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Sunday 22 February 2015

For an old Friend.

 About an hour ago I had a phonecall from a lady  whose step- Father- in Law has become too ill  with Parkinsons disease to carry on his hobby.
 Some of you out there will know him well .
 I'm speaking of Ex Manchester Area and Durham wargamer
 Dave Hulland. now in his eighties and in a Care Home.
. Those of us who know Dave  are saddened by this
 His  daughter in law has been taked with  sorting out and  disposing of Dave's collection and the poor girl has a job on her hands not knowing a single thing about our esoteric Hobby. She doen't want to just bin the lot !  but of course doesn't know a Byzantine from a hole in the road.
 Dave was  a great one for Ancient Warfare- I well remember his 6mm Macedonians. and Celts and Late Romans
Some  splendid f 15mm Late Romans and Goths and some Early Italians also spring to mind.
 Dave also had an avid interest in the American Civil War.
 More recently Dave had 10mm Byzantines off me and some 15mm Confederates.
 His library- especially for the Ancient World was  also pretty dammned good !
 There is a fair chunk of unpainted stuff too - mostly 10mm and 15mm
 I'm pretty sure several of my regualr readers  know Dave and one or two at least are closer geographically than I am 
 Now this rather nice collection  has to be broken up and sold.
 I've been given permission to pot his Duaghter- In Laws email here  so  intrested parties can perhaps help her with this

 you should contact

I'm sure we all wish Dave and his family well.

Saturday 14 February 2015

Ch- Ch- Ch- changes .....

 Of late there has been a lot of agonising about the "State of the Hobby" and it has to be said I've done my share However reading Robbie Roddis recent piece- "A Nostradamus Moment " and his critique of Mike Hobbs piece in MW382 I thought I'd better look at Mr Hobbs piece.
 So I read it and thought well  he has a point. List building isn't new - back in the 1970s when I played competition games it went on all the time . The method was different - we used actual sources but the IDEA - that of the "perfect killer army" was the same.
 The bit I find rather odd is the we- who wargme one way should "step aside" - but that phase does not seem to be Mr Hobbs'. Surely there are - as I have said time and time again- more than one way to wargame.
 Not one of the rule sets mention in Mr Hobbs piece do I own or play- no frankly would want to- though I may get "relatived" into 40K at some point Gawd 'elp me ! 
 The fact that I find the  games and methods used by these apparently younger wargamer narrow sterile and really rather  peurile  is not to the point. I find a good bit of the "older " wargames scene just as pointless and sterile  so its not an ageist thing.  If I have difficulty with Competitions based upon historical armies how much more  difficulty am I going to have with comptitons based in somebody else's Fantasy world that never existed? But perhaps you don't if you are 12
 The point that the Game is now in the ascendant is one I have made several times and it doesn't really change the way I'll organise my armies or run my games. Why should it?
 If I'm the only one who still does it the "old fashioned way"  then fine why should I give a monkeys what the other dweebs are doing. Wargaming should not be like a fly in Amber  it should change to suit its players. It has been doing so for most of its history- do we still all play Wellsian games No or all use Airfix again no . We each use what seems appropriate to us to achieve the ends we desire. If I or Robbie or anyone else  view those ends as narrow, limited and childish  so what .
 However where I do take some issue is with the idea that  because of the dominance of commercial rules and games that that is all that should be "allowed" . If you are too thick or lazy to read a whole book without pictures in order to develop your armies - well its not my problem !

Later Sunday Afternoon.
 While I sit here waiting for my Moroccan lamb  to cook I thought I'd add a few more points
 Again this tends to be about "Public Face"
 There  seems to be a ferocious narrowing of the hobby in the last decade or so - despite the fact that I sell loads of stuff to chaps returning after a break of anything up to 20 years -this as well as chaps who have been collecting  throughout that period AND to relative newbies there has been a "commercial concentration" in the public face of the hobby . This has not been primarily miniatures driven. The hobby is no longer miniatures driven but rather Rules( correct NEWSPEAK  term Games) and personality driven. I've never understood,  the urge to copy others in their endeavours - so for instance painting up a regiment in the same imaginary uniform as  one of Peter Youngs Charge units is to me really rather silly . Why not make up you own uniform if that is your thing? The drive to sell "Games" I completely understand- its just the same as me selling soldiers but I do have- always did have- a problem with the slavish following of those games .
 One of the reasons I wargame as distinct from playing Chess or poker is that the hobby is SUPPOSED to be open ended and freeform . Yet according to Mr Hobbbs this is no longer the case- at least in Cardiff it has for his clubs younger member become all about scoring points off you mates.
 If that is all there is then sod it "Ranting" .Robbie is right  there is no point.
 However fortunately it isn't there are still plenty of "rugged individualists" out here who will continue to do their own thing come what may.Long may it continue thus .
 so remember dudes
 The Resistance Lives On.  

Thursday 5 February 2015

Why do we do this- Part2

Why do I do this ?

I've been thinking about why I do this off and on for some years. Leaving aside the business side for a while why when I do this for a living  do I also enjoy the hobby.
To be able to make and display stuff like this is one of the main reasons I do this.

 Thinking about it  I sell toy/model soldiers to chaps who are intrested in toy/model soldiers. Most- but by no means all of thse are Wargamers and of those Wargamers only a minority are  PRIMARLY
 "GAMES  FIRST" types. Now this  attude rises sharply if the customers is a fantasy or pulp player  or indeed a skirmish gamer in most genres. There is a lot of stuff out there in "Miniatures Gaming" that while its called Wargaming is avovedly unmilitary. Such "periods" as"Old West"(to distinguish from Plains Wars) Gangsters, Pulp Fiction, many areas of Fantasy and Sci FI (though there are "military" aspects to both)- the seemingly endless number of sci-fi ish skirmish games  with "factions"  which seem to be based upon crime and fat blkes with ridiculous weapons ... .. All of thse are decidedly unmilitary. Indeed the rise of "Non -war wargaming"  has  been signifcant over the lat 20 years or so and no eyebrows were raised about its acceptance into our pantheon. Now barring past flirtations with Western Gunfights(54mm) and my occaisional interest in sci-fi(which is still pretty military)  I don't care for these" non-war wargames"simply biaecause I don't see the point other than as occaisional light relief. They are hardly "periods"  in the normal sense of having more to them than a simple repetitive game. For instance a Western Gunfight is  gunfight is a gunfight." English Civil War"   if entered into fully gives you everything from a glorified pub brawl to a full scale engagment  with all sorts of stuff in between from skirmishes to sieges. The same can be said for any huistorical period and -if done properly Fantasy and Sci-fi too  but the new generation of "boutique games"- small limited in scope and fiendishly expensive often as not simply do not cut the mustard and are not  rwally wargame in any meaningful sense.
 So that is why I DON'T do something now as to why I do.
You have to start with Military History- there is no getting around that it has to be the starting point. Of itself it is endliessly facinating and I'd still read and study it  even if there were no soldiers to play with. War is a very human activity and brings out the best and the worst in us - often at the same time.
 Henry's editorial in the most recent MW highlighted this  and opined that our harmless. hobby  simulates warfare with out hate. This is a dammend good way to put it. I'd add that it should at least some of the time make us think about warfare and itts effects upon us. Not all of are games should be lightweight fluff despite the prevailing fashion.
 However back to the Plot.
Next are the models- Honestly not sure which came first here but it was probably toy soldiers when I was about 7 or so . As I got older I wanted to know why they looked the way they did and who they really were - so THATS how the history started.
- All this while I was still at primary school .
 The wargaming came a bit later at Grammar school .
 For me its mostly about the search for knowledge rather than mere dice rolling. Once you have that knowledge you can attempt to translate what happened onto the wargames table in  a format which is
 a/. pleasing to the eye- that is the point of using models.
b/. Bear some relation - if only in the look of the thing - to a battle from the period it purports to depict.  so anything with DB in the title is out ... biggest load of gamesey  twaddle ever written  A game for Dice nerds .. Fie upon it !  Period specific rules are in.  Or at least rules that work  for a specific periodand hopefully give you a twinge of that  will o' the wisp idea- period feel  .
 c/. Again depending upon period, games can be either complex or simple or anywhere in between. "Game" is never the be all and end all but that doesn't always mean game is automatically at the bottom of the pile. but it does tend to be the least of my worries.
 This is probably becasue I prefer Umpire controlled games. Let the Umpire deal with the mere mechanics mostly I don't care which dice I roll when since I've already made the tactical or strategic decision. Also it never about mere victory- did all that in the 70s and 80s . I want something more now than simply scoring points off my mates.. Victory is nice but if its the be all and end all of your wargaming then you need to get out more .
 In the same way some people get turned off by historical information Blokes droning on about games does my head in .
"well I had to thow a 1-3 on a 19 sided dice- so I got my lucky 19 sider- the purple  one with the skulls .. drone drone drone .... ZZZZZZZZZZZ"-Get the picture !
 Its one of the reasons I don't play Fantasy- even if I like the artistry of the miniatures- and there are some superb Fantasy minis out there . I suspect that its simply that Fantasy dudes don't  seem to do jokes- at least not in my experience !  Mind you if I ever got the urge to  do fictional worlds  I'd do Fantasy perhaps with as many really really bad jokes as I could cram in .... Orcs as Geordies perhaps .... Yorkshire Dwarfs ....  Elves as Public school boys  with no chins ...  so they can look down on you ...  Trouble is after I'd done that once or twice it would pall and become repetitive in a way that real history simply doesn't- there is always more of it to learn.and therefore experiment with.