Monday, August 19, 2013

Miniature Wargames (with Battlegames).. a review

Picture copyright Atlantic
We're in the summer hiatus as far as Steve the Wargamer is concerned..  at this time of the year the boat is in the water and any spare time is spent on that rather than in the (hot and stuffy) loft..  but it doesn't mean that all things wargame related completely dry up...

So it was that, firmly in catch up mode, I finally got to the latest issue of Miniature Wargames - perhaps the second under Henry's leadership??

Half way through now but driven enough to put a partial review of the "game so far"..  I'd be interested in the views from others as the following are purely my own....

Either way, half way through and..

Mr Kinch is good - not as thought provoking as some of his previous posts, but a solid effort and I recognise myself in some of the compromises he discusses!

The Condottieri article was interesting - the right balance of potted history and wargaming, not a preferred period but certainly colourful...

John Treadaway's Fantasy review is two (three?) pages of my life I'll never get back...   I'm afraid it's an immediate flip to the next article...

The Command Teaser Challenge thingy was a goody - best article so far - I don't like Lardy rules as a norm, but as per Rich Clarke's suggestion I'm going to try this one with Field of Fire.

Tommies in hot places? Over-exaggerated shading and the man paints eye balls! Talented yes, but not to my taste..

We then had 6 pages of VBCW and while I enjoy the spectacle in the flesh, I'm always slightly puzzled how people can spend so much time writing about pretend history, when real history is so damned fascinating...

I've just started on Paul Stevenson's ACW article - albeit converting ACW to Black Powder.... things are looking up.....  I think he may be the same chap who wrote the book on the left - I remember a very pleasant curry in Warwick reading this.....

5 (oh go on then, 6, the Command Challenge was good!) out of 10 so far....

Post edit (and apologies for the truly awful standard of spelling in the first section - now corrected!)

Issue 365 is due out so I need to bring this review to a close now that I've finished the magazine...  all in all a bit of a curates egg this issue.....

So I read the Stevenson article - quite good, although it deals solely with converting the ACW battle to a rule set I've never read, and don't own (Black Powder)...  that aside the descriptions, asides, and examples were interesting and worth reading...  must try Back Powder some time....  am I in a minority of one I wonder....?

Skimmed over the Kevin Dallimore interview - I quite like these types of articles, but as talented as Mr Dallimore (very) definitely is I found difficulty in finding anything he had to say that was of specific interest to my specific "wargaming experience" so moved quickly on....

Which brought me to Henry's article on Salamanca - well written as ever but at the end of it thought - did he really manage to make that fit 3 pages???  It reminded me of some of my blog posts that I've split in two so as to fill more time when they really could have gone in one article... short of articles I wonder??

Which then brought me on to Siggo - good oh I thought - one of my favourite columns (along with CK)... bugger....  board game reviews...  what are the titles...  not heard of them, know I will never play them, finished.....

The score stands 6 out of 10 this month...  highlights were the Command Challenge, the Condottieri article, CK and the ACW article.... the rest I could have left including the review section which this month seemed to be full of books that left me thinking "why?"


  1. Replies
    1. CK - as my daughters are want to say (usually to me)... "shut yer face"... you're a bright spot and I always turn either to you, or Siggo first, for a little original thinking..... :o)

  2. I agree with all that, Steve (apart from the exaggerated shading and eyeballs stuff!). I think this is issue 4 under Henry now.

    Best wishes


    1. Giles - four already? Blimey - time flies...

  3. Steve,
    It is the same Paul Stevenson. I was wargaming with him yesterday and he has been working on a set of rules utilising Black Powder ideas for the colonial period which I believe, but dont quote me, are to be published by Warlord.
    By the way Paul is a great bloke to game with.
    Thanks Robbie.

    1. Rob3Rod - thanks for confirmation - I had a memorable education course and spent two nights at the Old Fourpenny Shop quaffing beer, and the curry house down the road - where I read his ACW book cover to cover... :o))


  4. 5? A generous score in my opinion Steve. Do agree about the VBCW though...

  5. Personally I think MW has improved since Henry took over. You cant please everyone all of the time but Wargames Illustrated is now all but a 'house' magazine for Battlefront and a little variety does no harm. I would not expect to see VBCW in the next issue or perhaps even in the next 10 but if that is what people are gaming then why should it not be included.

    MW is not there yet but it appears to be turning around. These things take time.

    1. Nige J - I can't comment on whether it has improved, as I never took it before - but I suspect (knowing Henry) you are correct...... I'm tied in for the next year & I look forward to further issues with interest - we're a broad church and it's extremely unlikely a magazine like MW is going to please everyone all the time.. :o)

  6. Like you I thought the Codottiere article was good- for a start it remined me that some SOB had pincehed my Mallett - or I'd lost it in a house move Need another.
    would lump VBCW in with Fantasy- except it isn't as interesting (and you know my views on Dwarf Fiddling )
    oH and FYI henry took over at 361 so this is his 4th
    Perhaps it the same with all mags but I still get that been there done that feeling

    1. Big Andy - I think it is the same with most hobbies - if you've been doing it long enough there are very few things that are going to make you sit up and say "blimey, I never knew that!" and when they do they're in a pretty arcane area of the hobby, certainly not the kinds of things that fit in a mainstream hobby periodical...

      In all the hobbies I've had in the end you notice the magazines tend to be cyclical/repeatable..

  7. All - just for info., the review is now completed and I added the missing bits to the end - issue 365 is upon us, I for one look forward to it...

  8. I have 365 and well its OK sort of thought the front cover pic is terrible- technically fine but somehow well 'orrible. I really really HATE those computer generated table maps too .

  9. 5 or 6 seems fair - it's just not there yet and I so want this to work out.
    I'll give it a few more issues before really deciding to call it a day or not.
    Have fun

  10. I'm beginning to wear of the magazine. Enthusiastic at start but the last couple have left me underwhelmed. I'm not finding anything exciting within it's pages at the moment. Tired of the Sutherland "we did it this way" series and found the last two very dull (and the finished terrain not that good tbh). Salamanca - a lot of pages to say "scale it down and work it out to fit your tabletop". Forward observer - why not just combine this with the Recce section and be done with it?
    I took out the two year subscription so I'm tied in now but I suppose if want it to improve we should help and submit an article or two.

  11. You're not in a minority of one when it comes to playing Black Powder. While I've bought a copy, the fact is that no one else in my gaming group really has wanted to take the time and money to learn a new game at this point.
    A/K/A The Celtic Curmudgeon