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Monday, September 12, 2005

Closing thoughts on WOTR

I give WOTR a '10' because I think it succeeds admirably as a wargame and as a game. It succeeds as a wargame because it manages amazing fidelity to its theme, which is always difficult for a 'historical' wargame and doubly so for one on a very well-known subject. A designer tackling an obscure battle has more leeway than one dealing with a popular topic where most players will have already formed strong opinions.
It also succeeds as a game, because the game play is rewarding, full of strategy and drama for the players. Is it the last word in elegant game designs? Probably not. It's extraordinarily difficult for any 'historical' wargame to be a clean, simple and elegant design, because history (and Tolkien's fiction has the detail of real history) is 'messy,' full of unusual events, unforeseeable twists and human frailty. People are much more unpredictable than 'meeples.'