Every week, #TuesdayNewsday comes back around to keep you abreast of what matters in the strategy gaming world
“I’m a new wargamer, what’s the best place to start?”
Man, we’ve seen that pop up a lot online over the years, haven’t we? And we can all probably script the same answers we see over and over, right? Memoir ’44 or something from the Borg family of games. The ASLSKs. Something card-driven. Plenty of valid suggestions, like War at Sea are all out of print. Does Axis & Allies count? What about Twilight Struggle or the COIN games? Heck, people are suggesting Root and not ironically. Just ignore the asshole that always thinks he’s1 being funny and suggesting Case Blue.
What doesn’t get asked?
“Hey, what conflict or topic are you interested in?”
Someone whose grandfather was a paratrooper in WW2 and who wants to learn more about those battles might start off with a greater affinity for something featuring airborne ops in Normandy, Sicily, or Holland than with a game about Shiloh. Someone who just visited Patriot’s Point in Charleston and is now interested in carrier ops in the Pacific might not be as interested in Rome vs Carthage.
New wargamers are going to have the greatest positive experience with a combination of 3 things: a topic they’re interested in, a good way to learn the game2, and an enjoyable opponent. You can downgrade one of those two things and probably still have a good time. You take away 2 of them, and it’s an uphill struggle. Take away all 3, and you’ve got a one-and-done gamer.
Note, this advice applies to any kind of game, not just a wargame; but the topic of the game is more intricately tied to the game system, scenario, and mechanics in wargaming than in most other kinds of general tabletop games, which is why there are 837456293478 different kinds of Caracssonne games using the same mechanics.
Find a topic that new wargamer is interested in, and the on-ramps get much easier. Once that topic is narrowed down, we’re now looking for an easier-to-learn game within that topic, and unless you’re looking for something on pre-Cambrian siege warfare on the Indian sub-continent, there’s going to be options to choose from. Find that new wargamer a good way to learn the rules of the game you’ve chosen. Again, there are some great YouTube videos out there for learning wargame rules, from Patrick to Gimpy to Justegarde and more, if you don’t have a good in-person teacher.
The last one is also huge. It can be overcome, as even new wargamers can intuitively understand that one yutz shouldn’t be representative of the entire body of wargamers. But you’d like a new wargamer’s first experiences in the field to not be with an opponent that makes you grate your teeth just to get through the game. It’s one reason we can be so particular about how we ask our Origins GMs to approach their game sessions at the convention.
So there you have it – three keys to getting new wargamers on board. But that all-important first sign of interest “I’m a new wargamer, what’s the best place to start?” should not immediately be met with a hail of titles being launched like Ukrainian Molotov cocktails at a Russian BMP. Instead, take a moment to further refine the interests of the new wargamer, to make better recommendations that are more likely to appeal to our budding grognard.
And don’t be a dick.
- Zurmat has landed, as Catastrophe Games are getting their next Kickstarter out the door
- Matrix Games finally released the long, looooooooooong-awaited Distant Worlds 2
- Thin Red Line Games have released an expansion on their site that allows you to stitch together Under An Iron Sky, Deadly Northern Lights, and Sacred Oil, into one big campaign called Mutually Assured Destruction
- Ares Games are shipping the 3rd edition of Fire In The Sky this week, and no, it’s definitively not a 2021 release in any way, shape, or form
- GMT’s latest shipping boxes are getting to everyone, so folks are cracking open various combinations of
- FFG has released new starter decks for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game LCG
- Compass Games are shipping Paper Wars #100, which includes Bloody Retributions: The Battle of Inkerman, 5 November 1854
- ASL folks! The Gamer’s Armory’s now shipping Rally Point #19, the newest scenario pack from Schwerpunkt
- Possibly the most ridiculously-stacked fund-raising bundle we’ve ever see is this one from itch.io, which is donating all the proceeds two a pair of charities offering relieve in Ukraine. Seriously, folks – it’s 998 games that normally sell for over $6500. And it’s $10. Yep, $10 for almost 1000 games. You could play 1 game/day from this bundle and it’ll take you 2-1/2 years to get thru them all.
Oh, and they’ve raised over $5,403,000 as of this moment and no that’s not a typo.
- Lock n’ Load Publishing has all of their Tank on Tank series on sale, at 50% off, which is a pretty good deal
- Operation Husky is on sale on Steam right now at 40% off
- Big digital RPG sale over at Humble Bundle
- Assault Games has a bundle sale on Assault Red Horizon ’41 core game plus the art book
- Matrix Games decided to celebrate the release of WarPlan Pacific on Steam with a big sale on all the WarPlan games
- S&T’s game-edition magazine sale this week is S&T #302, with the Great Northern War included (Sweden vs Russia in the early 1700s)
- Big sale at Kraken Dice this week
- By the time you read this, Draco Ideas should’ve launched ONUS! Traianus, which covers the Roman Empire in their ONUS! card-based game that feels a lot like minis (top-down views, etc) and is reminiscent of the older Battleground game.
- Compass Games have that whole “last-minute pre-orders through Kickstarter” thing going again. This time it’s for Barbarians at the Gates which should start shipping next month or so. Ardwulf has an unboxing of the game, too.
- Small Samurai Empires is getting an expansion, and you can get it all, or just what you’re missing, from their latest Kickstarter. And who doesn’t love Samurai meeples?!
- Tiny Tome, the companion to Tiny Library, is now on Kickstarter, with a whole book of one-page RPGs. Not RPG adventures, complete 1-page RPGs
- Mantic Games have two big-ass bundles on pre-order, in support of the upcoming 2nd edition of their Firefight sci-fi minis game: a 2-player set, and a “mega-bundle”
- Saturday Night Fights ~ The LGB Battle of Aspern-Essling for “Commands and Colors: Napoleonics”
- The designer offered us the 1809 Virtual Snappy Nappy ~ YouTube TTS Recap
- My Own Worst Enemy ~ Cruel Necessity Part 3
- Battle Lab: Defining “Logistics” for Wargames
- Mentioned in Dispatches talked game conventions with Justegarde
- Upcoming Dragoons Events
Planning continues for Connections Online, being held from 18-24 April 2022, with the Core Events being held 19-21 April from 10am-4pm EST. As the Armchair Dragoons are the co-sponsors of this event, you’ll get regular updates each week in Tuesday Newsday between now and launch.
- Core events are largely set, but exact times are being confirmed. They’ll include
- Recent Innovations in Wargaming
- How Wargamers Get Hired
- Designing a Professional Wargame
- Methodologies for Designing Cyber Wargames
- Wargaming Outside the NatSec World
- Extended events will occur across all 7 days, at a variety of hours that do not conflict with the Core Events. Current planning includes, but is certainly not limited to
- Wargame Bootcamp (multiple sessions) for VASSAL / TTS usage
- Moderated panel, and a seminar game for the 40th anniversary of the Falkland Islands War
- Wargame Design Workshop, where participants will actually design the broad-strokes mechanics of a wargame
- Registration will go live in March
- All Core Events will be streamed through YouTube, but using unlisted URLs, which will limit live interaction to registered attendees. After Connections is over, streams will be made public. Some – but not all – Extended Events will be streamed.
- If you are interested in volunteering with Connections Online, please drop a note in our forums or contact us at armchairdragoonsevents – at – gmail – dot – .com
- Winning Your Spurs for Chain of Command
- The Epic Battle of Laon for Commands and Colors: Napoleonics
- Hetwill & GenChaos pulled together a couple of sessions of Nopleon’s Wheel from OSG, organized in our Discord server; you can always dop in and try to find your own games there, too!
- We’re probably done recruiting for the upcoming Blood Bowl league, but you can still follow the action in our forums as the league starts up
CSW Dallas is coming up imminently! 12-15 May, in… well, c’mon now – it’s in Dallas
- Details can be found here
- Game signups are over here
- There’s a discord server you can join to discuss, too
The other wargame industry headlines
- It would be nice if wargame publishers would quit putting “coming soon” on their game listings on their websites, if it’s at least 6 months away; it’s more accurate / realistic to just put “working on it” or something that doesn’t generate false hope that you’ll see the game within the current ongoing sports season (and there’s a LOT of you that are guilty of this!)
- Dark City Games have some freebies you can download on their site, which give you a taste of their gamebook adventure format
- Here’s another preview of the new ESR minis from The Wargaming Company; we talked with David about them here and here in a two-part interview
- There’s a nice Flames of War video with the battles in Tobruk that shows off the new desert war boxes in action
- Avalanche has a nice historical look at the Austro-Hungarian cavalry in WW1
- Here’s a very interesting, and math-heavy, look behind the curtain at how Fort Circle Games choose to price their upcoming Votes for Women game, due in any day now; read the whole thread
I am setting the MSRP for Votes for Women and I wanted to do so in a transparent way that also encourages feedback as the price will not be officially set until tomorrow. The traditional way to set MSRP is 5x or 6x of landed costs.
— Fort Circle Games (@fortcircle) March 14, 2022
- This week in our forums
- An interesting and (suprisingly) not-yet-over-run-by-trolls thread at BGG about modeling cultural differences in wargaming
We don't mess around when we play ancients. pic.twitter.com/cGukyp6G33
— Centurion's Review (@CenturionsRvw) March 14, 2022
- Rocky had a really good look at logistics rules and how they might apply to what’s going on in Ukraine right now, and Brian Train had some thoughts on the article, too
- Moe is back on Whiskey Charlie tonight
- A good read from Friend-of-the-Dragoons Matthew Kirschenbaum about the narratives we tell to make sense of the future
- Ardwulf’s counter clipping stream talked about monster wargames, and GMT shipments, and plenty of other hilarities
- Brant also crashed the ETYWTKAWBWATA with Gary & Dan, and Jess from Noble Knight Games
Don’t forget we’ve got a dedicated area of our forums for the professional wargamers.
- A podcast discussing what the (eventual?) Battle of Kyiv will look like, and it won’t be pretty
- A wargame at the US Army War College gives participants a chance to practice the operational level of warfare
- AFRL is analyzing the logistical issues with the Russians in Ukraine, and looking for potential help in expanding their modeling
- The GUWS webinar this evening will talk about Principles of International Relations in Commercial Board Games, and then on 3/31 you can hear about Air Force Wargaming
- Analysis of why Russian estimates were wrong, by several US flag officers
- Rex is bringing some self-reflective snark to the table
Clearly we didn’t have Ukraine in mind when we wrote the rules for the Matrix Game Construction Kit. pic.twitter.com/j0qmiMHJnG
— Rex Brynen (@RexBrynen) March 13, 2022
That’s all for this week!
Be sure to drop by our forums and join the fun, and next Tuesday we’ll drop some more news on you.
We appreciate you visiting the Armchair Dragoons and hope that you enjoy our weekly news dumps!
Please leave us your feedback in our discussion forum, or in the comment area below.
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