Big Ideas to Grow Historical Wargming

A few days ago I posted a link to a Little Wars video asking the question, Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out? I also added my thoughts to the question as well.

More power to the guys at Little Wars, they released a follow-on video offering some ideas and suggestions (five of them to be accurate) for growing tabletop wargaming.

The suggestions are all quite good and certainly may help to promote the game. The Gateway Product and Curated YouTube channels I think were excellent ideas. To attract those in the 20 to 35 age group, the approach really needs to be electronic to start with. For those in the 15 to 25 age group, the competition is tough as it is mobile phone based games along with XBox, Playstation and Nintendo.

I will admit that having worked in IT for more years than I care to remember, I like the tactile nature of tabletop gaming — research, painting, pushing figures around a table, two out of three parts are unrelated to my day job.

Anyhow, do have a look at the video and see of you can think of something to:

  1. promote the hobby
  2. attract new gamers

Right then, back out with the paintbrushes.

Roll sixes, stay safe, wash your hands!

Wargaming Dying Out?

The folks over at Little Wars TV posed the question, “Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out?” I know this is something that has been often discussed in the wargames press, in forums, at shows and when just sitting around and chatting at the club. The greying of the hobby is apparent from the results over a number of years from the Great Wargames Survey.

If you haven’t seen it already, have a look at the YouTube video below, produced by Little Wars TV.

This video spoke to a couple of US wargame “dignitaries” as well as many UK ones. The mix was rules writers, figure producers and so on and one of the premises was that there has been very little in the way of new rules releases from US rules writers, although the English rules producers have been having a field day over recent years.

Some lively debate has followed on Twitter about this. Some of it has suggested that the responses were biased. I don’t think that there was a deliberate bias, the guys just spoke to the folks they knew at a show in the US and via other arcane means of communications in the UK.

Storm of Steel Wargaming, in his YouTube channel also discussed this topic, offering an alternative view:

To the actual question posed, here are my thoughts, written here as it is too long for Twitter 🙂

The first thing to note is that the feeling of the future from the folks in the UK was positive. More figure ranges being produced in more scales, many more rules written and released and, apart from the current plagues, clubs well attended as are shows.

Compare that to the US where they make the point that apart from Sam Mustafa’s Honor series, there has been little in the realm of new rules releases. Most of the rules systems being played are, in fact, systems that were written many years ago.

I’m not sure that I would describe this as dying out, rather I think it is a product of the times and the way wargames are played in the two areas. With a couple of notable exceptions, clubs in the US tend to be few and far between with most gaming occurring in gamer’s homes. Shows are organised by the various societies and generally run for 2 to 4 days with game masters running games for the attendees, often running a game many rimes. The objective of the show is to play games. It seems sensible then to stick to rules that folks know for that reason.

In the UK, the shows are mainly for shopping, and looking at lots of eye candy. There may be wargames competitions on as well but the shows are generally one or two days maximum, and the largest, Salute, is a one day show with many traders and demonstrations games.

Europe also seems to have a healthy scene as well with large shows (Antwerp for example) as well as manufacturers and publishers. APAC also has a healthy scene, and wargamers in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong seem on average younger than those grey heads in the UK and US.

Where are all the youngsters playing wargames? Mostly on their mobile phones, Play Stations or Xboxes, playing Mobile Legends or Fortnite. These gamers will age, and eventually at the ripe old age of 28 or so, their reactions will have slowed, the ability of their thumb to hit a key at about 200 times per second will have diminished and they will start to look for other entertainment.

Enter the recent spate of “all-in-one” sets. These are boxed sets and are new scales and warames periods with all the new items being released with rules, models/figures, and painting instructions in one box. Verily these are starter sets and like them or hate them, they do provide an entry for folks whose interest has been piqued. Cruel Seas, Black Seas, SPQR Victory at Sea and other Warlord games provide complete packs, an easy entry for new starters.

The wargame shows, once the Plague passes, provide a means of showcasing the hobby and these days, with YouTube channels, podcasts, not to mention books and magazines providing support for the new starter, I certainly think that while the future the future may look a little dim in the US at the moment, in the rest f the world it appears vibrant and bright.

I Hate You Little Wars TV – 1st Manassas (Bull Run)

There I was, happily minding my own business, preparing some World War 2 1/285 scale aircraft for painting, planning then to move on to my 6mm Anglo-Saxons, and then perhaps off to something nautical, perhaps 1/1200 scale galleys or modern vessels when Little Wars TV presents First Manassas. They show the battlefield, then discuss the tactics and Gen. McDowell’s performance. Just have a look at this.

Now I am getting an almost uncontrollable itch to paint 6mm American Civil War figures. Of course, to do that, I would need to purchase some 6mm American Civil War figures as I do not have any in the lead pile. English Civil War, Ancients, Napoleonics, World War 2 and Cold War figures in stock aplenty but no American Civil War figures. I have several sets of rules on the bookshelf, lots of reference works but no figures.

I hate you Little Wars TV. I must resist!

Little Wars TV – D-Day Wargame – Rommel Rules

I do love the Little Wars TV YouTube channel, the guys are like so many of my mates from various wargame clubs over the years and in different countries, where winning is not as important as the game and fun was the target of the game. Little Wars TV recently decided to re-fight the first couple of days of D-Day, given that it is the 75th anniversary this year. The re-fight was controlled using modified Rommel rules (thanks guys, I am now considering getting yet another set of rules). For previous World War 2 games they have used Fistful of TOWs.

Part 1 of the two part video covers the objectives for each side, the landings and the drive inland from the beaches.

The second part covers D+1 – where the Allies will attempt to consolidate and meet their objectives and the Germans will attempt to both prevent the Allies reaching objectives but also achieve some objectives of their own.

Well worth watching these and as I mentioned, this has reawakened my interest in trying out Rommel as a set of World War 2 wargaming rules. I would also strongly recommend a visit to the Little Wars TV website to both see what’s new and interesting, grab some free stuff and check out their other videos. Thanks guys, love your work!