Tuesday, 17 April 2018

One of these things is not like the others...

Now I have not reviewed any magazines for a good while. There have been a couple of reasons for this Most notably that I have been simply too busy. so no reading of magazines and precious little figure painting as well.
 However on those rare occasions when I have thumbed through a mag  it has left me decidedly underwhelmed. WI still shouts at you when it isn't patronising you but doesn't tell you much. WSS is better but somehow unsatisfying- though with good bits - like a well prepared but insufficient meal and MW is simply variable from the very good to the  not so good  with the wasted pages of the club directory to boot.  Of course MW is now fantasy and sci-fi heavy but then so is WI and we are all set to drown in a sea of sci-Fant skirmish a likes which may have different pretty boxes and even different models and especially different "mechanisms" - but are all the same narrow approach to the same narrow problem "How to get the suckers to buy MY silly skirmish game - this time with mice and badgers " Yes chaps it has come to this (again) see the review in  the latest MW of   "Burrows and Badger"- Gawd 'elp us how low can you get .... Hedgehogs apparently and armoured mice so  we should all regress to petulant 6 year olds on a 4 foot square table and fiddle with our badgers ....  Now don't get me wrong I've seen some cute little models beautifully painted but to actually spend a ton or more on collecting 2 sides for  such a limited idea. Even the Editor with his Fantasy bent  gulps somewhat at this one. Me - well  the mainstream is now a childrens paddling pool and I'm well out of it,
 However overall the mag was well above average despite too much Fantasy there were still 4 whole articles in it worth reading
 Conrad Kinch's "Send 3 and fourpence is usually a good read and this one was better than most- examining  motivations  and although Iam not keen on  his terminology  by Mr Kinch's lights I am a day- tripper (but also a Craftsman) and happy thus.
 The title of this post is lifted from a short but interesting piece by Robert Piepenbrink in which he argues that Fantasy and Historical wargaming are simply not the same. Something I have argued for many a long year. Now while I agree with most of his points I feel that he simply does not go far enough as regards the research and actual knowledge element- which is totally missing from many  of the current run of fluffy sci-fant skirmish -a-likes (though more apparent in a  "home grown"set up based around a particular sub-genre). To be a rounded historical wargamer you actually need to know things that are NOT contained in the  rulebook for the latest episode of Steptoe in Space or whatever 4 foot fantasy dice rolling contest for overage adolescents is in fashion at this weeks "game night". If as Mr Piepenbrink avers the gaming hobby is going that way then I'm out of here and will take up something more intellectually stimulating such as  watching paint dry.
 Jon Sutherland's piece on Villiers -Bocage is worth study - I have not yet  used Command Decision 4 - though I have a copy  but am a fan of CD in general as it treats you like and adult as does Jon's article which is of course a scenario for the famous actions there in June 1944.
Oh and Diane Sutherland piece on making marshes and similar boggy terrain is pretty good too.
 The final part of Jim Webster's Hell by Daylight - modern skirmish rules is also in the mag. Somewhere I have an original copy of these in tiny A5 format. This current incarnation is much easier to read !  There are a couple of other pieces - other than the useful reviews- but one - on setting up a web forum is basically an advert for Peter Pig - so after the pointless  trudge though the mire of AK-47 I can do without that ! The other  is a second part of an article upon the Apache wars of the US South west. Perhaps rather good but frankly I was put off by the overblown photographs of Foundry Cowboys - which didn't seem to have a lot to do with the subject but dominated the pages ... Hmmm not sure about that one.
 Mind you still a better magezine than those I have largly ignored after a brief flick though ,


  1. Andy, I wish I could add something to what you have said here but, frankly, you’ve hit the nail on the head here. I share your despair with the 4 foot fantasy “stuff” that is out there. I keep hearing it’s all about “fun”, as if historical gam8ng with a good group of friends isn’t fun. And yes, sometimes reading a book or two may actually be required.
    Keep fighting the good fight. Marc

    1. Marc The Resistance Lives On. But we are not alone- see my most recent post Retro Rules Rule Sometimes.