Friday, 14 February 2014

Are Todays Wargamers deliberate intellectual lightweights?

Now there's a poser ?? And is it true???
This  train of thought started as I checked out some of my older posts and I realised that I'd actually said that 2 issues of MW on the trot were rather good  both 369 and 370 had Big Andy's approval.
As I've said before  I've lambasted Henry in the past for issues I considered less than splendid so it behoves me to do the opposite when" the boy done good "
 I do find it fascinating though that others consider these issues below par- but mostly avoid saying why  other than "its dull no pictures"- paraphrased from a comment of Steve-the-wargamers blog which is a tad harsh and Fritz's  comment that he seems to like mags I pan and visa-versa  which at least has the advantage of being amusing.
 Some chaps do seem to have bother articulating why they dislike something  That old circular argument  I hate it cos I hate it . Reminds me of a time at Newark show  few years  back  when this  ill- mannered oaf  comes up to the stand
 "Let me see your War of 1812 "
 So I gets him some out and he peers  at them  then says
 "I don't like Old Glory"
 More Peering
" They are Anatomically In correct and that is my Personal Opinion "
 And Yes he did Emphasise the  CAPITALS
 So -I not liking his  boorishness and   the Devil seizing hold of my toe, gave a steely glance up and down   his overly short and  rotund frame and says sweetly
 "Compared to What !"
 The point of course is that this fellow- who I believe ran some minor rules outfit or other thought his "Personal Opinion" was the word of God - without any kind of evidence- did he show me Leonardo's Golden section or  a Giotto drawing No  Gainsborough sketch -  nary a smidgin , a soupcon  of (for transatlantic readers ) Frederick Remington or Howard Pyle. No nothing, simply a Personal Opinion.
 Now  again in the great scheme of things this matters rather less than the price of my wife's next pair of  Jimmy Choos but having said that  surely there is need for some intellectual rigour within our ranks- it's what separates us from the workshop drones ( BUT  there is an argument to suggest that they have an intellectual rigour of their own- theirr "Universe" does have a consistant logic - however nasty  ). You know the ones who argue about a Games Workshop bolter having  a recoil  or not or  shout "They didn't do that in the 41st Century (and yes gentle reader  I've been present at both of those  altercations(and other similar asinine variants) and in both cases my  peals of unkind laughter were unrestrained.
 These days we are supposed to  accept that within our hobby there is no essential difference between one who does his  reading and plays his historically based games- at whatever level and some  dweeb who simply  parasitically feeds on anothers  imaginings as  " its all just gaming innit" and just gets them out of a box and rolls dice.. All one big happy hobby  with no separation of thought or  knowledge as bland and uninteresting as the as a busload of accountants on a trip to an office supplies convention..
 I beg to differ.
 It is the very differences that make this hobby so fascinating. There was a time when  the public face of our hobby- Show , book and magazines was very diverse indeed this is no longer quite the case- . And yes most of this is about "public face"  what Dudes do in private is entirely their own affiar .... also I'm coming to believe that there really is a disconnect between the "public face"  which includes many of the larger " Games Companies"  and some of the magazine content and what actually happensd in the Clubs and  wargames rooms all over Wargamesland. Of course any Games Company wants to sell its games- so fewer is best - you sell more of each  that way and its less bother for a larger margin.
 One thing that I haven't seen ttouched upon is the  fact that "non- historical gaming" is now  much larger than the historical side-(and I'm talking non GW here) just look at the number of  Kickstarter projects involving Zombies or similar silliness- and that a good 50% of the traders and games at Salute will be "non GW-NON -historical" yet the various sub-genres between them can't support their own glossy magazine not even one .
 I am forced to wonder why this is.
 Indeed we of the historical bent  are told all  non- historicals together  are  " just another period" which I, as an occisional Sci- Fi player, find   a tad  misleading to say the least likewise if I wanted  Horror or  non GW fantasy- there is plenty of choice out there but nothing seems to pull it together. Frankly I'd like to see  a non- historical gaming glossy- perhaps like RPI of the 80s  or the one off issue of Dark Horizons that MW did a couple of years back- something to pull all the disparate threads of  the various Fantasy and Sci-fi sub genres together- I'd even read it sometimes.
 A troop/ Suradron of Challengers to add to my modern British Force. I've added stowage and twiddly bits to personalise these models. Not for me merely taking them out of the box and rolling dice- how tedious.

 However now that we seem to have established that actual  real  battles have little or nothing to do with this hobby (see my 2  previous posts and comments)  I begin to wonder what the bloggers think it is all about and I don't just mean a glib reply using the F-word. In theory it should mean different things to different people but I'm wondering if the constant  commercial effort of Games companies to "dumb down" and "blandify" is having more of an effect on the bloggersphere than it is on the grass roots.
 Having said that- and playing Devils advocate to my own argument  I also wonder  if these same  efforts ARE having and effect on the grass roots. I've no actual proof  as the chaps I know all seem to be of  the more traditional wargaming view rather than the "gamin' innit" persuasion. Though I do know a fine painter who sometimes  seems to be less than impressed by the fact that a good number of his customers expect HIM to know more about the rules THEY expect to use for their games than they do  which must be a bit exasperating
Picture the conversation
 Customer  "paint me a unit for Wundarules version 69 army list 45.2 "
Painter  "and which one is that sir"
 Customer "What !! you mean I'm expected to know things - actually  in my own  brain OOOH "

40mm French Napoleonics.Despite the attempts of "Games Corporate  dudes" to  homogeonisev the diverse nature of our hobby as long as chaps continue to buy- and some soldier companies continue to make  diverse stuff they will fail.

 As regular readers may be aware I've had the same conversation with the Idiot book brigade  on numerous occaisionsso its not at all unusual  merely a bit of a pity that chaps CHOOSE not to think about what they do  and seemingly prefer to be thick... That some at least seem to have de-evolved (devolved?)  to the level of children playing snakes and ladders seems to be apparent . I've even had a conversation with a somewhat hysterical chap in one of the Linked-in groups maintained that wargaming was about selling  lots of toy soldiers (product was his term)   and was in no way any kind of  intellectual excercise- he seemed to infer that the target market should be children - Well no I think not. As an adult I have "put away childish things"- well mostly anyway and have no desire to return there for a hobby or more especially be led there by the "Games Corporate Dudes"  who think  they can sell me any kind of  lightweight twaddle and I'll accept it because its in a pretty box..
Scotish Medievals with oversized banners- hardly  for the hands of the childish. The arms on the banners and shield are correct for the appropriate  knights. Why is this kind of- not too difficult- knowledge now considered  beyond the pale by the more child-like of our brethern .
There is no doubt that the  level of intellectual rigour and scholarship in the glossies- and therefore in the hobby generally has dropped like a stone in the last 15 or so years. Time was when we had articles by Ian Kinight, Guy Halsall Paddy Griffith and many other to both entertain and educate us.Where are their successors- and if they existed would they get published by history fearing editors 9or perhaps that should be blogger- fearing Editors )  Now we get Osprey's "Essential Histories" if we are lucky- ioften very lightweight in themselves  yet having said that you still see  well researched games at shows so whilst I might be having a right moan  at some quarters at others I can still applaud the effort that has gone into producing a game or display.
 So to answer my own poser... well sort of yes and no... maybe ... sometimmes- more than they used to be...


  1. Whilst your post is really an extension of your previous posts the answer I fear is still the same. Our generation and similarly minded individuals have become a rarer breed. We have lost our hobby to the "fast food" generation (and fast everything else), who want to be spoonfed and have most, if not everything, put on a plate for them. It took a huge worskhop to bring figure gaming to the masses on the high street and although on the plus side we now have more manufacturers producing easily available figures in every size and period imaginable (and some unimaginable). When a force of 50+ figures can be described as an army I shudder. Games can be played with two "equal" forces of points (provided by the rules) and that's all it seems that this generation of gamers needs; uniform detail research isn't needed either - they can look at the pics.
    It doesn't stop at "fantasy" either. The very excellent game "Wings of War", played with miniatures and cards, requires no research, either into tactics, "uniforms" (the modelss come ready painted) or the history of the air war of WW1. The consequence of course is that players are ignorant of the actual war and will "fly" anything against anything else Fokker E III monoplanes against SE5a's for example. (Not unlike a Noramn army v a Roman one I once saw because the army lists allowed it)
    The "kickstarter" is a strange phenomena imo, that seemingly can't find a place in mainline wargaming and hence requires a "hook" whether it be zombies, Steampunk technology or a catchy title. The pre-requisites for a succesful kickstarter seem to be very similar, a new set of rules with some "gimic", models that can't be found in other ranges or scales (police with electric truncheons) and some scenery (genrally generic but normally useful). The most important thing though is that you can have a game for about a £50 commitment without any extra effort and very few figures to paint.
    No longer can you have "World War 2 " rules, you have to have "Tanks, Trucks and Troops - the world war two game".for example.
    You must also use the pre-requisite figures too as they're part of the deal (no matter they have oversized, barely recognisable weapons).
    The game too must be able to be set up on the dining table (or card table in some cases) and played with equal points in an hour or so.

    I fear Andy, that both you and I (and a lot of others I suspect) are now wargaming dinosaurs.
    (sorry for the long retort)

  2. Maybe the question is are people really that interested in history nowadays, other than acquiring it through the documentary channel, the odd period TV series or a skewered Hollywood perspective.

    I dont think they are necessarily lazy as such nor expect to get spoonfed everytime. People are just preoccupied with the myriad of distractions available, younger people in particular because they understand the the distractions (probably because the distractions are aimed squarely at them). I suspect game designers and marketers know this as well and have to slot into the system/loop just to be able to be noticed.

    Sure from one point of view it looks like dumbing down, but who do we ask to helps us set up our new phones, audio visual systems twatter acounts etc, even the bloody TV? Another point of view might be they dont have or dont want to make time in an increasingly full world of competing distractions. I suspect your linked mate might be right to a point to the outside world a cursory glance at the gaming hobby see's the corporate giant as aiming to sell lot of soldiers to kids and young adults, I would however feel it necessary to point out in how many separate ways he resembles a twat

    As for articles and magazines, I've already had my say and voted with my wallet. I am now thinking of expanding my subs and thinking about the other two Karawansy mags dealing with ancient and medieval history/gaming, of course this might be the influence of a certain rule set giving me some IMPETUS (geddit?) to try something different. Now I must go and buy those John Julius Norwich histories on the Crusades... I hope they got pictures ;-)

  3. Andy,

    I'm inclined to agree with you, and suspect we have a broadly similar approach to the hobby. Personally - and judged only in the context of the couple of groups i've been a member of - i've always felt in the minority, the majority have always spent most of their time playing the mainstream games, 30 years ago it was WRG, now it's Warlord, etc. To be fair, most of the guys i'm thinking of were perfectly capable of 'serious' research, and we had some great all-day reenactment games back in the day. I think what we're seeing is just a symptom of the 'cash rich, time poor' generation, and let's face it - it's much easier to play a quick points based game of Black Powder/FOW/whatever if you've only got 3 hours at the club midweek, than it is to research or plan a more scenario based game, prepare player briefings and all the other gubbins required to make that a success.

  4. Another interesting and thought provoking article Andy. Your blog is moving towards the top of my "put everything else down and stop to read right now" list. I'm on my lunch break and have to get back to work, so I can only provide a short reply.

    I think that you will find as many Lightweights and Heavyweights in the Hobby as you will in the general population . The good thing is that one need not be a deep thinker or a Paddy Griffith to engage in the Hobby and participate, because there are many layers of participation.

    It is probably like the Sales Ratio wherein 20% of the product/participants do 80% of the sales/hobby heavy lifting. That is why you see the same people writing all of the magazine articles, publishing rules, hosting games and what have you for the benefit of the other 80%.

    Any endeavor needs some Movers and Followers (Consumers) and so does our Hobby. If I am hosting a game, I need a few gamers to play or else there is no game. A convention needs attendees to cover the cost of the venue. Magazines, rules, books and figures need consumers or else few of the products will ever get produced or sold.

    I have got to run now, more later.

    1. Fritz- As it happens I'd class myself as a "Middleweight" - sometimes Light sometimes heavy depending upon mood etc.
      Sales Ratio- yes agree entirely and regarding Consumers- and within the hobby there are different levels so many are both consumers and producers at the same time. I suppose another way of asking the question would be to aver that we are moving to- more Consumers and fewr- producers in the wider sense... Hmmm something else to think about.

  5. Don't you hate it when people have fun the wrong way?

    I admit I've only been wargaming for 40 odd years and so seem to have missed the golden age when gamers only played highly researched recreations of actual events based on their own original research. Instead I was corrupted by the likes of Brigadier Peter Young, Charles Grant, Tony Bath, et al who did study history, wrote, about it and drew inspiration from it but who mixed rather dodgy refights, British and Persian chariots making up the numbers at Kadesh and so on with rolicking good fictional games played just for fun and even (shudder) the odd 1,000 pt tournament game.

    The good old days before all that must have been good indeed.

    1. Ross - Been there done that got bored with it and now very aware that you really hate to see people thinking ...

    2. Just prefer to see people thinking outside the box and trying different approaches rather than mourning a golden age that never existed.

      Some gamers used to research and think, and spend hours converting but many didn't even back then. Some still do think and research, many still don't they just consume, its just that the pool is bigger and the consumers are more likely to go to a show and buy and to want what is new so they are who those who want to make a living from selling end up having most contact with.

  6. I work hard, have teenage kids and aged parents. I try to get a quick game up played and down in a couple of hours. Just want to play toy soldiers now and again.

    1. There is of course nothing at all wrong with that- and you probbly get to actually play more often than I do- I very much doubt if I'll get as many as a dozen games in the whole of the coming year- which is perhaps why I want want more from each individual game and why the research and "other stuff" is more important than the "playing soldiers" part.
      As it happens there are other chaps in our small group who also work hard and have teenage kids but they also tend to follow the "fewer but better" line of approach.
      So als always its choice that counts but I wonder if- in the mainstream - choice are becoming fewer and the task of searching for such coices is becoming more laborious

  7. The usual thought-provoking posting, Andy, and your respondents so far have been equally considered in their views

    I will say this in defence of your 'ill-mannered oaf'. He did give his view as a personal opinion rather than as a matter of fact (even if it probably sounded as though his personal opinions were matters of fact). And he didn't insult you by styling his opinion as 'humble'. Rude and tactless, yes, and apparently with some inflated and idealised idea of anatomy, but he was honest - or at least candid.

    Just by the way, I prefer certain types of anatomical incorrectness in my figures: a certain chubbiness that gives the figure, foreshortened as he appears from our usual angle of view, a substantial presence on the table.

    The kind of Mc-Wargaming we often see I think might have socio-political or possibly socio-economic causes. Ever since the Neo-Classical, Neo-liberal (paleo-feudalist) nutters took over the global economy and issued licences to the fat cattists to loot the Common Weal, most of us have found our resources of time and money considerably straitened in the last 20-30 years. It becomes easy to imagine these days that, given the interest, one might look to ways of maximising the return upon one's temporal and pecuniary investment. What constitutes a good return will (contrary to the assertions of Milton Friedmanites' craziy notions about the rationale of Economic Man) vary from person to person.

    Let me diverge slightly. Years ago I had a crack at coaching chess at my daughter's primary school. There was quite an enthusiastic bunch of kids there (my daughter not being one of them). But the thing was a bit of a frost. There was talent there, no error, but all the kids wanted to do was play. They didn't want to learn. Actually, that's not quite fair. I believe that if they could have obtained more knowledge of the game by osmosis, that would have been more than welcome. It's just that the learning process didn't really engage them.

    So it is likely that many modern wargamers do indeed want to get their armies on the table and into action AQAP. And they'll take what they can get to achieve that end: the minimum numbers of figures and equipment to give a good game, and the minimum amount of preparation.

    This is Kentucky-Fried-Mc-Burger-King wargaming, I agree - but bear in mind the socio-political economic pressures laid upon us to make fast food our main source of nourishment. 'Consume our product or we'll kill you' used to be a joke I would make about corporate giants. It ain't quite so funny these days. Not funny at all.

    1. Ion- exactly and see further down the list of comments- regarding fast dood (that was a typo but I'll leavin in!!)

  8. Evening Andy,
    I watch Pointless, every night. It is probably one of my favourite programmes.
    It became very obvious from watching it, that young people ie university students are probably very clever but have no depth to their knowledge, and sadly will probably do alright in life by having that lack of knowledge. They would probably say why do you need to know that such and such a regiment had those facings [ to bring it back to a wargames context] Everything that is required to play a game, from painted figures to the lovely rule book is provided, nothing else is needed. Sadly they could be playing with ancient Egyptians or modern soldiers, they would probably use the same tactics irrespective of the period.
    I used to wargame against a chap who had a Russian Napoleonic army, because you received a bonus for supporting artillery with infantry behind them, he would always have massive gun batteries packed with troops behind them. The effect was devastating, but it certainly wasnt historically correct. He never ever read any historical account about the period, he wasnt bothered. He was happy to play the game and nothing else. Except he drifted away, and I bought his armies from him.
    My point is, everyone is different, wargamers all want something different from the hobby. Prince Lupus is clearly happy just playing a game, and the best of luck with that, you want more from the hobby. There is a place for both.
    Saying that, I still think university students are pretty stupid, but thats just my opinion.
    Good post again.
    Thanks Robbie.

    1. Robbie- as I said- I LIKE the differences its the urge tio homogeonise and infantilise that I'm not keen on .

  9. I was reminded of something I recall from years agone. At a certain Wellington Club I used to frequent, WRG was popularly played for Ancients (so called) and Napoleonics. Even then there was something vaguely 'fast-foodish' about the whole gig, i thought (except that 6th Edition WRG McAncients served stodge). But then one day I turned up to see one young guy reading Procopius - a Loeb translation - with every appearance of enjoyment. I was quite impressed (I had read Procopius myself). Clearly the taste of history he was getting from WRG was enough to spark a deeper interest.

    I have noted a similar phenomenon with Warhammer players making the switch to more historically based armies and games. I daresay the marketers of the Warhammer games made a similar observation, coming out with their own game designs.

    The point is, I think, that you never know where an entree into war gaming might lead.

    Another point I'd like to make. I quite often use other people's researches into wars and battles, and simply adapt them into my own available resources. The erudite reader of my blogs will have noted certain battles that have borne a recognisable similarity to battles from history, but played in an altogether different context. The Battle of Gross-Huntersdorf in a Napoleonic 'logical campaign.' of a few years ago was adapted from Gross-Jagersdorf; and the Battle of Zaltpig in the Ulrichstein campaign just over a year ago was my version of the Paltzig action. Both were from the 7YW.

    Far from re-inventing the wheel, I don't mind tinkering with the design, however ideal the overall shape!

  10. I can't disagree with anything here (bugger!), but it strikes me that there is a whole raft of similar concerns common to many wargamers - and not just old gits like me. I've got nothing against sci-fi gaming up to a point, but fantasy and zombie stuff and the like leaves me cold. It's a bit like music - you can't like all of it. However, the issue of McWargaming (what a cracking phrase!) is starting to spread across quite a few blogs and, while a single definition of a wargamer is something which has exercised me and a few others for a while now (bloody humans!), the definition of wargaming is already established - anyone remember the John Tunstill single sentence description?

    Now, I was talking about child care and development the other day (bear with me) and it's accepted that young children emulate older children and adults - though, judging by some of the crap on TV or at Westminster, this might be the other way round in some cases. Substitute 'young children' with 'wargamers' (often not a difficult exercise) and we may use this to our advantage. If we then make efforts in our blog posts and magazine articles, display and participation games and whatever to hammer home the benefits of 'education'/background reading/historical knowledge etc. and the way it enriches the hobby and make a point of referring to various sources (internet, existing research, books & publications etc.), we may be able to turn the tide/stop the rot/save the hobby/contribute to the self actualisation of others/ die happy - delete as appropriate.

    Once that's all sorted out, we can get on with the other important issue: the quality of wargame figures . . . . ;O)

  11. Gentlemen. Many thanks for all yoyur esponses- I'm amazed at how much I agree with most of them . However a few points arise.
    First I'm singularly gratified that I'm far from alone here and indeed I'm beginning to think that "Intellectual Wargamers" might not be as rare a breed as I once thought but- as it pointed out we may need to "lay manfully about us" to stem the tide of Mc Wargaming so that we can still breathe the odd lungfull of more rareified air !
    So as TS Eliot put it "These fragements I have shored against my ruins" - maybe we can keep the hoarde a bay a little longer.
    Levels- I didn't explore this enought in my origonal post- There are as many different levels to this hobby as there are participants- which is preciely as it should be.There is nothing actually wrong with McWargaming - My Sci- Fi and ACW Naval Collections would be in this category- I've done little or no "research "on either (The Sci-Fi is basically a collectiomn of ideas pinched from Gerry Pournelle) My concern is that the more cynical of the providers are content to stay at "bottom feeder level" - albeit in a pretty box with appropriate pricing because its the simplest quick return for their investment- for which you can't blame them.- and of course Kickstarter is merely a method of generating advance sales with minimasl risk. I must be mellowing as I'm avoiding being judgemental here!!! But the point is that we have been so concerned with "entry level" and "new recuits" that these babies are inv danger of going out with the bathwater- there should be more than mere Mc Wargaming- if you eat only fast food it WILL kill you .

  12. .... and of course the clue is in the title.. Deliberate being the operative word here- perhaps another concern is the paradoxical narrowing of choice. If all you know is fast food ....

  13. Other points arising as it were.
    Ross mistakes me if he thinks I see some 1960s-70s Grantian Golden Age- I don't and for most of the reasons he cite. The "Golden Age" - if such there was was- rougly speaking the last two decades of the 20th century- say 1980-2000- give or take a year or so at eaither end.
    Its was during that period that recreational miniatures wargaming grew up . This era saw a huge exspanion in Miniature companies- up to 4 glossy mags at one time and a vertiable plethora of serious writers- many of whom went on to larger things. the level of knowledge shown was often of a very high order both at shows and within the pages of the mags- but there was lighthearted stuff too-. The main point here is that no-one felt any unease at knowing stuff or at doing some thinking.

    1. Ok so the era thst saw Larry Brom release the still popular The Sword and The Flame, AD&D which started as an expansion of a tabletop miniatures game and othrr FRP were becoming mainstream and wrg released DBA.

      I can't speak to the UK but certainly conventions on this side of the pond see gamers making tremendous efforts to stage games that are well researched and well presented, and there are still gamers presenting innovative homemade rules as well as commercial sets. It would be interesting to check the stats but it sure seems to me there are more military history books being published per year now than then and obviously selling. It may be that many rules publishers are making their rules fun to play since the games that have survived from the 80s and 90s seem to be mostly the ones that are fun and versatile. But it seems to me that like the older authors many of them still do their homework. After all like medicine, history doesn't have to taste bad to be good for you.

      As for the unwashed, I met plenty of gamers back then who just needed an army list and a list of which figure codes to buy. Back in 81 when I had my store some were willing to pay me to paint them too.

      As for magazines, was there another outlet for people to publish non commercially viable research or to enter debate with other Hobbyists around the world? Or to get that elusive info? A trip to the archives for old original texts was a lot harder for many than downloading free scans of old books and collections of papers is now.

      Times and methods have changed, people haven't, not when you scratch the surface a bit.

      the gamers

    2. Over here the era of homegrown rules is just about over- you still see the odd one but often that is simply a stepping stone to a 20-30 quid rukebook.
      As for well presented games- as I said in the origonal post- we do those too- still plenty about but despite the relative ease I'm not convinced that the will to do the work is as strong now as it was back in the 80s and 90s. Equally I'm not completely convinced that ALL of the Golden Age lies in ruins- the show swcene still prioduces good stuff
      Obviously we have vey very different ideas on what constitutes "good stuff"
      "Innovative games mechanisms"- after 40 years still not sure what that actually means. How many different ways can you roll a dice with different numbers of sides - and in which order- mostly that kind od stuff just turns me off - I used to be a rules tinkerer but less so now by a long way- again been there done that indeed the current obcession with mere rules I find a bit tedious on occaision. Rules are a means to an end not the end itrself- mind you as I write this I'm no longer quite so sure what the end is as I used to be- people do change - despite your assertion to the contrary. If I thought I was the same person now as I was in 1980 I'd probably either laugh or throw up People evolve and grow otherwise whats the point?
      Nevertheless- your point re- mags is well made I would only add that the mags were and are convenient and accessable- the web souirces often still are not- they need to be searched for and the mags used to provide that initial kick to take you down that path- sometimes they still do- assuming the editors print the authors biblography or that the author had one in the first place..

    3. Its interesting how thoughts occour- there I was moving some bottles of beer (several perhaps appropriatly entitled "Bitter and Twisted") from shopping bag to cupboard- not fridge there are not mere lagers - when it occoured to me that Ross mentioned his "Golden Age" item in his reply were all rulesets- Now this illustrates possible THE major difference between our views of that timeand consequently perhaps of now.
      My list would be - in no order
      Connoiseur, Vulcan Corvus, Campaign, Garrison- after Johnny Braithwaite took over- Viking Asgard etc etc.
      The hughe growth in figure companies- albeit of varying wquality that made wargames figures -via the mages and shows more easily accessable and untimately briought us to where we are now.

    4. Belatedly, also a difference in place perhaps. I never had the benefits of living in a place where the population could support well equipped miniature shops or conventions where one could easily see a variety of figures or access them easily and cheaply though I have had the occasional joy of visiting such on both sides of the Atlantic. Ordering Garrison overseas on the basis of 1 picture in a catalog cost me two to three times as much as ordering Minifigs from their White Plains NY operation due to exchange rates and postage and took 2+ months vs 1 to arrive but I did it anyway. The games went on regardless of figure availability. There does seem to be a more of a link between figures and game amongst some less experienced gamers but I still see younger ones here mixing and matching bits and ideas between games and improvising.

      As for games not out of a box, I've seen large double blind games, campaigns such as the siege Malta fought out over a weekend on a large series of tables including both land and sea actions, an acw tactical game where player's had to control their troops by calling out proper drill orders while someone else handled the figures and lots more stuff.

      Not saying there aren't lots of just consumers too but I knew a bunch of them in the 70s and 80s too and I betcha there would have been more if it had been easier then to just buy and play.

    5. Yes very much a difference in place I suspect- though shops were very thin on the ground here too though I did have Derek Sharman and the Wargamers Den once we moved to Durham in my late Teens. By the 80s all of my purchaseing was done at shows rather than mail order or - until it closed said shop - the Wargamers Den .
      MY hobby is still laregly "figure driven" rather than rules driven or game driven . Games of themselves I admit to finding often pretty tedious but then different strikes for different blokes