Monday, March 7, 2011

Post-Modern Hippy Nonsense

On Saturday I played my first game of Ancients for a number of years. Prior to 2001 all I played was DBM (the prime Ancients game at the time) and I loved it. The rules were really subtle and rewarded good strategy. However the rules were really poorly presented and were a chore to learn to use. As a result new blood into the hobby was pretty non-existent. I disappeared off to 40k where I could get a multitude of new opponents and moved from there to Fantasy.

Fast-forward 5-6 years after I left DBM and the scene fractured. DBMM was the updated version of DBM, still abysmally presented, and one of the DBM authors entered the new world of “accessible’ rules and published Fields of Glory. These rules followed the GW presentation model, lots of diagrams, short sentences and pretty pictures. I really tried to like the game but it quickly became clear to me that it was the ultimate game of points denial as the rules mechanisms encouraged this style of play. The tournament scene reflected this development. After a few games the Ancients went back on the shelf.

A few weeks ago I was downstairs and saw my Mongol Conquest army which was 95% completed. I decided to finish it off and this weekend I had my first game with them. I played DBMM – of abysmal presentation – and I really enjoyed it. It was a game of push the models around and though I did win, the enjoyment was getting the army on the table and reconnecting with a bunch of gamers I haven’t played for 10 years.

DBMM won’t become my game of choice but it will be something I do play reasonably regularly. Wargamers tend to put their hearts and souls into their current love, becoming, if my own experience is anything to go by, mildly obsessive.

Sometimes it is really cathartic to stop, look around and smell the flowers.

Kumbaya, my friends.

1 comment:

  1. Pete

    Good post, well said.

    I haven't tried DBMM (put off by those same presentation isues amongst other things) and like you have recoilded from FoG. I generally play DBA and Armati for mny Ancients pleasure. Are they a good recreation of ancients warfare? I have no idea. They work and give me the sorts of games I like, and I guess that's what matters. I may take a look at DBMM one day..haven't yet dared to open boxes to look at the armies post earthquake. I have to get over that hurdle before I play anything.

    Kind regards