Changing Categories

With the windup to Origins and all the other stuff I have going on, there’s been very little gaming happening. I haven’t played Neverwinter (or indeed anything else) since before the recent exploit/rollback flap. What I have been doing, here and there, is digging board and war games out of the closet. There’s a decent chance of playing some at Origins.

What strikes me, though, having been doing a great deal of poking around lately, is how board wargaming has managed to survive — by changing. There’s still plenty of the of hex-and-counter stuff getting produced, as it turns out. You just have to be paying attention in the right places. But there’s also stuff like The Napoleonic Wars, which even ten years ago (about when I started to drift away) would have been huffily declared by hardcore wargamers to be “not a wargame.”

Nobody thinks that now. Furthermore, the crop of “card-driven” games starting with We the People seem to have invigorated the hobby. They’re more game and less simulation than the old school stuff, but there’s a ton of them on a wide array of subjects from the Napoleonic Wars (duh) to World War II and the Second Punic War or the Protestant Reformation. (A lot, but not all, of these games are from GMT, and the system itself is tight and relatively simple in the examples I’ve seen.) The common definition of “wargame” has drifted, and while the old stuff is still around, there’s now more in the category that would have often been excluded years ago.

The definition of “MMORPG” is changing in the same way. the old category wasfairly narrow and the current one is much broader. Some folks are still stuck inside the old borders of the category. Which isn’t really profitable for them, although it’s perfectly fine to prefer one particular corner of the field over the rest.


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