Opinion: Getting Back Into Wargaming Post-COVID Is A Tough Task

This past year's global COVID-19 pandemic was undoubtedly a tough challenge for everyone, but it was quite tough for gamers, especially of the tabletop persuasion. Thankfully, it looks as though the tunnel might be coming to an end and the light ahead is shining bright. However, due to just how long the pandemic has lasted in most nations worldwide, many tabletop gamers are still left rather directionless, aimless in the dogged pursuit of their favorite pastimes. But fret not, for Bleeding Cool has you covered! In this article, we aim to try and alleviate your concerns about finding the way to game through means that are specially-geared towards gamers in the age of COVID.

A game of The Other Side between a King's Empire player and a Gibbering Hordes player, played over VASSAL.
A game of The Other Side between a King's Empire player and a Gibbering Hordes player, played over VASSAL.

Wargamers have a great deal of options when it comes to getting their fix of games. When thinking about games such as Wyrd Games' Malifaux or The Other Side, we tend to think of these from a hobbyist angle, and while that's fine for the pandemic (how many models have you painted while at home?), now that COVID is looking close to subsiding in many places we should be looking at it from a gaming perspective. Fortunately, both Malifaux and The Other Side have the capability to be played online through modules over VASSAL. A bunch of wargames have this capability, in fact, and while people don't yet have the chance to go out and play, this is the best alternative for now.

If, however, your wargaming desires are a tad more "grim" and/or "dark", as so many are wont to be, various games by certain companies with such proclivities have been found to be playable over Tabletop Simulator, which is an application found on Steam. There is a caveat, however: these games are at risk of breaking copyright due to their respective companies not actually developing those modules and are hard to come by for this reason.

On the other end of things, we have been running roleplaying games out of the comfort of our own homes via Zoom, Skype, Discord, and even Facebook Rooms. And yes, we are talking about tabletop RPGs as well here. It's a safe bet to assume that this has been assisting the tabletop gaming community and the companies that produce for it in the process, as many people are sure to have gotten the same idea over the past year. The author's own homebrew campaign, Dastarque, has made use of not only models specifically geared for Dungeons & Dragons, the system it has been running through, but also various Wyrd Games and Games Workshop models as well.

The culmination of Dastarque's first act. The game is already in its second act and going even stronger, arguably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The culmination of Dastarque's first act. The game is already in its second act and going even stronger, arguably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How have you been coping with the pandemic's toll this past year from a wargaming perspective? Have you come to any epiphanies about the games you've been involved in? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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