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Jeff's Gameblog
Monday, 12 April 2004

Reading the rules for James Dunnigan's Origins of World War I led me to go reread my copy of his Complete Wargames Handbook. This book is one of three or four that I own that are fairly comprehensive guides to the wargaming hobby. They're all good books and collectively seem to do a good job presenting a snapshot of board wargaming circa 1980. I find myself wondering if any such reference volumes have been published since. A history of the fall of Avalon Hill, SPI, and GDW would prove instructional, as would an overview of recent developments in the hobby.

The nice thing about old reference material like this is that I might get clued in to old games that are still worth playing. I have little doubt that some fun could still be eked out of Panzerblitz, Napoleon at Waterloo, Jutland or Blitzkrieg (especially with the Blitzkrieg Module System floating around online). Some of these games have to be going for a song on eBay, its just a matter of figuring out which wargames are still considered collectible and which are merely out of print.

But the most interesting data from my re-perusal of Mr. Dunnigan's tome was the discovery of some competition for my 'TSR fever' games. In particular, two Avalon Hill games published in the early eighties seem to cover the exact some material as Dawn Patrol and Boot Hill. I'm talking about Richthofen's War and Gunslinger respectively. I can already sense myself poised at the precipice, ready to plunge into the same old trap sprung upon nearly every wargamer before me. I want these AH games, if for no other reason than to compare and contrast them to the TSR counterparts. For that matter, I want a copy of Phil Hall's Blue Max. Because we all know that a casual wargamer like myself needs three frickin' biplane games.

This is the same sort of thinking that leads men to own 42 different Bulge games. Sure, I'd love to own a copy of Steve Jackson's One Page Bulge, if only as a historical curiosity. But I'm afraid that if I get it I will end up selling my platelettes to buy more little chit games. And that reminds me of the most ridiculouys dimension of these wargaming urges: I don't like little chits and little hexes! The main medium for 99% of wargames I have seen is anathema to me. I'm too hamfisted to carefully maeuver half-inch counters across half-inch hexes. Maybe I just need to buy some foreceps and maginfying lenses like the ASL people.

Posted by jrients at 2:55 PM CDT

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