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Friday, 13 April 2018

Miniature Wargames Issue 421

The latest issue of Miniature Wargames arrived on Monday, and I finished reading it last night.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Why we fight by Conrad Kinch, with photographs by the author and John Treadaway
  • Hell by daylight: 20th Century skirmish rules: Part 4 by Jim Webster, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • One of these things is not like the others: A view of Fantasy and Historical wargaming by Robert Piepenbrink, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • Villiers Bocage: 1944: A conundrum for Normandy by Jon Sutherland, with photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • Show Report: Cavalier 2018 by John Treadaway
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • The path to Frostgrave: The writing process – plus a new scenario – for Frostgrave by Joseph A McCullough, with photographs by Kevin Dallimore
  • Putty to Pixels: The transfer of skills in a digital age – A conversation with Chris Tubb of Mithril Miniatures and Prince August
  • The future is foam: Indestructible scenery by Jeremey Claridge
  • The Victorio Campaign: 1870-1886: Part Three: Entrepreneurs, Outlaws, Lawmen, Rattlers, Wargaming and Hollywood by Robert Watt, with photographs by Kevin Dallimore
  • Recce
  • Swampy River: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • WWW Wargaming Web World: How to set up and manage an online wargaming community by Simon Parsons
  • Club Directory
So what did I particularly enjoy in this issue?

As ever, Conrad Kinch continues to entertain me, but to me the most interesting and thought-provoking article in this issue was Robert Piepenbrink's One of these things is not like the others. Although I don't agree with everything that he writes, it certainly made me think about the relationship between historical and fantasy/science fiction wargaming, and how what I do fits onto the wargaming spectrum.

12 comments:

  1. I also read the piece by Robert Piepenbrink, but frankly, I was a bit disappointed not to read a new insight on this "debate". There will always be wargamers who are mostly interested in military history, and see toy soldiers as a medium (a choice next to board wargaming, computer wargaming, etc), and there will always be wargamers that consider toy soldiers as the primary goal, and for whom history (next to fantasy, scifi) is a choice of period.

    I guess most of us fluctuate between these two takes on the hobby, and might even shift back and forth over the years.

    Again, I saw in the article a reference to "younger wargamers" interested in fantasy and scifi. I am 51, and I started with fantasy wargaming during the early 80s. Only later did I shift to historicals, but I still play fantasy and scifi ... although I am no longer the fanboy who once took GW's writings as gospel.

    But anyway, this is a hobby, and each of us should pursue the hobby in the manner he likes the most. The games at conventions are simply a sample of wargaming interests at that point in time. If there are less historical games at cons, so be it. There's nothing inherently good or bad about the games you see at cons, it's just what people like to show and play.

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    1. Phil Dutré,

      I think that the article was written from the perspective of someone who felt that the balance between historical (whatever that actually is!) and fantasy/sci-fi wargames being staged at US conventions was moving inexorably in favour of the latter. I have seen the same phenomena in the UK, and I suspect this is a worldwide trend.

      The reason why I found the article interesting is that it made me think about how my wargaming fits onto the spectrum of games that fall under the banner of 'wargaming'. Most of mine is what I would term historical, but much of what I do involves the use of imagi-nations. They are by definition not real, but they are also not fantasy in the wargaming sense. They are usually simulacra of real nations (or based thereon), but changed to avoid some of the pitfalls of true historical recreations.

      Will the article change anything? No ... but it got us exchanging views and ideas, and that is no bad thing!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,
    In over 35 years of gaming I have only once tried to replicate History- with modelling and playing Rorke's Drift (Zulu War) in 1/72nd...I found it an interesting exercise, for a small battle. I think that if 'experts' are trying to analyse what is happening with wargaming - trying to categorize everything then it is impossible to say everything falls into two camps -be it 'Historical' or 'Fantasy/Sci-Fi'...where for instance do you categorize a concept such as AVBCW for instance?...I do think that most Gamers interests are spread over a very wide field indeed- judging by the individual Blogs I've read. At the moment I'd fall into the category of being a 'Fantasy' enthusiast in wanting to paint up 15mm Dwarfs and Orcs..whereas last year 2017 I was 'Historical' doing 1966 Australians in Vietnam, 1982 Falklands War and 1898 Italians in Abysinia all in 1/72nd. I guess it is a case of each to his/her own- and simply do whatever gives you the most enjoyment in satisfying your interests. Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      I have taken part in tabletop recreations of several famous battles, and I have universally enjoyed them. However, I don't think I'd like to do nothing but historical battle recreations.

      I agree that most 'historical' wargamers enjoy a wide range of different types and genres of wargame. As long as their games provide them with fun and enjoyment, I don't think that most wargamers care too much about whether or not there are strictly historical.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. There have been arguments and warnings about "fairy Gamers" corrupting the historical hobby since the days of the Battle for Wargamers letters column in the mid 1970s....

    I play a mix of things - mostly using historical figures but an occasional fantasy or SF game. I have never enjoyed historical refights or really seen the point in them. I would much rather play a balanced fictional scenario where both sides have a fair chance than a historical refight which is bound to only go one way as historical battles are rarely even in forces...

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    1. Mike Lewis,

      I agree that the 'ageing of the hobby' and 'youngsters only want to play fantasy' discussions have been going on for years ... and will no doubt continue for years to come.

      Fighting tabletop recreations of real battles can be good, especially when testing new rules, but a constant diet of them would soon become boring. As to fantasy and sci-if ... well I enjoy reading both, but not gaming them. I'd rather fight a naval wargame than a space battle, and I always thought that GW's WH40k was just WW2 in different clothes.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I will make a stand. Both sides of the argument are wrong.

    There you go, problem solved.

    Really, both sides are making assumptions which they've assumed are true. Whereas the assumptions are just that, assumptions which can be changed.

    Wargaming is a fiction. By this I mean its not war by other means. Those who study history will find that replicating said history is difficult.

    We all know that, and it's down to foreknowledge. Lt. Backsight-Foresight is a classic example. So, the question is rather, what is so upsetting about seeing hoards of SF&F games being played at conventions?

    Any answer to that will be individual.

    Just a few observations from a resolutely SF&F wargamer who happens to read history.

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    Replies
    1. Ashley,

      Thanks for your very interesting - and probably very true - comments.

      Wargaming as hobbyists do it is very much playing games about war ... and that war can be historical, semi-historical, imaginary, fantasy, sci-fi, or whatever we want it to be. You prefer yours to be fantasy/sci-fi, I prefer mine to be sort of historical. Just as long as we both enjoy what we do, then we let's continue to do it!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. The game is the thing and for the most part, each of us seem to be in in a niche of a niche.

    I wonder whether John Treadway has been able to see whether pick-up sales (i.e. non-subscribers) change depending what is on the cover and the nature of the content ...... or does he not get enough variety or volume in submitted material for that to be relative to what goes into the mag?

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    1. Norm,

      I can remember a time when some wargamers were very, very doctrinaire about what was and was not 'proper' wargaming. Thankfully those days seem to be in the past for most of the people involved in the hobby these days.

      I am sure that John Treadaway and the publishers of MINIATURE WARGAMES would be able to tell you the balance between sales to regular subscribers and those who buy the magazine on a casual basis ... but I doubt if they would share that with the rest of us!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I wonder if there is a generation who grew up with WW2 movies on TV, and a later generation for whom 'Star Wars' and derivatives replaced them, and that influenced the games they prefer? Though Fantasy/SciFi games have of course been around a long time, and clearly there is a certain amount of crossover between the genres, and plenty of players who like both, which is good. I'm purely historical myself - I guess because the history is what really interests me.

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    1. David in Suffolk,

      I think that you may well be on to something. I am of that generation that was brought up on a diet of war stories told by my father and uncles, war films at the cinema and on TV, and the wonderful war comics that used to appear weekly. To us sci-fi was H G Wells, Jules Verne, and the occasional film that involved invasions by hideous monsters from outer space!

      I suspect that it may well have affected my views on some of the modern fantasy/sci-fi stuff that I see ... and zombies just leave me cold!

      All the best,

      Bob

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