What is Small Gaming?
Small Gaming is skirmish games like Necromunda or Mordheim, or bigger games played with 'small rules' - such as Kill Team or Patrol Clash for Warhammer 40K. It also has undertones of 'classic' GW, so old models, rules and mindsets - although there's nothing to stop you using newer models in it.
How did it start?
|Necromunda - thanks to Kieran's breathtaking terrain skills we had a fantastic weekend that showed me happiness is in three dimensions. A few gantries, steps, levels and tight-knit alleyways changes your game.|
|The Battle of Tallax Slums. How we merged Necromunda fun with our 40K armies. Pressed for time and space, me |
and Kieran had to make do with a 500pt game on a dining room table, and the concentration of terrain and levels made it feel much more like a Necromunda game. My favourite game ever.
|Our homemade Trench Raiders game helped me realise that small games let you focus in on your men, rather than just shunting huge blocks of infantry across the board.|
|Our recent Mordheim day showed that small games are more cinematic. You've got time to make rules up - "let's say on a 4+, he doesn't fall off the building but is left hanging off the edge!"|
Small Gaming has - in my opinion - many advantages over Big Gaming:
- Smaller Armies - quicker to paint, easier to transport, cheaper to build, and you can do three or four armies. My Palladian Guard (although I love them) are over 3,000pts and this took about four years to collect. My new Death Korps army, on the other hand, is 500pts and took a few weeks to collect.
- More Terrain - Small Games are usually played on a 4x4 board. This allows you to concentrate terrain down until it's literally in base-to-base contact. Rather than a board dotted with odd buildings, you have a real city to fight over.
- Tactically Challenging - you have to think more. Fewer units means your choices matter. Loosing a squad in a reckless charge suddenly becomes a huge tactical setback, rather than a dice-rolling, figure-removing exercise. You start to notice your men more - you need to focus more attention on each individual unit or model.
- Quick and Easy - as opposed to Big Game turns which take hours to resolve, the game becomes a fast back-and-forth action with a few handfuls of dice to roll each turn. Less models to transport means quicker setup and play times.
What about the epic scale of larger Apocalypse games?
There's nothing quite like an Apocalypse-sized game. I've played one, and it was dashed good fun - but I couldn't do it every day. I think I enjoyed it more for the social aspect of it rather than its epic scale. It's summed up in the model photos you get in rulebooks nowadays. They're so wide-angle, to fit in so much of the board, that you can't see individual models any more - unless they're super-titans or Forgeworld monstrosities.
So how has this made you "love GW again"?
I resolved recently to be a bit more relaxed about life, and not to get so angry about everything. I used to hate what GW had become - I won't go over all the old cliched arguments again, you know what it is nowadays - so I decided instead to play the game I wanted to play. I bought a Third Edition rulebook, stopped buying White Dwarf, stopped reading or writing ragequit posts, and just chilled.
I've fallen back into how I used to game, and rediscovered why I love GW in the first place. Cool settings, amazing models, great games. People are perfectly entitled to their soapbox, that's what blogs are for. Ragequitters are expressing their opinion in just the same way that I'm expressing mine here.
If GW frustrates you, remember it's voluntary. No-one is going to stop you cherry-picking what you like about the game. Sounds obvious, but it took a few Small Games for me to realise what I liked. So, if you hate GW (as a dark core of me still does), then make it your own. Perhaps try some Small Gaming.