Monday, July 28, 2008

Heroscape as a wargame

Back in the early 60s Milton Bradley published a line of American Heritage games that were the gateway for a lot of young Boomers to the idea of wargames. Some were light wargames like Dogfight, some were merely war-themed games like Hit the Beach!, but they primed the interest of young people like me so that we were ready for the more serious Avalon Hill wargames when we discovered them.

These kind of gateway games are important if there's going to be a future for board wargaming. People aren't going to start with ASL -- or even Target Arnhem.

So Hasbro's commitment to the Heroscape system is a positive development. Not only is it a neat game, but it's a great gateway for board wargaming. Only a fraction of the kids that might try it will graduate to more serious fare, but that's always been true.

Make no mistake, Heroscape is definitely a skirmish level wargame, and a rather clever one at that. While dressed up with plenty of sci fi and fantasy elements, it doesn't ignore more prosaic combatants. Sure, there are ogres, vampires, orc and elves, but there are also eighteenth century musketeers, World War II paratroopers, crusader knights, samurai and ashigaru warriors, vikings, Romans and Thebans.

There's just enough there to pique the interest of some young minds for something more.

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