Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Saturday, 31 May 2014

666 The Number of the Post - Chatter Behind the Bike Sheds



As this is the six hundred and sixty sixth post I thought it should have something demonic about the post but having no imps, demons or devils to paint I have had to come at this from a different angle, lets deal with my own personal demons shall we?

Wargame Demons that is. Is it just me or are wargame rules way more expensive than they used to be? Am I just a tight sod? The thing is that whilst all the photo's are really nice and illustrations and artwork plates all add to the rule set but I would have all these bonus items trimmed back if it would be replaced with clear easy to find references and rules that are actually better than the old ones. Field of Glory is a prime example of rules tossed into a book with to little thought going into the order and relevance making it a difficult set of rules to look up answers to problems.

Figures have so moved on from my first incantation Well some have whilst others are the exact same ones I was not buying due to being poor quality, now you can add historically inaccurate to the list for a good number. How come we still except poor figures when often they are the same cost per pack of the better ones.

Rules that require something special. Or in the case of Saga, Flames of War and Boltaction something (I'm thinking dice here) not special at all. The tremendously overpriced average at best dice that have been designed into the game for ripping off the paying customer adding something to the game. Is it just me or is this a weak ploy just to get yet more cash out of the customer. How many slag off GW but then happily throw their coin in the direction of the respective supplier who is merely following GW lead for ways of making a fun bucks . Saga catches my eye at the moment as I will have to spend £24 on dice for my son and me if I want to go down the route of doing it right. The jury is still out on that one I can tell you.

One old demon nicely exercised I am happy to say is the terrain imp. In my last incantation I was happy with a plain table or at best one painted green and using whatever came to hand for buildings, no matter that they were the wrong scale or period. Now it would be a distraction to use buildings a few hundred years to early or late. Fortunately we have a lot more choice these days such as resin or the new super product MDF. Tomorrow I will look to buy some MDF products such as wagons and water buts to add cover for the cowboy games, I know I need to get some buildings at some point but I have to sort out extra space first.

Given that I am having to rebase all my old figures for new rule systems I don't have the problem of trying to work a better system in with an older one. Well that WOULD be true if not for the fact that a good chunk of my 6mm French are based using flock and the rest with scatter. I know I should rebase them but right now I can't face THAT particular demon.

Anyway thanks to all of you who have followed this blog, especially those from day one, next target will be 500 posts!

21 comments:

  1. The Fantasy crowd tends to demand all those illustrations which drive the cost up. Honestly I wish the blister packs would come in a plain blister so they could keep costs down of figures.

    Congrats on your 666th post!

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    1. I would be happy to hand the packaging back to the supplier at the con just because it's another not insignificant cost that has become almost essential.

      Ian

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  2. Come see me tomorrow re some Dice Ian I have put a set in a bag for you to collect

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    1. Thanks for all the gifts, you made two boys (one little and another not so) rather happy, now I need to get cracking with mine as the boy is ahead of me.

      Ian

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  3. I didn't think anybody could be as tight as Ray!

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  4. I use a photo-copied sheet for my Saga Welsh with all the daft symbols scribbled out and the corresponding numbers written in. 'Official' branded products give me no pleasure at all, rather the opposite. If you do end up wanting them, loads of places do them for £8, never pay £12 for them.

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    1. I will be buying a set of Dane dice as we have the Viking ones from Loki

      I don't mind when the items are good quality, actually the dice Loki gave are good but having seen the Flames of War dice I have to admit to being less than impressed with those.

      Ian

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  5. A devilishly good post Ian. I agree about the prices for the special dice. At least for Saga they do have PDFs of the symbols that you can print out as labels.

    One thing I'd add to the dislikes - rules which release supplementary army lists that introduce new rules and "power creep" (*cough* Saga).

    Slitherine did seem to jump the shark a bit with FoG 2.0 by initially insisting on it being electronic only, then compounded the demise of the rules by making the hard copy version only available through them and not via Osprey.

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    1. Power Creep is awlays a problem, I just see it as rewarding the original customers with the smelly end of the stick as they hand out the candy to the latter followers. Of course the idea is that the original chaps swap out the original faction for a new power base. Obviously you can always use your old force re-branded but many wont.

      Ian

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  6. Nice rant, and nice to see a classic album cover too ;-) Rules really are the thin end of a very fat wedge of "official products" a lot of the time. As other readers have mentioned, the SAGA rule book does show how to play without the fancy dice, and I've seen at least one blogger print out the symbols and glue them onto blank dice for a cheap but very effective substitute. Cheers, Paul :-)

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    1. Thanks Paul, please don't take it too literally, I like to use it as a discussion platform more than anything else.

      I still remember the first time I heard that album, bought it how many times now?

      Ian

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  7. Take a look here it shows you how to download the symbols for Saga dice, its a lot cheaper than the real thing!!
    http://meeples.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/diy-saga-dice/

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    1. I can't moan anymore thanks to that cursed Loki LOL

      Ian

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  8. Yes, rules just seem to be getting more and more expensive. While I think quality illustrations are a must have they don't have to be in full color. The original Fire and Fury rules did fine this way. I don't need every page to resemble a piece of ancient parchment. All of these graphics just add more and more to the price and quite frankly I don't need them. As you said a well layed out rule book with a good index and well done examples more than suits my needs. SAGA is a prime example of a terribly over priced rule book (although I like the game) as is Dead Man's Hand (again I like the game but I went through some serious sticker shock there). I really start to appreciate rules like Shoot and Skeddle, the rule pdf is free, you can order pdfs of the cards for a reasonable price, and if you want full printed cards those are an option and are also reasonable priced. I'm seriously tired of the over produced modern rule books. Probably why I learn towards rules from Two Fat Lardies!

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    1. Dead Mans Hand is very over priced and as you said lots of errors in the rules that have no right being there. But they play fast and you need little more than the quick ref sheet to play.

      Real value of a rule set is measured in playings. If a set of rules cost you £10 and gets a single play they are more expensive than a set of rules at £30 played twenty times, well that's my measure anyway

      Ian

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  9. Plain package minis I am all for that. The trend to extremely colourful rulebooks is interesting. I like sectioned books. These pages are rules only and these pages are illustrations, figures etc. I look good graphic design but functionality for a gamer should have a re-think for many games.
    In Saga I played for a while with numbers instead of symbols with 8 different coloured dice set aside as my Saga dice. Worked for me and saved me some the cost of those expensive dice.
    cheers

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    1. I do like the look of the Saga dice though, well the Viking ones, the Dane ones look a bit boring and lets face it they could have used just one set of symbols but different colours. The decision of different symbols was pure marketing and revenue generation. As is mentioned below that is what they are supposed to do though it still grates a bit.

      Ian

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  10. I understand your rather and it is true that some companies do try and force the market, they are a business after all, but we have biggest say and that is simply not buy the produces. Now Saga does have a table in the main rules that converts the symbols into numbers but the dice are nice.

    But the favour of heavily illustrated and photographed books has come from more the down in worldwide printing, with the likes of China offering cheaper printing and the getting more bang for your money, making it feasible to produce these glossy wargame porn.

    Now I think that the flavour of the month with these lovely books does mean that smaller, one man companies like Solway, who produce the VBCW range, are finding it very hard to compete with these, we are looking at a large glossy, fully illustrated book costing £25, cheaper if you get in on say Amazon, as the standard and the smaller chaps cannot compete and there range looks somewhat old fashions.

    So is it the companies or the business to blame or us for wanting it?

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    1. Actually rule sets and source books like Solway are more attractive to me as they remind me of the origins of the hobby.

      Thinking about it from the other point of view though I think we should be grateful that the hobby can afford such fancy rules and add ons as it shows the hobby to be at it's healthiest it's been in all it's history with more full time companies in existence. I just don't buy the "This hobby is dying" view, I am rather glass more than half full kind of view here.

      Ian

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