The other night I was talking to Trollsmyth and the subject of wargamers came up. He mentioned how he loved the setting of Warhammer 40k, but he just could not deal with the “I attack, then you attack” rules, “especially with aerial bombardments….”
I had a bad experience the first time I tried wargaming with a couple of people, and I’ve never gone back. I was in a room with 7 other players, (all vastly more experienced than I), sitting around a huge table that had miniature scenery set up. It took half an hour for my turn to come. I just sat there watching them argue the rules and moving their pieces, bored out of my mind. When my turn finally did come, I didn’t say “fire” (by accident) and so my line of troops was over run, and I was pretty much out of the game. Wasted 3 hours for a 5 minute mistake. Yeah, no thanks. Besides, I just saw the miniatures as another expensive hobby I couldn’t afford.
But you see, I guess I was predisposed not to like miniature wargaming. I grew up playing Real Time Strategy games like Age of Empires and Starcraft. Most of the guys I was playing with that one time were in their 40s+. Not surprising since they probably started playing in wargaming’s golden years, the 70’s.
I couldn’t help but think the entire time I was playing “why bother with this? I can hop on my computer and play Total War, and start playing instantly, and get instant results.”
Yes, to me the Total War series is far superior to wargaming miniatures. The computer handles all the rules so there is no flipping through books for half an hour, and most importantly everything is in real time. A battle is much more exciting when everything is happening now. Quick! Calvary are trying to outflank you and take out your archers! Pikemen, divert! Double time!
Everything is much more thrilling when you feel the pressure to act quickly and make split decisions. Not to mention the fact that the games are MUCH cheaper. You don’t have to buy a million different unit miniatures and paint them. Nor do you have to worry about building terrain. The games offer you much more variety for a cheaper price.
Plus, the computer games are much more immersive. The miniatures are always stuck in one position, always doing just one thing. When they die you take them off the table. The scenery doesn’t change at all. But looks at WH40k on the computer:
Dead bodies, firefights, blood on the ground, craters from explosions, destroyed buildings. The troops are alive and move. They scream and fall when they die. I mean hell, you don’t have shit like this with table top gaming: