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Re: [GZG] Game designer Charles S Roberts passes

From: Tom B <kaladorn@g...>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2010 00:10:43 -0400
Subject: Re: [GZG] Game designer Charles S Roberts passes

Gzg-l mailing list first
experiences in this line were with some games I'd have to go look
in my closet at the folks place even to name now. I now Air War figured
the mix and I think it was AH. I had fun with some of those games, back
he day when all you could find in the local hobby store was some early
Grenadier D&D minis (like the fat knight in plate mail and the peasant
padded armour and a pole arm - how useful for dungeoneering....). I
3rd Reich as well, always wishing I had secured a copy. AH and SPI did a
of good work with these sorts of games.

On the other hand, I recently walked through the boardgame section at
Origins. It was an amazing contrast to the miniature games areas and
illustrated why I now prefer the latter and eschew the former.

The miniatures games were hosted by people who were enthused to have
see their games. They were enthused to have new people participate or
spectate and ask questions. They were welcoming and the games all seemed
have a social atmosphere.

Contrast this with the chit-pusher zones. Each table was two (generally
older men) battling it out in one-on-one style combat over a board with
chits. Their focus was intense, like chess masters. They also radiated a
casual antipathy for anyone that might distract them from their focus,
quiet spectators. The whole place had a combative, bitter feel to it. It
quiet, but just radiated a vastly anti-social vibe.

At least that was my experience of it. I felt unwelcome and intrustive,
some sort of pest, even without voicing a single question. The complete
ignoring of anyone not in their games short of an occasional tense look
convinced me this was not the sort of environment I'd enjoy spending
time in.

Miniatures games with teams on each side are inherently social - they
involve dice most of the time (fickle and treacherous) and have team
dynamics. They also have a visual element that everyone can appreciate,
those receiving a brutal drubbbing at the hands of the other side.

Chit-games tended to have more rigid rules with stodgy layout and formal
grammar. Have you went back and read any old AH game rules and compared
to rules from a modern board-based wargame? No comparison!

And chit games are litterally a game of one-upmanship - two men, locked
combat with rules that tend more towards chess for tactical complexity
to the chaos of dice. There is no one on your team. Win or lose, you are
only one to blame. And there isn't a lot to look at, so there isn't even
aesthete's joy of miniatures gaming.

Yes, I started back in "Basic D&D" or "Blackmoor" (the little book) and
AH wargames. But that age is passed and I don't regret it. The few times
do hall out the old games, we recall how clunky the mechanics are (even
group games) and how far games design has come (or tastes have evolved).


Q: Anyone know where the name Avalon Hill came from? I admit to being

Thanks for the post Indy.


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