Rolling the Dice, Logic of the Tabletop


War, humans have a predisposition for creating it in every element of existences. Some what notable is the simulations created to exercise tactical theory. The tabletop Wargame is one such avenue. From American Civil War to sci-fiction mayhem to Chess tabletop simulations of combat are the corner stone of human entertainment.

With the advent of newer forms of combat simulations the tabletop wargame has seen a fading of interest over time. Mostly due to the users misunderstandings of the rules and functionality of the games. I’ve witness this many time with new players who don’t play tabletop games and RPG’s regularly, “Why can’t I do X?” or “well that’s dumb it would have actually happened in real life!” The problem with this way of thinking is that you’re not dealing with real life you are dealing with a simulation.

What has kept the tabletop world and the tabletop RPG world going for so long is imagination and the the fact that the game has accounted for all subtlety in combat. In Battletech (modern iterations) you don’t have to spend movement points to change the direction you are facing. The rational is that the combat would happen so quickly it is understood that the pilot would know to do that. It is the same effect in table top games like Infinity or Star Wars Imperial Assault. No extra points/condition/etc are used as the players are assuming that the character would, for example, edge around a corner to fighter or hide behind that same corner to give him partial cover.

It can be incredibly frustrating for other players when encountering a new player that assumes the role of literal actions with no bases of understanding of the game and the concept of a tabletop simulation. It is this exact methodology of the simulation that makes the game fun. The reason is the game is not supposed to be shot-for-shot real. It’s suppose to have it’s limitation. That is where the imagination comes into play. Imagination is an element that is losing popularity in modernity. People are leaning on virtual simulations rather than creating their own.

Tabletop games are essentially an on going fight to maintain the imaginary qualities of entertainment that were abundant before the rise of video games. The loss of the ability to accept the imagined world, learns its’ functions and how to operate within it are all but fading away. What’s in its’ place are virtual simulations that cater to the users every effortless whim. No doubt these virtual simulations are well design and down right artistic in their visual, story and language complexity but they do lack a level of interaction. Interaction that is only found in groups around a table and meals shared discussing epic triumphs or failures. The shared experiences of life with the tabletop being the conduit for the camaraderie.

Finally, as the tabletop world has taken a hit from the video games and the like. It does seem a resurgence of interest has come into play. Due in part to the continued simplicity of the virtual simulations. This simplicity is taking away the challenge and thus at some point the player gets bored. Whereas in the tabletop world the challenge is continuous and only after mastery and hundreds if not thousands of games could a user truthfully say they have done it all and master the game. There is hope for the future and there is always a never ending thirst for war or anything simulating combat driven down into the human condition.


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