Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

High Tech; High Reward

t’s not uncommon for some in wargaming to bemoan each new bit of technology that comes along as a change they don’t want to deal with. However, it is amazing how technology has changed wargaming, and almost always for the better.

Compared to when I started in wargaming, this is the golden age of miniature wargaming, and almost all of it is attributable to sweeping changes in how things are done, brought on by high tech. Here’s my list of the good things:

1. High tech spin-casters and new metallurgy have allowed for much finer castings with better proportions than the old days of individual plaster or vulcanized molds. The old figures were lucky to have even one undercut.
2. Laser cut parts have allowed for a vastly expanded line of highly detailed buildings and structures being offered for terrain pieces. Laser mold cutting has also provided improved figures, terrain, and even dice!
3. Desktop publishing tools have allowed a much higher quality of publications and rulesets to be produced by many more people and sold at competitive prices.
4. The internet has allowed the world-wide group of wargamers, who are thin on the ground compared to many hobbies, to establish contact and share ideas and information.
5. New high tech production techniques have allowed mass production of many wargame models in tanks, airplanes, and ships- all delivered PAINTED and at very low prices!
6. World-wide on-line stores selling a wide range of products have flourished offering much more variety at lower prices. It has also led to the smarter brick-and-mortar stores to become more specialized, focused, and service oriented to maintain their business.
7. Reprints of rare, and formerly hard to find references, are far more available thanks to high-tech limited run presses.
8. New high tech gaming tools are just around the corner, including embedded sound devices for the table-top, cheap laser measuring tools, and digital troop rosters.
9. The iPad and other tablet/readers, will change gaming as much or more than all of the above combined. Rules will be delivered to customers on this device requiring no printing costs. The DRM will protect the digital rights of the authors, and its bluetooth component will allow interactive rosters, and results tables. It will be no more difficult to use than a book and actually be interactive and far more useful. New designs using these tools will combine computer gaming and miniature gaming in a way that will surprise many miniature gamers. It will be the best of both worlds.
10. The age of live video distribution of wargames being played and conventions by podcasts and youtube is already here-it just hasn’t yet been fully utilized.

Technology is delivering the goods and the ideas-and we’re all the beneficiaries! The geeks in T-shirts at wargame conventions owe a lot to the geeks in jeans in San Jose!

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