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Posted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 4:06 pm
by Salathor
Does anyone here do any computer (or board) wargaming of the ASL, Combat Commander, War in the East, The Operational Art of War, etc. variety? I have been getting into it over the past few years and it's really a great hobby that combines the best parts of chess with the best parts of learning any historical subject. Lots of fun, lots of research, and the $/hr for entertainment is incredibly low.

If you do play, what strategies have you used to find opponents in real life, and do you find that you play more with a single player or do you have a group/club that you play with?

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 4:41 pm
by jacob
I played/owned the board version of ASL in undergraduate. Mostly with classmates staying late after classes. Never really got "fluent" or executing strategies beyond "exchanging shots from behind cover". WH40k gained a bit more traction (and somewhat more nuanced tactics) ... still it was hard driving to organize games that always lasted a minimum of 2 hrs. Magic the Gathering was much more popular.

In terms of my CCCCCC development:

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 9:34 pm
by white belt
I played WH40k and MtG in the mid 2000s. I've played MtG a few times since then but nothing major.

I liked WH40k for the 3 dimensionality and strategy.* I used to play at a local comic book store which would be a popular gathering place for wargamers every Saturday. It was nice to have a community element and multiple options for opponents.

I think WH40k scratches an analytical itch for a certain type of person, but it can turn into an expensive hobby. The models are expensive, the paints are expensive, the books are expensive, hell everything is expensive. If you want to play at home you have to build your own giant 4x8 board and terrain pieces, which usually isn't cheap either. Certainly there are ways to cut costs by using offbrand paints and maybe some used models, but even then it's hard because most models are heavily customized. Depending on your interests, the assembling and painting of your own models can either be your favorite part of the game that allows you to use your artistic side, or a time-consuming distraction to doing the real fun of fighting other people's armies. There's also the issue of matches taking 2-4 hours that Jacob alluded to, but I found having a community gathering place and time to play makes it easier to schedule matches in advance.

I'm tempted to get into MtG again. Although it isn't as breathtaking as maneuvering models in 3D and seeing the board in front of you, it does scratch the analytical itch enough and provides some more visual/imaginative stimulation than something like chess. Costs** (both financial and environmental) are much lower than 40k because cards can easily be purchased used, don't require any assembly or painting, are easily portable, and can be resold for roughly the same value as what you paid for them. I also think that MtG is one of the most popular games in the world, which means that finding local groups to play with is relatively easy (and you can easily play online). You can also play on any table, unlike 40k which requires specialized equipment. Games are shorter, which I think may make things a little more social since you can play with more people in a day and it's less of a time commitment. If you want to get competitive, there are things like booster pack tournaments that require you to exercise some different brain function to build a deck/strategy on the fly.

I'd be curious to get the thoughts from any active MtG players on the forums.

* = interestingly enough I eventually ended up maneuvering real soldiers in my military career, which I found to be analytically taxing but also rewarding in a similar way to wargaming

** = games with re-usable pieces like chess and weiqi will of course be more economical (and have more balanced metagame at least until everyone just copies what AI does), but you don't get the fun of customizing your own army/deck

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 6:44 pm
by Salathor
Jacob--ASL is THE game I would love to be into but am sure I would never be able to find an opponent. A couple of times a year I go to the company website to drool over the sets and the massive arrays of counters, though. I keep trying to talk my wife or brother into Combat Commander (a similar but slightly less intimidating game) but don't get much positive feedback!

White Belt--I am not now, but I have been a fairly active MTG player in the past (drafted every week for a few years in college at my local game store, won or placed in top 3 regularly, enough to be 'profitable'). I haven't played it in about 10 years, but it's very good as a game (although can be expensive depending on format) and it's easy to find an opponent. I recently sold all of my cards on facebook for too little (in retrospect). I have a friend who was a competitive-level player and his decks usually cost ~$400 each. A lot pricier than the $10-15 per week I spent drafting.

My wife and I switched from MTG to the Lord of the Rings card game many years ago. It's all the fun of Magic, but fully cooperative (good for marriages!) and doesn't have the same 'blind buy' element that can cost so much money. Instead, it went with more of a DLC style system where they released a single small pack every month that came with fixed cards in it. For $10 per month you could buy everything the game had. Potentially cheaper in the long run (and I love LOTR).

I have been attracted to miniatures wargaming before (I bought a 40k starter set many years ago), but I think 15mm scale generic WW2 minis would be more my speed (literally an order of magnitude or more cheaper than 40k, but obviously more difficult to find a game). The fact that I'm wildly untalented at painting doesn't help! I suspect someone with a 3d printer and an eye for good design could do awesome things in the miniatures wargaming scene.

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:00 pm
by SavingWithBabies
This might not be what you're looking for at all (more time on computer instead of playing with people directly) but there is another option which is Tabletop Simulator (on Steam but also a Steam key is onsale at Humble for $10). It's been a little controversial in that the developer/studio has a simulator that you can play any game on and mods (modifications) are available from individual users that offer many games for free. The controversial part is that if I want to play say Settlers of Catan, I can play it via Tabletop Simulator (which even offers VR) without paying anything to the people of created Settlers. Of course, I happen to have the physical board game in this case so I personally don't feel that is an issue. I think all these mods are in Steam Workshop but I'm not certain (I haven't bought a license yet although it is interesting to me). Getting back to the topic of the thread, this might be interesting: Best wargames on Tabletop Simulator. The linked thread mentions this Youtube series which has people playing a war game via TTS (I haven't seen the user interface for the simulator so this was interesting to me):

Apparently, there are various Discord communities online focused on finding others to play various games with on TTS. Some googling returns some results for war gaming but I don't know much about that topic so just figured I'd mention it (because for me, a problem I'd have is who I was going to play with).

Oh, and I used Catan purely as an example. I'm not 100% sure it's actually on TTS.

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:51 pm
by Salathor
Awesome, thank you! I'll look that up!

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 6:38 am
by Jean
We played demonworld and w40k, but it's increasingly harder to gather Friends for a whole day.
On computer, i like stellaris and hearth of Iron 4 a lot, but it's more stategic than tactical.
On the tactical side, thé total War séries are great.
The downside of tabletop game, is that expérience gathering is much slower, which means it's also slower to learn about thé game. Computer games are also cheaper.

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:58 am
by zbigi
white belt wrote:
Fri Aug 27, 2021 9:34 pm

I'd be curious to get the thoughts from any active MtG players on the forums.
I used to be semi-serious about competitive MtG play during University (meaning - I regularly traveled across Poland for tournaments, and also occasionally to other European countries for Grand Prixes). I have dropped it since I started working, but have picked it up again in much more limited form a couple years ago. Magic allows for a wide variety of approaches, and mine is that I basically only play limited formats now - I try to go to every prerelease tournament with my buddy, and we split the winnings. Quite often we manage to win a box of boosters (or more), which we then use to do sealed deck play. If we like the format, once we go through all boosters we create random "boosters" from the card pool (ERE style) so that we can continue playing. For one format, we've done that for good 9 months, playing once or twice a week the whole time.

Since I quit my job in May, I have also picked up online limited play via MtG Arena. It's quite addictive! And also much less ERE, since it's basically impossible to play limited only without buying the in-game currency once in a while. I enjoy the game so much that I've dropped around 150 euros on it so far. Figuring out a particular draft format, and trying to master all aspects of it is quite exciting intellectual challenge.

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2021 10:34 am
by Salathor
zbigi wrote:
Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:58 am
If we like the format, once we go through all boosters we create random "boosters" from the card pool (ERE style) so that we can continue playing. For one format, we've done that for good 9 months, playing once or twice a week the whole time.
This is what I used to do with my wife and brother. You're the first person I've ever heard of who did it too. A lot of MtG players seem overly hung up on the 'collectible' aspect of the game and seem to think a booster draft is only fun if you're actively buying new cards. IMO, this is the most fun way to play. A $20 grab bag of commons and enough basic lands would literally be enough cards for an unlimited amount of fun doing faux-booster drafts.

Re: Wargaming

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:44 pm
by white belt
I stumbled upon this lengthy blog post about the topic of playing MTG cheaply (from 2015 but hopefully still relevant): ... -have-fun/

2 of the strategies he recommends boil down to the following:

-Play limited formats only (just like zbigi said). After the tournament, immediately sell the most valuable cards back to the store that's hosting the event (or I imagine you can sell them online if the event is not at a store). This should help you to recoup most of your costs. If you play only new release tournaments, the new cards should be at a pretty high resale value as well from what I understand.

-If you still want to play a constructed format, stick with something like Pauper which only uses common cards. From some quick googling, it still seems like a competitive Pauper deck might run you in the ~$100 range to buy the individual cards, but that's still much better than what a competitive deck in another constructed format will cost you.

I like both of these ideas because they force you to be focused on the fun of competition and playing with other people, rather than getting wrapped up in owning/collective expensive pieces of cardboard.