Since I started writing computer-based wargames I have noticed that my interest in the design of hex/counter wargames has increased, as has reading about the thoughts of renowned wargame designers (I am presently reading ). Also, I have become far more interested in the whole wargame industry (is that the right word to use for a hobby?). This new interest has left me with many questions:
- What makes a good Hex/Counter wargame?
- Why are there so few computer versions of wargames – especially when there are so many printed versions available to buy?
- How is it that some of the biggest sellers of printed versions of wargames have such terrible looking websites?
- How are so many (at least to me seems like many) publishers of wargames able to survive?
- Why do wargamers seem happy to buy low quality (in my opinion) versions of wargames at fairly high prices? Low quality here means in terms of printed material.
- Does a printed version of a wargame that sells for $50 mean I can sell a computer version for the same price?
- Many wargamers play games solo, effectively playing both sides. Are they willing to do that with a computer game or are they all seeking to play an AI?
- Why has no one published a computer version of Squad Leader?
Perhaps the biggest question for me is “What is my place in all of this?”.
- Indie Developer? I thought this was me and my place in the industry. But was that ever true? I play board wargames. I have hundreds of books on military/political history (My wife complained a lot about them when we moved recently!). Writing computer games is actually an extension/merger of my love of history, pushing counters around a board and coding.
- Social Commentator? While the readership of my blogs is low, I do get feedback via emails and I know readers are interested in some of my thoughts. I have been wondering whether I should comment more on the industry as I am now a part of it?
- Publisher? When I started up yobowargames I just imagined writing computer games and selling them via other established platforms (Steam, Slitherine, GMT Games etc). But with all of these I, of course, have to share the revenue. I have no problem with this as they offer a way to get to my target audience that I do not have. But now my thoughts are changing on this. Can I become my own publisher?
- Hobbyist? I have a full-time day job. I would love this to be my full-time day job, but the reality is I need to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for my family (and go on nice holidays!). Does this mean what I do is a Hobby?
I feel that I am still defining my role in all of this. Maybe there isn’t a definitive “place” I am in. I do have a vision of where I want to be in three years time but not yet of what path I will take to get there.