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Wargaming as a hobby
Categoria Articulos

Wargames enjoy an long history since its invention by Baron von Reisswitz by the beginning of the XIX century. In Prussia they became a common exercise for the training of officers as well as for the development of operational plans.

However, it was in 1958, with the creation of Avalon Hill Game Company, when they reached the category of hobby.

The first game designed by Charles S Roberts, TACTICS, was an abstract game that confronted two similar armies over a map with a square net printed. To this design we owe some of the usual traits of wargames: cardboard counters representing units with certain numerical factors showing their combat strength and movement capacity, a Combat Result Table based on combat odds and a die roll to determine the results, the later adoption of the hexagon as the basic geometry for the distribution of space on the game boards (TACTICS II), variable terrain costs depending on the terrain type shown on the hex/squares ... GETTYSBURG was his first game based on a historical battle, thus inaugurating the simulation and historical recreation that that characterises this hobby. Since 1975 the awards to the excellence in the wargaming industry carries his name.

Other companies appeared an were rivals of Avalon Hill during the 60, 70 and 80's – SPI, TSR, GDW- but Avalon was the leader, selling its games by the thousands.
The basic structure of the games was based on alternate turns (often referred to as I-go-Ugo) with the players alternatively moving and resolving combats following a simple and rigid sequence. These are the games that we call “First Generation”.Then, in 1982, Avalon formed a new brand in order to design different, more complex games, with innovative mechanics and an improved historical fidelity. This was Victory Games, made up by part of the crew of the by then already extinct SPI.

In the 90's, several new companies appeared (Columbia Games, GMT, The Gamers, MMP among others) and the industry began to rely heavily on the Internet. The innovations introduced by VG together with this new wave of designers brought about games much more dynamic, with a high degree of interaction and overall better historical simulations than before, this is what we call the “Second Generation”. Today, prospects are incuestionably healthy for the hobby as it is clear given the large number of fora, casino blogs and web sites dedicated to wargaming that serve as the rallying points for gamers at a worldwide scale. Sites like (in Spanish), Boardgamegeek or Consimworld are clearly the places to visit to get a fair view of the state of the hobby . 

Thus the future is open for new enterprises and new “Third Generation” games capable of reflecting the chaos, the uncertainty and the friction that always shaped the battlefield...


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