Thursday, 9 July 2015

The virtue of going over the top

This little guy is another Bones imp. I shrunk down the photo in the name of preserving my self-respect, although even so the model is about half that size. His base will get foliage eventually, when I can be bothered. Obviously, his one big eye made me paint him in the form of Mike from Monsters, Inc. and I think the result was actually pretty good.

But this little chap is not what I want to talk about! Instead I want to talk about over-the-top-ness.

So, as you know if you take any interest in the wargaming world, tinymans titan Games Workshop has effectively axed its 30-year-old Warhammer Fantasy Battles game and replaced it with a related but significantly different game called Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. Naturally, you can't get rid of something that's been around for decades and in which a lot of gamers have invested significant amounts of time and money without some outcry.

Now, I don't want to get into the particulars of this decision -- I think, more than anything, that it's much too early to second-guess the game. But like any other person who has spent a certain amount of mental energy thinking about the Old World over the years, I popped into Games Workshop as I was passing by the other day and had a flip through the rulebook, and I learned (if I understand what I read correctly), that the group of Khorne cultists on the right in the picture above are called the Goretide and that one of their characters (maybe the standard bearer? I don't remember) is called so-and-so the Bloodsecrator


I honestly can't decide whether I think that's balls-out great or balls-out stupid. It might be both!

In my own games, I struggle a bit with this. I have a long history of running more or less "plausible" games set in the real world, and I often have to stop myself from thinking all kind of smug-80s-gamer "but where's the bathroom" type stuff to myself as I design scenarios. But a certain amount of over-the-top-ness is necessary, and I'm not as good at letting myself go as I should be. In my live games, in particular, I tend toward running low-key, more mundane plots with messy and ambiguous character motivations, which I think lack the kind of throat-grabbing emotional intensity that a lot of players are looking for in that type of game. It starts out all visceral but then I tend to go back and complicate it a little too much. 

I don't know; I think this basically just says "note to self: go more nuts." Just another thinking-out-loud post, really. However, next week and beyond I should have some more content-ful stuff for you, dear readers, following my trip to ExiliCon here in Cambridge on Saturday. 

1 comment:

  1. Myself, I liked the Old World when it was small and grubby and full of backstabbing politics; when Tilea was all feuding Italian city states (rather than straight-up Mafia-land) and Brettonia a den of vice, instead of Camelot. This is not to say I'm agin over the top; I guess I just like my OTT in 40K.