I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that Privateer Press have been busy little bees. Lots of people have been reposting their announcements and talking about them. I’ve been holding off because… well, two out of three things I don’t care about, and the third is one I’ve been having trouble articulating my thoughts on until I had four lovely hours to think out loud.
I don’t own an iPhone or Android and probably never will (I don’t like, or work well with, touchscreens) so I don’t, personally, give a toss about War Room. I think it’s an awesome idea for them that are riding the wave of progress and it’s the sort of thing that I think tabletop gaming needs to embrace so long as it doesn’t become the only way to play (see previous re: touchscreens).
The IKRPG? A few years ago I’d have been mad excited, but I think I’m more interested in inventing an industrial fantasy world of my own that draws on the Iron Kingdoms and other influences than I am in playing in the Iron Kingdoms themselves, and in a generic system I already own rather than one specifically built for One Company’s Vision that I have to buy another book to get. Good luck to ’em though, it’s a good setting and people have been waiting long enough.
As for Colossals… I have a comment that I’ve been wanting to make but that I’m having trouble articulating without it descending into entitled whining, or something that can easily be misinterpreted or dismissed as such. Still not quite sure I’ve managed to work out what I want to say and say it yet, but the closest I’ve come was yet another conversation with Lex at stupid-o-clock in the morning.
[05:30:33] Von: So. Colossals.
[05:30:51] Von: I confess myself unsurprised but weirdly uninspired.
[05:30:55] Lexington: Quite…colossal?
[05:31:03] Lexington: Indeed. I’ve got mixed feelings.
[05:31:16] Von: I’m mentally filing this away under ‘great, so I can’t just say “I don’t want to play your disposable income arms race” like I can with 40K.’
[05:31:28] Von: See, I have no problems with big stupid expensive powerful stuff that I can’t afford.
[05:31:55] Von: But I like there being brackets within a game system that mean I can avoid having to play games where someone else can afford access to certain rules and capabilities, and I can’t.
[05:32:43] Von: It’s not even about winning, it’s just about being able to do the same sort of stuff on the same sort of level.
[05:32:47] Von: Play the same game.
[05:33:55] Lexington: Indeed.
[05:34:11] Lexington: I’ve no idea how these will fall within that spectrum.
[05:34:18] Lexington: As I understand, Battle Engines are…okay?
[05:34:29] Lexington: Certainly not must-haves.
[05:34:50] Lexington: But this is more “there is a class of model I cannot afford, and others can bring with regularity.”
[05:34:52] Lexington: Yes?
[05:35:05] Lexington: Thus blocking you from access to a whole class of game object?
[05:37:12] Von: Yes.
[05:37:31] Von: And unlike 40K, there isn’t a variant of the game where it’s socially appropriate to [ask for the playing field to be levelled].
[05:37:38] Lexington: Indeed.
[05:37:41] Von: I haven’t been told to Play Like I Have A Pair in years, mind.
[05:38:08] Von: But there’s that underlying ‘everything can play against everything else’ ethos that [to me] suggests wanting a negotiated experience is somehow missing the point of the game?
[05:41:50] Von: It’s just that there are some people for whom ‘owning your game experience’ is ‘taking your lumps’ and not ‘straining the lumps out as if this were custard’.
[05:42:01] Von: And that in my experience Warmahordes is attractive to those people.
[05:42:35] Von: And that may explain why I’ve been more about GW than usual lately, because at least I feel comfortable saying “no, I don’t really want to play Storm of Magic, unless someone has some Tomb Kings I can borrow.”
If you can afford a Titan and I can’t, that’s groovy, you are by luck or judgement better off than I am and I don’t resent you for that too much provided you remember that I’m poor and don’t rub my nose in it. I certainly don’t resent GW for selling you an awesome model, not if you can afford it and want to buy it. We can still play 40K and there’s a stricture and structure in the rules of the game that makes it okay for me to say “can we not play Apocalypse?” and for that to be the end of the argument.
I don’t see that option in Warmahordes, beyond asking for a 15 or 25 point game, which has its own problems given the scene’s focus on 50 point tournaments and prep games for ’em. It’s not part of the game’s mechanics or ethos, and that makes initiating the conversation a bit hard.*
This wouldn’t be a problem but for one thing. The scale of Warmahordes is creeping up and up – more than ever, it’s an army-scale games with skirmish-scale mechanics. Bigger, more expensive, harder-to-store-and-transport models** are becoming the norm. It’s “mech is king” 40K all over again. The rules don’t matter – I accepted that mech was king within about a month of 40K.5 coming out. What matters is this:
Another of the games that my friends play is becoming a game that I can’t play in the same way, on the same level, that they do. That makes me sad. I don’t like being left out, and I’m not overly keen on being reminded that I’m poor. It’s the old dilemma facing the frugal gamer who wants to actually, y’know, play and enjoy playing games…
But what gives me the right to drag other people down to my level? They can afford these shiny toys, and they want to play with them, and they want to play their tournament prep games, and that means they want to be playing with people who are engaging with the game on the level that they are. I’m not entitled to say ‘stop having fun, I can’t keep up!’… right?
* – I’m not a complete Martin, I swear. If you’ve read my roleplaying posts you’ll understand that I can actually invent and negotiate. It’s just initiating that’s the hard part. This is why I like to play games – because they’re an easy introduction to people and I’m scared of introducing myself. Interacting is fine, it’s just that initial “I don’t know you and know of no reason you’d want to know me” bit that’s terrifying.
** – this may sound like a tangent but it’s really not, not if you can’t afford a car. There’s an upper limit on the amount of stuff you can carry on a bike, a bus, or glomming a lift in someone’s car. This is less of an issue if you’re able to host games in your house. I can just about fit a 4’x4′ board into Schloss Von, with some terrain that… let’s be blunt here… isn’t up to the challenge of true-line-of-sight games with big looming models in them..