Sunday, May 10, 2015

Love hate thing .. Part 2....


....and after last posts negativity it's time to spread the love... So what are the top five things that have kept me in this hobby of ours for over 40 years??

Most of these are in no particular order but number one on the list is..

1/. Featherstone...as in the Don...  I think I must have started wargaming in about 1972 or '73 and while I don't remember the specifics of how I came to it, I do remember I had a mate at the time who was in to military history  (I remember a lot of drawing of crusader knights with made up heraldry ) and I also used to make and (badly*) paint Airfix model planes so I would assume he introduced me to gaming with soldiers ... after that it was a steep and downward slope, and I remember long dusty afternoon's in Cosham Library reading the military history reference books (the one you couldn't borrow) but most of all borrowing Don Featherstone's books..  I must have had them on almost permanent loan for years...  more than any of the old masters, Don resonated with me, I think it was his writing style, which was quite conversational and inclusive...  I of course read Charles Grant (senior), and I even read the Brigadier, but I always returned to Don... it's thanks to him that I still have this interest after all those years...  I'm only pleased I managed to meet him before he died and tell him what pleasure I'd had from the hobby he introduced to me...

*plus ca change...

Little did it know way back then what was occurring in the reference section...
2/. Blogging Steve the Wargamer is not by nature a clubbable fellow, and membership of a wargame club has never been something I actively sort out, so the onset of Blogger and the web has been a huge enjoyment to me. I liken it to being a member of a huge virtual wargame club where you don't have to talk to the weirdo's  and social misfits, but can just congregate in the corner with the cool dudes... the blog world is an endless source of inspiration, information, and a few good chuckles...

3/. Military history The number one lesson that Don taught me, the whole ethos, the very bedrock, the foundation of our hobby is the history (and that may be why I've never really been interested in fantasy/science fiction gaming in a big way). I was, and remain, absolutely fascinated by it...  I remember at age 12 getting Cyril Falls's book "Great Military Battles" one Christmas (I still have it, and I still hook it out to read every now and again) and since then I must have read hundreds of books, and will hopefully read many hundreds more.. over the years my interests have focussed more to specifics, on tactics and eyewitness accounts mainly, but a military history book still has the potential to launch me on a whole new period... it's a dangerous thing reading a book...

I spent hours looking at the cover picture...


4/.Will McNally's AWI Rules (Sorry to embarrass Will ) A long time ago when I started the American War of Independence project I was using a set called "Minute Man" which ever really quite hit the sweet spot (I seem to remember a lot of chance/event rolls that jarred) but by then, like most gamers, I'd already based my figures to suit the rules, so I was looking for something with a similar basing style, but which more met my understanding of the conflict...  at which pint step in the free wargames rules website (now sadly gone) and therein I found Will's AWI set and never looked back... I've been playing them since about 1990/'91 now, and when I started the Marlburian project I used his (similar) Seven Years war rules as a basis for a little conversion to the earlier period.. at the heart of my liking of these rules is the particularly clever (to me) firing mechanism that includes the moral effect as part of the outcome - it resonated, and I've enjoyed games with them ever since.. they are also very simple to play but with enough nuances to make it period specific, they're also eminently tinker'able for specific scenario's or even different periods (I even wrote a WWII set once).. I would guess they're not for everyone (I think DG would like a little more complexity ) but for me they sum it up nicely, a tactical challenge where you don't need a PhD to understand how you meet the challenge..

5/. Black powder wargaming despite having dabble in many periods over the years I have always had at least one or two black powder wargame projects on the go - when I started wargaming it was Napoleonics (I could only afford Airfix so the table was filled with the French line infantry and whole regiments of Highlanders - I nearly died and went to heaven when they brought out the British RHA, the Hussars, and British line ). I also played American War of Independence using the Airfix Americans for both sides, and an infeasibly large number of Grenadiers...

Since then we've had English Civil War in 6mm (passed to DG but there's unfinished business for me there and Bluebear Jeff [clicky]is not helping my disciplined approach.. ), Marlburian, and I don't rule out a return to Napoleonics at some time in the far future (I would like to do an Egyptian campaign project)...

So what is it about the period? Basically, it is for me the summation of all I wargame for - brave men,  in recognisable battalions, in colourful uniforms, flags, understandable tactics, manageable weapon ranges, not huge (on the whole) battlefields...  perfect.


Look forward to hearing from other of my fellow "cool corner dudes"... 

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it would seem that many of us war gamers trod a similar path with the Featherstone books and the local library. Even the library looks similar to the one I used to spend hours in at Bamber Bridge!

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    1. ..I can still smell it now... and remember the way the sun used to shine through the lead pain windows.. happy memories

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  2. I thought I'd moved on from DF- but returned- ish to him for the quick ACW set I use for my 40mm- and are a free download on the OGUK website. I utterly agrree that the foundation is history- but I left ity out simply becauie you can do history without wargaming- but not IMHO the other way around - so wargaming needs hisatory more than history needs wargaming .....
    No set of rules - however sweet will ever be in my likes simply because rules are like buses- i there are too many all going nowhere and you can't possibly get on 'em all !

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    1. Andy - I keep going back to DF... I'm particularly enjoying old copies of Wargamers Newsletter at the moment. As to the rules, I make no apologies.. sometimes you just accept you found the set, and enjoy the period, the history and the games without having to worry.. :o)

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    2. Steve- Believe it or not I've never actually seen a copy of WN in the flesh. As for rules I certainly see your point- I still use warfare in the Age of reason for 18th century and Tactica for Ancients but that is becasue -so far I've found nothing I like better rather than because I like those more than the others

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    3. Andy - I can only say - if you get a chance to own one, it's well worth it... and on the whole, personal preference, the earlier they are the more interesting I find them...

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  3. Steve,

    I am glad that I'm inspiring you to perhaps take a closer look at the English Civil Wars. There is a great wealth of wonderful history books covering the period and much recent scholarship has poked holes in many earlier ideas.

    I urge and encourage you to delve into the history. Particularly since you are in the UK, there may well be some "local angles" that might pique your interest . . . and Parizan Press has some wonderful "scenario books" covering numerous battles both large and small:

    http://www.caliverbooks.com/Partizan%20Press/partizan_fhs.shtml

    Dip your toe in, Steve . . . you know you want to.


    -- Jeff

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    1. Jeff - close enough I can smell it... you're right of course, I have Cheriton just a few miles down the road (and have blogged on it a few times) plus the local manor house/castle which was slighted by Cromwell's troops.... the project will come, I just need a bit more time to do it justice...

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    2. Jeff - you and me both. I bow to no man in my enthusiasm for the ECW. My ECW Library is pretty vast including a full run of ECW notes and queries- with about 20 or so doubles. In terms of books- all the usual suspects from Adair and Young to Reid to Toynbee and more recent chaps such as Wanklyn- and thats before I get to the esoterica such as Broxap

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  4. Interesting and somewhat different to my positives, fun to read

    Ian

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    1. Cheers Ian... that's the thing... we're all different.... good, eh? :o)

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  5. I have that Great Battles book too and found it a similar inspiration back in the day (goiing to have to dig it out again now !!)

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    1. Sgt S - me too actually - I seem to remember it has a chapter on Blenheim I wanted to read... back in the day I knew the Napoleonic chapters almost by heart....

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  6. Interesting. Seems that nostalgia is one of your likes for the hobby. I too count friends as one of the reasons why I like the hobby and, it is one of the reasons that I've not moved away from my home too often.

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    1. Paul - not so much nostalgia as the fact that the old master(s) set my basic approach/style years ago...

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  7. Those old blokes and their rules certainly sucked a lot of into this great hobby, mine was Grant, I had The War Game out on permanent loan and then bought it at the school jumble sale when they were selling off old books. I geuss I borrowed it in about 1975 and had it out ever since.

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    1. Dave - you and me both... in my case it was "Battles with Model Soldiers".. :o)

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  8. ...and your likes were just as good as your dislikes!

    Cheers, Aaron

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