"An army marches on it's stomach"
"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies"
"If a man does his best, what else is there?"
Wargaming is a rapidly growing hobby. The
basic idea is to re-create battles on a table top using miniature or
toy soldiers to represent the troops in the battle. The player plays
the part of the commanding officer. Some players use counters on a
marked out board. Personally I prefer the visual spectacle of seeing
well painted model soldiers deployed on great looking scenery.
sort of battles do you fight?
Battles vary from skirmish games played with
a few figures each side to large scale encounters where the figures on
the table represent whole brigades or divisions. Some battle scenarios
are taken from history - either a re-fight of a famous battle (such as
Waterloo or Hastings) or a typical battle of the period. Alternatively
many players fight completely fictitious battles which have
evenly matched sides (more like a chess competition). Games can be
competitive (tournaments are run at wargames shows), just played for
fun or a genuine attempt to explore the difficulties of commanding an
army of the period.
From the earliest known battles to
the start of the medieval period. This is a very popular
period especially for competition style games.
Not so popular are Ancients - which
is a shame because there are some great battles and scenarios
to be explored here.
Minority period really.
This is gaining in popularity.
Major period both for land battles
Very popular on both sides of the
Atlantic largely due to a great set of rules called Fire and
Very popular for skirmish style
games. Large number of plastic and metal figures and vehicles
Tends to be the preserve of 1/300
scale 'micro' armies. Rules can be complicated as there is a
obviously a lot of technology to cover.
Why do people
For Fun! People wargame for a sorts of
reasons. Some come from a military modeling background and want to do
more with their figures and models. Others read the history first and
get inspired to explore the period and test out theories about
simulating the problems of controlling an army. There are
wargamers who only want to fight competitive games against an
opponent, alternatively some wargames never fight competitive games.
Wargamers are, on the whole, sociable (if a little reserved sometimes)
and the social aspect of the hobby is very important.
Tricky subject. We are essentially basing a
game on war. My PERSONAL view (shared with a large percentage of
wargamers) is that real war is an abomination and mankind should work
much harder to avoid conflict. Wargamers are not warmongers. We don't
intend to glorify war - we just play games. Having said all that - it
feels easier to wargame history that is further back. Very few
wargamers re-fight the Falklands, Gulf or World War one (Although
World War Two is popular)
Is it expensive?
The great thing about this hobby is that you
can start small and build up over time. You can get started with a
couple of packs of plastic figures and write your own rules (although
we would prefer you to use ours!). Some wargamers build armies of
hundreds and hundreds of figures over decades of re-fighting battles.
Much of the hobby is still run on an amateur
or semi professional basis. Wargamers often make their own buildings
and scenery. So wargaming does not have to be expensive - but some
collectors get a little bit carried away. Probably the one thing that
wargamers are guilty of is getting inspired by a new period and buying
lots of figures before they have finished painting the last
How can I
The easiest way is to join a local club.
Check out the links section of this site for some club websites. There
are a number of wargames magazines with great articles on history and
figure reviews etc. Alternatively just link up with a group of
friends and get stuck in.
Figures and Equipment
Most wargames are played using miniature
figures. These come in a number of sizes or scales. Popular scales are
25mm, 15mm, 10mm, 6mm. 25 and 15mm are the most popular for ancient
and medieval gaming.
25mm Until the emergence of 15mm these
were the most popular. These figures stand about 25mm high
(although manufacturers vary in their interpretation of exact
scales!). These figures are usually superbly detailed works of
15mm A much more affordable scale. These
figures look good en masse. They are quicker to paint and the
level of detail is getting better all the time.
Plastic Figures. These offer a much
cheaper alternative to the white metal of the other scales. Ranges
tend to be more limited. Some narrow minded wargames look down on
these figure - this is a shame because they are usually well
detailed and their cost makes them a great starting place for a
beginner. Paint tends not to stick well to plastic. Always wash
the figure with an old tooth brush and soapy water to get rid of
the oily surface before painting.
Smaller scales (6mm, 2mm) - These
scales are very small and are not so popular. However they can
look very good en masse. These figures are useful if you want to
recreate a very large battle.
Not all wargames represent land battles.
Naval wargames are very popular (both the Second World War and
Napoleonic in particular). Air battles are less popular which is a
shame. This has a lot to do with the practicalities of
representing the three dimensional nature of air warfare on a
In addition to figures you will need a tape
measure (a workman's expanding tape is the best sort) to measure
weapon ranges and movement distances. A selection of dice of various
types. and a set of rules.
Rules vary considerably in their complexity
and length. Some wargamers make up their own rules which can be very
short and simple. A good starting point is to check out the wargames
magazines which often publish simple sets as part of an article on a
period.. Alternatively there are a great number of commercial sets
available. Some of the commercial sets can be complicated but if you
take them slowly and don't try to remember everything at once you will
soon get the hang of them.
Most rules have the following basic elements:
Movement - Rules to specify how far a
unit can move in one turn, depending on factors such as the
terrain and formation.
Combat - Rules to specify how effective
the unit's weapons are and the chances of damaging the enemy.
Morale - Rules to simulate the
psychological aspects of the battle such as anger and fear.
Generally speaking units do not fight to the last man and will run
away before that happens.
"Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity"
(Karl Von Clausewitz)
"All war is deception"
"We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction."