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TOPIC: 28mm games in the mags
PM Glenn Pearce
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28mm games in the mags
Glenn Pearce
29th Sep 2017 02:31:24

As to Peter's second point that the style of 28mm games is changing, I fully agree.

I think a number of factors are at play here. Perhaps the few who actually have the resources to fully produce a large scale game are getting too old to bother with it. A big 28mm game requires a lot of work over and above actually having the figures. It also requires a large space and a major commitment from a number of players and helpers. Today people want things now and it's hard to get them to commit to future projects.

The rise in skirmish games is seen everywhere. They are generally pretty easy to learn, fun to play and you can play one in little over an hour. You can also generally vary the number of players. Best of all you only require a few figures and its easy on the terrain budget. Set up, take down time is extremely fast and no problem to transport and can be played on your dining room table. It's a no brainer.

So what is going on here I think is just a natural evolution in our hobby. Those who really enjoy big battles are moving into 6mm, as we all know it's the best scale to do that kind of gaming. Those who enjoy skirmish games are finally putting 28mm and a number of other big scales to good use. Of course you can also do great skirmish games in 6mm. It will just take a few more years for the big boys to figure that one out as well.

I also see a shift of some long time large scale collectors/players into 10mm and 6mm for all the obvious reasons. It's just taken longer for all of the large scale problems to sink in.

Some like Peter saw some of this years ago, and lucky for us he started Baccus. It is interesting to finally see the signs that the shift is actually taking place.


PM Leftblank
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28mm games in the mags
Leftblank
30th Sep 2017 12:05:16

May I point to something completely different directions as well?

1) 30-40 years ago we had a toy shop in my small hometown where I grew up and even this ordinary shop sold the cheap plastic toy soldiers from Airfix. Buying a big Napoleonic army was easy. Walk to the shop next door. Airfix promoted big battles.

Today I live in Amsterdam. The local toy shops sell Pokemon and computer games, but no toy soldiers anymore. No trains either, btw. The modern wargamer doesn't know the aesthetics of a truly massed miniature game anymore. It's unexplored territory. He buys online from companies with a strong web presence and a good marketing department. GW, Mantic, Warlord, Battlefront. Which promote 28mm or 15mm WW2.

2) Besides, good large scale battle rules are often slower and more complex than simple action-packed skirmish rules. Will I quickly attack the flank with my brigade or hold the center and wait for my enemy? Decisions are more important than dice.

The trend however is towards simplicity. Understand the game after two turns or die. "A flank attack? No, I want to throw a fistful of dice and move my miniature towards that house and throw a grenade through the window. Flank attacks are só 20th-century..."

3) Skirmish rules have improved. I played my first game of Chain of Command some weeks ago. Smart game. Challenging. A fictional 1944 28mm skirmish can be just as challenging as a large 15mm of 6mm 'prevent the fall of Bastogne' scenario.

 

 

 

Other trends: massed wargames can be played online, with wonderful visuals 

 


http://amsterdam6shooters.nl "The tin soldier melted down into a lump, and the next morning, when the maid servant took the ashes out of the stove, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart." Hans Christiaan Andersen The Brave Tin Soldier

Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
30th Sep 2017 08:03:09

Can't honestly say I agree with the comment  about complex rules for large games. All the rules I currently favour have very straightforward mechanisms and are easy to learn: Bloody Big Battles, 1871, To the Strongest, Basic Impetus 2, Baroque. Obviously the player has to have a plan but I would imagine that to be the case with skirmish games too. Perhaps it's to do with prospective players not being aware of very playable large battle rules, having been put off them in the 80s and 90s when the emphasis tended to be on complex and/or competition. But I think it more likely that the average gamer is no longer a wargamer but a fantasy gamer. There are many factors that have inspired gamers to take this route - TV, literature, films, advertising and presence (GW shops with over the counter availability of everything the fantasy gamer needs - except a decent mat, which for some bizarre reason they withdrew). There will always be people interested in military history and the research required to get the most out of wargaming but I think they are now the minority of figure gamers.


PM Nick the Lemming
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28mm games in the mags
Nick the Lemming
30th Sep 2017 12:07:43

Anyone who thinks big battle historical games are more complex then scifi / fantasy skirmish games has obviously never seen people playing Infintiy versus those playing BBB.


PM Leftblank
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28mm games in the mags
Leftblank
1st Oct 2017 11:40:22

It's a generalisation. I know complex skirmish games, played ChoC recently, smart game, intelligently designed. Blücher is relatively simple. Bolt Action has nice game mechanics, good fun, a good share of tactical decison making, but when playing it's simple, too. Black Powder is a big battle game but not too complex, the goal of the game is too get a lot of miniatures on a large table, roll many dice and have great fun together.

I might be biased. I should say that the grand battle rulesets that I prefer focus on commanders and decisionmaking, while the simpler skirmish games that I know (Frostgrave, BA, 40K) focus on gaming and dice rolling.

Besides, I think that - in general - historical grand tactical games are more complex because a serious grand battle wargamer needs to read more complex information about the how and why of the historical battle. All you need to know for a Hougoumont skirmish is that happened in 1815 with French against the Anglo-Allied. For a Waterloo battle that would be just a start.


http://amsterdam6shooters.nl "The tin soldier melted down into a lump, and the next morning, when the maid servant took the ashes out of the stove, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart." Hans Christiaan Andersen The Brave Tin Soldier

PM peter
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Posts: 346
28mm games in the mags
peter
2nd Oct 2017 10:09:33

Well this topic is running and running isn’t it?   As well as this marathon here, it’s moved and spread out on to Facebook and the Wargames Website has picked up on it.  In fact I’m having a hard time keeping track with all the responses and comments.

Rather than try and reply on all those forums, threads and pages I am going to put a few points here.  If you are on any of those other forums, threads and pages, please point people here.

Which brings me to my first point.    It looks like a number of people have read that what they THINK I have written as opposed to what I ACTUALLY said.   The original piece was never a specific moan about the lack of 6mm in magazines.  I quote:

‘The overwhelming predominance of 28mm figures, almost to the exclusion of all else.    By the way, this is not my usual rant about the chronic under-representation of 6mm in their pages.   This applies equally to 42mm, 20mm, 15mm and any other number suffixed by mm that does not fall between the range 29 and 27.’

I think previous ‘form’ may have counted against me here.   It's also pretty clear that they haven't bothered to read other posts on this thread.  Rather than being 'fake news' as has been alleged, this is actually a pretty central topic for the greater hobby to consider.

One poster on another forum suggested that the original  was a ‘bitter’ piece.   Not at all.  It was my personal observation on what I see as a discernible shift in the coverage of the hobby on the glossies, which may or may not reflect an actual trend.

Some have suggested that the glossy magazines are not important in today’s hobby.   Strangely enough all of these individuals also tell us that they don’t actually buy them.   This effectively places them in a self-selected group to which wargames mags have little importance.    It’s an interesting bit of circular logic.   I do believe that the magazines are still of great relevance even in this modern multi-media environment.   They provide (or should provide) a broad perspective view of the hobby which few podcasts, blogs or video channels can match as these tend to be the work of individuals and which naturally reflect those individual’s interests.    Subscribers will naturally link to those blogs which have content that interest them thus creating a self-selected network.

A magazine can take a much broader view of the hobby and developments within it.  It will naturally cater to its readership demographic, and reflect the state of the hobby.    Problems of the sort that we have been discussing arise if it finds itself concentrating on certain aspects of the hobby to the exclusion of others.   Yes, it’s simple to pop into Warlord or North Star or the Perrys and get a couple of photogenic shots of a game, especially if they are on the doorstep.   However this all contributes   to establishing a self-selecting readership as outlined above and creates an editorial straitjacket.

Do I think that there is room for a non-28mm glossy magazine?   To be honest, no.    We need to be inclusive in this area.  Do I think that there is room for improvement?  Of course I do, not only in the range of scales offered, but also in the type of game presented.  

Form and Function are closely related.   28mm figures are great for skirmish games, lousy for big ones as the practical issues are manifest.  (How many 28mm Napoleonic ‘traffic jam’ games have you witnessed over the years?).    The best function for this form of wargaming figure is therefore the one presented.

On a purely commercial note, by not catering for the substantial number of gamers who are still regularly and passionately interested in gaming and collecting in alternative scales and types of action then the magazines are losing out in potential subscription sales, retail income and advertising revenue.

 

Thanks to Guy and Wayne for contributing and taking what I have said with such grace.    As I have said, they have a tricky and often thankless task and it was really good to hear from them.

I do hope that the message about the fact that editors cannot publish what they don’t have has got through.   If you want to see more articles about what you want to see, then it is up to you to be part of the movement that gets them.    I know that some of you out there will be planning your game for the JOS 2018.  Why not record your progress and then do a write up?   These spectacular efforts on your behalf need more coverage then they get and I’ll bet you will get your hand bitten off if you offer them up for publication.

On a similar note, why not take these games to other shows then JOS.  If we get three, four or five games of JOS quality at the more general events then we may just get the message across.


- The Overlord
Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
2nd Oct 2017 04:28:33

I notice that Miniature Wargames features an ACW 6mm game this month (all be it using Irregular Miniatures). Meanwhile  the Perrys have branched out into 8mm. A bit more food for thought.


PM Leftblank
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28mm games in the mags
Leftblank
3rd Oct 2017 08:14:36

In this Trump and Facebook era people tend to misinterpret a nuanced point of view. Conflict. Me against you. Berry vs the Kim Jong Il-editors. Not your fault, Peter.

Besides what is said already I'd like to add that apparently it would help if small scale manufacturers aim for better visuals. In fact Baccus and GHQ are amongst the few that have a good website and a web order system. I had trouble ordering 15mm Essex musketeers (few pictures), so I ordered Irregular (no good pics either, but at least some, although amateurish). Adler has a gallery with some pictures but no catalog WYSIWYG-pics, Baccus-style. Pendraken is improving but most models in the catalog are unpainted.

Warlord, GW, Mantic have professional stock photo's. Maybe someone should invite a good photographer to JOS or join force with Mark Luther: https://www.flickr.com/photos/6mmgaming/sets/72157674287826501

I did a Old Trousers 6mm Waterloo wargame at Crisis, two years ago. I have more troops now and the 1hr wargame rules, I'll see what I can manage in the future (not this year but maybe next).


http://amsterdam6shooters.nl "The tin soldier melted down into a lump, and the next morning, when the maid servant took the ashes out of the stove, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart." Hans Christiaan Andersen The Brave Tin Soldier

Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
3rd Oct 2017 09:13:05

Pendraken are in a catch up mode at the moment. They have engaged a professional painter who, because he is painting for public display, is taking longer than I would in painting. They have recently revamped the website (with the usual initial bugs) and are currently putting the SYW pictures on the web catalogue. It is a long term and, I imagine, a costly exercise.


PM Leftblank
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28mm games in the mags
Leftblank
6th Oct 2017 04:27:45

Visuals: in reply to this 6mm-subject in the Lead Adventure Forum a certain Conectamabob posted a very true observation, imho:

In reply to nice-e who wrote: 

"Whilst 6mm battles may look amazing from a distance, They suffer on close examination. A 6mm base of figures on a table that isn't expressly modelled in very find scale will always look like it's carrying around a very sturdy dias to stand on, and the many brush marks or patches of highlight will stand out above the sculpted detail they're sitting on.
Big swooping shots of battles are fun but make for terrible magazine content, because you end up not really being able to see anything expect some blocks on a board. 
It's a shame, But magazines need nice pictures because most of us buy the magazine to look at first and read second, And tiny scales very often don't hold up to that level of scrutiny."

Conectamabob answered:

"I think I'd go even further, and say that in 6mm the visual strengths completely flip from the figures to the terrain.

Take this with a grain of salt, as I have no personal experience with 6mm, but it seems to me that 6mm completely inverts the terrain vs minis trade-off dynamic of 28mm, and IMO maybe some of the alleged problems of 6mm may stem from a failure to recognize and/or embrace that.

In 28mm, the figures can be very satisfyingly detailed and characterful, but terrain and vehicles are forced to be "foreshortened" in scale due to practical space limits. Even with the forshortening, terrain has to be big in a way that for many people forces detail to be sparse and simplified in order to be time/money efficient. This results in buildings and the like which often do not match the visual weight, density, and verisimilitude of the minis.

In 6mm, the opposite is true: figures are so small that they cannot be easily detailed, realistically proportioned, or individual, but the terrain can easily be decompressed into realistic proportions and sprawl, at a size that allows for detail of the same density of that of the figures to look much more "real" than on the figures, AND to be simpler to execute for a given scale detail than in 28mm.

So my instinct would be that when getting into 6mm gaming, the "visual appeal" focus should be on the terrain rather than the figures. Imagine, say, the city of Mordheim realized in 28mm (or 35, as the case may be), vs 6mm. In 28, you'd be dealing with a handful of individual compressed-scale buildings on a printed or textured mat. But in 6mm, you could do an entire district of the city in true scale, working in modules of blocks rather than buildings. You could easily play games on museum-style replicas of cities or landscapes.

The intent would not be to be cheaper than 28mm, rather you'd take the time and money and ambition you'd spend on the figures in 28mm, and in 6mm spend it on the terrain instead. Likewise, when you showcase 6mm stuff to hype the scale, you'd focus on impressively rendered settings before impressively rendered figures.

This is just the way it seems to me, and maybe I'm weird, but when I see pics like the one Fred posted on the first page, I feel like people are completely barking up the wrong tree by executing and deploying terrain pieces in 6mm the same way they do in 28mm. The philosophy of it feels backward to me, like they're inadvertently getting the worst of both worlds. 28mm knows it's visual strengths and plays to them, while 6mm is handicapping itself trying to play to 28mm's strengths instead of its own.

I feel like as long as 6mm is thought of as being defined by the figures the way larger scales are, it'll always be at a disadvantage in terms of visual appeal. 6mm's native strength is the terrain.

This is all about the aesthetic angle, of course. It's tempting at first thought to believe it's natural to focus on the figures since "it's the figures that really matter, the terrain is an extra", but this is actually false when you think it through. Gameplay-wise it makes absolutely no difference which you focus on aesthetically, since either or both can be reduced to cardboard cutout markers without effecting the pure game."


http://amsterdam6shooters.nl "The tin soldier melted down into a lump, and the next morning, when the maid servant took the ashes out of the stove, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart." Hans Christiaan Andersen The Brave Tin Soldier

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