"An army marches on it's stomach"
(Napoleon Bonaparte)


"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies" (Churchill)


"If a man does his best, what else is there?" (Patton)


 

About Wargaming

What is Wargaming?

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. 

What 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.

Typical Periods

Ancients

From the earliest known battles to the start of the medieval period. This is a very popular period especially for competition style games. 

Medieval 

Not so popular are Ancients - which is a shame because there are some great battles and scenarios to be explored here.

Renaissance 

Minority period really.

English Civil War  

This is gaining in popularity.

Napoleonic

Major period both for land battles and naval.

American Civil War

Very popular on both sides of the Atlantic largely due to a great set of rules called Fire and Fury.

Second World War  

Very popular for skirmish style games. Large number of plastic and metal figures and vehicles available.

Ultra Modern  

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 do it?

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.

Wargaming and Morality?

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 batch......

How can I get started?

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 art.

  • 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 table top.

Other Equipment

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

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"
(Sun tzu)


"We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction." (MacArthur)