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Tuesday 19 February 2013

History and Wargaming.

The recent mini furore ove the magazine merge has caused me seriously - not to say furiously to think . Are our wargames always merely amusing passtime games or can they sometime rise to be something else. In the past I would have answered an unequivical "yes they can - if you put enough effort in " and personally I feel that is still the case. However it appears that this is no longer the case in the mainstream- if it ever was. In the Golden age - days of yore when soldiers were two bob a gross(thats never chaps) there were lots of home grown rules based on reading the smallish number of available books Rules were simplish to fiendishly complex depending upon the writers but most if not all purported to be "historical" more or less. In the Earliest days of the recreational wargame (rather than Kriegspiel) there was no thought of history- Wells game and indeed Captain Sachs were both more or less contemporary to them Of the "Grandees" - Grant Featherstone Young and a little later Wise and Wesencraft (I omit the Americans simply because I have none of them barring a couple of copies of Table Top Talk from the 60s and apoogise for that omission) All used historical prototypes to a greater or lesser extent to illustrate their points. Grant even appended a 30 plus book bibliography to "The War Game" of which a bare 3 could be called "wargaming titles" the rest being historical titles of one sort or another. Further in the preface to Napoleonic Wargaming Grant says the following
In doing so he can claim - being properly portentous, that his leasure is filled with strong element of the historical the aesthetic and the competitive. All 3 are implicit in the wargame, and a player, if he is worthy of his salt must be sufficiently enthusiastic to study the historical background of his period.....
Now this seems to me to be a no brainer - but needed stating in 1974 when the book was published and now it seems is worth re-stating in an age where actually knowing stuff is seen as "anorak" or"nerd" - bollocks- since when was thick seen as cool except by thick gits. It seem that now there is a considerable body of poorly informed- or perhaps wrongly informed- opinion which states that - depending upon who is speaking - that Wargaming is a stand alone subject which need no mere history. Once again Bollocks Even the fansty genre has its sources- Tolkien , Howard and Dunsany and Morris Prat, Sprague de Camp etc etc etc all leant upon history for their ideas and inspiration. Pratt of course even wargamed. In more modern times- GW leans upon history- Warhammer has a bucketful of history in it- mixed and matched , mashed and pulped to be sure but still there mnalformed as it is. Its the same with the fictional nation dudes- they need a history to steal their ideas from. In the "survey results" in Miniature Wargame no 359 78% of the respondent opined that they were "very interested" in "Historicsal descriptions of battles/Campaigns - a mere 8% responded as 2Not at all interested". This 78% represented the highest single result in the survey by around 20 points over the other questions. Now gentle reader where is all this leading- to be honest AI'm not sure - except to try to redress the balance a little in favour of the history and perhaps to illustrate in some small way that wargaming without the history would appear to be a pretty thin subject- after all you can only write so much on how to roll a dice .

Friday 15 February 2013

MW merger.... wot a carve up...

With all the news out there regarding the merger between a good magsazine - Miniature Wargames and a mediocre one- Battlegames I thought I'd lay about me with my two bobs worth. Battlegames never did it for me- there was simply no content of any interest. - I have 13 issues the first 13 and one hopes it has improved since then since leaving aside Mike Siggins and- occaionally Stuart Aasquith ther was so little to engage my interest. If the new "combination" leans more towards BG than MW then I can see no way forward since BG looked almost entirely backwards to some mythical "Golden Age of Old School Wargaming"- and as one who was there it simply wasn't so dudes. Crap figures often crappily painted on crap terrain using Crap rules- mind you we didn't know any better but that does not mean we want to return to those days. Now I'm not saying that the new mag will do that but it has to be a concern- BG catered to a niche market (OFW) within a niche marker(Miniatures Wargaming in general)and appears to have been good at it but frankly the whole idea eventually just got me down. It smacked too much of a bunch of silly old farts in carpet slippers trying to return to a non-existant childhood with fictional countries out of storybookland- all that was missing was the big crayons and round ended scissors...... and yes I know I'm being waspish again and thats farfar from the whole story but that IS the impression that the first 13 BG still give me as I look at them again in the light of this news. MW on the other hand- especially under the Editorship of Andrew Hubback has improved a long way from what it was- which was to be sure pretty average. Currently its my favourite magazineand has been for the past couple of years its mix of articles to suit many differing tastes. One can only hope that the new combined title will have equally as broad a selection - even including OFW- which I'm no fan of but does have its place in our all embracing hobby . Ah well we'll have to wait and see won't we.....

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Switching about...

Its been a while since I've written a proper post here, well it's been a very busy time - hardly had a breather since Crimboand with the weather hardly helping so now is the first chance I've had to get some new pictures of my(very few) recently finished 40mm ECW models. All are conversions or switchings around of available parts from different makers. Drabant, Sash and Saber Romanoff and Jacdaw. Some have been photgraphed previously but I fancied getting them all together as I'm at last starting (just about) to see my way forward in this previously somewhat chaotic project.
This picture shows a patrol of Parliamentarian Cavlary in Scotland sometime in 1651 set upon by a band of Scots "Moss Troopers".
This one shows 2 Officers- who with different paint jobs could be any side in the ECW or even French or Spanish for the Wars of the 1640s and 50s in Europe. Both are basically Jacdaw. The same body pistol Holsters, Sword - differing heads- the hatted one is Sash and Saber- only the pointing arm involved and actual cutting and pinning. The point here of course is that in 40mm this kind of thing is far from difficult- the bits are big enough.
Here are two Ironside cavalry troopers- the riders are both Drabant- though the pistol armed chap has Jacdaw arms since the figure comes firing a carbine which didn't suit the look of the rest of the unit. the Sword armed trooper is on a Sash and Saber horse- since I'd already put that rider on a Drabant horse.
Now a couple of nondescript musketeers- most probably Northern English Royalists both Jacdaw figures almost from the bag as it were.. Now a little drop in scale and period. Jiohn Reidy recently painted me a unit of Bluemoon 15mm Romans. Now I have them based up they just look too tasty to ignre with the camera.
and last but not least "Maximus Incongruous" the Roman general. - again painted by John
I really like these little chaps- I'm very tempted to go back into Ancients... maybe....

Thursday 7 February 2013

More Moskovite Magnificence!!

This morning I recieved- courtesy ofDrabant owner Nick Bokarev a couple of pictures of the newest 28mm Darkages pack painted up to Nick usual high standard. Stock of these are already on their way to me and I'm simply awaiting the Post Office to deliver- not only those but re-stock of the other packs in the range as well as some new 40mm so Here we have without further comment from me Front and rear views of this new set.