Thursday, July 12, 2007

Figure-enhanced games

There's really no currently accepted generic term for them (like RPGs, hex-and-counter wargames, CCGs, card-driven wargames, block games) but I wonder if games, especially games featuring miniature combatants, are the next trend.
On the one hand, it seems like the most action is in those parts of the gaming hobby involving games using figures, painted and unpainted. Inexpensive production sources in China have made really nice "bits" pretty affordable.
On the other hand, these games don't share much in the way of game systems and haven't generated a sense of shared identity. Many, for example, style themselves as "miniatures" games, although they are really boardgames that use miniatures. (Heroclix, Star Wars, Axis & Allies land and naval, Heroscape). Even those that admit being boardgames (Memoir'44, BattleLore, War of the Ring, Tide of Iron, Axis & Allies series) haven't generated a sense of shared identity yet.
Still, the most action in retail seems down that road, a fact which the game makers seem to realize, even if they don't always succeed in their attempts (Navia Dratp, Dreamblade).
It will be interesting to see if this sustains and grows or not.

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