Having been under the weather for a few days I found myself today listening to a podcast by Sam Mustafa regarding his new Naploeonic rules “Blucher”. Now while I have no intention of purchasing the rules, being very happy with Volley & Bayonet, his podcast touched on what I thought was a very interesting point.
Specifically, he noted that in recent years there has been a significant increase in smaller games, often skirmish games, requiring both less time to build armies as well as less time to play. Effectively, these provide a lower cost of entry. It is an interesting observation and one I had noticed myself. I had considered this trend towards skirmish games would pass, but Mr Mustafa suggested that it was more a result of a wealthier but time poor society. He made note of the considerable undertaking required to both paint and assemble armies before they can be deployed and the impact the obstacle this creates for new gamers. An interesting thought and on reflection, one I can understand.
When I visit local wargames clubs or conventions I can not but notice the decreasing numbers of young players playing large historical game systems, especially those playing Ancient or Napoleonic systems. Instead I see an increasingly ageing player base playing ever fewer large games. Interestingly many of these older “traditional” players are so caught up in their rules system they only speak of the excellence of their rules, their large armies, or the one true scale and take little interest in anything else. As an example I heard the story of one player who recently moved towns and while having his own small 15mm Ancients collection was told that at this club “We only play rules XYZ and in 28mm”.
I suppose that is one of the reasons I do hope that the latest version of De Bellis Antiquitatis with its revised, expanded and more accessible format, is successful.
DBA has a low cost entry point, especially in the area of time required to paint an army. It should therefore have much appeal to the new players. Combined with a reduced learning and game length it has the ability to open ancient wargaming to a greater number of new players. Certainly I’ve seen this myself in a number of new players that I have introduced to DBA in the past.
I’m not suggesting that DBA is the final point in Ancient wargaming. However, I do think it has, and will in the future, open Ancient & Medieval Wargaming to a new generation. That must be a good thing, or is that just me?