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Prognosticating wargames

Every so often, I get to thinking about the future of this wonderful wargaming hobby of ours. It seems like things have changed so drastically over the past five years – largely for the better – that I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen in the NEXT five years.

Now, admittedly, I’m no expert – I’m just an informed fan who likes to think about these things – so please take this article with a grain, if not an entire shaker, of salt. But, at any rate, here are my thoughts on some aspects of the future of wargaming:

Bigger and Better

You may have noticed over the last few years that the minis we paint and play with have gotten, well, less miniature. While 25mm was the standard for quite a while (and often 20mm in some cases about 20-25 years ago), lately 28mm has been the standard that most miniatures producers large and small have signed on to it.

However, that’s changed lately. With Games Workshop introducing their larger Primaris Space Marines and also Stormcast Eternals for Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar respectively, 32mm became respectable, if not compulsary. Fantasy Flight Games has followed suit, making 32mm the size of their Star Wars Legions figures. GW has even introduced new scenery for 40k to accommodate the larger scale of their figures.

It’s not going to be long, I think, until we see 32mm as the main standard across the board, with more and more companies taking the plunge. Larger figures look more impressive on a board, their details are easier to see and paint, so it makes for an attractive idea.

Will minis get any larger than that? Only time will tell.

Edition Fatigue

Warhammer Age of Sigmar premiered in the summer of 2015. This summer, we got the 2nd Edition.

Warhammer 40k’s 7th Edition premiered in 2014. Three years later, we got 8th Edition.

Malifaux premiered in 2009, its second edition premiered in 2013.

Especially in the wake of the huge success of the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, companies are starting to see that a new edition of a popular game - if properly advertised and well-crafted – can move mountains in a number of ways.

Games Workshop’s recent much-publicized financial success can undoubtedly be traced to the enormous success of 8th Ed. 40K, which had a blockbuster premier. The AoS premier was even more hyped and was bolstered by an enormous social media blitz that even included the launch of an official podcast.

Companies with games large and small are bound to take notice and perhaps decide that a new edition could really send things into orbit for them.

The concern, of course, is how long can gaming fans keep up with new editions of favorite products? Hyped and heightened enthusiasm can only last so long, and eventually even the most die-hard gamer needs to take a break from the emotional euphoria.

Electronic Integration

Many of the hottest miniatures games out there have some kind of official supporting app. And a number of tabletop board games (perhaps most notably the second edition of FFG’s Mansions of Madness) actually heavily integrate an app into the mechanics of game play. Further, most gamers will be familiar with the ability to play some games over online teleconferencing services like Skype, Discord, etc.

But that’s difficult to do for wargames.

I very much suspect, however, that there’s some work going on to figure out how to make wargames playable over a long distance via an app, whether that involves some variety of augmented reality like we see in Pokemon Go, or some other kind of software not yet ready for public consumption. Like most media, I think that many gaming companies, which have already started to harness the power of social networking to their benefit, realize that digital is the new frontier for tabletop wargames and are going to try and see what they can do to integrate the digital into a medium that is nearly completely analog.


About the Author;

Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube

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