Monday, 7 December 2015

Germany reunited Early ... almost

Saturday 5th december 1985 - well 2015 really but it was 1985 in the pub  where we meet- just for the day you understand.
 Theatrical Steve was in the chair and decided to run a Cold War goes Hot game in 20mm  scale using a variant of Rapid Fire. Now I've given  the origonal  of rules a proper kicking in the past so maybe I was just a tad dimayed.
 As it turned out my fears were almost groundless. Such issues as I had were quite minor.
 Forces involved were West Germans-(FDR)  with Leopards and  other assorted tasty hardware- including Marders and suchlike stiuff. Panzer Grenadiers with all sorts of clever tools hanging off them - Well Nice. Not to say Tasty ... and the East Germans of the DDR with all sorts of Russian Kit with which I'm more familiar. T- 72 T55  BMP 120mm mortars off table 122 mm Artillery   Hind Helicopters  etc etc.
 Needless to say I took the West Germans....
 Our objective was to hold a  rossroads vital to the East German advance- a full report of the action is on Tantobie Internet Tattler where there are some fine pics of Steve collection

I'll not  repeat the Comminist Propaganda  but suffice it to say I was on the whole pretty well impressed by the way the game ran. Steve did a good job even though Andrew Von Tekkmiester commanding the DDR forces  was uncannily jammy - until the last couple of turns- flying a Sagger down a narrow alley up one of my Leaopard 2s was  just beyond belief at one point I was doen to 2 operational Leopards out of 6  and it looked a distinct possibility that the Freedom loving peoples of the FDR would join the Workers Paradise of the DDR with all those big butch  lady shot- putters to keep 'em in line.
 However the sheer terror of this proposition got the panzer Grenadiers into action - pinching out the enmemy infantry lodgement and shooting up the DDR tanks with Milan Missiles.
 It was still looking distinctly iffy though until the DDR artillery spotter failed twice to establish comms with his off table 122 mm guns- which had he managed this would have sorted out my infantry good and proper. However he didn't so we were able to hold on to the objective by the skin of our fore as it were and sort of gain the day- sort of ....
The DDR approaches... Hordes of 'em ..
and Approaches .....
meanwhile the Good Guys sneak about in the hedgrows....
still sneaking ....

Normally for this kind of game we use  Combined Arms- which is, so I thought- a higher level of command - basic manovre units being companies of- say 3 or 4 tanks or IFVs . This game felt a lot more down and dirty with units representing squads or platoons- or so I surmised from the look of the thing. It transpired however that  each Marder with its 7 figure singly based squad represented a COMPANY. Now don't get me wrong but I'm afraid an infanrty company operates very differently from a single squad and had different tasks and assets.  This was a failure of the rules - though not as it happend the game. We both(players)  thought that the game played much more low -level that the  "command detactment" you get with Combined Arms was not there. However having said that, as a lower lever smaller action game it worked well  very much "bottom up" rather than the "sort of Top Down" you get with Combined Arms.
 I definitely fancy another bash and this lower level will suit my  15mmAfrican collection .....which will need beefing up a bit
Now both Andrew and Steve are more knowledgeable on modern stuff than I  so they did have a tendency to speak fluent acronymic of which I understood just over half. I even attempted to  put an ATGW up his FOO in his BDRM  but as was typical of this day didn't get the dice roll needed.
Mind you the fine Ale and Food more than made up for any dice malfunctions- it always does - Jean Once again our Thanks.
As it happens we had another prospective member visit our group-   . Now Paul is into re-enactment and is a member of several groups but freely admists to being a newbie at this wargaming lark- his only experience being several games of Bolt Action at another local "gaming group"  who actually may be the complete anitheseis of the TWATS- but I may be doing them a disservice. However from Pauls conversation it did deem that Bolt Action was the only vaguely historical game they semm to play- all the rest being SCI-FANT and the accent being very much on "the gamin' innit"  Their website(which I did check out) being all X-wing Warhammer  and 40k and other  knowledge -free  dice rolling contests with lots of Shazam Kapow  and very tournament heavy- so not our style at all.
 Now Paul -despite being a tyro wanted more historical stuff in his games and is busy building  Waterloo period Napoleonic British in 15mm with French to follow.
So it is of intrest to see how different ours and Pauls and indeed many bloggers views are from the those of the WSS survey. It's pretty obvios that - according to the survey competive  head to head plastic is in vogue currently - though I'm still unsure how 40k X-wing etc is "wargaming"- gaming certainly- miniatures gaming very probably wargaming ?? not sure as there have not so far been any wars involving X-wing fighters or Space Marines.... so the most popular periods don't actually exist .... what does that say about a good half of our ..."bretheren?"


  1. Hi Andy!

    As you mention me in your above Blog (Paul) i feel that now would be a good time to respond to a Blog for the first time and to add a newbie perspective to your recent "wargaming" blog discussions......

    Firstly i hope i make sense as i am not the best at writing and getting my point across in type but anyway i must begin by thanking the TWATS for making me feel most welcome although the group name was not the most appropriate when trying to locate the members of the group for the first time. Having to go into an unknown "yocals" pub in the depths of County Durham and asking several random beer swilling punters "are you a twat?" was not the easiest, especially when having a Brummie accent! That said it was certainly an interesting experience which i wont forget quickly!!!

    Ok, back on track..... As a newbiew to the hobby of "Wargaming" i have made many observations and firstly i must add that to begin with i had no friends or family members who are involved in the hobby either so i took small steps to begin with and the first thing i found with searching on the internet was that i continually came up with the same two companies in the UK and between them they appear to have most periods / genres (inc fantasy) catered for in some way or another. Now as i had easy access to purchasing their "games" / products and having a lot of info to hand on the net i assumed this was the best way to go. I must add at this point that i detest going into the high street store of one of these brands as i really do not like that way they jump on you as soon as you step in and try to be your best mate! This may be ok for some people but not for me. I prefer to browse around first then approach them and ask for any assistance i may require. Anyway as i am a historical reenactor one particular rule set and brand stood out more than the rest and down that road i happily went. Now looking back i wished i had not made this choice as their products have been very expensive and now having played a few games i am not entirely sure if the "game" is right for me either. I have also found that everyone has the same miniatures as the range available is not all that varied currently. So i suppose i am asking, is this a similar experience that other newbies have??? Does the "big two" as i call them really have such a big hold on wargamers and block us all from seeing the other options out there?

    The next issue i have came across is that now i have dug deeper i have came across many other periods, manufacturers, scales and rules etc, i had no idea which way to turn! I thought a good way to assist my decision may be to join a "wargaming" club but this had some issues in itself..... firstly many of the website addresses i visited were closed and a lot of info was out of date, once i found a possible club the same two companies games / rules popped up again. I also found one club wanted to charge a very large amount for me to join yet i had no knowledge of what i wanted to play etc, etc.In addition no club i checked upon appeared to have a "Beginners" night which i think would make it more accessible to new players for a number of reasons, in having a beginners night potential new players can try out several different games and ask questions of the more experienced players before taking the plunge themselves as we all know money is always tight and in having a beginners night, say once a month the club would surely attract more new members and would this not encourage more diversity within the club also?

    So i think the overall issue i raise is..... Is wargaming as accessible to "newbies" as it could be? (not including the likes of the "big two".)

    I could go on and bore you all further with other things i have noted however i think i will leave it there for now to see if anyone agrees with some of the issues i have mentioned.

    1. Paul. Ah well yes- asking if someone is a TWAT .... Marginally better than telling them surely !!
      Seeand agreewith your points about entry level though especially if you know no-one else who indulges.
      The problem with a "beginners night"- at least these days- is that it depends which axe you have to grind. By that I simply mean that in the era of "gameing not wargaming" that we now have the accent is on a given GAME not on a given period and all its nuances.
      so taking WW2 as an example you have been led into Bolt Action as that is the favoured game of the hosting club BUT did they inform you of say Chain of Command - which is the same level of game and- I am reliably informed by several players far superior(I don't know this from direct experience) or indeed of any other WW2 system - of which there are many some good some bad some awful.
      Adhereance to specific games breeds narrowness- one of many many things all TWATS avoid if we can.
      Newer clubs tend to be more "game orientated " than older groups - as this is the current fashion.
      As for the big two- by which I'm assuming you mean Warlord and Games Workshop- of which the first grew out of the second in a fashion as many of the staff and owners are ex- Workshop . By no means do they dominate in the real world as much as it appears. GW hardly impinge upon "real" wargaming though they do have massive dominance in SCI-FANT and in comparison to say ... well Old Glory Warlords ranges are tiny and IMHO expensive but their rules are popular though from experience I'm not sure why other than that they are very pretty.But even leaving aside Old Glory there are probably 100 plus other companies making suitable product. For myself I'd alway reccommend a magazine such as Miniature Wargames or Wargames Soldiers and Strategy as a starting point before your do web searches but that these days is something of a chicken and egg thing.
      I can't speak for other groups but we are not really a "club" in the officisal sense We have about 7 more or less regular memebers most of whom have been at it for a couple of decades. We do however pride ourselves upon our diverseity so for example this year
      we have played Seven Years War. Classical Ancients Russo-Japanese Naval, French Revolution and Modern (and it has not been a year of many games) in previous years we've done Napoleonic AWI, ECW, Colonial, WW2- both land and Naval WW1 and ACW.
      We are not typical of most clubs- not competitive in the traditional sense and concentrating on period rather than game because all of us to a greater or lesser extent are as intrested in the history as in the game.
      You have brought up some useful points which bear some thinking about... you may have promted a full blown rant !!!

  2. Good points from you both, and for my tuppence worth, I used to believe that GW was an entry to games playing for the younger players that could be used to develop into historical gaming. Sadly, the opposite seems to be true in that the GAMES seem to be the whole point now, atleast according to some the people you talk to at shows. That this is due to the GDD (Games Designer Dudes) hold on the hobby is undoubtedly true. But it's not how the TWATS roll, so to speak. We are a broad church and I hope you wish to come back to the next game, you are more than welcome!

    As an aside, I do have an interest in trying the x-wing game, though the sheer cost of getting enough for three or four players on the table would also put a serious amount of historical metal on the same table. And that's the rub I have with a lot of the modern GAMES, in that there is a commitment of serious money before you get to enjoy the hobby. Maybe that's another (imaginary) barrier that needs to be tackled for newbies too.

  3. Andy - I agree totally with you point regarding "narrowness". I totally enjoy learning about other historical periods and all that comes with it. This is one of the main reasons why i cant stand the 40k / fantasy stuff as i feel that i cant get my head around trying to research something that is made up a bunch of guys sat somewhere (probably in Nottingham as that appears to somehow be the capital of gaming in this country) who just add what they want when they want and what they can come up with out of their heads. I also cant understand having a 1ft tall model of some robot, space wrath blaster, techno plasma assault thingy on the table costing well over £100 that doesn't even move during a battle! That said i suppose if it did would it not just squash everything else on the table?!

    Too add to what i have already said i also feel that for me as a newbie, "wargaming" is much more than the name suggests as i am sure it is for some of you guys. As you know i have a very stressful job both mentally and physically and for me i used to go Coarse match fishing as a way to help de-stress! (Nightmare when i couldn't catch! ARRGHHH!)Now the problem i had with fishing (apart from not catching) was firstly cost (i had over £5000 worth of fishing gear) as you had to pay for tackle, bait, petrol to the venue, rod license fee, club fees, entry fees, food to eat whilst away etc etc and of course you required time and having to work weekends and nights, having a family and "her indoors" makes it all the more difficult to get away. So with this in mind i have now found that wargaming and modelling fits the bill quite well.

    For me wargaming is not just about the playing but it is that i can make it what i want it to be. Say after work i can sit on my own, relax and paint a few miniatures, i can spend five minutes or a whole day if i choose just painting, if i feel the need to socialise i can just pop out to the local "gaming" club and strike up a conversation, ask a few questions over a pint or even have a game with someone. I can spend as little or as much money as i want too and i can sit down to do some research on what i want to paint / build next, what uniforms were worn, what tactics were used etc etc. I can mold the hobby just how i like it to fit my life. Awesome!

    In my opinion (limited as being so new to wargaming) i have noted that the "public" still see wargaming and modelling as a "nerds" or "Billy-no mates" hobby and yes there definitely appear to be a few stereotypical nerds about (now that could be a fun topic for conversation... In your opinion what is a nerd? Are we nerds then? ha ha). Am i correct in thinking this or is it just me?

    Anyway getting down from my soapbox and going off on a tangent again, i really like the concept of TWATS, The discussions, food eating, beer drinking, perhaps roll a few dice, mixing things up a little and having an umpire who is always wrong, or right, or right when he is wrong or drunk or whatever your rule was! Ha ha. No, in all seriousness i look forward to your next meeting and hope you'll allow me along!

    Oh yeah and no, i havent seen nor played "Chain of Command".....

  4. HMM when is a nerd not a nerd- personally I've never thought actually knowing stuff- be it the mating habits of Perch, Roach or Pike or the armour and organisation of a Burgundian Companie D' Ordanance to be nerdy. Surely Its worse to be thought of as THICK. Me I get tired of thickies thinking 10 minutes on Farcebook and twatter are the be all and end all of intellectual achievment. So who is the nerd or the geek someone who can DO stuff- whatever it might be or a plonker who stares at a screen he pulls out of his pocket then mumbles incherantly thumbs waggling madly ?
    I know which I prefer
    As for the Umpire Right when he is wrong or drunk..... been there done that and doubtless will again...