Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I started wargaming a bit over 20 years ago, playing micro armor at Wheeler AFB in Hawaii.  The post had some vacant buildings, and let us use one.  We had tons of space, and played mostly WW2 microarmor, but at some point or another played all forms of games.  There initially was a lot of roleplayers, but they started taking over, so one day they kicked them all out, as well as all children under 18.  I was allowed to hide under the table, as I was the only minor there who never played RPGs, and preferred the wargames.

A year or so later I played cititech during lunch at high school, and fell in love.  Soon after I played Ogre, and a few other miniature based games and even SFB.  I have always been military oriented, served 7 years in the infantry before my body gave up, but still cherish everything military (except the actual killing, which I think is the absolute failure of intelligence/brainpower).

So that is my background, and may help people understand where I'm comming from.

I love the BT universe, its vast but not *too* vast (traveller).  The military units are manageable, the amount of units comprehendable, and the rules have grown to scale from a lowly grunt on the field to planetary invasions (and beyond, once IO comes out).  So basically to me, it is just a scalable wargame in a fictional universe (historical can get boring after years).  Apparently very few people see it that way.  To me a 5K vs 5K battle is just stupid, as equal fights so rarely happen in warfare, ESPECIALLY when there is no clear objective.  It just goes against the reason for fighting, unless your in an arena.  I also know in the universe that mechs aren't ubiquitous, and in fact are outnumbered at least 4:1 by tanks, and probably well over 10:1 in infantry, yet somehow, mechs are the predominant units in every battle I've seen lately.

So I've come to the following conclusion.  

There are 3 kinds of BT players.  One kind, which probably represents the largest portion of players, are IMO the "Games Workshop Clones".  These folk love the game, probably can tell you the name of *every* mech and what it has on it, are *very* defensive when somebody questions the way they play, yet always want to play quick one-off equal force games.  They almost always choose only mechs, and tend to avoid anything realistically representing the universe.  They love optional engine explosions and gauss rifles, and avoid rules like forced withdrawl or moral.  These people think BT is only a "beer and pretzels" game, in complete denial of the thousands of pages printed that counter that.  These folk hate any detail in the universe at all, except more mech sheets.

The second kind are the opposite, much like me, where the only fun games are ones where balanced forces don't exist.  Ones where you *need* to worry about having only 5 shots for an AC20.  Ones where they would rather have something *more* behind their missions than simply "kill thy enemy".  Often they love lots of detail, and want to track various logistics.  They embrace combined arms and play the game like a simulation, not like 40K (which is fun for what it is).  

And the last kind are the 2nd most popular, the ones inbetween, usually moving more towards the first kind, but liking some detail.  The warchest system is more than sufficient for them campaign wise, but they are happy playing equal arena battles.  They would probably enjoy a campaign, if they could find the time, but are just as happy with a pickup game.

I am totally ok with any kind of players, but I hate the argument that details in the universe prevent *anything* from happening.  For example, if only a single AS7-D Atlas was ever built, there is nothing stopping those folks from taking 4 into battle, yet they argue against seeing hard numbers.  My biggest beef is they are so loud spoken when it comes to "NO DETAILS!", but having a billion details wouldn't change the way they play at all, as those folk don't even play the game as the BT universe presents it.

If TPTB published the numbers of every mech that existed, in every year, and the salvage status of each of those every year, it wouldn't stop me or anybody or that matter, from taking any design they wanted in any salvage state in one of the silly 5k vs 5k arena games.  Yet if that detail existed, the more data oriented of us could produce vast amount of cool things like random unit generators or force generators with ease.

I love detail, and adding detail to a universe can't do anything but improve it.

And as for missions, people please, have a freaking goal, don't always have 1:1 forces, and use combined arms!  If your not, your ignoring thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pages of text that writers have been spitting out for 27 years.

/end rant | / off soapboax

1 comment:

  1. Well, I posted a long comment here, but apparently the system would not accept it.

    I liked your comment on the 'Battlefield ranges' forum thread. It won't get a response from anyone there, but that is a point in its favor.

    Not the real reason for those numbers, but still thought provoking and, unfortunately, introduces a bit more 'reality' than folks might like into the conversation over there.

    Reminds me of my own stories a bit.