• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

💀 Necro [+]I'm starting to think I just want Toy Soldier games

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
I should know better than to pop into threads about 40K. They bum me out.

I'm starting to think I just want toy soldier games. Not minis wargames.

It's hard to explain the difference.

I recently got interested in playing some FIW/AWI games. Asked a lot of questions on a thread about it, and decided to start with the minis and worry about buying rules later.

Ended up buying a bunch of 54mm minis on a whim. Relatively inexpensive plastic ones. I painted them very basically ( block and the dip process)...

... and they look awesome.:)

Which made me re-consider a bit of what I've been doing. Tried a little solo gaming this morning with some cobbled together, home-brew 2 page rules ( mechanics stolen from several other sets and frankensteined together.)

I'm pretty happy with the results. Now I'm starting to think this is the direction I may take from here out.

Don't get me wrong. I still love proper minis rulesets and proper gaming minis. But there's turning out to be something terribly liberating about grabbing a bunch of this stuff and playing not-so-seriously.

It's hard to write very serious rules and play very seriously when the pieces are, undeniably, plastic army men ( although nicer ones than the ones in plastic bags at the dime store).

Anyone else done this sort of thing?

I know there's a ruleset called Funny Little Wars, which is sort of an advanced version of HG Wells Little Wars ( right down to using spring loaded cannon for firing matchsticks at the baddies). I don't think I'm going to go quite that primitive ( I like my dice rolling! And templates!), but I may indeed go to that pseudo- Edwardian/Late Victorian fictional conflict next.
 
Last edited:

Cessna

Gritty AF
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Man, I am right there with you. My tolerance for seriousness in gaming drops with each passing year.
 

Praetorian

Go Rangers!
Validated User
I know there's a ruleset called Funny Little Wars, which is sort of an advanced version of HG Wells Little Wars ( right down to using spring loaded cannon for firing matchsticks at the baddies). I don't think I'm going to go quite that primitive ( I like my dice rolling! And templates!), but I may indeed go to that pseudo- Edwardian/Late Victorian fictional conflict next.
Its all about who you play with. I know a lot of people are down on GW and 40k, but I am having a blast with it lately and, when you trim the fat, its all about the group. We could be playing narrativist checkers or *shudder* ASL and I would still be having a blast with these guys.

Edit: can I make a humble suggestion? Look at Mobile Frame Zero. It sounds a little like what you are looking for PLUS Legos.
 
Last edited:

Barticus

Banzai!
Validated User
Ayup, right there with you. Got a metric buttload of 15mm figs now, mostly painted to a tabletop standard, some day I may even find a ruleset to use with them.

B
 

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
Man, I am right there with you. My tolerance for seriousness in gaming drops with each passing year.
The funny thing is, I could almost see happily playing more serious, but less competitive.

Like this bit, describing a "Mugger Game" in the Wargames Development Handbook ( http://www.wargamedevelopments.org/Wargame Developments Handbook.pdf)
There have been a number of Muggergames at WD Conferences, and perhaps explaining two of them will help explain
their unusual structure:
• The first was played with 25mm figures using the whole floor of one room, with chairs all round on which players
paused to discuss developments before kneeling to move battalions across a rudimentary terrain. The game was
loosely structured, educational, and anti-competitive, and the players, ranging from the Napoleonic buff to the
complete beginner, soon realised that discussion and evaluation were profitable substitutes for argument and
arbitrary decision. Its merit lay in the number of players (more than a dozen) and the constant interchange of
ideas. At a given point - for example, which of two suddenly-visible battalions one's own unit should attack - it was
possible to appeal to several nearby players, who, when not involved in their own move, could give more or less
informed opinion on the matter. Thus one's own ignorance was not at the arbitrary mercy of a rulebook, and one
ended up knowing why such a move was the most likely.
That's not really where I was going with things when I started the thread, but, yeah...that. I would dig that.

One thing I think that might make the difference, is that there is something vastly different between the attitude found in a situation where you own only your own stuff, versus a situation where you either own none of the stuff or you own all of the stuff.

In the none/all situation ( Common for convention style gaming, often),you can be competitive, but more relaxed. Yes, you might lose, but you didn't spend huge amounts of dough on your stuff ("Own None"). On the flip side ("Own All"), you may lose, but your interest was more in hosting the thing and how the scenario you devised worked out, and if the other players had a fun time.
 
Last edited:

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
The other thing I'm finding about doing this and using toy soldiers ( again, as opposed to wargaming miniatures) is that I'm simply more inclined to create rules that are short, but not universal. Rather my inclination is to create different sorts of short, simplistic rules based on things like:

  • Size of the play area
  • What the troops look like/pose ( special abilities)
  • Number of troops ( a battle or a tiny skirmish?)
  • The real battle the toy battle is based on
  • Just plain weird stuff I want to use ( "fire" colored fake fur, cotton balls, templates) for fun and visual appeal


With those sorts of thoughts in mind, I'm looking to different places for inspiration for mechanics.

Things like...
The Junior General's Verdun 1916 rules:
http://www.juniorgeneral.org/verdun/verdun.html

Matakishi's Boxer Rebellion fortress siege rules:
http://www.matakishi.com/colonialrules.htm

(Actually, all sort of rules from either site, really)

Simple, short, flavorful, playable, and minus the truly nasty combo of competitiveness combined with listbuilding/real world effort+money.

Played with cheap ( relatively), nice-if-basic toy soldiers on basic terrain ( that looks nice from simplicity and larger scale. A different sort of nice from finely detailed and railroad quality terrain)
 

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
Its all about who you play with. I know a lot of people are down on GW and 40k, but I am having a blast with it lately and, when you trim the fat, its all about the group. We could be playing narrativist checkers or *shudder* ASL and I would still be having a blast with these guys.

Edit: can I make a humble suggestion? Look at Mobile Frame Zero. It sounds a little like what you are looking for PLUS Legos.
The group really does make a huge difference, doesn't it?

I read something by a very early D+D designer ( or maybe a pre-D+D guy? Dave Weseley maybe?) who said he was very picky about who got invited to the games, and he exactly went for the less-competitive, more laid back types, since they were the ones who could grok the proper vibe required to make the things work.

As to the other suggestion, I have a weird aversion to LEGO ( Santa never brought any when I was a kid! Still mad about that!:mad:), but I have buddies who love them and still have boxes of the stuff from when they were kids or which they've bought for their own kids, so I'll check it out eventually.
 
Last edited:

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
Ayup, right there with you. Got a metric buttload of 15mm figs now, mostly painted to a tabletop standard, some day I may even find a ruleset to use with them.
Bust out your Designer Hat, Comrade!

For stuff like that, older wargame magazines from the UK especially, or the old MWAN mags tend to have short cool rulesets also. You might ask around about issues of those things that cover the period you have troops for.

I'm starting to warm to the Imagi-Nations concept I see popular among 18th Century gamers. It's a bit like fantasy, but for historically inclined gamers. Not dragons or spacemen fantasy, but pretend ( usually humorous) fictional kingdoms/nations and their militaries duking it out. A nice way to goof around with troops and tactics from a certain period, with options for weird uniform and force composition combos.
 

Cessna

Gritty AF
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Its all about who you play with. I know a lot of people are down on GW and 40k, but I am having a blast with it lately and, when you trim the fat, its all about the group. We could be playing narrativist checkers or *shudder* ASL and I would still be having a blast with these guys.
That is so, so true...

There's a group of folks who play 40K here. Every time I play with them it is a great time. They have BEAUTIFULLY painted armies:



And every game is done in a fun, narrative, open-ended manner. It is always a great time. Unfortunately they're busy, I'm busy, they live on the other end of town, and it seems like I only get a game in with them a couple of times per year.

On the other hand there's a GW store about three miles from my house. The manager is a great guy, but when I go for a game it seems like every table is hosting people who are trying uber-tweaked, hyperspam lists that they've used four times in the past week alone. They're out to win, to pull every advantage from the rules necessary to crush their opponent with their unpainted, badly glued together army.

This may be why I'm a bit sour on 40K these days, and stick with my Historicals group instead. Better to have less gaming than bad gaming.

Edit: To be fair, the uber-winning, unpainted play isn't bad for them, it's just bad for me.
 
Last edited:

Cessna

Gritty AF
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
In the none/all situation ( Common for convention style gaming, often),you can be competitive, but more relaxed. Yes, you might lose, but you didn't spend huge amounts of dough on your stuff ("Own None"). On the flip side ("Own All"), you may lose, but your interest was more in hosting the thing and how the scenario you devised worked out, and if the other players had a fun time.
I think the best wargames I have ever played were for three or more people; opposing sides and a GM. This applies to hex-and counter games as well.

We played a lot of Flat Top back in the day, for example, and that game always was best when it was two opposing teams and a GM or GMs. Man, those were good games...

Edit: A few weeks ago I mentioned a game called Charlie Company, a tabletop game set in Vietnam. This is a really interesting take on the "play to win" vs. "GMed exercise" mentality. It is for two players - one is the US, whose goal is to survive, the other is the GM who runs the VC/NVA, whose goal is to give the US player a challenge. It would be interesting to see this mindset consciously adapted to other games. (Space Hulk, perhaps?)
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom