Chaps who write for magazines are a funny lot. I know this as I am one of 'em! MW no 398 dropped on the mat yesterday and well since I'm all over the issue like a rash I have to be a bit careful.So leaving aside anything in it with my name on it here goes.
The thorny issue of the ageing of the hobby comes up more than once and various solutions are proposed all of which seemingly forget that this is not one homogenous hobby but many different ones these days- some of which are not even wargaming as their bits have no war in them. This is especially true of Brad Harmer-Barnes piece on Boardgames wherein he reckons that the way to get new blood into the hobby is to play fantasy and sci-fi games only, as what he calls VHS gaming is what drives the younger gamer- ie games inspired by videos and Cinema and he also opines that its all driven by Marketing. Now who am I a mere purveyor of models soldiers to argue with the might of Marketing. As it happens I think he paints the scene rather well though I object to his solutions.It will be a cold day in Hell when I play a game with Zombies or Ghostbusters or Thunderbirds or Time travelling Nazi Robot Vampires or indeed any of the current crop of what Neil Shuck calls warband games. They are simply too limited in scope for my taste. Indeed of that whole crop of recent pulp games only Star Wars X wing even vaguely piqued my interest- until I saw the price for an even half decent set up. So no - although I suspect his overall premise may be correct and childishness abounds . I'll stick to wargaming with some War in it and not a Marketing man's wet dream..
As always Neil Shucks column has interesting stuff in it and I can see I'm going to have to get a copy of Sharp Practice on Sunday at Partizan if I have time. However in point of fact - at least as far as Blue Moon are concerned 15mm Metal are cheaper that Perry Plastic Mr Shuck opines that metal 15mm are more expensive- not at My shop or indeed at several others His baseline is 3 boxes of Perry- so 60 quid from their website which gives you - in his example about 80 foot (Depending upon which boxes) and 12-14 cav. Now using Blue Moon your same 60 quid would get you 90 foot (3bags at 12quid each)and 15 cavalry-1 bag at £13.00 and still have £11.00 left over for some fiddly bits such as command or Rifles if you needed them. This as well as giving you many more pack options than the plastikrap and not having to spend half your life assembling the bloody things. Now correct me if I'm wrong but more soldiers and 11 quid left over is hardy "more expensive" than plastics ... not that I'd use my own cash on plastikrap anyhow ... But having said that maybe Mr Shuck's 15mm price examples were from AB/Eureka which would be more expensive,
Mind you the rest of the column is rather good especially the piece entitled "What attracts you to a game?" Despite the fact that Mr Shuck is far more "gamesey" that I will ever be I found myself agreeing with much of this.
The Eastern Front in WW2 is not my thing. But the continuing series on wargaming its battles should be meat and drink to those chaps whose thing it is.
The Salute report was dammed useful as even though I was there I didn't see any of it so the report gave me a taste anyhow ....
Another piece on the ageing of the hobby- by Clemmet and Davidson- I've known Tom and Dave for years. They have been part of the NE wargaming scene for longer than I by far so their thoughts and opinions are worth a read. I like their idea of the all inclusive show. I hope it works. Good Luck lads.
Fancy making an Eindecker or a sci- fi thingy- two articles show you how.
There is also an article on skirmish gaming- Hmm not sure about this one. I've played enough assorted skirmish games in my time but somehow this article felt decidedly too general. Worse it just seemed a bit simplistic to me but perhaps that is becoming the way. "Leave your Brain at the door- become a Wargamer !!! "
Finally we come to Arthur Harman's piece- when Robbie Roddiss reads it he'll go spare !
Mr Harmans contention is that the emphasis on high quality modelling in some rulesets, books and Magazines puts people off joining the hobby therefore such is neither necessary nor possibly desirable. He harks back to the early badly painted Airfix days and uses mass produced 19th century engravings of Napoleonic battles to show us the way.
Talk about selective. Now his basic premise is right- fine artwork is not AND HAS NEVER BEEN a prerecquisite for enjoying wargaming but to fudge the issue this way is to say the least a little misleading. Also I don't accept that being good at something puts other off. By that train of thought there would be, for example, no Sunday league Football because the small amateur teams would be put off by Manchester United. There would be no amateur photographers because they couldn't be David Bailey. I know plenty of wargamers who can't or won't paint or model.. That is their choice. There are plenty of other who paint and model to standards acceptable to themselves. That is their choice. I'm afraid "Lets all be crap to get the kiddies in" simply does not wash' as much as anything else its so bloody patronising.
The only reason I used Airfix back in the day was because I could afford no better. The only reason my painting was truly crap was because I hadn't learned how- and yes I'm still learning!.
That some modern rulesets are eye-candy heavy is true but that is the God of Marketing to which we must all pay Homage its not automatically a wargaming thing.For period inspiration why not try Baron Lejeaune Napoleonic battle painting or perhaps some Victorian Genre artas well as the "penny plain tuppence coloured" of Mr Harmans world?
Of course the big difference is technology -we didn't have any- today you don't need models to play wargames you can do it on your phone without engagement of brain. So you'd have to actually like the models to engage in this hobby. If you like the models specifically you are more likely to want them to look goodand they will be an important part of the game to you so I'm afraid lets all be crap falls down on another level too.
When it come to new blood for God's sake stop obcessing about children- you'll get arrested !!! New blood trickles in all the time though more of it tends towards Mr Harmer-Barnes end of the street than mine. So be it.
Nevertheless SOMEBODY is buying shedloads of soldiers. I'm busier than I've been for years
Oh by the way- See you at Partizan on Sunday.