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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Not sure what to think!!

As you are all well aware our hobby is very individual. Would not have it any other way myself, yet sometimes, just sometimes something really makes me wonder why the hell some blokes bother.
 So it was when MW412  plopped on the matt a few days ago.
 Actually it is not a bad magazine the star article being for a Caesars Gallic War campaign. Althoigh not really my thing this is meaty stuff and I'm sure some of the ideas and mechanics could be used for later periods.
 The " Island in the Sun article... well although set in 1935  technologically speaking it felt more like 1905 or 1915  as far as the political background went- nothing too new here - Featherstone was doing  his "Mythical East Asia " campaign in the 1960s and this reads like an updated version . Nothing wrong with that at all.
In the steadily growing Darker Horizons Fantasy section there was actually something decent - needed to be after the nice to look at but risably  sub-titled "How to paint a  realistic elven army" - my italics- Gimme a break ! Since when did Elfs  become real.?
 Now this new piece highlighted the Dropship from the movie Aliens and was basically a how build one using a commercial kit and as a sometime SF game it was tempting. I can see the 69th M.I.LF. debussing from one or more of those suckers but as I'm unlikely to drop a ton and half for  just one of them I will have to find another option ..... Nice article though.

 There was other stuff- building Greek Temples and a pirate scenarioand a nice little piece about the Maidstone Wargames Society but the rest of the mag - bar one piece- was mostly reviews- including a long review of Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame books- now however interesting these may be to some I simply can't see the point. If you are so time, or family or space pressured that you can only give up an hour or so a week to wargaming then frankly I would not bother. You should have better things to do.

 Now as it happens I only tend to actually PLAY around a dozen times a year or even a little less- which actually works out at  a bit less than an hour a week but personally I'd rather spend time doing fewer but arguably better games  with my mates that this 2 foot square fiddlefarting about just because they need to indulge a "gaming fix". Oh and no I don't have- or indeed want my own table- rather have more bookshelves and play at the pub with the rest of the T.W.A.T.S. We actually - at least some of the time prefer to put a bit of personal effort in.

Speaking of effort we now come to the piece that inspired the title of this post. "Hypocrisy in Wargaming- written by - once you read the piece- one of the Hypocrites. He makes it clear that he likes the visual side of the hobby and tells us how important it is- then says that it shouldn't matter , well not for him anyway . Not that his assertions are wrong  but I'm afraid he just come across as a bit whiney. It is at bottom another anti- painting and modelling piece by one of the "Can't paint , won't paint" brigade- though I suspect that being colour- blind is a bit of a handicap. Having said that one of our members suffers from this malady to an extent and it has not stopped him. This fellas seem to come from the Fantasy competitions part of the hobby -  but the piece appears in the main body of the mag rather than the Fantasy Ghetto of "Darker Horizons".

 I'm not sure but this lad seems to have been persecuted for putting unpainted models on the table at  some Fantasy Competition or other using some game I've never heard of by a company I don't care about. If true- no reason to doubt the chaps veracity- then somebody is guilty of at best bad manners at worst being a complete bastard deserving of one of two outcomes. Either walk away and tell 'em to shove their competition or give the offender a punch up the throat- your choice here depending upon the severity of the offence! (But of course in the whiney world  you have created you can be as nasty as you like to anyone you like without fear of retribution... and they call it freedom ...)

 This must be a fantasy thing. I've not seen unpainted models on a table at a public event since about 1979 and even then that was unusual enough to be memorable (They were flesh pink Atlantic plastic Ancient Egyptians). I've not had unpainted models on any of my games since about 1974. As I grew up it became one of those  "Things That Are Just Not Done" - you know like farting before a Bishop - (especially when you know it should be his turn!)

So it seems to me as if this bloke wants to use his disability to explain why he- and others like him should not follow the rules laid down(or perhaps not) by the various fantasy outfits who run these competitions. You know if it was me I'd tell 'em to "garn ferk thersels"  in no uncertain terms.
 Some of the claims he makes about the various competitions  simply would not happen in Historical wargaming(you must use this brand of figures for this game - again GFY)  The piece overall simply made me even  less likely to ever play any form of Fantasy game ever. The whole scene comes across from this a just too narrow and possibly at times dammed unpleasant.

I'll go and play with some more civilised gentlemen down the boozer !


  1. To be honest, the tone of this piece concerns me. There is a distinct whiff of live and let live, even (though it pains me to say this) tolerance. Frankly you need to be careful, you could easily end up with a cardigan and slippers nodding amiably at the world in general and 'adventure miniature gamers' in particular.

    On one hour wargames in a box with squares, I don't want to play them myself but they are a useful discipline in checking how much of a ruleset is really redundant.

    I wouldn't waste my £4 on that particular rag but as I understand it
    he didn't like the rules and conventions of the competition for which he had entered? Tough, if the club requires you to wear whites to play then wear white or alternatively go down to the municipal courts and play in your shellsuit.

    As for unpainted figures in a public game?!!! Colour blind my arse, what does he want a parawargames tournament.

    Of course I do have toothache this evening so I might be a bit less lovable than usual.

  2. The particular opinion piece also struck me at being odd. I also had the impression it was written by someone who has experienced only a tiny slice of the wargaming universe, and tries to extrapolate his experience to the entire wargaming hobby.

    Anyway, w.r.t. painted or unpainted models:
    In miniature wargaming, visual appeal is the whole thing. Otherwise, why bother? And part of that visual appeal are painted miniatures. Everyone understands that a starting gamer doesn't have a fully painted army yet. Or that any given game can have figures or scenery in various states of 'progress' if the conditions mandate it. However, the aspiration should always be to evolve towards a visually attractive table. Adhering to a "not painted at all" style out of principle just seems wrong to me - as if you claim to be a gardener without ever tending a garden.

    We also know painting styles and preferences can vary. In my entire wargaming career I have never encountered anyone who criticised with malicious intent the paintjob of a fellow wargamer, so I honestly don't know where all these stories come from. Exchanging tips and tricks, yes, of course. But flat out telling someone "your figures look like crap"? Never seen it happen.

    Some people use very advanced painting styles. Some use simple block painting (perhaps because they are not good at painting - fair enough - I am one of them ;-)). Other are experimentalists that try to explore new visual styles ... there's nothing wrong with all these approaches.

    But if you defend putting unpainted metals or plastics on the table, as a deliberate choice, I think one should look for another hobby.

  3. Touche Monsewer Preece!! I can see I'll have to be careful wouldn't want to be accused of wearing a cardigan!.

    Seriously for a moment though I really do wonder what the authors motives were for that piece, Now I don't actually CARE- especially as it is Fantasy. Equally I hope I would never be so whiney as to use my poor eyesight as an excuse for such copping outand complaining that the world was not ordered to my perfect satisfaction - Bloke needs to grow up.

  4. W.r.t. fantasy gaming:

    Don't confuse fantasy wargaming with the army-list-nazis-using only-official-miniature-and-supplements approach. Sure, that particular brand of fantasy gaming covers perhaps 90% of all known product and gamers, but there are also fantasy wargamers that use scenario-based games and in a general a much more free-wheeling attitude to the game.

    I guess you see the same in historicals, although you tend to see much more playing styles and approaches in historical wargaming - fantasy wargaming indeed tends to be dominated by one particular style of gaming, but that doesn't mean it's the only one.

    Confession: I play both historicals and fantasy, and enjoy them both ...

    1. Phil Agree with both your posts. It was the attitude of the list Nazis that finally put me off Fantasy in the early 90s- though somewhere I still have a copy of Grendadier's Fantasy Warriors rules. I used to have a fair bundle of their figures- the Barbarians and the lovely late Medievals it is not something I would go back to now mostly because I have- to an extent- lost interest in the actual game play and find Fantasy a much thinner subject than Historicals because of that.
      While I have never experienced any nastiness of the level implied within the article I have at various time encountered some seriously surly turds in GW shops and on GW games at shows- and no not usually GW staffers but almost always overweight slightly maloderous 40 somethings in unwashed GW type T-shirts. Just another reason to put me off Fantasy even though I heartily accept that it is not always like that by any means.
      Equally the only time I encountered anyone who claimed to be from Mantic he was a complete pillock who totally failed to perform what he had promised. So you do begin to wonder if it is something in the Fantasy milleau.

  5. I was surprised a few years ago at a convention to end up in a discussion about unpainted figures esp since it seemed a local group wouldn't let anyone play with anyone else's figures so a newcomer had to paint his whole army before playing a game to see if he liked it!! Nuts!

    As for cardtable games with or without grids and solo games. I agree that there is nothing to compare with regular games with a group of friends. I hope you never end up in a position to understand some of the attraction for some folks. I didn't really get it till my heart attack when even sitting at a cardtable for an hour was exhausting. Still, even a solo game was more entertaining than watching tv and even better on occasions when a good friend would make the hour-long drive out to sit across from me and play. Of course like many tastes, once acquired it becomes just another menu item when you're in the mood. Esp good for working through a small campaign over a few weeks.

    I do miss waiting with anticipation for the next issue of a favourite Wargame magazine though.

  6. Unpainted figs - I would generally go along with the goal of the wargamer is to have painted figures on the table ..... however! Two recent experiences have highlighted the value of those who game with part painted armies (publicly) while still aiming for the goal.

    Briefly, a wargame show, a chap has part painted on the table and tells me that he is embarrassed to do so, but that he had promised to put a game on for the show and that real life has stopped him completing the painting side of things. Secondly, a new gamer with massive enthusiasm does YouTube videos showing off a set of rules. He has household items representing terrain and unpainted figures. As the weeks go by, he builds four very nice terrain boards and gets units painted up, while still continuing his video output.

    Both examples seem like very honest wargaming to me and set good examples to new gamers that you don't have to paint a few hundred sculpts before a trying your new hobby game, during which time your enthusiasm may die. One hopes the unpainted figures bit is part of a journey though and not a destination, but enthusiasm, seeing it and keeping it seem key to keeping these sort of things going.

    Games in small spaces - I run a blog that has this as its theme and basically most of the articles deal with gaming at the kitchen table level - which is a very honest reflection of how many players, especially solo plays are playing. I even have a couple of articles of games on large pinboards that can be put on an ironing board for a few hours gaming.

    Then of course is the issue of disability and in this regard, reach, sitting position, mobility etc all play a part in how big one's playing area can be.

    Finally, especially as a global hobby personal budget might be the sole driver on what resources one can allocate to gaming.

    So overall, I feel here is a wargaminmg relevance to both unpainted figures and table size that cuts across the entire hobby as people settle on gaming situations that meet their immediate needs.

    Since the hobby is of course global, I am aware of gamers who bookmark my site that are in accommodation that has neither a table and in which storage space is at a premium.

  7. Ross and Norm- I think you posts are best amswered together- I agree that unpainted should be part of the journey not the destination- but the tone of the article mad it sound like not only the destination but the Terminus
    Once again we have the inherent diff erence between those of you who are gamers first and those of us for whom the game is only the smaller part of our hobby. For instance I have never got solo- gaming at all. The nearest I can get to that is setting up photographs in my studio .
    Nevertheless I do not advocate for a moment treating a bloke in the manner thepiece's author was supposedly treated.
    We have a chap in our group who has no painted models of his own yet. So no worries he uses others from whoever is running the game.
    It is the competitive ethos that causes the bother here- the idea that you only have 1 army at a time and "play" someone else with another army. I have not done that since about 1981-( barring the deliberately daft Twats Tiny Tactica Tournament run just once a year for laughs) I don't regard our hobby as primarily competitive anyway.

    I'm not and can't imagine being interested enough in mere games of themselves to "need" to play on a pinboard or similar size.I'd rather read Shakespear or Austen or- closer to home Young or well anybody than be "reduced" to that sorry pass. But of course it depends what blows your skirt up.

    1. Is it possible that no wargame is better than some wargame? Oooooh that is too horrible for me to contemplate.

      I do also boardgame, so I can get a relatively big. Subject in a small space, which is good as part of the rich tapestry of gaming in general.

      have just picked up my copy of Miniature Wargames from WH Smith, so not able to comment on this issue yet (I am typing this in a cafe with WiFi). I have not been enjoying my magazines as much of late. I buy all three, but think I will drop one, subscribe to a different one than I do now and maybe cherry pick the third - though I do find it difficult to 'turn my back' on this traditionally important media, I still feel we are lucky to have three hobby mags on the high street newsagent shelves, but of course things do evolve and perhaps I am just one of those who resists change ..... My previous work place would give me an 'action plan' for such behavioural weakness :-)

    2. Norm of course "better" or"worse" are value judgements rather than facts. I've tried most forms of wargame over the years and- other than Kingmaker and just maybe Axis and Allies play no more boardgames usually because I find them tedious. No loonger do two=player gamesas a rules and prefer not to play games without an umpire/ Don't do Fantasy for the reasons outlined above- plus a few others- almost all to do with the repetitive tedium of the actual gaming (especially when faced with some numpty who takes it seriously OOhing and Arghing at every bloody dice roll and worrying about his elfs or dwarfs ) BUT have tried all of the aboveand rejected them one by one over the years because I've found better things to do- even within my wargaming time.

  8. Hi Andy,What do you mean,"Elves aren't real!"-you obviously haven't been to Bensham on a Friday night!!!
    Good discussion.
    johnc(william) westerhope wargames group.

    1. Perish the thought- anyway I always thought they were newts- of the PISSTAZZA Variety !

  9. What a strange world .that poor man inhabits !!!

    1. Certainly different isn't it? Norm makes the point that any wargame is better than no wargame- personally no . There are limits! I can for instance conceive of never actually PLAYING ever again - difficult yes but possible- More difficult to conceive of never painting soldiers again or making models so it just goes to show how different chaps can be. I'd never put unpainted models on a table just for the sake of a mere game my artistic soul revolts at the thought and certainly would not "allow" it to happen on any table I was responsible for- after all it is not as if I'm actually short of painted soldiers.
      I repeat this kind of nasty stuff is all down to the competitive ethos of many "gamers" as well as the human sin of "one-up man ship" which is alive and well in this or indeed any other hobby.

  10. Cannot and will not play soldiers with unpainted models. If you cannot??? Paint play ww2 micro tanks or naval war gaming or air warfare and spray them!It ain't difficult
    Or use other people's stuff our group does it all the time, no skin off my nose it gets us more players and let's the newbie have a go and decide whether he wants to commit to it as an owner or just join in.

    1. Or indeed find another hobby.
      Can't disagree with any of that Dave as in your groups we T.W.A.T.S do such things all the time.