't like 5/8" inch counters and hexes. They're too damn small. They're hard to read. I understand small pieces allow you to cram in more game, but dammit I don't like shuffling those little bastards around. The smallest nudge of the map and your positions gets all jacked up.

Posted by jrients at 4:30 PM CST

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