I spent the evening punching my copy of GMT's new game Clash of Monarchs and reading its huge rulebook and playbook. It looks pretty good. I'm really excited to play it. Specifcally, it looks like it has a pretty robust economic system with some major money scarcity and debt involved to sustain forces. I was not expecting that and am very pleasantly surprised. Components are a mix of absolute brilliance--cards and counters are very nice with tons of correct pictures and a ton of variations of historically correct costumes, but the map is not the best thing I've seen. I love Mark Mahafferty's work but I don't feel like maps are his strength--his overall sense of art direction is.
That said, I have no earthly idea how I got into the mindset of finding and buying such absurdly complicated games. I'm not repentant. I do enjoy it. But I can step outside of myself and see how fucking ridiculous the games I've been playing are--and how unusual I am even among lovers of theme like ATers and other wargamers. Triumph of Chaos. Clash of Monarchs. Paths of Glory. Musket and Pike Battle Series. Even one of my favorite euros, Die Macher. How did I get here?
I have a historical love, so that's part of it. I enjoy the cards in CDGs for that reason and enjoy struggling with the dud and great generals in my games. But if I am being honest I don't really have a major simulationist streak. I don't play these complicated games because I want things to be "real." My understanding is that this is the base cause of most wargamers affection for way overly complex games. But history is definitely not all of it--I would love to see more sci fi and fantasy wargame style high complexity affairs. I just find them a lot of fun. Nor does playing super complex games make me feel superior to anybody playing simpler games; in fact, I've got a bit of an inferiority complex about playing crazy huge complicated games. I feel like a bit of douche for enjoying such games, especially when many of them are by necessity only like 85% baked upon release (it can be like being an abused wife w/these types of games. But most of the designers of these games are like me and end up balancing the damn things eventually.)
Maybe I just love to follow rules, especially long and complex ones? I'm also not that competitive and many of these games, while competitive, are so long that I can really lose myself in trying to do my best overall in the games, which allows me to forget that I'm gaming for certain precise victory and defeat conditions. The game falls away a little bit with such a long game. I also love chaos and unexpected surprises and many of these games have a ton of contigencies and
I don't really have an answer for it. It's also reflected in my videogaming. I play insanely complex games like EU3 along with all my xbox fun stuff like Rock Band, Caste Crashers, FPSs, 3rd person action stuff, etc. Ah well.