Friday, July 30, 2010

Warhammer Quest

Note: This is a post I did on Arcadia Prime a while back, but since it applies to the fantasy side of things as well, I thought I'd repost it here.

A big problem these days is that in my old age I'm married with a 18-month-old daughter. Getting to the FLGS is a 20 minute drive. At best I get together with gaming friends maybe once a month.   These are not the days of college/grad school where practically every weekend I could wargame, participate in an regular RPG, try out lots of other games etc. But there are times when I get together with friends for an evening, etc.-This is an opportunity for board games. Problem is, for the most part, these people aren't really into games like 40k or WFB--or rather, one person might be, but their SO is not.  While the term "gamer geek" might describe many of my friends, it doesn't necessarily describe their wives.

What is needed is a game that bridges the gap--a game that satisfies the sci-fi/fantasy urges of the geeks while being tolerable to the non-geeks. In order to work for a mixed group, what would such a game need?
  • 1. (Painted) Miniatures. A big attraction for people who are normally indifferent to this stuff is the painted miniatures. I can't count the number of times people who I know aren't remotely interested the games nonetheless fawn over the miniatures I've painted, never having seen anything like them before. If the miniatures themselves attract their interest, they may stay interested long enough to play the game.
  • 2. Simple rules. It must be simple enough that anyone can learn to play very quickly. A downside to games like WFB and 40k is its complexity. For the geeks, they are so enthralled by the background that they'll put up with the rules complexities long enough to learn them. Someone not already invested in the background will have a shorter attention span. The sooner they are having fun, the better.
  • 3. Cooperative gameplay. Competition can be fun, but it can deter new players. Even if the rules are simple, a player who is new to both the game and the genre will probably feel intimidated, assuming that the uber-geeks playing the game will trounce them because they have so much more experience/knowledge of the game and genre.
  • 4. Quick gameplay. You need to be able to play a complete game in a few hours, even with distractions. It needs to be "light" enough that the game can continue if one person is taken away for a few minutes--getting drinks, using the bathroom, checking on the babysitter, etc.
A game that fulfills many of these requirements is one that I would like to see come back: Warhammer Quest.It had miniatures, simple rules (with potential for more advanced rules), cooperative and quick gameplay. New players even could play the game without realizing that they are (*gasp*) playing an RPG. If described to a skeptical new player that it's a cooperative board game rather than a "dungeon crawl roleplaying game", they may be more amenable to giving it a try. Once they've had fun, then you can break the news of what they were really playing.

Back in the day when Warhammer first came out (1995), I was focused more on 40k and Space Marine (Epic 40k), and less interested in the fantasy side, and board games in general. So I passed on it. But a while back, in looking over some old White Dwarfs of mine, I found myself wishing I had gotten it. With time more at a premium nowadays, I'm wishing it would return. I'm wondering (hoping?) if Space Hulk sells well, that it might spur GW into bringing back some of its other games, if only in limited editions. If Warhammer Quest comes back, I'll be sure to get it this time.

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