Sunday 10 February 2013

You're Wargaming The Wrong Way

Every now and then you'll hear some old wargamer groaning on about 'giving something back to the hobby'. Well, the time has come for me to have a go. It's time to come clean and come out of the closet.

I list below 10 things to be avoided when wargaming. They are based (as you will see) on pure common sense, although mildly influenced by deeply ingrained prejudice, personal feelings of anger and bitterness, and socially inept tactlessness. Wargamers who are easily offended should look away now. Or check out the word 'irony' in your dictionaries.

This is not a real set of rules! Thanks to Trebian at 'Wargaming For Grown-Ups'
for pointing me towards this bit of nonsense.

Wun - Gaming With Unpainted Miniatures
Although of course outlawed in public by the Wargaming and Military Hobbies Act (1996), this practice still continues in private, along with the use of unpainted terrain features (a loophole in the law which must be swiftly closed). Frankly, hanging's too good for these people. Contact your MP now.

Too - Not Painting the Edges of Bases
Maybe you think this is should be part of point 1 above. But this kind of perversion deserves special mention. Oh yes, on initial inspection the army looks great. But wait - you suddenly see the brown, grey and white edges of MDF, cardboard or plasticard, that sheer laziness has left untouched. Or perhaps it's done on purpose to gain advantage by offending and disturbing an opponent. Yes, it's sickening (and quite rare these days, I'll admit), but don't bother reporting this to the Police or Social Services - you'll get nowhere.

Free - Hex Terrain
Come on, admit it, it looks bloody awful. Even in Sci-Fi games. And it makes any other period look like a Sci-Fi game. Too many cracks in the table, too many zig-zag lines: it seems your Napoleonic game is taking place on Mars.

Fore - Table Clutter
We've all seen it at wargames shows. The vast and highly detailed terrain that took all year to create, the ranks of amazing figures set out in all their splendour. And then liberally garnish the magnificent spectacle with fastplay sheets, coffee cups, beer glasses and mobile phones. I passed one nice looking table at a show recently where no man's land was helpfully indicated by a cheeseburger on a paper plate. This practice permeates down to club and private level. Could people please get a f***ing grip?

Phive - Balancing Miniatures On Top of Terrain Items
And here we are again with that lovely terrain impressing us. Look at those lovely buildings - but oh dear, there's a rifle team balancing on a chimney pot. And the machine gunners have decided not to stay inside their pillboxes - they want to lie on the roofs. And look at that Tiger tank balancing on the top of 5 foot high corn. Come on guys, you can remember what's inside those houses. Or invest in buildings with detachable roofs.

Sicks - Ridiculous Fantasy Figures
Look, a bit of Lord of the Rings never hurt anyone. And sci-fi is fine by me. Divert all power to the forward shields! But some people just don't understand the limits of good taste. I mean, SS men riding  dinosaurs? Rank after rank of zombies? All lighthearted fun, I hear you say. Sounds like a joke in poor taste to me. I bet these gamers can't even spell 'lunatic fringe'.

Sephen -  Vehicles Moulded With Bases
I really can't understand why manufacturers do this. It's up to gamers whether they want to base their vehicles or not. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Ate - 2 and 3mm Miniatures
Or wargaming by braille, as I like to call it. You can feel the bumps but you can't see what they are. If you don't like toy soldiers, don't take up the hobby. For goodness sake. The minimum size for proper wargaming is 15mm, as everyone knows.

Nein! - Supplements
Anyone who has been following this blog knows my views on these things. I have described them as a bare-faced con designed to increase the profitability of a set of rules. I stand by that judgement. Let's fight corporate wargaming together!

Tenn - Dithering Wargamers
You know the kind of people I mean. After minutes of deliberation it's, "I'll move these guys to there. No, wait a minute. Maybe I'll move them back to the hedge... No hang on a tick, let me just check the rules..." and on and on and on. Come on guys, it's only a game. Just get on with it. And what about those guys who just want to shake the dice a little bit too much. Shake, shake, shake. Rattle, rattle, rattle. Usually accompanied by some muttering or humming. And then, 'did we say fives or sixes?'. Ooh, it makes me want to spit.

Now Seriously...
OK, Pulp Wargaming gets a strongly implied thumbs down, but a year or two ago I might have had a pop at Science Fiction gaming or Imagi-Nations. Now I realise it's not what you wargame, its how you wargame that matters. Wargame with a light heart. Just don't do it in 2mm...

Friday 1 February 2013

Dayton Painting Consortium Do It Again

Having experienced a modest improvement in my financial situation recently, I resolved to do what I have been promising myself for some time - I would order some painted units from the manufacturers of my beloved RSM95s, namely the Dayton Painting Consortium.

I am fairly close to completing my planned SYW collection, and the thought of racing to the finish by buying painted figures was too much to resist. As for that thing that some people have about only really 'identifying' with figures that you have painted yourself... well, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. These are great figures painted just the way I like them, and I already (after about 5 hours of ownership) have a great affection for them. They were bought with my own hard earned cash and that's quite good enough for me.

These are first and second battalions, Prussian IR4. This is just as they arrived, apart from  some straightening of bayonets etc. which took about 2 minutes.

Close up of same. The idea was I would rebase them to match the rest of my units, but for the moment I don't have the heart. They're great as they are.

So, we have 2 x 18 figure battalions which cost me $120 for both, including the unpainted figures, paint job, basing, flags and postage from the USA. That works out at £2.11p per figure, which I consider outstanding value. As you can see, the painting standard is very good, certainly a higher standard than I paint to.

The even better news is that I found that they paint to order, for the same price (basically, $3 per painted figure), so I have some Bavarians and Freikorps on their way as well. Happy Days!

Coming Soon
An offensive post regarding bad wargaming practices...