Sunday, October 3, 2010


I have found the wonder that is Vassal.  What!? Playing a tabletop wargame online?  Heresy! 

Here's the thing.  Vassal is so full of win for one main reason.  The objective (free) test drive.  Warhammer is a costly hobby.  Getting into it is hard unless you have endless amounts of painting time and a good amount of disposable income.  I, like many, don't.  So, it is hard to really want to pitch out half a grand (I'm being conservative with this sum) to possibly not like your army.  Second hand information only goes so far.  So, what do you do?  Take the test drive. But wait! I don't know anyone with models.  They don't have the models I want to use.  Proxying is a headache.  Yeah I have seen and heard it all.  Vassal is the answer.  No it isn't perfect, but what is it is brilliant. You have the chance to test army lists and learn rules and gameplay nuances before you buy-in. 

Now, I know many people are thinking that this is GW IP infringement.  It isn't.  No rules are quoted.  The names of items and units is purely circumstancial.  But even if they quoted rules outright, GW should be encouraging Vassal use.  Why? If I go on and test drive various army lists and rules, I am more likely to find my style of gameplay and army without buying in.  Thus, I am more likely to create a successful army.  Thus, I am more likely to buy the GW rules literature and models to actually play in real life games and events.  What is better: buying once and giving up or having success and buying time and again?  I go with option B. If GW would pull the stick out of their butts and let people see and play around with their rules and models via creative applications like Vassal, I could see GW profit margins soaring.  As it stands, Vassal will probably be shut down in the future at some point due to a slip up, but man, what potential for teaching and creating well versed players who buy after having gained firsthand experience with the product in a risk-free trial environment.  And they will buy again and again. 

Vassal=Win.  GW, learn here.  Use this.  Encourage its use.  Don't worry that a very, very small segment of people may play exclusively online.  They still have to purchase rulebooks to play.  You gain something out of it.  Loosen up and be the company that got its start in the hearts of its players. 

All that said, I hope to have a test game battle report up soon for my Valhallan Immortals.

So, Vassal? Do we like it? Do we not?  What do you think?

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