Along with movies, non-fiction books can be an excellent resource for scenario designs. Have you ever played an fictional engagement that was portrayed in book? Are some authors (Clancy?) or eras (age of sail) easier to game than others? Sound off with favorites and examples.
Some of the earliest wargame rules – notably Little Wars by H.G. Wells – used miniatures for gameplay. More recently, there has been an incredible uptake of wargames that have pre-built and painted miniatures (Wings of War, Flames of War, Warhammer, to name just a few). What’s the primary fascination with miniatures, and what can they do better than cardboard on the tabletop?
Even before the advent of high-explosives, artillery was one of the most telling weapons on the battlefield. Most casualties in WWI were caused by high-explosive, and the very term “shell-shock” refers to the effect that constant bombardment has on spirit of the fighting man. But do wargames provide an adequate representation of the effect of classic and modern artillery? How many games turn on the effective (or ineffective) use of artillery? What are some examples of artillery done well…and not so well?
Many modern era games focus on the spectacular aspect of tank and AFV combat. The Flames of War – Open Fire! introductory game doesn’t even include infanty units, and infantry rarely make a meaningful appearance in future “Mech-war” games. Meanwhile, your dear contributor has always believed that the true mark of a talented wargamer can be seen in how they well they use infantry. So what say you? Do tanks and AFV’s get too much attention in modern and science-fiction wargaming? Does wargaming fortune usually favor those who use their tanks well?
If necessity is the Mother of Invention, then the desperate days of war have brought about some very unique (but not always successful) battlefield innovations. To wit: the Japanese Lunge mine, Russian mine dogs, and the German Goliath. Do experimental weapons show us the value (or futility?) of unique or alternative thinking in waging war, or are they just fun to play and an entertaining distraction? What games have you played that allowed you to deploy some of these odd weapons?
Military history is full of great losses, such as Little Big Horn, Beaumont Hamel, and the Raid on St. Nazaire. What do you think of games where “winning” still occurs within a context of inevitable defeat? Are the only measures of victory in such games either a) inflict more damage – or b) evade disaster for longer – than in history? Can you make a compelling game out of US perspective of Pearl Harbor, or the loss of Torpedo 8 at the battle of Midway? And do such games have limited replayability?
We have all seen (but never perpetrated!) game play that takes advantage of the rules and realities of gameboard design (c.f. edge-of-the-board tactics). What are some of the most egregious examples that you have seen? Are you willing to make at least concede a few loopholes in the name of convenient game-play?