My old man continues to bail me out, this time with an interesting discussion regarding the nature and the various flavors of gamers. Personally, I prefer cookies n' cream, but at the same time, I try not to lick gamers, unless they are very attractive females, and even then my wife strongly disapproves. But when they do taste like cookies n' cream, then either they're absolute keepers, or they need to wash their hands.
Oh, yeah, the article.
There are gamers, . . . and then there are wargamers.
I’m a wargamer heart and soul, both by nature and nurture. I discovered games when I was 14, with Monopoly and Risk. I rarely played Monopoly, but I used to ditch school with friends so we could play Risk. When I was 16 I bought my first Avalon Hill game, Afrika Korps, and from that defining moment I’ve been a wargamer ever since.
Unfortunately, I live in Reno, NV, where there is only one true game store, and for some odd reason in the flux of the universe there are almost no wargamers in this city. So a couple of months ago I began going to a Saturday afternoon group of gamers hoping I could find someone who would oblige me in playing a wargame now and then – and they have. Several Saturdays ago only Denis showed up and he and I played one game of Up Front (I taught him) and one of Memoir 44 (he taught me). A very positive experience. But the next Saturday there were four of us. We played a game about building towers in the Middle Ages – it was OK, then a card game that had as much theme as white rice, and then closed with Nefarious. Nice components, but I was a bit lost the entire game. (Every week I have to learn a new game with a new mechanic – I often feel like a newbie gamer.) We talked about possible games for next week, and a couple of the guys suggested Pret-a-Porter. Now I don’t know much French, so as far as I knew it could have meant The Decisive Napoleonic Battle for Pret. I asked, “What’s the theme?” and was told, “Fashion.” It was one of those “deer in the headlights” moments for me. Dumbstruck could describe my reaction, and in total honesty I replied, “You’re kidding me.” I really meant it – they were kidding me, right? Four American guys playing a game on fashion?!? (Now as sure as I’ve ever submitted a post on this site, someone’s going to come to the defense of Pret-a-Porter. I can hear it now – it’s just as violent a game as any wargame, but this is fought with needles instead of bullets.)
Well, I’ve begun contemplating the differences between “gamers” and “wargamers.” As I mentioned last Saturday to the group, as a wargamer, theme and historical context are important to me in a game. Then I suggested to these guys that theme wasn’t important to them, and they all agreed. In fact, one guy responded, “Absolutely not at all.” So after some reflection I’ve decided to make a list of some of the differences I’ve found between “gamers” and “wargamers”. After reading the list, I’d very much appreciate feedback and more contrasts to add to the list.
Theme is important.
Game balance isn’t very important; historical accuracy of the game is the issue.
Have a great imagination – they can picture the game in their mind as they play (like watching a movie).
History was a boring subject in school.
Theme is not that important. The game mechanic is more important than how it relates to theme.
Game balance is critical.
Possibly more analytical – I suspect they don’t have as great an imagination.
This is just a starter list. Please add more and let the discussion begin.
OK, you heard the man, discuss. And remember to keep it clean.
Ha! No, you don't have to keep it clean. That was a joke. But if you are going to make it dirty, I would appreciate it if it tasted like cookies n' cream.