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Breaking the Modern Miniature Game Mold

 Post subject: Breaking the Modern Miniature Game Mold
PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:06 am 
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Unctuous Toady
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It seems like all sci-fi and fantasy miniature games today fit into the same basic format. You have a basic rulebook or boxed set and then separate armies or factions each with their own rulebook and miniatures.

Warhammer and 40K of course do this, and the lesser specialist games tend to do this as well, but contain everything within one rulebook or boxed set. Warmachine and Horde are setup along this same basic structure as are Warzone and Void (soon to be Metropolis). I get the impression that the new Infinity game is going to go this way as well.

Can a game be successful that doesn't jump on this bandwagon? And if so, what would it look like?


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The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:11 am 
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Well, when Rckham started with confrontation, you got a rule-leaflet and a card for the miniature. No book, no box set, everything you need in the blister. That's changed a bit now though...

The 'net has changed things a bit as well. You could take the LRB and Wiki concept a step further than SG and EFF have done so far. But I think you would still have factions/ races etc. i'm not sure how else you could do it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:41 am 
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Yes, point well taken about the effects and options of electronic media in changing rules and their distribution.

I geuss maybe I'm just chaffing at the whole formula that miniature games seem to take now. It all seems so entrenched and cast in stone; this whole tournament format, army versus army and buy & paint 100 miniatures for your force type mindset.

What about a story based setup centered around small and varied groups of miniatures? What if Reaper miniatures set out to create a 28mm miniature game designed to go with their huge range of character models and monster miniatures? Players could use all kinds of cool miniatures in their collection and there wouldn't need to be any drive to force players to focus on just one army. Best of all, players wouldn't even need to put together an entire army.

Maybe the game could be based on model more like Inquisitor or Hero Quest or the original Rogue Trader rulebook. Naturally it would have hind sight from all those systems. Though perhaps the goal would be some kind of narrative. Maybe this would be done my focusing on the narrative? Or maybe it could focus on the characters (perhaps via some kind of experience system)?


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:50 am 
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Well, there's Cadwallon, i'm not sure how close to what you had in mind that is. And there's Auzure's NiS, which seems to be the sort of story based RPG skirmish you're suggesting here? Something along the lines of =][= 28, but with simpler (more Necromundan) rules might be cool as well. Actually I started work on a skirmish system along those lines. It was halfway between necromunda and =][=, worked quite well, but i'd sooner just play necro than design a whole new system.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:20 pm 
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shiver85 wrote:
Actually I started work on a skirmish system along those lines. It was halfway between necromunda and =][=, worked quite well, but i'd sooner just play necro than design a whole new system.


Well, I guess I'm just looking at all the products on the market and they are starting to seem more and more alike. I'd like to see one that breaks the mold. And then well, I'd buy it. :D

But why isn't anyone else thinking along these lines? Especially the folks that are putting games on the market? Its like the profit motive overrides everything, or at least that the current way of doing things is seen as the only viable one.


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:51 pm 
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Well, Inquisitor doesn't really feature factions as such. I mean, there are factions described as part of the fluff, but there's nothing in the rules that enforces any particular restrictions on the player based on the style of warband they like. For a game that's pretty much factionless, look at M:TG. You can use whatever cards you like in whatever combination you like, and the only restriction comes from its playability (or lack thereof). I don't know how well that kind of thing might tranlate into a miniatures game, though. I don' see why it couldn't be done, but I do suspect it'd probably end up seeming fairly dull.

As for lacking a rulebook, well I don't know. The rules have to be written down somewhere, in a book, on leaflets, character cards, whatever. What's the difference?


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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 10:24 pm 
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What constitutes "successfull" ?

5150 from twohourwargames certainly has broken this mould, original Warzone did as well (2nd edition went with the GW method)

Historical games never really followed it


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 1:28 am 
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Well, if you are looking for a different kind of miniatures game... I might recommend Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 or 3.5. I don't know if you have played it, but the modern D&D rules are very much set up for miniatures play, with complex rules for things like formations and using terrain and positioning to gain an advantage over an opponent. Indeed, you might say it's "skirmish level" fantasy miniatures gaming.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 4:17 am 
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We have one gut in our group who got bored with D&D, so when we are not playing 40K or Necromunda we play a down and dirty quick game of
"Jamies Fun Game". What James did was toss together a short bunch of rules and character stats. Then a simple to hit and damage dice system.
We have used it with necro Figures and as an RPG on paper.

It started as a Special Forces game with modern weapons then we morphed it into a D&DA setting and now we are playing it in feudal Japan.

I have been thinking of posting it in the RPG section.

The damage is very life like, most of my troopers have died from head shots or grenades (my own) :-(

The Japanese setting has proved interesting as we have Samurai, ninja's, marksman and grunts. Grunts are brawlers with some gunpowder skills.

It is not uncommon for the whole party of players to die.

It takes about 5 minutes to set up a character and we have played where if you are killed early the group leader can call for backup and you are then back in with a new character in minutes.

It is pretty fun to see all the crap that happens to your guys.

My best night I had 6 kills out of 7 shots, then the one sentry I missed fired a burst at me with his AK47 and hit me in the head and penetrated my helmet so I was dead. My next guy is called in as back-up and didn't hit anything but blew the legs off the group leader with a misplaced grenade. OOPs... :lol:

If anyone is interested let me know and I will ask Truckler where I should post the rules.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 7:20 am 
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wfwhite59 wrote:
If anyone is interested let me know and I will ask Truckler where I should post the rules.


It sounds interesting to me.

You can post the rules in a new thread anywhere that you think is appropriate. If they are mainly miniature rules then in some miniature related section, if they are RPG rules then in that section.

If you think of the rules as still "in development" you could post them in the Game Design & Theory section for further discussion.


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 7:57 am 
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Sounds good I will get them together and see about posting them.

Most likely I will put them the RPG section since we use them more that way.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 2:37 pm 
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I've never played it, but doesn't Heroscape work the way you describe? Just an assortment of miniatures fighting for whatever reason you want.

I think its kinda of foolish to try to beat GW with GW's own tactics. Simply because there wasn't a GW before GW. Back in the 80s, there wasn't a huge groundswell for a point-based mini game that is designed for tournament play.

Before Starbucks, there wasn't a nationwide demand for a coffee house on every corner of every street and in every mall across the country. Starbucks created the demand. Just like GW created the demand for its particular type of game. There can't be a new GW after GW since there wasn't a GW before GW (does that make sense?)

To be hugely successful, a new game is going to have to do something that Warhammer or 40K doesn't even attempt to do.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 3:16 pm 
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runequester wrote:
What constitutes "successfull" ?


I suppose successful is a sort of vague notion here. I think of 40K, WarMachine, AT-43, etc as successful games. I wouldn't put something from TwoHourGames in the category.

By successful I'm thinking of a marketing and financial success. If someone were to write on this forum, "Hey go buy this game..." and people in Europe, North America and Australia could all purchase it at a reputable game store in those areas then the game would certainly be successful.


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 3:21 pm 
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Akkala wrote:
To be hugely successful, a new game is going to have to do something that Warhammer or 40K doesn't even attempt to do.


But what is IT that GW does and doesn't do that make it successful?

For instance, is the whole idea of assembling and painting your army integral to the whole success of GW? AT-43 doesn't emphasise that aspect of the miniature gaming hobby with their game. Though they do stick to the "collect your own faction" methodology.


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 5:50 pm 
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The games that are "successfull" by those definitions do so by forcing people to buy, in order to stay competitive.

They are usually all "bring what you want", tournament style stuff, which mandates buying lots of "official" mini's to stay competitive.


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