Wargaming Tradecraft: So you want to be a (war)Gamer?


So you want to be a (war)Gamer?

Pandora, by IgorSan
The other day you wandered by a strange looking store on the street / were taking a look at some comics / poked your head into a geeky looking shop / noticed some advanced looking boardgames / had a friend show you / your significant other reached under their bed looking guilty, and pulled out a tackle box...

However you were introduced to wargaming, the completion of the above sentences goes something like "...and saw these tiny figures that looked interesting, and you wanted to know more." Some of you reading this blog may very well be at that beginning stage, allowing your curiosity to investigate the various options out there.

Let me try to help you...

I've talked a lot about Blog-Fu... the art of blogging. Now I want to shift into a series where I help the new gamers, not just from a painting perspective, but also, (gasp!) playing. You see, it's been somewhat humbling to not only start a new system with my Hordebloods, but to do so in a completely different gaming group. I'd like to share parts of this experience and try to tie it in to the things a new player needs to consider.

Got any questions? EMail me from my site. Now's the time to get them in, so I can write something up that'll help you and the other people no doubt wondering it too.

What am I looking at?

Valid question. There are many genres of miniature wargaming: science fiction, fantasy, steam punk, horror, victorian  cute, historical, miniature miniature, etc, and they're available from all sorts of different manufacturers who have their own way of designing both the figures and the rules.

  • Wargaming is a system where you build a small army of figures and battle them against opponents.
  • Armies
    • Rule books tell you how figures and armies work, and each army tends to have a different flare, both in the rules and visually.
    • There are usually enough troop options that even if you pick the same army as someone else, they'll look different.
    • Some armies are harder to play with than others.
  • Battlefield
    • Games are played with dice and armies are moved free-form with tape-measures or on a grid system of squares or hexagons.
    • Battlefields are usually filled with trees, buildings, rivers, hills, etc, which usually provide some form of "cover" to protect your troops.
    • A typical field size is 4 feet by 4 feet, (a little over 1 meter squared) but could go up to 4' x 8' and still be comfortable - aka, a kitchen or dining room table.
  • Time to Play
  • Randomizing terrain placement
    • Depending on the game system and size of your army, games take anywhere from 1 - 2 hours (typical small/medium sized game) to 4 - 6 - 8 hours. (medium to larger sized games)
    • In other words, a game can be played in an evening with a smaller / medium army, or 1-3 games in a day.
  • Winning
    • A mission is usually determined before a game starts.
    • ex: destroy your enemy's army or their leader, capturing and holding objectives, etc.
  • Figures
    • Miniatures tend to require both assembly (gluing) and painting.
    • Minis are made from pewter, resin or plastic.
    • Sizes range from half an inch for tiny creatures to fist-sized for beasts and vehicles.
    • Figures are relatively cheap and can be collected slowly, while a larger army can be expensive. (But about on par to other things you'd spend your money on to kill time.)

Why would I want to play?

Essentially, they're just larger scale board games with more rules. In theory, rules are constantly being revised to make them better, easier to understand, less complicated to play, etc.

While people play these games for different reasons, the objective is essentially to have a good time. Hang out with friends at someone's house or the local hobby shop and/or meet new people and make new friends. The game itself promotes critical thinking and strategy.

Some people play to win, others just play to have fun, some enjoy spending hours tweaking their army list while others want to create an army based on background (fluff) or maybe they just enjoy creating and/or painting the figures.

There's more to be said on the topic, and I'll look at these things in the future:

First Steps - finding a system and trial games
Choosing your army
Building a list
Some Assembly Required - Miniatures and Makeshift Terrain
Losing Gracefully - Don't Give Up
Fitting in to the Local Scene
The Parents Guide to Miniature Wargaming

Again, EMAIL me your questions and I will cover them.

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