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.

Twang … Whoosh … Thwack

A treat on Amazon Prime, the original “The Adventures of Robin Hood”. Hence the title of “Twang … Whoosh … Thwack”. These were some of the sounds of my childhood as week after week we watched Richard Greene as Robin Hood outwit the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and out shoot every archer in Medieval England.

Among all the other Robin Hoods, with the exception of Errol Flynn’s, Richard Greene is the quintessential Robin Hood.

Tonight I watched episode 4 of the first series which apart from the regular guests, also had Leslie Phillips of “well hello” and “ding dong” fame as the somewhat foppish Sir William.

What’s all this got to do with wargaming and/or Enhanced Community Quarantines? Well, I recently subscribed to Amazon Prime and there are some great time-wasters, er, I mean programs there and I must admit, they have been getting in the way of painting figures and working out the next two or three years of life (more on that in a later blog).

As for the wargaming side of things, I would be a liar if I denied thinking of the old Airfix Robin Hood set. Of course, thoughts then turned to the Sheriff of Nottingham set and the Sherwood Castle. I did have all three sets in the 1970s when I started in Wargaming The Sherwood Castle was to make a castle for 25mm Medieval games (and maybe the Robin Hood and Sheriff sets as well if I got around to painting them which I never did).

Moral of this story? Apart that for an Aussie kid the late 1950s and early 1960s were a reasonably good time, rather it is to get off your bum and get painting  (and the thinking that comes along with that).

Twang … Whoosh … Thwack

Curse You Richard Sharpe (and Anthony)

So, I visited the Gun Bar the other day to pick up those soldiers I have been painting. Anthony was hard at work doing his favourite hobby task … basing … and re-basing, and we all love doing that don’t we. He had his iPad propped up behind the area he was working in and was watching the Richard Sharpe series of videos whilst basing his Napoleonics. I had watched part of one episode a few years back and was amused that for the show the producers seemed to use the same scaling with actors that we wargamers use with figures  – namely a 1:50 ratio judging by the number of men in the firing line of the South Essex.

Well, that was all well and good until I got home and thought that maybe I should give the show the benefit of the doubt and at least watch the first episode. So now I am watching the whole series. Just before sleep I watch an episode. Trouble is, each of the episodes is about 100 minutes long. The other trouble is that it has sparked enough of an interest in me to reread the Sharpe Novels.

The worst thing, however, is that it has me thinking about Napoleonic Wargaming again when I was really trying to concentrate on Victorian Science Fiction, 6mm ancients and 1/285 World War 2 this year. Argh, no, hide it away, it is too bright and shiny!

Pellets with Poison, Pills in Tills

As many of you know I enjoy a good turn of phrase, of skilful use of the English language. I particularly enjoy good comedic turns of phrase, “who’s on first?”, “The Duke ducked, the Doge dodged and the Duchess didn’t. so the Duke got the Duchess, the Duchess got the Doge and the Doge got the Duke”, that sort of thing.

One of my favourites from Danny Kaye is in the movie, the Court Jester, where he is trying to avoid a joust and is given a chalice with some poison in it and after the chalice from the palace is broken, to remember he rhymes:

The pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon!
The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!

I like a good homage as well, so hearing the following in the Season 2, Special episode of ‘Allo, ‘Allo just broke me up. Captain Hans Geering does the honours with:

You do not need to kill the General, we have already arranged to kill the General… Do you not see? That if we

kill him with the pill from the till by making with it the drug in the jug,
you need not light the candle with the handle on the gâteau from the château!

The Apprentice Australia

Watched the Apprentice Australia tonight. What did I think about it? One thing.

In Australia we don’t fire people, we sack them!

Sack – dismissal – the termination of someone’s employment (leaving them free to depart).

Mind you, there is some great, bitchy backstabbing in it  😆

Masterchef Withdrawal

I came home tonight, cooked the  baked beans on toast, added a fried egg to that, opened a Pepsi Max, then sat down and looked at the TV and wondered “just exactly what will I watch now with dinner?”

Masterchef Australia has finished and so my evenings 6 nights a week will be empty … at least until October when Celebrity Masterchef will be on.

What a great program – and one that proved you could have drama in a show that was “nice” and that kids could (and did) watch and enjoy.

Well done Julie, Poh and the others.

“Do it” or do “it”?

What is a "do it"?
What is a "do it" or should that be a 'do "it"'?

There have been advertisements on the TV for it, there have been piano players on the TV and there was the famous “Censored” billboard but the one I wondered about the most was this billboard advertisement.

Now, I know (or at least I think I know) what “it” is in the context of ‘”it”‘ and I can then surmise what ‘do “it”‘ means in that context. What I can’t work out is what a ‘”do it”‘ actually is – I remember years ago we passed around messages about a “tuit” – especially the one that had the round shape, but I have never run across a “do it” before.

I reckon the advertising agency screwed up and intended to have a billboard message of ‘Men, do “it” longer’ but had trouble working the English out so ended up with having longer “do its” instead!

I believe the “do its” are very expensive as well – but that is another story.

Sorry O’Keefe Makes Light of Boozy Night

Sorry O’Keefe makes light of boozy night. This was the piece in ninemsn today. Mind you, O’Keefe is from Channel 7. When the video first appeared, Channel 9 rushed it to air at the top of their prime time news – I guess trying to benefit from O’Keefe looking like a right fool in the video. However, O’Keefe seems to have handled this very well, making light of his own antics on his return to TV recently. After all, many of us have had the odd night on the sauce that we would prefer to forget, why should celebrities be any different?

Brickbats to Channel 9 for trying to make commercial advantage out of playing the man.