I recently hauled out my copy of The Longest Day, as I do from time-to-time. As a classic "monster game" from the 1970s/80s there's a pretty high entry bar for getting a game in due to the time and number of players involved.
But perusing it I realized that the entry bar may be even higher now, because I could no longer make out some of the tiny print bearing historical information on the counters with my bifocal-aided eyes. My first thought was "gee, if I get to play this again I'm going to need to have a magnifying glass on hand."
But reflecting on it further, I realized that a number of aspects of the game may soon render it ever realistically playable again for me.
It was, after all, designed by a young (at the time) man to be played by a group of other young men with a considerable amount of time on their hands, as well as the dexterity to handle masses of closely stacked cardboard counters, limber enough to reach across a large table and with sharp enough vision to read tiny print and symbols. Much of the fine print is purely historical information, but some of it does have game effect.
I wonder how much of this aging of the grognards may be affecting the presentation and design choices of recent games. Many newer hex-and-counter wargames have moved to bigger counters for example, Figure-based and block games also are generally easier to handle than stacks of half-inch counters.
Long ago I had clipped the counters of my copy of The Longest Day, something I rarely do, because even back then there were too many finger fumbles. While always a risk in a hex-and-counter wargame, a finger fumble that would be a minor annoyance in a regular sized game can turn into a disaster in a monster game where it's just not possible to remember where everything was.
So now I have to consider whether or not I'll ever get a chance to play out that Normandy invasion one more time. And if not, what does this imply for other, similar games in my collection?
Or yours, perhaps?