Saturday, 12 July 2014

Nth generation wargames rules...

From the department of not entirely formed ideas :D

Recording a podcast with Neil y'day, we were discussing certain modern, or less so, rule mechanics, in which I referred to one of the more modern trends (a ruleset with dice based activation, in fact) as a 'fifth generation wargame'. I was rather pulling the number out of a hat, but on reflection it's there or thereabouts...


1st generation is Wise/Grant/Featherstone
2nd generation is WRG and similar systems based on a big CRT
3rd is WAB/WHF/40K buckets of dice systems
4th is where IGO/UGO stops being the norm (card based etc)
5th is more advanced implementations of 4th - there is definitely a line here - IABSM is 4th, CoC 5th, IMO.



  1. I don't know if the lines are really that clear. Card activation has been around since nearly the beginning and roll to hit, roll to wound roll to save is making a comeback after a long hiatus.

  2. Where do you think would DBA fall in this schema?

    1. Surely DBA is 2.1 as it is descended from WRG.

  3. Does that make HG Wells generation zero?

  4. You're assuming a linear progression, which as Pat points out is not the case, as 'old systems' are given a new twist.

    As it stands 'Black Powder' and its IGO-UGO derivatives appear to be retrograde steps, while Bolt Action is theoretically in the 40K category, but is arguably 4th Gen.

    CoC is of course 5th Gen as far as some of its principles go, yet also uses buckets of dice and saving rolls in all but name. Do they count as 'wargames rules' (along with BA, 40K et al) in the same terms as Black Powder?

    Totally different types of game come under the relative headings so each 'Gen' is principally orientated around a single type of game. Games which use CRT and IGO-UGO are somewhat orientated around 'big battles' (or as some might say 'proper wargaming' ;-) ), while BoD, 'To Hit/Save' types are usually a feature of 'skirmish' type games... different horses for different courses.

    If you follow the respective 'strains' of wargaming, you might find things have not progressed as much as you might think. :-)

  5. From an evolutionary perspective this makes sense to me and flows in general terms. That analogy also works in that it isn't clear cut and has many exceptions, but are more broad principles.

    I'd also point out that each generation has pros and cons, which make them better suited to different circumstances - so a later generation game isn't automatically 'better', just more refined perhaps. And of course earlier generation systems continue to be refined, sometimes to be better than later ones.

    In any event, you've certainly got people thinking with this hypothesis!

  6. Hm, not sure I can truly contribute meaningfully analysis regarding specific game mechanics, but from a personal observation/experience 4th/5th gamers IMHO tend to more fun to play in that the rule lawyer is given less sway (or should that read opportunity) to dominate or be so deterministic


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