I’ve never called myself a Wargamer.
Not to say I don’t think it looks fun; quite the contrary. When I see several gamers standing around a table with meticulous scenery and miniatures marching across it, I feel a leap of excitement, joy, and pride for my (and their) hobby.
I just never felt like I could enjoy the games, and to a certain extent that is still true.
The problem with a lot of Wargames for me are that they are simply too cumbersome and inaccessible to newbies, and if by some miracle of dedication you manage to flow with the rules, you are so in deep that you might as well call yourself a veteran. “Congratulations, here is your expensive collection of miniatures.”
Well, things might be changing, since I have grown to really love and respect the work of Mike Hutchinson, of Planet Smasher Games.
I was hooked on Gaslands first, a skirmish game of repurposed matchbox cars and thrilling movement rules. Not only are the rules quick and easy to follow, but it allows you to make use of matchbox cars, something I feel that many people feel they have little excuse for playing with (beyond collecting) once they reach adulthood.
And everyone who we’ve played it with says the same thing: “Wow! That was so fun, and I don’t really like these sorts of games (i.e. wargames)!”
And now A Billion Suns has hove into view for me, and after finishing the rulebook (very short and easy to read), I am starting to see the touches of Mike Hutchinson’s auteur design.
Once again, a system which uses universal rules to incorporate any size of miniature (this time it’s spaceships), and once again a simple system which conveys a great deal of depth in very few rules.
Despite Emma’s doubting looks, I don’t think I’ll be bowing at the altar of miniature wargaming anytime soon (I’m trying to keep our gaming collections manageable, confound it). I certainly think Warhammer 40k and its ilk will always be little more than an interesting setting, and too expensive for me to get into.
But wargames with elegant design and no need to buy hundreds of dollars of specialized miniatures? I think I can get behind that.
Erwinian updates to come soon, got a lot to work through. Starships and Sorcery is underway, though!