Thursday, 27 April 2017

Wargaming, blah blah blah.

I've got nothing to show you, toy wise, so I thought I'd sprout a bit of verbal diarrhoea at you instead. Sit still, while I fling this in your general direction!

I've been on the hunt, unconsciously and/or consciously, for the perfect rule system all of my gaming life I reckon. The wargames that I've come across in the past (that I've liked enough to want to play that is) have only ever catered to one game mechanic really well, while failing, or butchering the rest. And while I've not found the perfect system yet, I've been more than happy enough just playing with the closest to perfect system instead. I can't be the only one who thinks this way. Or am I? Maybe I am? Read on if you want to learn more about my possibly solo delusion.

My main problem with rule systems (to date) is that there are generally two types. Ones that have a whole a huge tome that you have to plough through to know how to play the game, lots of tables, stats and other game critical information spread throughout. But the tabletop only ever contains the "playing material" i.e. the minis, terrain etcetera. An example of this would be RT or WFB. The second type, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite. A paper thin rulebook, with straight forward rules, and maybe a small reference sheet. But the tabletop is covered in a shit tonne of counters, as well as the minis! Just to keep track of everything i.e. Stargrunts II.

And while enjoy playing the above mentioned wargames, their less than ideal. Their just missing a few key elements that would making them the perfect game system for me i.e. no counters on the table & intuitive rules.

Pulp Alley is one rule system I tried a few years ago that promised to address some of the problems I mentioned. The weapons and combat mechanics had been simplified, in a good way, but the rest? Not so much;

I'm not a fan of their card system as it replaces much of the skill element I like in a game with too much randomness instead. Card systems are fine if they introduce "some" randomness to a game, but not when they play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the game. If my input is not really having any meaningful impact upon what's transpiring, then what's the point in playing? Might as well be playing Snake & Ladders.

The objective locations are a little meh :( It's nigh impossible to come up with unique objective locations every single game, so they just end up becoming same same.

The almost impossible chance of killing head honchos is pretty annoying too. And yes, before you say it, I know it's a game of pulp, but it just ends up feeling like your efforts are pretty useless sometimes. The big guys manage to elude death time after time, head shot after head shot.....bloody infuriating!

So, where am I now then? In my search for the ultimate system, my holy grail of gaming? Well, I've given up on finding it in print that's for sure. So I'm in the process of melding/shoehorning what I think are the best elements, in my limited experience, of what I've played into one system. I'm erring more with Stargrunts II to tell you the truth. It has an ace dice system that takes care of many different mechanics i.e. ranges, troop quality, injuries, cover's quite snazzy really!  But it's proving to be quite a difficult task to coming up with a way of separating the squad element of the game into that of an individual character system instead. More work required :(

Well, that's enough rambling from Mr Papafakis for now. I've got a lot of other gaming related projects that require my immediate attention. Till next time brothers :)


  1. Another way to divide the rulesets is between the miniature roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer, where things are added into the models (statistics + weapons + armour + equipment + skills/abilities = gaming statistics) and on another hand miniature wargames where models are classed into distinctive types with integral abilities (chess, Hordes of Things, Battlesworn). I myself began the hobby with Warhammerisque school of gaming, but have gravitated more and more towards the latter. I would like to suggest for you to google for "Mik's Minis Battlesworn Rules Review" and "The Stronghold Rebuilt Fu Manchu's Halls of Horror" to give you ideas. Even if you decice to cling to the Warhammerisque school, the links could still give you new perspectives from outside the box point of view.

    Personally I hate the cards, chits, tokens, plastic templates et al cluttering the table: they make the table look ugly and destroy visually the diorama-like aspect of a well made wargaming table has. Also it helps if a game uses only a one or upmost two basic six-sided dice, no buckets of them needed and no specialist dice like D4, D8, Dx used - google "precision backgammon dice" to see what I mean. Measurements, if needed at all, ought to be in centimetres as in Adeptus Titanicus and Space Marine, not in inches or millimetres.

    1. Hi Mr Anon,

      That's interesting option for a wargame that I forgot to talk about, having a stat sheet for each individual character. That's another good way of getting away from "playing from the rulebook" type of game, where you have to flick through the tome too often. I'll definitely check out the two rule sets you mentioned, thanks for letting me know about them :)

      While I think were on the same page with our mutual loathing of chits on a tabletop and using bucket loads of dice. I disagree with using specialist dice as a negative. If you haven't looked at Stargrunts II I'd suggest you have a look at their dice system. The different type of dice are all different colours too, so it's really easy to see on the tabletop. I'm not really fussed with the measurements, as long as all the guys move "X" amount then I'm ok with that. This part of the game is just personal preference I think.

      Thanks a lot for your comments:)

  2. Stargrunt 2 is a good call. I like Dirtside too but that's a totally different story. I'm not clear on what ur trying to recreate when you talk about the character element though? Would Necromunda be any good?

    1. Hey Ragsta,

      What I was trying to say, obviously not very well :), was that Stargrunts II only uses squads...not individual characters like RT. And while I like the squad aspect of the game (there are a few fan mods of the game that turn Stargrunts II into 40K) I'd still like to be able to have it play like a small scale skirmish game, like Pulp Alley.

      Necromunda is a good option for a character driven skirmish game as well, but there's a few elements of GW's game mechanics that I don't like which I'm trying to get away from. One other aspect that I forgot to talk about was the IGYG mechanic. Your guys just sit around as passive elements while getting shot at :( Stargrunts II handles this issue very well.

      I think Pulp Alley takes care of the Character information thing quite neatly. No A4 stat sheet like some other games, just a small card on the side of the tabletop with all of the info you need. It eliminates the dreaded "tome flicking" exercise completely :)

      Thanks for your input Ragsta, much appreciated :)

  3. Have you tried Epic Armageddon? Its a good mix between the two

    1. No I haven't, but I'll definitely check it out. I'm always open to new game systems. Thanks man :)

  4. I really like Donnybrook you might give it a look.

    1. For some reason I never saw your comment pop up on my notification Grove. There's so many rulesystems to look at isn't there. I know you guys swear by Donnybrook, I better go have a look see :)

      Cheers brother.