11 June 2009

WAB?

Since there's a lot of grumbling going on about the state of WAB, I felt like getting a little rant off my chest.

I'm still trying to take a "wait and see" attitude with the game. I started WAB when it first came out. Initially because I thought it was an interesting novelty. It quickly grew on me for a number of reasons. It was an excuse to play ancients in 25mm instead of the 15's that were more popular with other games. It was a fairly easy game, almost "beer & pretzels" level, and ideal for gaining ancients converts from WFB players. But I was also initially taken in by both the enthusiasm of the authors (and the community that quickly sprung up around the game!), which was reinforced by their track record of longevity.

10 years on and some of the initially mentioned army lists still haven't been released. In fact, there are huge gaps in the game. The way they've chosen to release army lists really only makes it an appropriate game if you are interested in either playing a particular campaign. But it fails as a complete game for ancients/medievals in general. Popular examples would be that you can do Alexandrian conquest, but not the wars of his successors; you could also play the Spartacus slave revolt, but not the wars of Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, etc.

I've heard it said that you can make your own lists, or find someone else who has done the same. But then why buy a half finished game when there are other, more complete options available? If I wanted to write my own game, I would have done so from the start. More importantly, it's simply become difficult for some of us to play that way. Half my games are against strangers, at stores or gaming events. I can't just show up with my own lists. I don't have the luxury of a "local" gaming group any more.

Maybe I should have faith and patience that they will sort everything out eventually. That's what some of the more loyal fans have said. But it's been 10 yeas with little progress. Where other games have either come out in complete form or have been released with a clearly stated (and timely) plan for releases, WAB has been shrouded in secrecy to the extent that fans/customers don't even know if they game is still alive, and rumors abound of various suppliments/lists being cancelled or pushed back indefinitely (as if the 10 yeas wasn't enough.)

I want to play games with little toy soldiers. I don't want to even have to think about whether or not proper lists will ever be released for my armies or periods of interest, or how to substitute another list for the figures I have. I just want to push miniatures around a table, roll some dice and have some fun.

My faith in WAB led me to sell/trade off all of my 15mm DBx figures, and all of my 28's have been based for WAB, so I'm in a bit of a bind as far as ease of taking the figures into other systems. But I'm thinking about looking for alternatives. :/

12 comments:

  1. Hi Z23,

    You have my sympathy; it's a shame that the WAB momentum seems to be waning. Even though I don't play WAB, I appreciate the way it has brought so many people (and such great modellers) into Ancients gaming.

    In the meanwhile, you could always go for something basing independant, like Command and Colors (which I play); or maybe something like the Crusader rules which I think use WAB basing...

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  2. I am curious about the Crusader rules. I don't really know anything about them, but have heard a number of people mention that they really like them.

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  3. I follow the Yahoo group; there seems to be a fair amount of interest in the rules, and supplements are coming out.

    Justin Taylor at VVV has a ruleset using single figure basing that might suit.

    What about looking at Basic Impetus? Figure basing isn't critical for that, either. I played it and thought it looked OKish (although Romans looked a tad too good). Plus it's free. :-)

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  4. Took a peek at the Crusader site & list and seems that the format is similar to WAB - rules in one book with campaign/period specific supplements to follow (only one listed on the web page).

    With as rarely as I get a chance to play, I'm wondering if I should just switch to painting/modeling only and give up on the gaming aspect of the hobby entirely. :/

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  5. I'm a newbie to WAB, but have played 40K for more than a decade. The delay in WAB 2.0 is frustrating, however I gave up on 40K (in part) due to the rapid turn over in rule sets/codexes. What concerns me the most for WAB is a FW style hard cover book in the $75 range - a stunt like that will drive me over the edge.

    Thanks for the tips to other games that are compatible with the GW basing style.

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  6. I don't even care as much about 2.0, though there are a few quick fixes they could have implemented.

    It's the lack of army lists that bugs me most.

    Although from all reports, those are currently being held up by the "impending" (still) release of 2.0.

    The FW book prices you mention (and I've read elsewhere) is bothersome, but who knows what they will do. That would definitely turn me off. Honestly, if they go to direct sales only that may turn me off as well.

    But all that is speculation. They aren't even giving a hint of what they plan on doing, if anything.

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  7. "Although from all reports, those (..lists..) are currently being held up by the "impending" (still) release of 2.0."

    That's what I should have said and didn't.

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  8. > I'm wondering if I should just switch to painting/modeling only and give up on the gaming aspect of the hobby entirely. :/

    I spend a lot more time painting than gaming, but unless you game, it becomes a diorama, and those do nothing for me. Games bring the little men to life!

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  9. WAB is really modeled after the WFB/40K paradigm of a main rule set and big production value books with a small number of lists in them... I imagine they will never *complete* a historical gaming collection unless they change their methods and go with a DBA style set of army lists...

    I imagine the Crusader set will have the same problems as WAB if they follow the same paradigm.

    For me, I stopped playing 28mm WAB in late 2006 and started playing 15mm DBA in mid 2008. The time in between I just painted what I wanted and enjoyed the hobby for just the creative aspects. If the games and rules are getting you down, it might be a good idea to give it up for a while and focus on the enjoyment of modeling and painting.

    Either that or base your next direction on the most popular gaming in your area. It was 15mm DBA for me... But it kinda bothers me that I didn't push harder to get people in 28mm DBA... 28mm DBA basing is *almost* a perfect match for WAB even...

    In any case, please excuse my presumption that you would be interested in my opinion! Good luck man!

    n.

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  10. I'm glad to have all opinions!

    I really like the thought of 28mm DBA and have been thinking about using that as a way to get non-gaming people interested.

    My infantry should be easy to use (in fact I've based some of them on 20x60 group bases specifically for this reason) but the cavalry will be a bit trickier.

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  11. I've been thinking about this a bit lately, looking over my old and lonely WAB stuff... I have hundreds of vikings painted... Have you thought about 28mm Field of Glory? They have production value, and a publisher like Osprey is sure to see the entire series through to the end. On top of that, the basing is the same as DBA.

    Also, I was perusing my Shieldwall book and noted that they have their Norman knights mounted two to a 40mm base. If you mounted three to a 60mm base it would have the same proportions and would also be a DBA element.

    Just a thought as I myself consider what to do with my old WAB stuff...

    n.

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  12. I've played a few games of FoG and really have mixed feelings about it. I'd like to try a few more games, though. I did recently pick up the core rulebook and the two Roman books.

    Right now I'm more likely to jump into 28mm DBA first. I'm considering trying to use that as a "gateway" to get non-wargamers into wargaming. ;)

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