My boy, henceforth known as Holdenstein jr. Has been bugging me to play and model with my toy soldiers for quite some time. We've been playing some of the more simple board games, such as Carcassonne and Summoner Wars for a little while and I've decided that it's time to take the plunge and introduce him to a little light war-gaming, which will have the added benefit of giving us a bit more quality time together.
As an introduction to wargaming, I had two main considerations; a suitable theme and a simple ruleset. So firstly an odd question: What is a suitable theme for a wargame?
This is a question that has puzzled war gamers for years. Wargaming is a simulation of killing people using toy soldiers. There's no getting away from that slightly uncomfortable fact. In fantasy settings people never existed and so therefore there's no problems over "real" morality getting in the way, but anything historical will have moral baggage coming along with it. Why are the forces fighting? Who is right? What happens if the bad guys win? Couldn't they just have talked it over and come to some arrangement? These are all good questions, and ones that I can't be bothered to answer, so I'm going to go for a fictional gaming setting to begin with (although I note that Holdenstein jr.s next school project is about Vikings so that might be a chance to try out some ancient wargaming)
So a fictional setting- great, I have a massive amount of 40K stuff and quite a bit of Warmachine. Well, straight away we've hit a problem. That problem is that in their quest for a "mature" edgy seeding there's quite a bit in those settings, especially Warmachine's, that isn't really suitable for a young 'un. Both games have their sadomachochist faction, and a general grim dark mentality. Plus Warmachine has too much cleavage. I won't get into whether or not this approach is actually mature, or rather childish in it's own way, but suffice to say I won't be going there yet, and don't get me started on Malifaux. Plus their rules are too difficult to simplify.
That leads me to where I am going: Lord of the Rings, the Strategy Battle Game. This is a new game to me. The imagery is uncontroversial, the rules are pretty simple and the bad guys are obviously bad, but not in a sadistic way. Hurray. I am actually in two minds about whether to stick with the rules as supplied, or go for the "Song of Blades and Heroes" rules, which are simple but effective. We will try both for a few games each and then make a decision. That's the plan anyway.