No middle ground

No middle ground

Post by eddysterck » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:11:18


Hi,

Last week my cell phone broke down and I went shopping for a new one.
I just use it as a phone and send the occasional text message so I
wasn interested in $300 models with all the latest bells and
whistles, I just went looking for the cheapest tri-band possible. The
sales guy immediately figured that out and in the course of the
conversation told me that although they have a huge array of phones in
all price categories there are only 2 categories which really sell
well and these are the cheapest, most basic ones and the most
expensive, full option ones. The middle-ground ones are the worst
sellers as they can neither convince the just need a phonepeople,
nor the need the latest and greatest availablepeople.

As so often I later started wondering if the same maxim holds true for
wargames as well. It an open secret that monster-size and really
complex games like War in the Pacific and Hearts of Iron are selling
extremely well and that implewargames like Advanced Tactics or
more recently World War II Road to Victory are likewise finding a
big audience. It the mid-complexity games which seem to be
struggling a bit. If at all true, this might be due to wargamers
either wanting total immersion and commitment or else wanting a quick
diversion.

Comments, as usual, highly appreciated

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by Giftzwer » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:44:52

In article <bf1d0f4f-5201-4024-9eb1-f7f11e91c761
@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>, XXXX@XXXXX.COM says...

> extremely well and that implewargames like Advanced Tactics or >> more recently World War II Road to Victory are likewise finding a> > big audience. It the mid-complexity games which seem to be> > struggling a bit. If at all true, this might be due to wargamers> > either wanting total immersion and commitment or else wanting a quick> > diversion.

The problem with discussing the issue is that I fear it's another
instance where the debate will founder on a lack of hard numbers:

* How much more badly are mid-complexity games doing than the monsters
or the casual sims?

* Where do we draw the lines between "monster" and "mid" and "simple?"

* Could it just be that we're having a run of pretty decent "monsters"
and "simples," and haven't see many truly good "mids?"



--
Giftzwerg
***
"It's easy now to pretend that the surge and its success was inevitable.
It wasn't. President Bush had to implement it against stiff political
headwinds, made all the stiffer by the likes of Barack Obama. If Obama
had had his way, we would have lost in Iraq."
- National Review

 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by GJK » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 20:54:27


> > extremely well and that implewargames like Advanced Tactics or >>>> more recently World War II Road to Victory are likewise finding a> > > big audience. t the mid-complexity games which seem to be> > > struggling a bit. If at all true, this might be due to wargamers> > > either wanting total immersion and commitment or else wanting a quick> > > diversion.> >> > The problem with discussing the issue is that I fear it's another> > instance where the debate will founder on a lack of hard numbers:> >> > * How much more badly are mid-complexity games doing than the monsters> > or the casual sims? >
> * Where do we draw the lines between "monster" and "mid" and "simple?>
> * Could it just be that we're having a run of pretty decent "monsters>
> and "simples," and haven't see many truly good "mids?>
> ->
> Giftzwer>
> **>
> "It's easy now to pretend that the surge and its success was inevitable>
> It wasn't. President Bush had to implement it against stiff politica>
> headwinds, made all the stiffer by the likes of Barack Obama. If Obam>
> had had his way, we would have lost in Iraq.>
> National Review

Another thing that I'd throw into the mix is that a game that appears
to be "simple" could actually be a "mid" or even a "semi-monster"
depending on how deep you get into the game and/or how much you let
the computer do for you (read caveat: computer wargames that can let
you play as a brain-dead type because it does everything for you while
playing a brain-dead AI).

Take Advanced Tactics (AT) for example. The game is quite easy to
figure out how to move units and initiate attacks and if need be,
that's all that you could have to worry about to play this simple
little game. But if you look at how the production model works and
how you should really attach HQ's to a parent HQ as your front lines
expand and how you need to produce x amount of political and y amount
this type of tank or that type of infantry and on and on and on. Not
to mention if you want to design your own scenario, that editor is a
headache!

But that could be the secret of it's success, cross-appeal.

And yet, we all still look for that "one wargame that will just keep
me entertained for the rest of my war *** life; I'll love no other!"
but lo and behold, we are all still looking for that one game that
just fulfills every grog-desire that we have and thus we keep buying,
buying and buying again like going through cheap *** s trying to
find our one true love. End ramble.... :)

GJK
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by eddysterck » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 22:22:53


Nah, not me, eventually I get bored by it. Overdose. Happened to me
with Close Combat, TOAW, Combat Mission and Strategic Command. I'm a
bit scared by this so I try to keep my intrest in Battles from the
Bulge sharp by sometimes ignoring it for weeks on end.


For me it's more a curiosity of what makes a game tick. What new
concepts it has, what works and what doesn't, the mix of bright new
ideas and old "good enough" solutons. I know boardgamers who just buy
new games to learn the rules and the system and never intend to really
play it.

Sometimes a game really captures my imagination and I get really
immersed in it, hooked by it even, but this never lasts, so I need a
new *** fix now and again.

I'm Eddy and I'm a wargame junkie who regularly needs a new fix :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by JeF » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 22:33:27

Hopefully, No Middle Ground, the wargame, is doing well. :-)

http://www.yqcomputer.com/
http://www.yqcomputer.com/

Cheers,

JeF.
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by Briarroo » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 22:39:58


> sellers as they can neither convince the just need a phonepeople, >> nor the need the latest and greatest availablepeople.> > > > As so often I later started wondering if the same maxim holds true for> > wargames as well. It an open secret that monster-size and really> > complex games like War in the Pacific and Hearts of Iron are selling> > extremely well and that implewargames like Advanced Tactics o>
> more recently World War II Road to Victory are likewise finding>a
> big audience. It the mid-complexity games which seem to >e
> struggling a bit. If at all true, this might be due to wargame>s
> either wanting total immersion and commitment or else wanting a qui>k
> diversio>.
> Comments, as usual, highly appreciat>d
>

Interesting thought.

Hmm, I'm one of those old geeks who enjoys long complex games that take
forever to complete a single campaign. I'm not after instant
gratification. I'm not sure if complexity itself is what appeals to me,
it may simply be that I enjoy the stretching out the feeling of being
immersed in a good simulation for a long period of time. Or it could be
that since I'm something of a tight-wad, I just like to feel I'm getting
my money's worth! ;-)


** Warning: Thread-jack **

Speaking of cell phones, did you catch the latest news about the DRM
scheme that Apple is using on it's new 3G iPhones? These things
actually phone home and allow Apple to remotely delete third party
applications that were installed by the user!

http://www.yqcomputer.com/



--
"Man will always be Man. We tried so hard to create a society that was
equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there's
always something to envy: a smile; a friendship; something you don't
have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there
will always be rich and poor; rich in gifts - poor in gifts, rich in
love - poor in love." - Comrade Commissar Danilov in "Enemy at the Gates"
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by eddysterck » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 22:46:48


Well, hopefully it better than that old SPI game on the Arab-Israeli
conflict called .. Suez ? which was so bland I can believe I wasted
good money on it.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by von Schmid » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 23:27:09


> immersed in a good simulation for a long period of time.
I do like complex games (Hoi2 etc) as well, but prefer for a given
scenario to play out in 2 nights max - so I can try out different
approaches in a reasonable amount of time.

As to the original question: personally I'll play any complexity
wargame as long as the subject matter interests me and there are no
red flags re quality. I think the Paradox games have an established
and pretty loyal customer base despite of (or becuae of?) their data-
dense nature.
Not sure if that holds true for the other monstergames; did WitP
actually sell that well?

-von Schmidt
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by von Schmid » Fri, 08 Aug 2008 23:29:17

And as an addendum to my earlier post: the HPS games are true mid-
level complexity games. And these must be selling well enough, based
on the number of titles in the various series.

-von Schmidt
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by Giftzwer » Sat, 09 Aug 2008 05:51:00

In article < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >,
XXXX@XXXXX.COM says...


"Apple?" What's "Apple?"

--
Giftzwerg
***
"It's easy now to pretend that the surge and its success was inevitable.
It wasn't. President Bush had to implement it against stiff political
headwinds, made all the stiffer by the likes of Barack Obama. If Obama
had had his way, we would have lost in Iraq."
- National Review
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by Briarroo » Sat, 09 Aug 2008 07:21:20


The *other* white meat. ;-)


--
"Man will always be Man. We tried so hard to create a society that was
equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there's
always something to envy: a smile; a friendship; something you don't
have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there
will always be rich and poor; rich in gifts - poor in gifts, rich in
love - poor in love." - Comrade Commissar Danilov in "Enemy at the Gates"
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by eddysterck » Sat, 09 Aug 2008 18:31:56


From what I gather it did - look at it from another angle : would they
be releasing a "Gold" Admiral's Edition if it didn't ?

I'm not saying that all monsters do well and all "simple" games are
hot sellers and that all medium-complexity games bombed (look at TOAW
for instance), but going by that popularity chart I made a couple of
months ago this were the best-received games in here :

10 : Crown of Glory - monster
10 : Conquest of the Aegean - simple to get into, but a monster if you
want it to be one
10 : AGEod's American Civil War - monster
7 : Hearts of Iron II - monster
7 : Birth of America - simple to get into
7 : Advanced Tactics - simple to get into
5 : Gary Grigsby's World at War - simple to get into
5 : Silent Hunter III - hmm - dunno
5 : TOAW III - medium level, but a monster on some scenarios
5 : Carriers at War - simple to get into

What's missing from that list are the medium complexity games - games
which aren't monsters, but which do require you to read the manual and
learn the game. It seems like players think that effort is too much
for what the average medium-complexity game offers but are willing to
do it for a monster game.

The general popularity of games you can just pick-up & play is also
more than you'd expect from a purely statistical approach

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by eddysterck » Sat, 09 Aug 2008 18:35:05


ROI - return on investment - on additional games in a series is pretty
high as you "only" (yeah, I know ...) need to develop new maps and
scenarios, not a completely new engine.

In other words : you need to sell a whole lot less games to break-even
if you're keeping your engine fixed.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by 09.trai » Sat, 09 Aug 2008 19:48:23

On Aug 8, 5:31m, " XXXX@XXXXX.COM " < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >



Intersting list! What are some middle-ground titles? I can't think
of very many... Napoleon (Ageod)? Manassas (Mad Minute)? Panzer
Campaigns (HPS)?

I would also think about re-ranking COTA and BoA as middle-ground
games. Also, since I'm not a monster player, how does re-playability
factor into these games and do they generaly cost more? Is the
relationship between complexity and replayability a linear function?
 
 
 

No middle ground

Post by eddysterck » Sat, 09 Aug 2008 20:20:49


Just a couple of examples from last year's releases :

- anything by HPS / John Tiller
- Guns of August
- Combat Mission : Shock Force
- Hornet Leader
- Napoleon in Italy
- Strategic Command 2 : Blitzkrieg - Weapons and Warfare
- Harpoon
- Empires in Arms

> games.
As with a lot of things, it's debatable - Conquest of the Aegean is
deceptively easy to get into - I've literally given dozens of 10-
minute introductions at *** conventions so I know it's possible to
start playing with minimal instructions, but once you start to dig ...

Birth of America : I never really got into that one as the period is
not my cup of tea, but from what I heard it's one of those easy-to-
play-hard-to-master games.
>> Also, since I'm not a monster player, how does re-playability >> factor into these games and do they generaly cost more?
It depends - War in the Pacific did cost more - but most games I
classify as "monsters" aren't more expensive.
> > Is the> > relationship between complexity and replayability a linear function?

Is there even a correlation or function ?

And do you measure complexity as in "there's a lot to learn because of
all the things interacting in the game" or as "there are numerous
strategies to explore and small mistakes can have big consequences" ?

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx