Remember when games were just about fun?

"Dad, come downstairs I set up a game for us to play"

The other day I entered the den to find this waiting for me.  My son had pulled out every miniature and toy he could find to make the most epic battlefield he could imagine.   The battle contained an array of all possible scales and genres.  Stalwart English men-at-arms stood abreast Fallschirmjaegers, Battlemechs and Dragons.  I was trying to figure out what 'rules' we would use when I was forced to remember just how awesome life was when I was younger.  To my older self this is a mess of continuity and scale.  To my younger self this is insanely awesome.  We made up rules, rolled dice and created a narration.  In the end joy defeated reason 7-4.   

Undead hordes supported by a Panzer IV ausf. D advance against a Cyclops

British and Egyptian tanks, supported by English Pike Militia wait in Ambush behind the wall. Note the elf archers firing from the back of the BTR-152.

A mixed force of Roman Auxilia, Battlemechs and Italian armor defend against the oncoming War Mammoth

The Roman general and his retinue attempt an amphibious assault against the Desert Rats 
In playing stuff with my son, I realize why I am  attracted to games like Command and Colors.  The quickness and the simplicity of the game allow for fun games.  When I think back over the years to rules debates, dickering over modifiers, or arguing over measurements, I am amazed at what a waste of time it was.  Part of the reason I gave up games like WH40K and Battletech was the realization that I would become a competitive jerk without noticing (especially as those around me were going down the same path).  It hit me during a discussion over High School sports today:  We tend to forget that playing games involves the concept of "play" and "game."  Both of which are supposed to provide diversion from/ and release of stress, not facilitators of stress.  

Getting away from philosophical meanderings, we also played a game of CC:Kids recently using some of my Crusader forces.  Norman knights defended their camp from Arab raiders.  This game saw the advent of the "super unit"  2 units of Heavy knights grouped together with a general model to run roughshod over the battlefield.  They roll 8 dice together rather than 5 separately as throwing a fist full of dice is significantly cooler.  The Normans won 6-3 when the game was called on account of bed-time.


  1. I await the time I can play such with my kids, we are close I think. Great to read about your experiance. Kids have a habit of reminding us the best way to live


  2. Wow! I suspect your son is going to be a long term gamer. :-)
    You're right, it might (or might not) diminish or disappear in his teen years, but even then I suspect it will reappear at some point in his life; whatever - living in the present with regard to our diversions is more than enough, even for us adults.

    Of course I started the hobby, all on my own at first, at about age 13. Tried to get my Dad (a reserve officer in the Army Corps of Engineers) interested in playing, but while he supported me (including with maps and staff officer training materials, I could never get him to the tabletop. Maybe it had to do with when he taught me to play chess at about age 8; he won the first game.... and never won again after that, LOL!

    I am also a bit reminded of the late Charlie Sweet, one of the real Old Guard of our hobby. All of his three sons played as kids; one dropped out as a teen, the other morphed into a Collector, and the third, David, went on to become even more avid a wargamer than his Dad.

    Regardless, it's great to see you having fun with your son; how much better does it get as a parent than that? I came to the realization that having FUN was the most important single aspect to me about 14 years ago or so, abandoning the Quest for Realism as the primary goal.


  3. And we thought the DBx system was stretching the periods you can simultaneously put on the table too far. Now we can finally determine who would win, The Panzer IV or the frost giant riding a war mammoth?


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