Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Four Faces of Gaming

Subdivisions aside, the gaming world of ours is distinctly broken down into four broad flavors; boardgaming, videogaming, roleplaying, and tabletop gaming. These aren't, however, divisional lines that demarcate and impose limits, just doorways to expand what you've been enjoying so much in one realm in a completely new and different way in another.

Warhammer 40k comes to mind first and foremost. You can be an avid player of Dawn of War, collect and paint your own army of 40k, roleplay in the 40k universe with any one of many options, and hearken back to the days of the Horus Heresy in the boardgame of the same name. As I type this, the Warhammer Fantasy universe lends itself even better to this example with Warhammer Online, WHFB, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and Chaos in the Old World.

You don't have to spend equal time in each category, indeed many don't and only the foolish or truly insane do (and I mean this in a good way), but the four faces of our gaming world remain nonetheless. You can prefer to leave a category (or two) out altogether as you see fit, but as gamers we never turn our backs on any of them even as our choices steer us in other directions. What strengthens in one category today only benefits the other three in the long run.


  1. You forgot card gamers.

    Though I do not tend to play many of them, there are a few card games that I do enjoy such as Dominion, Red Dragon Inn, Island of Doctor Necreaux, Munchkin, and such.

    Also, card games allow another angle on the whole Warhammer gaming as both 40K and Fantasy have/have had card games for them.

  2. I completely agree with the holistic approach to gaming. The medium changes, but the game remains.

    Good point about card games, Eli, although something like Dominion I would classify more with the board games than I would a collectible card game.

  3. I love the rpg pic with the two guys listening intently to the GM while the other dude in the back just lounges out. "If there's any girls there I wanna do em!"

    Good article and very informative. I think that you are right when you say we branch over all of the divisions of gaming. The last roleplaying game I play was my DND game I run for the guys as part of the multi-gamed Epic story of The Nightlord set in Forgotten Realms (my own variant). The last miniature game I played was the Normandy game using Rapid Fire rules. The last boardgame I played was Ticket to Ride. Finally, the last video game I played was my very own NES version of Old-School Castlevania.

  4. @Mike Howell - Actually none of the card games except for the Warhammer ones I mentioned are collectible. They are all set piece games.


  5. Which one of these is not like the others?

  6. There is, in my mind, a HUGE difference between CCGs, like Magic or Pokeman, and games like Dominion and Munchkin. Sadly, my bias has a lot to do with my perception of who is playing them. Munchkin and Dominion are played by "true" gamers, and CCGs are played by, well...

  7. What will suck is the day they put out the Warhammer 40K Collectible Card Game, and I will be forced back into a world I left long ago.

  8. I think the 40k CCG came and went already. I didn't forget them per se Eli, I had thought of them, but like Mike I sort of lump them into the realm of boardgames, not all mind you, but at least the card games I've played of the last 5-10 years. Card games seem like the most obvious 'gateway' for fledgling gamers too.

    @ArmchairGen.: Love the games, you're all over the map, but everything comes back to center, good examples all, and I love the retro Nintendo thrown in there, nice.

    @Andy: I put a pic of an XBox controller, but I intend for videogames of all makes, platforms, and the like. Does Dwarf Fortress deserve less of a nod because it is played on a screen with a keyboard? No I say, it fits as solidly, if not moreso, than many other examples already squarely in any of the other 'three faces'.

    As I put, many wisely shy away from certain of these gaming aspects, but as Mike found the word I couldn't, 'holistic' gaming keeps your chakras in balance, to deny /or worse/ disregard any one of them your four humours will fail in their gaming stability.

    Then you would have to be a eunuch.

  9. Nice post, and how right you are. I think a lot of gamers have probably missed out on some fun because they never dabbled in one or more genres outside their comfort zone.

    I never understand why someone would bash another game - especially if they've never tried it! Reminds me of the narrow-minded Harley guys who call my ride a rice-burner or crotch-rocket. Take the blinders off, people. Give a different game a chance. Who knows, you might even end up liking it (gasp)!