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Friday 21 June 2013


I often wonder as I sit idly contemplating the universe how our hobby has changed in the 40 or so years I've been doing it.
The OFW lobby will tell you that it was far far better in 1972 when - other than airfix- soldiers were rare and expensive things. I could buy a BOX of airfix for the price of 1 metal casting back in those days  but that doesn't tell you how much blood and skin I lost making thiose Afghans out of Arabs or those Indian Lancers out of US cavalry  or countless others I've forgotten.. Oh yes we had FUN - but we had wounds too I still bear a couple of scars from Stanley knives. The point here of course is that there was no other way open to me or the chaps I knew at the time. We had pretty severe limitations upon what we knew and what was possible- even if our imaginations were not so limited . 1970s pocket money didn't stretch to Staddens. My metal troops- until 1977 or so  consisted of a few Hincliffe some Garrison and a couple of units of Les Higgins- all Napoleonic  Oh and 3 Stadden 30mm riflemen my Dad bought me - simply because he liked them.
 Now it may have been far better in the 70s if you were well heeled- part of the Elite one of those who could AFFORD your Willies or Staddens or  even those 'orrible plastic Spencer Smiths which chaps seem to rave about but I never got the lust for (saw some in the 80s for the first time and immediately preferred Airfix.- even though by that time most of my plastics had gone the journey).
 You do- or at least I do- wonder how much of the OFW stuff is actually merely elitism rearing its ugly  and often supecilious head .

3 pictures of soldiers I couldn't afford for most of the last century. All are Les Higgins "Jason" 30mm and were 24p when Hincliffe  were 7 1/2pand Airfix were 15p for a box of 40 or so ... Ah yes it was better then... Sure...

 Fie upon it.
 It shouldn't be like that now...  but of course it is- there are merely different elites with different sets of supecilious gits. each thinking they are better than somebody else. Needless to say its all Twaddle - I'd go further and say its b""""""s.
 However  many things are much better now than they were then and the only obvious limitation is the thickness of your wad of bunce . Or so it would seem, yet despite the foregoing I'd assert that perhaps one thing was better in "Ye Olden Tymes" and that would be the imagination of the average wargamer.
 If you think about it why this should be so is pretty obvious we had less stuff to play with back then so we had to make it ourselves- and pretty crappy it was sometimes. When I think of some of the truly shyte model I made in the past my artists soul whithers ... but I digress. There has  possibly been a price to pay  for the  current Cornucopia and as ever its an unintended consequence- Joe Wargamer has, at least in part become a lazy git.
 Hold on there chaps... ..  put down the torches and pitchforks and think about it- I didn't say it was all bad. For a start but the mass of stuff we have to enlighten our hobby  hours have made some of us intellectually lazy  all of the time or perhaps all of us intellectually lazy some of the time. Think of the HUGE number of different rulesets out there- no need to do your own thinking anymore merely follow the  instruction book- likewise with idiot books... sorry army lists no brain cells required. Painting schemes- follow the 3 colur method  no need to actually know anything - just painting by numbers (  I  had an aunt who always bought me a painting by numbers set when I was a kid... never finished "Monarch of the Glen " yet bored me witless - used the paints for figures instead)
 Now I'm not suggesting for a minute that we go back to entirely homegrown rules I'm merely pondering as it were the consequences of our embarrassment of riches  "Did we get tired or did we just get lazy " to paraphrase the Eagles. Lazy thinks I no contest.
 It seems to me that many "games"  ( perhaps a better title than rule sets for some of the  supposedly self contain corporate wallet catchers out there) are simply convenienve first. Though whose is a matter for conjecture...
 DBA was the first of these "convenince games" to hit my conciousness a 2 foot square playing area and tiny armies no braincells required. Ther are now others Saga seems to be flavour of the month- a massivly overpriced Dark Age skirmish game where- so I'm told - each  tiny force has its own dice set and measuring sticks which -more fool you-  you are suposed to buy... apparently chaps do  agsain on a tiny table space. Now there is a place for such convenience games just as there is a place for convenience food but you wouldn't want to live off it.. From what little I've seen its much the same with "Muskets and Tomahawks- which purports to be French and Indian war. Now to me both of these give a misleading idea of how combats in their chosen eras were conducted- the "Battle for Convenience " rather than for Canada. Yet they appear to be popular judging by the amount of FIW stuff I shift- and once again merely because they are not to my taste has nothing to do with it- I merely observe and sometime take the p***.
 Nevertheless it does seem that these games and others are helping toimpose limitations on the minds of their
  exponents so which came first.. the lazy git or the lazy gits game....


  1. Wow - what a lot of sense you are talking between the crude language. Remember the elite in the 60s and 70s were the rich old farts then and we were just young chaps making do,as you've said.Not sure what it is that has made the modern wargaming elite, as they are not all particularly old, and I assume it's just that they have good salaries or pensions and prepared to devote a lot of it to their hobby. I'm not counting the (I suspect) relatively few who have made a lot of money out of models/rules etc. Good topic for debate but with less colourful language :-). Well done for such an interesting observation.

  2. Symptomatic of the 21st Century as a whole..... the youngsters are handed it on plates, research is not taught, everything is instant, they never have time to pause and think, they are living MTV lives (new experience every 3 minutes or they get bored).... sum total?? their imaginations are atrophying... :o(

  3. Evening Andy,
    Some interesting points again, it must be the air up on the hill.
    When I was setting out on the wargame trail I used to dream of having a a set up like Charles Grant, I loved the table and loved the look of his games in the Wargame. My favourite however,was always Peter Gilder, it was just the look of his games.
    I never viewed them as an elite, just inaccessible, a bit like me watching Bruce Springsteen perform, I would love to meet him for a chat, but its never going to happen.
    Clearly there was a sort of elite, but they were more collectors of figures,and tended to look down on all wargamers, what I would have given for a Desfontaines painted figure. I understand Peter Young had some, but he was obviously well off enough to be able to buy some.
    Moving on to now.The elite that are kicking about tend to be ex Games Workshop, based near or in Nottingham and seem to have a bit of an incestuous relationship with each other.
    Clearly Games Workshop trained people well in the ideals of commercialism, and I cant really fault their products. My real concern is that new and would be wargamers will think that everything is based around their products. 28mm is not THE scale, each period lends itself to different scales, plus their ranges are getting very expensive, [and yes I know there are lots of overheads.]
    Not every company can have regular big advertisements in the magazines. I am impressed by their rule books, but the price! God you could buy a really nice reference book for that.
    Moving on to skirmish games etc. Unfortunately its becoming pretty obvious that education nowadays is pretty superficial.
    What with all these A stars and degrees etc one would think that we had given birth to a nation of super intelligentsia. The reality seems to be that passing the exams is the most important thing and damn everything else.
    I wasted my education, and realise that I was a complete knob, but boy did I love history, and what a great history master I had. I was encouraged to read around the subject, and get different views from different sources.When I got into wargaming I exhausted my library [ now closed] of books, but tried my damnedest to understand the whys and wherefores of whatever period I was interested in.
    Young people have no depth of knowledge, and sadly dont feel there is a need to have one either, which doesn't bode well for the future, because through ignorance they will make the same mistakes again, ie Communism, Socialism and Fascism.
    If history provides one thing it is the ability to show where the human race has made mistakes and allows us not to make them again. [In theory]
    Kids now will just reach for wikipedia, they might as well pick up the Daily Star for what it is worth.
    I dont think its totally laziness, just that they havent been shown or encouraged to think for themselves. They all seem so apathetic and boring. Never mind bored.
    Anyway, great post and sorry about my rant.
    Thanks Robbie.

  4. Lazy gits came first, they actually seem to pre-date wargaming (see piano roll, load it in and look like you're playing).

  5. Well there are some replies to get your teeth into. As I re-read what I wrote I'm amazed at my ligustic forebearance, I think that a point I should have underlined a little more is that we are doing this to ourselves. I can't blame the education system as a Grammar school kid with - like Robbie some good teachers and a Library which I also exhausted. Its not simply a generational thing. Within our hobby "knowing stuff makes you an anorak nerd" is now quite common which is a relativly new phenomenon . I'm sure that when we started we respected the knowledge of chaps like Grant and Gilder or Historians like Knight or Hofschouer or others and went to significant lengths to increase our own store of such knowledge in our chosen periods .
    This is often no longer the case " Got my Soldiers, got my Osprey Got my Army lists I'm ready to go " (which FYI is a direct quote from a customer at a show) is now- more inevidence than ever- even if the brand names change by fashion-. Now there are those of us who keep the flame alive and try to make sure that this hobby does not become "mere gaming" thank God and there are problems- see Mike Siggins column and remarks regarding "entry level " in the latest MW . I don't think there are any solotions here - as I keep saying I merely observe and sometime poke with a sharp stick to see what happens.
    Oh Yes- Lazy Gits - been around since that chap didn't want to chase the mammoth... .

  6. Writing your own rules is easy. First line - Regular infantry in line move 6"...

    1. Ben I tend to agree but it depends as always upon what you want to achieve.AND more importantly do you have the knowledge and expertise to achieve it. and of course do you suffer from that wargamers malady CBA