Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Good Stuff.

 Oh Dearie Dearie me ......

My earlier post "Love Hate Relationship " sparked off a few other chaps views- which of course was the point and overall those that I saw  were all thoughtfull and thought provoking- though it has to be said the short TMP thread was - as usual with many of  that organ's posters  less than inspiring.

The initial posts get the point- ie discussion  but the rest- well why post in the first place if you can't be bothered or in the case of the aptly named Supercillious Maximus why post if you are simply a self satisfied   sort of fellow ..... or similar .....maybe he's a merchant banker - they are usually pretty self- satisfied ....  but then I could be wrong ...  
 Nevertheless sometimes even the twaddle gets you thinking, the crack about "people he doesn't know vey welland being bitter - what a lot of arse !  - Hmm well Its about reading the words. I don't KNOW Jane Austen or William Shakespear- they being dead but I can read their writings. but then you do wonder with some TMP ers if they actually read actual books with actual pages in .... or if some of them have ever  cracked a smile or had a laugh that wasn't based upon shadenfreude or heavy sarcasm ....


It did start the thought juices flowing. If, for instance there are things you dislike about the hobby there are obviosly things you like . Now when I wrote Love Hate Relationship  I deliberately avoided the particlar- hence no history and no references to particular periods since I was speaking of the hobby in general rather than my personal likes or dislikes- after all I don't have to deal with the dislikes personally I can simply ignore them.  Equally for everything I disliked there was an equal and opposite like- a bit like Newtons third Law .... well sort of !  as did those other chaps who joined the conversation  but the overall feeling I get from TMP- in this case was not the usual small minded narrowness but rather Apathy rules - if it could be bothered.....


 Lets have a think about the Good Stuff in our hobby- again trying to avoid the particular- at least to begin with as the particlar will change for each different person - or at least I hope it would- not so sure of that as I used to be though, at least not so far as the mainstream is concerned- how did that dude on TMP put it " Why ask Why  Just do it .... How narrow and small . That statement was probably the most depressing in that - mercifully short- thread.  .

 So moving swiftly on  asking why IS part of the Good Stuff  why does this period work this way? Why are these rules complete crap but THESE  are not? or even Why does this period interest me and thos one bores the arse off me?
 For instance I simply can't get interested in the Western Front in WW1. I've read about it have several books upon it  but ultimately the futility of it wears me down- it  carries with it too much baggage. Now I have gamed the 1914 campaign- when there was still hope  I suppose- "Home Before the leaves Fall", "It'll all be over by Christmas" . Those poor chaps couldn't know - the way we do, how wrong they were

WW1 Brirish 13 pdr of the RHA in action in 1914. 20mm figs by various makers .
One of the main resons I do this is to discover the human stories behind the models- this is something that wasn't as  important  in the 70s when I was far more of a "mere gamer" than I am now. but that is part of the Good Stuff too . Rather than merely throwing dice at the behest of a games designer I do want to know why..
 But as well as the Why there is the How. How did these troops fight? How do these rules cater for that method? Again sorting this out is part of the Good Stuff-even if -  it means trashing a set of rules gamey  chaps think the sun shines out of ! .   Now as it happens- assuming we are  doing a Game at Druham on June 13th  I'll be testing some new ideas on the How- in this case trying out some adaptions to Warfare in the Age of Reason to reflect the points regarding Doctrine brought up on Blackmores fine book "Destructive and Formidable". The idea being to closer reflect the differeing Tactical doctrines of the various 18th century armies I have so the scenario will be based loosely on the battle of Blenhiem- but thrust forward 50 years or so to the SYW. Amendments will be largely concerned with fire and movement and  firing ranges but also with morale  in certain situations. I'll post the amendments once I've finished writing them - they are deliberately untested. I want to use them "clean" to see what the players think.
 Lets face is discussing this kind of stuff with the like minded is one of the Best Bits of the Good Stuff.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What do you want from a Wargames show !

 Now there is a question. When I think of all the shows I've attended over the decades  as both punter and trader then  I realise that they really have not changed much at all . There have been some excellent shows of all sizes- from Salute and Derby at the large end to Durham at the little end- with all sorts of others in between. There have bee some true Turkeys as well. I recsall one in Washington(T&W) where the trade out numbered the punters all day and one in the Midlands that I attended for about 10 years or so - and never did the organisers  make themselves known to me. I've been in Sports Halls that smalled of Jockstraps and wee-wee Snazzy museums peopled by security men of small brain.  First or second floor Venues with lifts or without lifts. Places where the organisers couldn't help you enough - and places where the organisers couldn't- or wouldn't help at all  Shows that try to move with the times and shows that still think its 1975.

A Period of Agonising...again and again .

Now the last few months- or possibly years has seen a good deal of agonising about "The Future of the Hobby" and "The Future of Shows"  but in all this hot air few or none have actually said what they DO want  rather than the legions of what THEY  don't want. Part of the problem is the simple fact that "Wargaming" is not one hobby but  several and paradoxically both  fragmenting and narrowing at the same time. Those of you who perceive yourselves as "Old Men with Tape measures" want something different from the  GW Geeks or the  Boutique games freaks. Now of course some of you fit into some, all or none of those categories some, all or none of the time. That is of course assuming that you go to shows at all. And after all of this there are those who try to tell us this is one homogeneous hobby - what planet are THEY on pray tell?
 So  I think its time we accepted that "The Future of the Hobby" means different things to different people- assuming you give a damn in the first place and don't simply want to continue enjoying your chosen bit of the overarching catch all they call "wargaming " in your own way, without reference to the various agony aunties  ....

Do we actually care?

Now there is an inherent dichotomy here- at least for me. There are two distinct levels that I operate upon  in which shows exist  but they may - if this isn't a bit zen - exist differently .
 On the level of the Trader and small Businessman my wants from a show are actually pretty simple.
 Punters who spend cash at my stall .!  
That one is the biggie - there is no getting around it  Without chaps willing to spend their hard -earned at my stall there is no point in me being there. No point in me and my crew getting up at  twenty-past ,God its early!  to sit in a transit van for several hours before shifting a tonne of metal into a  venue  standing about for 6 hours or so  then shifting- hopefully considerably less- metal back into the van for the trip home.
 Now there are subsidiary reasons for being there once you have that above. Talking to the chaps who spend their cash is pretty important- meeting some of the chaps you only know as addresses on an email  or a voice on a phone line .Now I'm aware that some outfits don't want to talk to their customers  but that's not my style at all . Come to my shop and if you need help or advice with or about your purchases you'll get it if I can help .
Other stuff is incidental really-  food and drink is useful- especially if it is actually edible !
 Easy access is good. Of the shows I currently do the worst access is Newark and possibly Battleground the best Salute and Donnington. The Newark access made worse by the venue owners giving the show organisers a hard time.
I have not mentioned Trade Stand fees for me these range from the rather modest fees charged by the smaller shows to the pretty expensive at the larger end of the spectrum- If I've paid up and been to the show more than once or twice then it was and is worth it. I am aware- unlike some Trade-Whiners I've heard that show owners cannot guarantee that punters will spend money at my shop ! That bit is my problem! 
 What I do expect from show owners is a bit of advertising- and not simply on obscure  Internet fora that nobody visits .
Now without the Trade I'm not sure there is a show- after all we pay for most of it. The door money in many- if not all- cases represents the organisers working profit

.....However speaking as a punter ...

My wants as a Punter are a bit different. If I'm running a game I want reasonable access and set up time- in the same way traders do. I 'd like decent food and drink in the same way Traders do- but I've a little more freedom as a Punter so I can step outside the show and find a decent pub  for a pie and a pint - or local equivalent if available.
 I'd like a decent mix of Trade stands to satisfy my wants- unless I'm mean (or skint) and won't buy anything (mind you if I'm skint I shouldn't be at the show anyway perhaps ??)
Games of course will depend upon what I'm into this week. If I'm historically minded and into one or more given periods then I'd like to see something from then- maybe played or displayed in a new way or an unfamiliar style-this of course can work for the Sci-Fi and Fantasy chaps too . If I'm merely a games player  with no interest in anything other than the dice rolling then I perhaps don't care what anything looks like as long as its easy to play and possibly free- after all as a games player I'm possibly not prepared to put any effort in myself so why should I expect that from other.... or perhaps I'm a games hypocrite who wants every one else to put in the effort  so I can get something for nothing (that last bit doesn't count if you are only 10 as you probably don't know any better yet ! )
The sort of game I like to see. A shot of the TWATS Fontenoy a like at Durham a few years back.There are still good numbers  of chaps who can do this sort of stuff. See the Pics on Robbie Roddiss' blog

Somewhere to sit and have a pint with your mates is also nice- but not always possible.
 Free parking is also nice- I don't mind that as a trader either but don't always get it- probably do however more often than not so its a minor point for me.
 Lighting- again  a minor point- not all shows are like the Stygian gloom of Newark- I take extra lights for my stand and may even take a headlamp for digging stuff out of the stock  bins !!!   Most other shows don't require such drastic measures.
 Such flummery as "girlie -friendly" dolls house purveyors we can leave at Dolls house shows- do they have "wargamer -friendly" parts to their shows? I have no objection to craft and modelmaking materials on sale though.

Basically  the main problem with Wargames shows  is ... well Wargamers really - or some of them at least- they want to narrow it all down to the dice rolling. Fortunately there are still plenty of chaps who have a broader view.


Monday, 11 May 2015

More loves and Hates

 Well not really  more sort of likes and dislikes really- I'm past the premeir leagues of L/H now and merely into the uppper dicvisions of mild irritation .... .
Again in no order

 Games Bores ......

Man these Dudes can give me a pain- but I don't encounter them that often - and I can usually walk away so they are never going to be in the real "Hates" column. But I suspect that they are becoming more common as "the gamin' innit" takes over from the more free form hobby many of us prefer.
 I don't bloody care if you rolled a 19 on a 17 sided dice.
 I don't bloody care if you can recite every amendment to  WUNDARULES v6.9(£29.99) in your sleep- go away and re-arrange your sock drawer- it will be more entertaining and intellectually stimulating.

I suppose this really comes from my basic antipathy to  rules gobbeldegook- though I totally accept Sam Mustaphas argument as to its necessity. Such gobbledegook is really why I much prefer Umpire control. Rules are by their nature inflexible- the Umpire should not be.

Geeks and Old men with Tape Measures.....

 This kind of self denigration also gets up my nose. It might be funny once in a while but contantly p"""""g in your own nest gets really wearing. None of the TWATS -even Tom our oldest member in his mid 60s -falls into the "Cardigan and Flask" category seemingly so beloved of some of  those of our commentators who wish to be thought  or to appear to be   more socially inept or deliberately  dweebish
 Of course the problem is that some of you CHOOSE  to be old men with tape measures- and act like it no matter how old you actually are.
 Now don't get me wrong I don't want the equally ridiculous  SHAZAM- KAPOW ! of the comic convention or   the GW dudes I run into and the awful sloganned T-shirts are a definite fashion faux pas  but I've seen shows where- by Sunday afternoon there is more life in a 3 day corpse. Chaps wandering about  with faces like a wet weekend in North Wales in the 1960s- when the pubs were shut all looking as if they are waiting for either a mercy killing or a number 19 bus to fall under.
 I repeat- we do ourselves no favours here. Why  are some chaps so insecure about what they do as a hobby - even to each other? Its pathetic.

Well done demo games.

Now these I like  but a really good demo includes a couple of talking heads in the demo crew who will  give you the spiel - tell you whats going on and possibly allow you to play a move or two- without smashing the place up . Games do not repeat NOT have to be games for children- the average  club show game is not a creche where you can leave young Tarquin while you go and spend cash the wife doesn't know about...
Yet there are some chaps who want to ban Demos from shows altogether and reduce all the games to fast kiddies games of a hour or less- or -perish the thought those bloody awful "Boutique Games" . This of course will massively narrow the hobby and  turn it into merely a dice rolling contest or a chess or bridge  tournament..
So at any show you need a mix- from entry level "throw a 6 to win"  kids games to the more produced and yes sometimes complex re-creations of  period battles in miniature.

Good middle sized shows.

Another like. Despite some of the things I've said in previous posts there are still some good middle sized shows about.
 Falkirk's Carronade  last weekend being a case in point. There was a good mix of games from Durhams 54mm Napoleonic  down to a couple  boutique games- one being a massively overpriced Star Wars game. Which predictably was surrounded by kids- you need no effort to play and from my short watch it seemed massively simplistic superb if you are 10 .
 Yet overall the show was a little cracker- and yes we'll be there next year.
 This is the way a club show should be. Plenty of enthusiasm for whatever they were doing-games of  several different types both historical and not  right until the end no 3 day corpses' walking about and a good spread of age groups. There was no "Death of the Hobby" in evidence here.
 This was - and is a proper grass roots show with real wargamers doing real things and not always  pandering to the commercial whim of the games designer dudes .
 From the Traders viewpoint- I made a few quid and covered my costs and got to talk to some of the chaps buying my toys- never a bad thing.- despite having to get up before first sparrow fart !

Unlike a larger event such as Salute and Derby the more local middle-sized show has something different to offer. The atmosphere is usually more relaxed without the frenetic" buy this now" shyte from much of the Fantasy lobby. As a Trader I get to talk to chaps more at the smaller events and as a hobbyist I get to see what other chaps are doing.
 This tends not to happen at the larger commercial free- for- alls !  
 Of course in an ideal world you want a bit of both. Salute and Derby- now Donnington of course- have their own attractions and are excellent shows from both a Traders and a Hobbyists perspective and I heartily recommend that every serious wargamer goes to each at least once  but a good local show also has stuff to offer- different one hopes from the mega-shows  less strident perhaps. More detail less broad brush.

Now there are probably too many shows in any given year- but frankly I don't care about those I don't go to. In one sense if I'm not there either as Trader or Punter they don't exist .. I'll do 10 shows this year as a trader- already done3 of theseand one- Durham- as a Punter/ Demonstrator. Frankly that'll do me in a given year

Narrowing focus.

Finally a deep irritation but one which ultimately doesn't matter. The HUGE narrowing of the  hobby over the last decade. The emphasis on "games" has  narrowed the focus rather more than somewhat. If all you do is buy off the shelf and do the army list thing. then you are of course restricted to the products that are put into your sweaty mitt. If you don't think for yourself - at least some of the time- then you will be to an extent in intellectual thrall to the producers of those "games" .
. Frankly I can't see the point of many of the "games" touted about today. SAGA with its 6 man shield wall and all its attendant copiers Muskets and tomahawks etc etc - Why are the so popular- ans- no brain cells required. No effort requred no sense of achievement required either ....

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Love hate relationship ?????

 I've sort of got my breath back after Salute- not that I've had a day off or anything wimpish like that! Not a chance, nor even a hope in Hell. Monday morning straight back at it with well over a hundred business emails to deal with. Some of course were twaddle but more than a few were from blokes who hadn't gone to Salute. There IS life outside Ex-cel ! 
 So come Tuesday the 28th another bundle of orders off to the post office.
 Wednesday morning, more orders, more parcels for Carole to wrap up for despatch  with Thursdays postbag- plus a couple of larger orders that will need a courier. However as I was pulling orders and trying to sort out my next  order to the USA it has to be admitted I was feeling just a tad tetchy- not least from reading sundry blogs about how wonderful  all the games at Salute were. Well I wouldn't know thinks I .... all I saw as usual was the kharsi . But that is the price of  the popularity of our ranges.
 But all the fole-de -rol  and the arrival of the latest WSS did cause me to think 
 so here are 
"5 things I hate about Wargaming " and "5 things I love about Wargaming " In no particlar order of either malice or approval - just as they arrived in the brain....

The 5 things I hate first....
1/. Wargaming newspeak-  Magazines no longer speak of "periods" and "figures " but of "games" and "miniatures"- this has leached into the populace especially those who come from the sci-fant background,the accent is less on a given periodand all that is associated with that elastic concept but more on a  limited set of games rules or evn a single limited game.
This in turn has lead to the idea that this hobby is ALL about daft games for children and leads me on to
2/. Games Designer geekspeak. You know the sort of twaddle "This is an innovative gaming system"  or "Simple yet challenging mechanisms"  . The sort of patronising crap that is handed down from on high  by the demi-gods of Game Design because the poor sods who who buy their games apparently can't do thinking " like wot they can". "When I pick up a new set of Wargaming rules the first thing I want to know about is the basic combat mechanism ......... if the mechanism that is used for fighting isn't interesting , why am I playing?"  Now to me the forgoing- from  the article "Designing Frostgrave" in WSS 78   is the epitome of this kind of  tripe . Forget period or tactics - its about the dice rolling how many and what shape they are ... How very narrow how very very pointless  .

3/. Use of the word "scale" when there is no concept of the term  or it is simply wrong. - We all do it  15mm is not a SCALE but a size  the nearest scale to "15mm" is 1/100th and "18mm" around 1/87th . Scale is a very very elastic term and much  misused in Wargaming. 
 Perhaps the worst is "28mm" - spoken in hushed tones by the Figure-fascists as if it were part of some ancient rite  millennia old- whereas in fact it didn't appear until the early 1990s. We now have a plethora of added "scales"- especially in the sci-fant arena . I've seen models advertised as "Heroic 28mm" "32mm" "33mm" and "35mm" - all "scales" of course to con you into buying ONLY that maker or that game- which of course was the reason for "28mm" in the first place.

4/. Figure Fascists-'nuff said really I and others have covered this one- though personally I might add "28mm hard plastic" - I lose the will to live building the bloody things and they are so sodding fragile .... with added "ping" - when a bit pings off  and you spend a measurable part of your life searching for it- usually to no avail,  you also might want to add the "Miniatures Range"  which is there to "support" a "game"  and how the lazy minded fall for it ....

5/. The "personality cult" that has arisen in recent years. None of these dudes are any "better" than any of us- merely louder or richer or more able to kiss the appropriate bum at the appropriate moment.  The small rash of pretty rich boys showing off books  is the result of this load of cults .... snd worse the drooling sycophancy of their fan- boys  which is nauseating in the extreme.
40mm British Peninsular Infantry advancing - taken at Derby some few years ago-" It's about the figures Stupid" ...

 5 Things I love about Wargaming 

 1/. Toy and model Soldiers- as "The Irregular "says in WSS 78 "It's about the figures Stupid" . But then for many of us it always has been. Nothing new here - except that to counterbalance the increasing tide of gamesey crap that it needed saying at all . It doesn't really matter what figures you use- that is a personal choice.

10mm Arabs painted by and from the collection of Dan Johnson of Lancaster. It doesn't matter what size the figures are

2/. The knowledgeable and  erudite chaps I meet . Despite the above there are still plenty of blokes out there who have not succumbed to the rising level and stridency  of gamespeak. These lads still know their stuff and want to learn more about their chosen periods. On the whole, despite  Richard Clarkes mildly disparaging remarks abouit geeks and old blokes with tape measures, I don't find actual knowledge  of your subject either old or geeky. - Games bores mind .... another matter ... 

3/. Umpiring - running a game. Often better than playing  as you can see the whole picture. For me a good Umpire is an essential part of the process. Without an umpire to add  period flavour and style the whole  thing become mere dice rolling and rulebook grubbing..

4/. Figure painting and modelling- the "arty-farty" bit as Jim the Builder  would  have it- though he's pretty good with a brush himself. Its this and the  3 above that turns the hobby from mere games play into "Compleat Wargaming " . Much much more than a mere dice roling contest.
"28mm"- they were 25mm when we relased them. Just to show the enormous levels of total crap that the corporate duses come out with - and many of you fall for ! I always try to tell it like it is.  

5/. The TWATS- surely the most laid back bunch of wargamers you will ever meet. Arguments about rules- nil. Arguments and discussions about military history - zillions  - thats the point. 
 Throwing teddies into the corner- nil 
Pandering to some mythical youth market of impatient thickies - none
 Beers drunk - more than a few. 
Beef Butties eaten - more than a few
. Different ways of running games- as many as there are members.
 Reptitive samey -gamey crap NONE.
 Satisfaction level- when all goes well very  high.

So there you go . I could have added the history - but I'd do that without the wargaming part so its not DIRECTLY relevant. Though without doubt it is very important. But then surely there is more than the mere dice rolling for Sci- fant chaps as well ? If as Henry once said- "Its all about the game"  then all the other stuff- the best bits are being ignored. I hope I've shown that they are not.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Salute- A traders View.

 From Stand TB14 to the Gents and back.....

 Arrived at Ex-cell about 14.30 on Friday afternoon for the set  up. Jump through the usual tedious- but nessercery security hoops and get in about 15.00 .  set up  all but done by 16.00. No worries. Off to our hotel which is deliberately some distance away- a 20 minute or so drive from the awful wasteland that are the nearby hotels we used to use -  bad expensive beer and poor overprice food that would disgust a sick dog.
  Get to the hotel and do the 3 S's - off to the pub next door before a walk to our usual Friday night eatery- where the kitchen is closed


Find another pub nearby where the food is reasonable and tastes  pretty good too.
 Walk back to the hotel for a relatively early night
 Saturday Dawns 
 Breakfast at 08.00- it will ber the only food we get  for almost 12 hours. As it happens its pretty good- Bacon, decent snorkers (vide The Cruel Sea) Hash browns Eggs-  Baked beans for those with a stronger stomach than I...
Drive to Ex-cel- no problem- Try to find somewhere to park the Van- Hmmmm....... So off we go leaving Jim to find a parking space.
 Get to the stand.
 Plug in the lights- nothing happens. The dammed things were fine last night. So report the fault to Harry the  head of the organising team... there is a man with a load on his mind- apparently I'm not the only one with a fault.
 It takes a while but I eventualy get power- Ex-cell send an elictrician to replace the  fuse box
 - actually they send a crew of two- this is why I'm paying a HUGE fee for a days power on top of my substantial tradestand price but then Ex-cel never miss a chance to gouge- this in nothing to do with the Warlords.
 so 6 minutes past 10 and the power is ON
 .... and the first wave of Zulu warriors  arrive at the barricades .....
 Next time I look up  its midday  and the credit card machine glows dully in its own heat- a quick gulp of cold and nasty tea and back to the fray.
 Napoleonics. Acw . Italian Wars French and Indian War WW2 Moderns- Jim is grasping some Maoris !
 Zombies - still in their boxes -fly over the counter! Prussians, Russians, Normans, Vikings Huguenots Landsknects  . The Blue moon SYW bins look as if a tornado has been through 'em - hardly an Austrian cavalryman left !
I guzzle on a bottle of water before Dehyration sets in . It's hot and just a bit sweaty ! 
More Moderns, WW2 Polish,More FIW - this time 28mm  Lunch was for wimps ....
 15.00 and the pace begins to slacken. I get to go for a wee -wee!
 All I see are bloody Saga games and Zombie bloody cowboys- how sterile and tedious - other games in the distance but no time
 Back to the battle !
 Some chap wants 10mm Zulu War "Characters"- how do you tell? Tiny Chard or Tiny Bromhead? . Still no worries we have some, though I can't vouch for who's who.
 16.15 - approx ... Pace definitely slacker now. I nip off to see Ged Cronin at Gringo40s- Fancy some Garabaldini ....
Jim has to go off and get the van in the queue..... Lynz  and I can handle the stragglers .....
17.00 - the show closes but we are  still dealing with some French  chaps- Lynz's French is better than mine so all well
 I sit down and guzzle more water......

 knackered ...

the only sounds I caqn hear  are the creaking of sundry joints and the happy rustle of pound notes coming home to Daddy .......and a goodly number of happy chaps with Old Glory carrier bags full of Goodies ..
Now all we have to do is load up and get back to the hotel. No WAY are we going back tonight. A quiet dinner and a pint or two- assuming I have strength to lift 'em . Then early - ish to bed for a few Zeds.

So Gentle reader that is MY personal view of Salute. Its fine for all you chaps just toolog about the hall looking at this and that. Some chaps were working for a living .....

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Destructive and Formidable.

 A while ago I bought David Blackmores book. Destructive and Formidable- British Infantry Firepower 1642-1765. Best thing I've read in years..
It bringsinto focus  lots of things we should consider on the wargames table but don't - in case it hurts our brains.
 When was the last time you heard the phrase "tactical doctrine"  around the table or in a set of rules? Now I've heard it used in the modern context more than once but rarely when considering he Black powder era.
 The idea that each bloke in a tricorn haat is exactly the same as all the others seems imbedded in wargamers psyche.
 The fact that it wasn't like that on the battlefield seems-especially theses days entirely beside the point.
 Blackmore make the point quite forcibly that the Dutch, English French Prussians- all had different firing methods. I suppose the Austrians did too  and in some cases different formations- yet all you see on the table are the same  half a dozen "elements or "bases" with figures in two ranks.
. Hmmm - stuff to think about 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Tantobie Wargames and Tactical Society.

  Those of an acronymic turn of mind might want to look away now .....

We are  of course the T.W.A.T.S.  

40mm Iron Brigade advance- this shot from one of our few demo games- we do 1 each year at the Durham Wargames group Open day in June.


 Yes that IS  the name of our very unofficial  wargames group. Meeting at irregular intervals always on a Saturday at the Commercial Inn in Tantobie- a village across the valley from New Kyo .
 We have- based mostly on previous experience-done our level best to avoid all forms of organisation . At our inaugural meeting - in aforementioned  pub of course- we formed a Committee and our only resolution was to disband the committee.
 This is not as daft as it sounds. The group has no financial stuff to worry about or any group property so we have no need for "Officials" or "Officers"  and therefore can avoid the small- minded backbiting that all (but one) of the current membership have encountered to a greater or lesser extent at their various former clubs. The exception to this is of course Andrew the Tekkie- who until he encoutered us had never actually wargamed. We have about  half a dozen more or less regular memebrs plus several other chaps who drop in from time to time
 In theory we'd like tio have one meeting a month - always on a Satuardy usually near the end of any given month but real life often gets in the way Three of us are in the wargames biz so shows in some months stop the wargaming. Others work funny shifts. So it tends to be meetings by arrangement with me as the main conduit.
15mm Macedonians from TWATS memeber James Mains collection.. Just to show that not everything here is from Old Glory UK.

 Our considered preference is for Umpire controlled gamesas the whole concept of points systems is to us decidely un historical and deeply unmilitary and therefore Fie upon it. - Also its as boring as all hell unless you are the sort of Dude who has his  underpants numbered from the right and enjoys sorting out his sock drawer !  "List Building " is for pre-pubescants or  blokes who need to get out more!
 Aside from the very occaisional foray into Axis and Allies or Kingmaker  boardgames don't really do it for us,  Nor  really  does any kind of Fantasy or SCI- fI as I'm the only memebr who has even a small Sci- Fi collection . Games Workshop games are definitly out . Even given that some GW kits are useful  product and may fit into my own Sci-Fi collection - on MY terms . I refuse - and so do the rest of the members to buy into thier nasty illogical and really rather pathetic "universe"  wherein their  Games are set.  . Likewise Fantasy "games" . The whole commercial  Sci-fant hobby has  on the whole become-with a few honourable exceptions where clubs such as the Warlords  still use a bit of imagination - - too loud too childish and too narrow too repetitive  and too wallet catching for anyone with a thinking brain in working order.  to sully his hands with.. I actually find some of the junk out there insulting- not everyone is 14  grow up dudes ! This is NOT an attack on Fantasy per e but rather on the "games design concept"  which - becasue its easy stifles imagination- I have the same reservations about a good bit of sop called "historical" stuff too!.
"FUN" does not always mean removal of the brain or the sheeplike following of other brainless dweebs .
 Despite appearences we are an adult group. We meet in a pub with the legal restrictions that imposes.
 We play   "to period" rather than merely playing the same old same old game over and over again.
 Over the dozen years or so of our existance we've played the following periods and sizes - in no particular order- and including some where those armies have been sold on and I may have forgotten a few .....
 Napoleonic  in 15mm and 25mm., Classical Ancients 15mm- 10mm., ACW-40mm . AWI 15mm and 25mm .
 French Revolution in 25mm Marlburian 10mm. Modern 28mm and 15mm and 1/285th WW2 Western Desert and Normandy  15mm WW1 20mm and 15mm (1914 campaigns in both cases) Seven Years War 25mm and 10mm  ECW 25mm Russo- Japanese Naval- 1/600 WW1Navel 1/1200 WW2 navel 1/1200, ACW riverine 1/600th. British Colonial- NW frontier , Boxer Rising. Assorted rennaissence  campaigns- usuallu involving the Ottoman Turks ....
Some of my Janissaries

 The games playing is not particularly intense - after all this is supposed to be relaxing. Beer is not mandatory- some chaps have to drive to get to the pub! Space limitations mean only 1 multi-player game per meeting- but that the way we tend to like it. Its about  human interaction rather than self- centred points scoring " the craic " to put in Irishly  is at least as important as the gameplay- oftem more so- especially if a point comes up pertaining to the rules or indeed not pertaining to the rules..... All games are scenario driven - period , Rules scenario all being decided by the Umpire for that meeting- sometimes the players even get prior notice of period and possibly of rules and scenario. Most of the games invlve at least some "Active Umpiring" .
 The painting and modelling side is important tov some but by no means all of us but the hHistory  seems to be important to all of our current memebrship
 This is the way the T.W.A.TS. do it .
 We like it this way .....