Friday, 5 October 2012

Next New Things

A topic I was pondering on a while back, when a thread on the TFL Yahoo! group [I'm sorry, it's an ingrained reaction: I used to work for Yahoo! and my fingers just find the exclamation mark without conscious thought!] tonight, in a strange case of parallel evolution, prompted me to actually type up some of my thoughts. This is something of a disjointed train of thought, but hey - it's late (even if this won't get posted till tomorrow) - if it makes sense to you, some of the credit definitely goes to the Lardies list, and if you aren't on it, go! It's full of people who talk more sense than I do.

Now, I know I'm a bit of a latecomer to this hobby, this time around, but it does seem to me that lately we've been through a phase of a whole bunch of Next New Things. Every few months something else pops up that everyone gets excited about, and we all play it and post about it for a while and then it all dies down a bit. Examples that spring to mind? SAGA, Operation: Squad, Napoleon at War, for a few that I've come across, and I'm sure that there are others. The latest? I guess Bolt Action, Dux B (both Dux B's!), Dreadball...

I guess this is in some ways, human nature. We're a paradoxical bunch - at the same time we're resistant to change (witness the outcry when, say, a new edition of 40K tweaks your favourite rule/army list) and  we embrace the new and get bored by the old if it doesn't have that mythical concept of replay value.

Maybe our eagerness to embrace the Next New Thing is also about an indirect quest for replay value - trying things that break us out of a rut and we hope will be the one to hold our interest. And of course, the problem with the wargames rules business is that even the most perfect set of wargames rules, the ones with huge replay value, only sell one copy per interested gamer. So... you know how it goes. Supplements. New editions. Relaunches...  And if you're also a figure manufacturer, supplements mean... new figures. And that's where the real money is.

Apparently the Next New Thing in the Flames of War world is US Tank Destroyers: one can only assume that this is some inherent imbalance in the relevant game supplement, since everyone and his dog is throwing money at Battlefront to buy the latest winning army. One has to wonder how long it'll be before the next supplement comes out with another list that tops it...

If I were more of a cynic, I'd almost wonder if they did it on purpose.

Personally? Yay Battlefront for producing various 15mm WW2 figures that no-one else does, and the new plastic set looks like a really handy way of getting a bunch of figures and vehicles.... but you still won't catch me playing it.

I've seen reports from folks on the Lardies list of other people selling all their 15mm WW2 stuff to buy 28mm to play Bolt Action because apparently you can't play it in 15mm...

HUH?

Colour me boggled. But, full marks to Warlord, it would appear, for a superb marketing campaign: and, as above, if it gets me a wider range of figures and vehicles in 28mm to add to my already extant collection, great.

I dunno, maybe I'm either just more rational or less well-off!

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