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Old June 27th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Default GDW - wargaming or role playing company?

I was looking over my Classic Reprints and it struck me yet again how much of the Traveller line has been upsurped by war gamers. Now, I know that Traveller came first. But, if you trace through the history of Traveller you see a company that could not escape from their main product line - wargames.

We have all lamented on this board what are the faults of Traveller - that it is not modern (technically savvy) enough, its does not want to employ more cinematic aspects, its endless tables, etc.

Could the root cause of this be that we are playing a game that is a wargame in guise of an RPG?** Could it be the very aspects of wargaming have crept into Traveller and turned off potential role players? Even the upgrade to MegaTraveller was not to expand the role playing horizons of the game but to create an enormous battlespace for rival fleets.

Then comes the difficult question, how do we begin to turn around what must be a subconscious perception? So that the newer versions of Traveller have a chance to expand and grow?

**Yes, I know the easy answer is Traveller is how individual groups play it and it can be played either way.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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Honestly I've never gotten a wargame vibe from Traveller. A military one yes, but not wargame. Frankly I find D&D3e more wargamish with it's emphasis on the use of minis.


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Old June 27th, 2007, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka47 View Post
I was looking over my Classic Reprints and it struck me yet again how much of the Traveller line has been upsurped by war gamers. Now, I know that Traveller came first. But, if you trace through the history of Traveller you see a company that could not escape from their main product line - wargames.

We have all lamented on this board what are the faults of Traveller - that it is not modern (technically savvy) enough, its does not want to employ more cinematic aspects, its endless tables, etc.

Could the root cause of this be that we are playing a game that is a wargame in guise of an RPG?** Could it be the very aspects of wargaming have crept into Traveller and turned off potential role players? Even the upgrade to MegaTraveller was not to expand the role playing horizons of the game but to create an enormous battlespace for rival fleets.

Then comes the difficult question, how do we begin to turn around what must be a subconscious perception? So that the newer versions of Traveller have a chance to expand and grow?

**Yes, I know the easy answer is Traveller is how individual groups play it and it can be played either way.
Personally I never got a Wargame vibe from Traveler. Back in the day I knew it existed, but I never had any interest in playing any of the war game aspects like trillion credit squardon. For me it was first and formost about the characters.

I don't think the CT system suffered any because of GDW's wargame line, it works and there are still many gamers who swear by it. I will commit heresy here and say I never liked the CT system, but I was fully engrossed by the OTU and the potential for adventure.

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Old June 27th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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FYI - GDW had published several wargames before publishing Traveller. GDW was founded as a wargame publisher. I personally believe that many of the first role playing gamers were wargamers looking for something new and different so the fact that GDW published several Traveller related wargames really shouldn't be a suprise.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 11:38 PM
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Both.

GDW was a wargaming company first because the company was founded before RPGs were invented. GDW became an RPG publisher, and continued to publish wargames too.

At no time, however, was GDW ever a breath mint or a candy mint.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKW View Post
Both.

GDW was a wargaming company first because the company was founded before RPGs were invented. GDW became an RPG publisher, and continued to publish wargames too.

At no time, however, was GDW ever a breath mint or a candy mint.

LOL! Hi Loren. Always good to see you.


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Old June 28th, 2007, 07:07 AM
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Cool, hopefully Loren comes back or if Avery is lurking somewhere...their insight/comments would be most welcome. I should add a preamble maybe some of vets have being role playing Traveller for too long that we fail to see some of its original design flaws because we have either made house rules to ignore them or ignore them outright. So, the vibe would buried very much under the surface.

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Both.
Yes, but of out interest were there discussions to shift over completely to RPGs at any time? Or what was the percentage actually spent thinking about RPGs as your prime revenue source - say after MegaTraveller was released? When you would visit trade shows and the like, what was GDW known for?

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GDW was a wargaming company first because the company was founded before RPGs were invented. GDW became an RPG publisher, and continued to publish wargames too.
Did you find the wargaming influence the direction and thought that went into the game? Say, unlike Dark Conspiracy which seems to be pure role playing. Traveller in incarnations does have always built up a solid emphasis upon military action. Was this due to the lingering/continuing wargaming legacy? What is at the root of the military mode of thinking in Traveller? When you look at Science Fiction of the day, military SF had yet to get started, films like Star Wars protray the military-industrial complex in quite a bad light (the Empire) and Traveller seems to buck the trend and somewhat embrace the military.
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At no time, however, was GDW ever a breath mint or a candy mint.
That comment stumped me? So, hopefully Loren will indeed come back to explain that one...
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Old June 28th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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RPGs grew out of wargames, so early games such as Traveller and D&D have clear wargaming roots. I don't think anyone consciously made a decision to get away from wargaming so much as roleplaying evolved to take advantage of the role part of the hobby at the expense, if you will, of the mechanistic wargaming part. (I will stipulate that never having played straight minitures games, I may have a misapprehension regarding its full nature).
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Old June 28th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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The great thing about Traveller is that it's far more than just an RPG. It's also a boardgame, and a wargame - at the strategic and tactical levels...in fact, it gives you the tools to build your own universe from scratch.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Default The views of an ancient gamer...

Having been around at the "Dawn of RPGs", I can say with some confidence that the roots of RPing come from wargamers who are trying to show how one good leader can change the outcome of a battle, then the roots evolve from there.

I know from my own experiences in squad leader that getting "into" playing a leader counter, like Lt. Stahler, definitely made the board games more interesting to me and led directly to taking that "character" directly into my first CT games.

As to the influences of wargames onto Traveller? There is a definite impression on the game. Most wargames have lots of easy to use tables to determine the results. This could easily be why Traveller has the number of tables it has. As to Striker, Trillion Credit Squadron, etc. clearly there were wargamers turned RPers that wanted to simulation large scale combats.

Now, was GDW primarily a wargame producer or RP producer? Who can truly say. Obviously both aspects were influenced by the other, so the best we can say is that it was somewhat both.
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