Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Query - Board games or Wargames

A comment I came across a few weeks ago has had me wondering ever since then. Is there really a big difference between EU and NA in terms of what type of tabletop games they prefer?

Obviously various wargaming has been around longer in the EU, as wargaming is the core of chess, battle strats, and simply how long EU has had nations conflicting and interacting with each other. The NA countries by contrast is a much younger, and less influenced by those older traditions.

For me personally, I think the line between wargame and board game is becoming far more fuzzy these days with the newer releases of Fantasy Flight Game's like Chaos in the Old World and Dust Tactics. This isn't even looking at older and more classic games such as Risk that has multiple variations you can choose to play with.

There is a much more accepting view point of board games in general I believe because of one simple fact. Most board games are completely self contained. You get a game of Risk and you have everything you need to play, but you look at Warhammer, Kings or War, or WarmaHordes, and that simply is not the case. I don't think it more confusing for the consumer, but it is far cheaper and in the years of late that is a key aspect people keep an eye on. If wargaming was much cheaper to get into, we would see a much broader audience overall mainly due to the fact that there are so many 'gateway' wargames such as listed earlier.

What is interesting to note however is that I simply do not think either category is overall more popular in general, but certainly far more popular in terms of price. These days I try to explain how to play a game as old as Stratego and find people staring at me confused as to what I could possibly talking about. The same looks I get is I go off and talk about Heavy Gear with those same people. When people think of board games, they think of Monopoly, Sorry, and Candyland even if games like Stratego and Risk are just (if not) far older.

I have never been one to deny that what I play is a niche market, and that niche market is what in the end I think will continually keep the wargaming and board gaming segments at odds with each other. Casual players are naturally going to look at the board gaming segment more often then the more hardcore crowd, as it comes down to paying $50-100 for a complete 'wargaming', or paying $150-1000 for half a game since you also need rules, terrain, an opponent with a force, place to play, ect.

So, today's Thursday Query then: Do you prefer Wargames in the style of Warhammer, WarmaHordes, Kings of War or do you prefer more competitive board games such as Chaos in the Old World, Risk, ect?
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