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Thursday 17 September 2015

What- Exactly -am I disenchanted about ???

Good question that- do you mean aside from most of the human race or are we being more particular here?
 You might even say that I'm disgruntled- but since I'm not sure I've ever been gruntled in the first place  how would I tell?.
 It will always be a fascination to me as to why many - perhaps most of our brethren can't or won't explain  the why of what they do - it is as if they are ashamed of it. Do they indeed know why . Why  indulge in any part of our hobby at all and "Cos its fun" does not alone cut it as an explanation. How did it get to be "fun" in your eyes ? What differentiates "funA" from "funB". Why are certain periods perennially popular and others "commeth up and are cut down like a flower" .
 How did the hobby  change from a - largely- miniatures driven hobby of the late 1970s- 1980s become the almost entirely "games driven" hobby of today . Is all the blame to be put on the "games designer dudes" probably not..

25 or 28mm Normans . Painted by me about 20 years ago.

More of my ECW collection.

Indian Mutiny Puch - up.Hodsons Horse attacking Mutineers.

 Now I'm not entirely immune to the lure of games for their own sake- I love "Kingmaker" and quite like "Axis and Allies" but personally I draw a distinction between "games" and "wargames" , For example I could no more imagine a refight of Towton using DBA or Lion Rampant or Saga than fly in the air. The Battle of Towton deserves more respect than a 40-50 figures a side  dice rolling contest. That distinction seems to have been lost some time in the 1990s or early nougties. Why? It can't only be laziness surely. Convenience Wargaming ?
 So a few daft questions
 How many sets of rules do you think there were in the 1980s compared to today. I'd really like to know and yes I'm only talking about historical rules here. My impression - and I could be wrong- is that there were far far fewer then than now WRG still dominated Ancients - but they were not alone there was Gawd 'elp us Newbury fast play- which wasn't ! and my still favoured Tactica. There were others I forget and almost certainly sets from the USA I've never heard of but were there as many as a dozen sets? WHAB didn't appear until 1998 so what did we have pre-1992?. Not simply Ancients but other periods too.. I recall rules by Tabletop games- most of which were unplayable I say 1992 because that was the year Old Glory UK came into being so in theory AFTER that date I'm a professional and some of what happens from then on IS my fault!
How many sets of rules do you own today? I hate rules in general and  certain sets in particular. They can so often get in the way, Yet having said that I probably own around 30+ sets - most of which I've played at least once. Some of which I have played an awful lot over the years- with or without local modifications. Most of the sets I have are at least 5 years old, many somewhat older. Only a very few less than 5 years old as these latter all fall into the "been there done that" category- they have nothing new  except eye candy. There are of course sets that I have not played for decades WRG1685-1845 for a start! as well as 2 by Tabletop from the 1970s- Lance- a medieval set I used to play quite a bit  and Tercio for Pike and shot
. That number doesn't count sets in proper books  and sets I wrote myself don't count at all .
 Compared to some blokes a mere 30 sets is nothing. None of these are considered holy writ- no negative freedom here. Rules lawyers are consigned to the nearest scorpion pit without mercy. Argue from a historical perspective and- as Umpire I'll listen and you may win your point. Argue that "on page 239 of Wundarules 6.9 ..." and - metaphorically speaking its "hello stingy " . It is not beyond the realms of possibility  for the Umpire to bin a set of rules part way through a game. Now the games players amongst you may gasp and mutter  but since when was the conduct of  warfare governed by set rules?. Indeed a few years back I ran a 40mm ACW game  where I deliberately changed the rules every move or so  to keep the players thinking.
 Yet there are now more rules than ever before and far  more games of a very limited nature . Imagination and the historical background has gone out of the window ....

 Or has it?

Drabant 28mm- we'll be taking the whole Drabant range both 40mm and 28mm .

Ottoman Turkish Dellis- "mad heads"
  Again I draw a distinction  between what appears to happen in the magazines and what actually happens in the real world. Looking at the games at Gateshead and Newark- when you could see 'em I was pleasantly surprised by the wideish mix of periods and styles. Sure there were some that didn't take my fancy- but there were plenty of others- a lovely Battle of the Yellow Ford and a nice clean looking 20mm Cold War goes Hot scenario to name just two that I had time to see. The list for the up and comng Derby World Wargames has some intresting looking stuff- by no means all  boutique games being pushed by some company wishing to advertise its latest out of the box job. Though there is more of an accent on "the newst set we publish" than in former decades. Nevertheless the majority of the games both demo and PP are A histoical and B interesting- there is even one game using Flats !  I must get a look at the 6mm one-to one Napoleonic game.It is intresting that  most of the Sci-Fi or fantasy games are PP and most of the demos are historical. Interesting that of the 8 or 9 sci-fant games listed 3 are being put on by the same commercial  outfit  I'm sure that says something   just not sure what .!
Check out the list of games here
 I'm actually looking forward to  the show.
 The lads from the "like a Stonewall" group (AKA Mansfield Mafia!!) are doing Quatre Bras .
 My mate Peter Bradford is doing ACW "McPhersons Ridge" - both of these in 25mm - or 28mm if you prefer- since a goodly proprtion of the figures on each of these are Old Glory I should know how tall they are ! The Ilkley lads are doing Marignano- which I'll have to take a look at.
 There is a noticable  narrowing of the "available" periods however  
Of the total of 43 or  44 games listed both Demo and PP
 7 are WW2- though one of these may be listed twice
7 are Napoleonic- but mostly Waterloo campaign  only 2 games NOT being hundred days inspired
5 are pre-gunpowder (1 Ancient 2 "Dark Ages" 1 high medieval 1 samuarai)
3 may be loosely termed "pike and shot"- this includes Poltava which is the only game set in the 18th century
2 are ACW
1 Colonial- Zulu War
2 Modern- Afghnistan and Africa
5 are WW1- technically one is a western gunfigt- set in 1917 - the Wild bunch but there you go !
The Old Glory Turkish High Command- OXT23 6 different generals plus the Janisary "Kazan" cooking pot  and some extra officers- a mere £24.00 per pack.
10 are Sci-fant- this includes one called "open skirmish"- but since that is all it says it is hardly informative
Janisarries. I almost have enough Turks for an army .... almost
Later Turkish Spahis- Suvallieri  possibly  mid 17th century or later as they have pistols.

 It is interesting in the wider context what ISN'T there. Nothing much from  the 16th  17th or 18th centuries (3 games for 300years )no "BC" Ancients at all . Only 1 game that might be termed "Classical" Ancients- Teutoberger Wald . Of the historical games  24 are from the last 200 years of Human history but mostly concetrated into 4 areas  within that. No naval at all only 1 air game the same WW1as last year- I wonder if its run by the same ignorant bugger who pushed me out of the way when I was having a butchers- silly sod in a flying helmet  Oh dearie me !
 No  ECW or TYW Seven years War or AWI. No 19th century European- all of which have featured previously. Not sure if any of the games are 15mm- which is odd considering how many 15mm I sell  and I know I'm far from alone here..I'm aware that it doesn't happen much but should any historically minded Joe public step in he'd have a thin time  give the relatively few periods on offer.
 Nevertheless these is still some intresting stuff there and I'm still looking forward to it so maybe I'm not as disenchanted as I though I was ....... maybe ........

PS The photos are all deliberately chosen as periods that are not in the list of games for the Derby show. But all are ranges that we WILL be taking to the show.We'll also be taking stuff that is being gamed at the show- so ACW Napoleonic and WW2 all in 15mm- ACW in 28mm too .


  1. I blame the introduction of 'points' and vague army lists, which even though they have been around from my experiences of wargaming in the 70's they were restricted to the few (2?) competitions and weren't the 'norm' that they are today.
    I like rules, I like the ideas that I can glean from them to write my own version of whatever period I'm currently interested in. What I don't like is the glossy 64 page rulebook that contains a half a dozen A4 sides of actual rules and I do wonder what was actually wrong with any of the older sets; the WRG1685-1845 rules I've had experience of had very little "wrong" with them iirc. Sadly I think it's really down to commercialism, but that may be just my cynical view of the hobby atm.

    1. Joe- can't actually disagree with any of that- I used to write my own rules as well- sometimes still do - or at least amendments. For me - as someone who was a modeller before being a wargamer- though only just! Its the idea theat rules are MORE important than the models that I find especially repellant.
      I still like some of the older sets- Tactica for Ancients- being played later today at the pub Command Decision and Combined Arms for WW2 and Moderns.. I still have not found a better ECW set than Forlorn Hope Like you I'm niot convinced by the glossy sets- they seem to lack depth somehow. One wonders if that is one reason they are so popular BECAUSE they are shallow.

    2. Couldn't agree more. I hate point based games!

  2. Rules..... The war gamers curse.

    1. But " the games players delight" seemingly, It is the narrow limited approach of the games player I scorn . What has happened to the open ended hobby I joined?