[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Stumped Results

A couple weeks ago, I put out a call for you guys to “stump” me with your gaming likes, with the idea that I would try to match you up with games you would enjoy. The responses I got were pretty fun (and challenging!), but it’s time for me to reveal my results and see if I am any good, or even CLOSE to what you might enjoy. Please let me know how I did!

LAZtheinfamous started off with his criteria.

1. I like to paint models. Love a good looking model. 
2. I have tons of 40K and WHFB stuff, but I’ve turned away from GW’s stuff because of increasing prices. 
3. I love skirmish level games with a hint of campaign-ness. My all time favorite game is Mordheim, but I don’t really dig Maulifaux because of the locked nature of the characters. There’s no growth, and you can’t make your ‘own’ leader, just the ones they have. 
4. Easy rules are a must, because my most common opponents are my pre-teen sons. They don’t have the patience for a real rules heavy game. 

While I was off researching and considering, FrontlineGamer chimed in with this suggestion:

There’s a new skirmish game out by West Wind Studio’s called Empire of the Dead. It’s set in a steampunk Victorian Britain with Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, Gentlemen and religious nut jobs. Looks interesting and I’m pretty sure they’ve got some free quick start rules somewhere. The game has an in built campaign system and I do believe the game is designed from the ground up to be a campaign type system.

Well, here’s where I come in. First, West Wind Studios is on the web as West Wind Productions. Second, they are in the UK, so that may have some impact on LAZ’ interest or ability to buy items from them. Here’s a sample shot of their products:

I am going to have to hide these from my werewolf-mad customer. Those are very sexy wolves! The and dudes are, in MY opinion, “meh”, but everyone has their own tastes. Yes, there are quick start rules available here for free.  The quick start rules are pared down for ease of play, with the full version available for a fee.

My thought given LAZ’s criteria would have been Special Operations: KillZone. It’s a totally free product that uses models he likely has on hand, so he can paint whatever he wants. It’s dead simple, but very elegant. It’s skirmish based, and practically BEGS to be played as a campaign. While it is based on an existing GW product (40K), I see the ability to adapt the rules for other miniature games as a pretty simple affair.

Next, my pal SinSynn asked: Please tell me someone makes a mini game with Xenos, Giant Robots, Tanks, and sultrysexy brunettes. The Hamster was asking…it’s not for me. -_-

Again, FLG offered up some comments to our Xeno pal:  Well Infinity 3 out of 4… no tanks yet. Heavy Gear Blitz arguably has 3 out of 4 too… just no Xenos. Unless you count giant armadillos. But if you’re after all four and it’s clear you sort of want to ‘create’ your own sorta army and world perhaps you should look at Grubtz?

My turn again. I looked and looked for Grubtz, and this is all I got.I’m not sure if that’s what FLG was talking about or not. However, given what I know of our multi-tentacled friend, I would venture to say that SinSynn would LOVE AT-43, but the sad fact is that Rackham is defunct, and GETTING the game and it’s models is either feast or famine. And then there’s the issue of finding someone with whom to play… But for a game he can buy NOW, I’m surprised that FLG missed Secrets of the Third Reich, The Weird WWII Game from West Wind Productions. While there’s no ALIENS per se, there are lots of other weird fiddly bits to make this an entertaining possibility.

they could easily be brunette…

Next, we have Von’s comments:

Okay, I’ll bite. 

I like scalability. A rules system that handles single models as actors and whole units as actors within broadly the same structure (think Mordheim and WFB, same rules but with differences to account for layers of detail), and has different modes and levels of play. If I’m going to learn rules once I’d like to use them for more than one thing. 

I have an unnatural hatred of round bases. Beautiful for displays, terrible for lines of sight, facing, flank/rear calculations, anything that a base might be useful in defining. 

I miiiiight be more interested in Crusade-era historicals than I let on, but I find most historical games either painfully abstract or pedantically preoccupied with minutiae. Alternate-historicals are starting to appeal to me too: I like the Crusades, anything Georgian, and could be sold on near-future sci-fi, but not the Second World War.

This set of requests brought out FLG once again, with the following comments, and even a slight discussion:

I think you’ve hit on a problem there Von that most games designers now accept is an issue. Games systems that deal with both individual characters and units just as well. In fact WFB has never got it right. 3rd ed was close and Ravening Hordes era 6th Ed had the balance close but the mechanic were still not right. Kings of War gets a fair few things done well but other things it struggles with, namely characters. I’d say you should have a look at Confrontation 3.5 but the round bases thing might put you off!!! Plus were not too sure, which version of Confrontation is coming back. 

As for mass combat games I like the look of Black Powder from Warlord for Napoleonics. Looks to handle small engagements as well as it handles huge battles. Condottiere by Foundry Games set during the Renaissance and the Italian Wars also has won a bit of praise but I’ve never actually played it myself. The mass combat game seems to be a interesting breed right now. Seems like no one is really too sure how they should proceed or has a clear vision of what is needed.

Von replied:

I like that we both like the same general periods of WFB’s long evolution. Chalk it up to ‘clearly we are not so different after all/one of us is stealing the other’s thoughts’. 

The round base thing is becoming more of a thing the more I think about it – apart from games that don’t care about lines of sight, I just can’t see what they’re for. I have to admit, I even like squares more from an aesthetic point of view (plus they make for tidier storage on my tiny tiny shelves). 

Seen Black Powder played, liked the look of it, and I don’t dislike the sound of Condottiere, although they’re both a bit too recent for me. Anyone want to stick their oar in before I just go off and try Warhammer Historicals? At least I know I’ll like that one, being based on sixth edition and all…

FrontlineGamer came back with:

I think it’s pretty standard for all sage and wise wargamers to prefer 3rd Ed WFB or Ravening Hordes era 6th Ed. So we’re probably in good company there. As for the round bases thing, I’ve never been keen on them from a gaming point of view. From a display cabinet / purely aesthetics point of view I quite like them. But as you say in terms of actually being useful in gaming terms they can just cause too many issues. Freebooter’s Fate has hit home to me recently just how superior for gaming purposes square bases are.

Again, I’ll take my stab here. I will heartily second, third, and even FOURTH the vote for Confrontation. Again, the problem is that Rackham is a non-entity. He MIGHT be able to get his hands on the models through folks trying to get out of the game, and the cards and rules are available online through a strong and dedicated community. There appears to be hope for the concept and world here. This game touches on Von’s love of fantasy, with individual, skirmish, and campaign level settings as playable options. The only real problem is that the current version is virtual, rather than physical, and I know Von likes to paint things.

There’s this, which I know will hit on Von’s very frugal nature; it’s FREE. It also lends itself to any genre and allows for a lot of customization.

I’m almost afraid to suggest this one, but, Von- have you tried Battletech? It is a very deep and going concern, with every aspect of play you desire- scalability, different modes of play, fun, fairly light, and generally not cost prohibitive. Another positive aspect of this game is that you can create your own mechs using the existing rules, and scratch built and/or custom figs are seen as a bonus among most folks I know that play.

And I know a few. 

Last, Dave G chimed in with: I think the real stumper is in cooperative games…

I’m going to dive right in and say: NO way. There are a ton of great board  and card games available with cooperative play in mind. Games like Pandemic, Arkham Horror,  Mansions of Madness, Castle Ravenloft and Sentinels of the Multiverse  are just some of the many games that are aimed at having fun together, instead of versus each other. I really like Pandemic and Sentinels, but all of these games have something going for them. 
I hope you enjoyed this, and  that I came somewhat close to touching on games you might like. I might do this again- it was fun! 

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