Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wither Old Wargames?

We were going though a stack of old SPI wargames, and when I say old, I mean mid 1970s era, checking to make certain that they had all the counters, maps, instructions and tables.  It started me thinking about how few historic war games, with the exception of Axis and Allies, sell today.  We have a number of old SPI, Avalon Hill and GMT wargames in stock but only sell a couple a year.  People look at the ones we have on display and older customers reminisce about playing them in their younger days, but, unlike those games who reminisce about playing D&D, the wargame nostalgics never buy the games of which they speak so fondly.

There are two reasons for this, I think.  One is the space, or lack of it.  Older RPG books, modules and accessories take up very little space in the house, fitting thin and flat upon a bookshelf.  The thicker and bulkier boxed wargames take up much more space and are awkwardly sized, not easily fitting on a shelf, and, in the case of the plastic tray SPI games, easily fall or crack open as their decades old plastic cases turn brittle and shatter.

The second reason, and the one that influences the decision more, is the very nature of RPG books versus wargames.  It is very easy to pick up a RPG book and flip through it, stopping and reading passages that catch the eye, easily getting transported back over the years.  Wargames don't lend themselves to this ease of perusal.   Flipping through the pages of fairly dry wargame rules and running your fingers over maps and counters just don't bring back the same feeling that the pages of a book do.