It may be obvious, but the Internet has certainly been a large factor in the current success (or continued existence) of the wargaming hobby. (It's been a big part in the resurgence of board-gaming as well, but that's not the point of this post.)

We are in a "Golden Age" of war-gaming. The Grognards among us look back at the late 70's when SPI was an active company as an important time in the hobby, but I suspect more war-games are being published today by more companies than we could have imagined back in the 70's.

But what prompted this post is how easy it is now to find games on new topics. I recently developed a curiosity about the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). I jumped on Consim World and asked for a book recommendation and if any games had been published on the topic. Within minutes I had a the name of what looks like a good book on the topic (downloaded into Kindle within 15 minutes of making my request) and learned that S&T (of course!) had published a game on the Balkan Wars in issue #164. I jumped over to Noble Knght games, found a un-punched copy of the game with the magazine available. I ordered the game and three days later I had it in my hands. I hope to give the game a try this weekend.

I take this sort of thing for granted now days, but when I sit back and think about it, this is really amazing. Within minutes of asking the question, I had a book in my hands (so to speak) and a game (published 12 years ago) on the topic being shipped to me. This is largely due to the Internet of course. The degree of inter-connectedness that it offers is truly amazing. Gamers from all walks of life, located across the globe can come together in a close knit community to share this hobby.

If this isn't the "Golden" age of war-gaming, I don't know what is.

What would the war-gaming hobby look like today, if the Internet (or equivalent) did not exist?

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Comment by Carl Paradis on October 26, 2010 at 11:14am
I agree this is a new "Gloden Age" of wargaming. And all this was made possible because of the internet. I certainly would never have started designing wargames if not for it. But it's just a reprieve: if new, younger, gamers do not get into the Hobby, it will dissapear in due time. But hey, what do I care, I'll be dead by then! :-)
Comment by Peter Burger on October 24, 2010 at 8:10am
I couldn't agree more. Add to that a growing number of options to allow us to play (some) games a turn at a time over the internet, and suddenly those of us who cannot possibly devote 6 hour stretches of time around a game table can get back into the hobby after years away from it.
Comment by Bill Wood on October 23, 2010 at 8:19am
The hobby has never been healthier - I enjoy the space, the time, an incredibly rich selection of games, and a growing pool of extremely capable and fun guys to be around.

MY biggest problem is that their exists TOO MANY CHOICES of good things!

I still have 4 'P500' Credits to spend for this Fall Sale at GMT, and I cannot make up my mind; further I have acquired 30 + games this year - my wife is going to kill me!
Comment by Kimbo on October 22, 2010 at 4:15pm
Living Rules! Yes! Remember the days of writing rules questions in the form of a "yes or no" question? And how long did you have to wait for reply? Today it's possible to get an authoritative response to a rules questions in minutes and usually within 48 hours. Living rules, rules that are updated as errata is discovered, and made available for download are a wonderful resource. What I find puzzling is those companies that do not support the "living rules" concept and do not post rules online. Is it any wonder that many of these companies are doing poorly?
Comment by Nadir Elfarra on October 22, 2010 at 2:27pm
I agree that computers & the internet have made all of the things I've enjoyed about gaming better - finding opponents as Eric mentioned, actually playing the games is easier (vassal/PBeM), the rules are easier to learn (searchable PDF rules, living rules, etc.), and certainly the research is easier (obtaining topo maps at the very least through Google maps if not finding period topo's on ebay and the like).

I'm not too worried about attracting the younger crowd - those interested enough in a given *topic* will eventually gravitate to the games we play. Those that don't, won't - there's plenty of flash in the computer gaming world for those with short attention spans.
Comment by Ken Keller on October 22, 2010 at 1:19pm
I call this the New Golden Age of Wargaming. It's not just the availability of games on any given subject, but the state of the art of designs and quality of rules writing. Many of those old favorites weren't really all that playable.
Comment by Brian Lazewski on October 22, 2010 at 6:20am
A golden age for our golden years..... Looking at the recent ASLOK it's easy to see that we're all gray/bald/old. I think I'm on the younger side of average and I have a grandchild.

Why is the internet a boon? Because us kids of the 60's/70's have grown up and don't have to search for soda bottles to buy that nifty looking game at the local hobby shop. Now we simply run our Paypal's up and/or buy games not even made (preorder). I think we're dinosaurs and heading the way of the dodo. Maybe! Then again games like Commands and Colors and maybe even Conflict of Heroes seem to have attracted new younger types. Though nothing like when we were young.

My 10 cents taxed of course
Comment by brian s. b. on October 21, 2010 at 7:16pm
yea, like you move the counters by touching the screen and draggin' it- now your talkin'!!!
Comment by Eric Walters on October 21, 2010 at 7:10pm
Hopefully it's clear by now that the internet has been a huge boon to board wargaming. Actually, I foresee the day when print wargames cease to exist--everything will be one on a computer interface, even FTF games. I imagine a super-iPad on a table top...with internet connections....dreaming of playing WAR IN THE PACIFIC that way!
Comment by brian s. b. on October 21, 2010 at 5:56pm
if there is the desire and skill and interest there is no reason that in the near future every old wargame-and new ones,will be available online to play through a clear interface. why should wargames be different then music,books,videos. and yes i would pay a reasonable about for a subscription but i don't think it's even needed-the low number of gamers + the non-graphics intensive nature of the games would require very little bandwith. it would probably be a private network of some rich guy's that set it up-buy lottery tickets folks!

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