Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Favorite Ladies - A Top Ten List

So Frontline Gamer put the ten games that have influenced him the most (good or ill). Fire Broadside followed with an insightful commentary as well. These are the two gentlemen who are mostly fueling the Infinity thoughts I have dancing in my head. Anyway I thought the commentaries were well written and thought provoking and several of my most influential games were on their lists. So I thought I would follow suit and explore this a little as well.
This doesn’t include computer/console games and they have influenced me greatly as well. But in the end I keep coming back to wargaming, minis and rules.

D&D Basic – My first. She was so seductive and mysterious. If ever there was a gateway for gamers my age it was her. She treated me well and when I came back to revisit her later in life, she was just as beautiful as ever. Her sisters and cousins were a real blast too(gamma world, star frontiers, villains and vigilantes) but no one was ever as good.
SPACE MARINE(2nd Ed) – A different sort of lass from across the water. She was so new and foreign. We dated for years. And she always came through. She was a gateway drug for mini gaming. And it opened a world of possibilities. One of the best and funnest games ever. Before the bloat, before the volumes of rules. 64 pages of rules. That was it. And it was awesome. I still visit her now and again. She makes me feel young.
DBA – A very grown up Lady. Prim and proper. I courted her for a while and tried to make a go of it, but after a while it all kind of felt like chess. She did however, connect the dots for me for the history that I loved and mini gaming that I was beginning to love. So she lead me to bigger and better things. But she was the first historical. I wouldn’t even give her the time of day now, as I think the world has simply passed her by.
WHFB/40K/NECROMUNDA/MORDHEIM – Welcome to the party. Come on everyone is doing it. Seductve, evocative, self contained, over confident, this club girl was who everyone wanted. Big armies, new rules, background fluff. But as she aged and tried the same old tired moves, or invented new ones you could never help but feel unsatisfied when you were done with a date. She always looked good. But something was missing. And she just ran off with your credit cards. Time to break up. I have had the same love/hate affair that most people have had with the Evil Empire. Some games were really gems,( Space Marine, Man O War, Warmaster), some just got bloated and decrepit, making Nurgle himself proud of their corpulence. In the end, the resin will ruin them, but the only thing they really had left was some cool models.
MAN O WAR – Brutish and loud and an absolute blast to be with, this confident little lady seduced many a gamer in its heyday. My second favorite GW game. Fantasy sea battles were a revelation. And there were norse. Need I say more. I still have her, I still have all her fleets. She always satisfies.
FULL THRUST – A smooth and sleek evening dalliance. She is warm and engaging and isn’t terribly demanding. There isn’t a lot of depth there, but she sure is fun. She is aging gracefully as well, but could use a little touch up. An introduction by the Baron to me many years ago. My great love of Sci Fi fleet combat was finally realized with these rules. They are getting old, but that doesn’t mean they are any less relevant or fun. I would love to see an updated version with updated clean crisp styling but not a lot of rules changes. This thing has been put through its paces. It knows who it is. And you love it for it. A fan based update of the basic rules was done with some really nice graphics and style. Wish GZG would do a full rules book update. They’d sell a mint.
COMMANDS & COLORS/BATTLELORE – A confident and robust lady. Pretty on the outside, much depth underneath. On a whim I played the Fantasy version of this game, Battlelore, with the Barons son on a rainy afternoon waiting for the rest of the Generals to arrive. We had a blast. The rules were easy to learn, but much subtlety lie beneath the surface. It seemed to embody the best of both board games and mini games. Finally a vehicle for my hordes of 15mm Demonworld guys. I immediately rebased them all. We then started to play Commands and Colors, the historical and earlier version of the Richard Borg rules(Commands and Colors, Battle Lore, Memoir 44, Battle Cry) that are so fun and engaging. I liked them because the speed of play, the lack of arguing and gameyness that can happen, and cause they are fun. They will be an important part of my gaming collections and games for the forseeable future.
FISTFUL OF LEAD – A total tramp. She has been played and played and played by us for years. We have used FoL as our go to game forever. Always a fun time. Always a great game. This is the Barons lady, so treat her nice. I am Dancing with her sister right now, Warriors of the Wasteland. And the Baron is whipping her other sister into shape-FoL:Horse and Musket.   
FIRE & FURY – A saucy old tart of a game. You either love em, or hate em. I have probably played these rules for longer and more consistently than any other rule system. I always loved them and we fielded huge forces and 5 people a side games. No other game could have done that. It was a slog, but it was fun. I even built massive 15mm Napoleonic armies to play the Nappy variant, Age of Eagles. It was not as successful, and frankly turned me off to nappy gaming until…
BLACK POWDER/HAIL CAESAR – My newest mistress. I was already  in love with the period addressed by the rules, and the style, attitude and general gentlemanliness of the game was a nice breath of fresh air after so many detailed and fiddly rulesets about the period, home grown  or published. It is the rule set that motivated me to finish my British Pennisular army and feel like I was painting toward a goal. That’s huge for me. Its Brother, Hail Caesar, has motivated me to keep my hordes of fantasy figures and not sell them, so that they could be used for the HC rules. That was a revelation and a breath of fresh air as well.
Honorable Mention:
Supersystem/Goalsystem – While not as known as some names on the list, she has been an incredible companion these last 5-6 years. Interesting and innovative, the the goalsystem mechanic is just damn fun and easy to understand and get on with playing. It is the sole reason a fun miniatures(not rpg) super hero game can be played that captures all the flavor and action of a good team-up or annual. The intuitiveness of the system allows it to be ported to a huge range of possibilities across genres too. I am sure she will move up the list as I continue to spend time with her.
Crimson Skies – Sleek, sexy and fast, this fine dame had it all. A great rule system, and well thought out and semi-believable alternate pulp history, and of course superb minis. We have had a lot of fun with her. We still get her out occasionally, and our buddy Chris, of the Cluck Amok blog had the most awesome giant blimp for gaming. I have a giant tub of the minis, the original box set of rules and Wright Fury with your name on it.

Heavy Gear - I will always love the thought of you. You are beautiful to look at, but I can't stand to spend time with you. In my mind you are perfect. Reality does not match. Complicated, laborious, and simply not fun. All of your reinventions are the same. You look great, your story is compelling and interesting, but deep down you can't escape the fact that you are not enjoyable. I have mentioned it many times on the blog. I love the concepts, the minis, the background, the look, the art, the feel. But lets face it folks, these rules(pick you version) are not enjoyable and fun to play. At all. It's a huge disappointment that has been with the game since its inception. Please, I implore you DP9 scrape away all vestiages of the mini game from its start to now, and totally write a new game. Make it fun, and fast and engaging for all sides playing the game(do not use IGOUGO), make it simple(simple doesn't mean smart, it meas playable). I won't rant on price cause I guess if you can get it, get it.  

Well that’s it. A lot of the things on this list were introduced to me by my oldest friend, and founder of the Basement Generals – Ze Baron. Thanks to him for being the always willing opponent and force in my own little gaming world.  It seemed right to equate each one of them with a woman or lover. Cause it has been a whirlwind affair with gaming that started when I was 11 and read my first copy of D&D basic under the covers of my bed with a flashlight, Tolkien on the night stand.

After I had written this post, the Baron and I had gone to lunch to talk about gaming and stuff. His current thoughts are on the blog today. I also heard from some other people that understand my current malaise(as one of them put it). It seems we are all sort of searching right now for the sweet spot. I hope we all find it. Paint, build terrain, game, have fun with your friends. It doesn't get any simpler than that.


Brummie said...

The 'Specialist Games' WTF where the best sellers IMO. I had and sold most those games regrettably (mistakes of youth). Man 'O War was a firm favourite loved my Dwarf Nautilus and Balloons

Gunnar said...

Great post Addict! I wish I was knocking out a fraction of what you are doing. Keep it up.