The Three N's Revisited

The Three N's Revisited

Post by eddysterck » Wed, 13 Feb 2008 18:37:08


Back in the eighties people talked about the 3N rule of board *** .
Basically it boiled down to this : a good game will sell regardless of
topic, but a mediocre will sell above expectation if it has one or
more of the 3 N's : Nazis, Nato and Nukes.

This was the height of the Cold War of course, so given we've left
that all behind now, I was wondering what currently makes wargames
sell irrespective of the quality of the game/engine.

I think the only N which has survived until now is the Nazis : every
poll I've ever seen about "favourite wargame period" always ends up
with WWII doing 3 times as good as all other periods combined. Another
content item that's hard to ignore is that games featuring US troops -
from any period - do better in the market than games without US
troops. For my third content item I think I'd go for "campaign". Games
with campaigns seem more popular than games with non-linked scenarios.
A scenario covering the entire conflict counts as a campaign here.

So, those are my choices for replacements for the 3N rule - comments,
as always, appreciated


Eddy Sterckx

The Three N's Revisited

Post by Vincenzo B » Wed, 13 Feb 2008 19:10:15

> So, those are my choices for replacements for the 3N rule - comments,

In PC war *** , irrespective of the period, I would choose: Big Database,
Scenario/Map Editor.

See "Age of Rifles" for a classic "must buy" (as would be "AoR II") not set
in WWII. And CM:SF and DG for potential candidates that failed these two
rules (even if they had ditched their DRM). A "Distant Guns" with the OOB
for the "big seven" (England, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Japan,
Austria-Hungary) from 1904 to 1918 and a ScenEd would be a must buy (again,
let's put aside the DRM for a moment).

Regarding "Nazis", it is difficult to ditch them :o) However, WWII games
with editors and big databases abound (Steel Panthers, Combat Mission, the
Campaign Series...), and sometimes I wonder if people just burned out. I
personally would go for "Novelty": a game about historical periods I know
little about on the military side (like the Seven Years War or the various
Renaissance Wars (like the Italian War of 1542-1546). But this is my bias.
Generally speaking, probably the way to go is realistic real time (like in
CotA), so, from 3N, we would get to:

D.E.RT. Database; Editor; Real Time.

...And surely a game with the CotA system and the TOAW variety would be a
must buy :o)


The Three N's Revisited

Post by hokaid » Thu, 14 Feb 2008 07:50:41

The none WW2 games were always stymied by the 3N's. I believe Bomba is the one who coined the phrase. None WW2 games just did not

sell enough to make it worthwhile for the publishers to print them. So many companies with such great games were just ground up

by the lack of sales, even during board *** heaven days. It has been a miracle ( at least to me ) that Matrix and HPS have been able to add none WW@

games and still be solvent. The only problem being in some peoples mind ( not mine ) of the cost of these games. it does seem to me that both

Matrix and HPS always put a WW@ game out after a niche one. The said companies having the policy of never releasing sales

figures of the different games, we will never know.