When I was in high school in the late 80's the gaming industry seemed to be in great shape, there was SPI, GDW, AH and others. I went to college and found beer and girls, and then the working world and just didn't keep playing. In the past couple of years I've been trying to get back into it and I see that much has changed.
So what happened - was it the end of the Cold War, was it computers? (Iv'e never understood some of the antipathy to computers and computer gaming, seems very complimentary to me)
Anyways since I really didn't see it happen, I'm just curious...
"So 'getting old' doesn't necessarily mean leaving the hobby..."
No, but it often means taking a whole new approach to the hobby.
I was only 40 in 1995, when I decided I'd had it with ASL. Keeping most of the rules fresh in my mind from one game to the next was just too much work. And besides that, all the scenarios started to seem pretty much the same. So, after having put some fifteen years into the system, I let it go and never looked back.
Up to now, I've resisted "light" wargames at the other end of the spectrum. Too big a departure from the complexity I was used to. But lately I find myself enjoying some of the Victory Point Games titles. They're simple enough, yet they give me plenty to think about. And they still have something of the feel of a "real" wargame.
Could be I'll end up gravitating toward some medium-complexity game. But I must admit, I greatly prefer my games to be relatively small, short, and simple these days. Anytime I see a game that's big, long, or complex, all the wind goes out of my sails. Been there, done that--and I think I'm done with it.
To me, this has been the attraction of some of the older (and newer) block games by Columbia and recently by Simmons Games. You can bang out a game in a short amount of time yet the gaming experience is rich and fraught with danger as well as opportunities. My favorites: the two Simmons games on Marengo (NAPOLEON AT MARENGO) and Austerlitz (NAPOLEON'S TRIUMPH), Columbia's ROMMEL IN THE DESERT, EAST FRONT II, LIBERTY, PACIFIC VICTORY, the old AH version of NAPOLEON, Columbia's HAMMER OF THE SCOTS and other like titles.
It's amazing how many people recommend the Simmons games to me. One of these days I'm going to have to break down and take a look at one of 'em.
Trouble is, almost all my wargaming these days is solitaire, and a major feature of block games is hidden information. I can "forget" one side's strengths while playing the other side, but if I'm consciously making a deceptive move, I'm unlikely to truly fool myself.
I did play AH's "Napoleon" years ago, as well as the "1812" block game (by Columbia or whoever was publishing it back then). Kinda liked them, but I only played FTF once; and solitaire was a little awkward.
Recently I saw an article on a solitaire variant for one of the Simmons games. Could pursue that, I guess.
I can't speak to the health of the industry, but to me this is the Golden Age of wargaming. My kids are all out of the house and I have a little extra money (finally) to treat myself (and games seem a better investment than the stock market these days).
I agree with David and Ludwig... 1) I WANT to be playing when I'm 73, 83, 93... it beats the hell out of watching TV reruns, and 2) I do think games are as big now as they ever were. That's a great thing. We all need to play more games, and read more books. Oh yeah... and I want to start a game photo album like David. ;-)
Wargames always tended to be seen as games for males only, but this female is here to say that they are very enjoyable to play. I always used to beat my ex-husband at many different wargames and was very proud of it too :-)
But your point is well-taken. I played Combat Mission (a PC-based wargame) against a very competitive girl who also played Squad Leader "back in the day" before I knew her. And she was good - beat the daylights out of me in an Arnhem scenario. She wasn't online just to flirt with boys; farthest thing from her mind.