Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Miniature Wargames Issue 414

After some considerable thought, I decided to renew my subscription to MINIATURE WARGAMES for a further three months. As a result I received the latest issue by post yesterday, and have now had the opportunity to read it.

The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Good things in small packages by Conrad Kinch
  • Frontier Warfare: Part Two - Rules and Strategies by Chris Jarvis
  • Reinventing an old friend: Part Two by Jon Sutherland
  • Customs Office: Scenery building using 4Ground models and stuff from the scrap box by Roger Dixon
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!: Aerial Adventures in an Alternative World by Tony Francis
    • Uhtred and the Fire Dragon by Gordon Lawrence
  • Wargaming My Way by Dave Tuck
  • Creighton Abram's War: Fast-play microscale World War II rules for Battalion/Brigade Level wargames by Robert Piepenbrink
  • Recce
  • Tower of Balsa: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Show report: Claymore 2017 by John Treadaway
  • Club Directory
So what did I enjoy in this issue?
  1. Well it goes without saying that as Conrad Kinch's Send three and fourpence was written about his use of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, it came out top! His article shows how easy it was for him to create his own version of the game, and his suggested rule changes to make them suitable for re-fighting American Civil War battles make a lot of sense. Furthermore he has included three short scenarios that I will certainly copy and use at some point.
  2. The second part of Chris Jarvis's Frontier Warfare came a close second ...
  3. ... with Robert Piepenbrink's Creighton Abram's War coming third. I don't think that I will stop using my own World War II rules and start fighting battles with these, but it was nice to see someone designing a set of rules for a game that can be fought on a small tabletop.
Not an outstanding issue, but good enough to justify my decision to re-subscribe.

The one downside of this magazine is the continued presence of the Club Directory section. In my opinion it is an utter waste of paper ... and should NOT be in every issue!

A copy of the Derby Worlds 2017 Tabletop Wargaming Convention Official Show Guide also came with this issue.

I won't be going to the convention (competitive wargaming has never held any attractions for me, in addition to which it is quite a journey to get there from where I live), but it was nice to see what demonstration and participation wargames be available to see and/or take part in.


  1. Bob
    Ironically I think it has been this issue which makes my resubscription very unlikely (it's either run out now or I have a single issue to come).

    I just didn't find much in there and found myself hurriedly skimming through to get back to the book I was reading before it arrived. Not sure what it is but there's something about the 'tone' which has deteriorated for me. There doesn't seem to be so much enthusiasm or excitement in conveying the various authors' intent. It's all a bit more downbeat. Even Diane Sutherland's terrain stuff is getting a bit old. The second part of the revamping rules article seemed to be lots of tables with a few linking comments, which amounted to this did/did not need fixing. Although I don't have to read the fantasy stuff (and I don't object to it in principle - I'm a long time Roleplayer) I do try reading each article and generally find them tiresome and a bit 'advertorial'.

    So I am afraid I am pretty convinced that a very long and slow decline which started, for me, about halfway through the run of Battlegames, and which was accelerated by the merger with MW, has finally been dealt the death blow by the decoupling from the Battlegames spirit.

    Ah well, more time to read books I suppose.



    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I think that I know what you mean, but I'll stick with MW for the time being ... and review my decision in three months time. I did take a look at the most recent WI, and it did not impress me all. As for WSS ... the local branch of WHSmith hasn't had a copy on their shelves when I have paid it a visit at any time over recent months, so I can't comment about whether or not it would be a viable alternative.

      All the best,


  2. Bob, I find myself in agreement with much of what Andrew (Rumblestrip) has said. I'm beginning to think I'll be better off skimming through MW in Smiths and only buying it when it has a really interesting or useful article. There's plenty of good stuff - like your blog and several others - to read on the internet!
    Best wishes, Arthur

    1. Arthur Harman,

      As I wrote in my reply to Rumblestrip/Andrew, I'm going to review the situation in three month's time. In the meantime I'm going to look at the alternatives - if I can - and keep on writing my blog.

      With luck the next issue of WARGAMERS NOTES should be out soon, and the next issue of THE NUGGET will be along by the end of this month or early next month.

      All the best,


  3. Bob, I've just received Lone Warrior 200, which is always an interesting read, and the 'amateur' style is reminiscent of the old Wargamer's Newsletter. You really should submit a piece about fighting solo games with PW and reach out to that section of the wargame community.
    Regards, Arthur

    1. Arthur Harman (Arthur),

      You are quite right; the readers of LONE WARRIOR are what could be termed my 'natural constituency' , and I really should write something for the magazine. I have a couple of scenarios forming in my head, and they might make a suitable contribution.

      All the best,


  4. I suppose I'll have to go out and pin down a copy as there is a report on Claymore 2017 run by my old club. I managed to miss the show as I was recovering from my mini-stroke.

    1. Jim Duncan,

      If you get a chance, have a look at an issue in your local branch of WHSmith first; you might decide that you don't want to buy the whole magazine just for that report.

      All the best,



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