Inclusiveness in Wargaming and Tastelessness

My favourite wargames magazine is Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy. For those more Facebook savvy it can be found in Facebook at @WSSMagazine. It is a magazine that I will unreservedly recommend to anyone at all interested or involved in the hobby of wargaming. Every couple of months a new issue arrives and becomes my main reading for a few days. Apart from wargame based articles from different periods of history, there are also regular columnists providing opinion pieces or generic discussions on modern wargaming. I should note now too that I am a figure gamer first but somewhat period agnostic, although I have a love of the ancient world1.

Rick Priestly, a very well know wargaming personality, for example, writes from time to time as does Richard Clarke from Two Fat Lardies. This month Richard Clarke took to task Rick Priestly’s comments in a previous issue on equality between armies in battle and therefore in wargaming. After all, if there is only 300 of you against tens of thousands of enemies you would just walk away, right? Well except for that well known case. Clarke’s discussion was written in a gentlemanly manner and is the sort of debate that fosters the expansion and improvement of the hobby.

The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army – figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!

However, I was disturbed in this last issue (Issue 104) with both an advertisement and an opinion piece for essentially unrelated but related reasons, if that makes sense.

The advertisement on page 21 is of the gory, painted Wild West Exodus figure of Legendary Vor Khet. The figure is of a large, ugly monster who is devouring pieces of what was clearly, recently a human figure. Perhaps I am a little old fashioned, or perhaps just old, and think that this is a level of excess that is a bridge too far to be acceptable. One thing it did do was resonated with comments in a later opinion piece in the same issue.

The opinion piece was by Chris King, whose column “The Irregular” carried a piece titled “Inclusion”. In this piece he talks about the future growth of the hobby relying on the hobby welcoming “people to the hobby, regardless of their race, their nationality, their gender, their beliefs, their abilities or any other label or lifestyle choices.”

Certainly there have been a number of what could academically be described as “misogynistic incidents” over recent years but could be better described by the less academic term of “bloody stupid behaviour by people who obviously believe the size of the object hanging between their thighs is an indication of intelligence, skill, ability and privilege”. There were a number of tweets floating around late last year if I recall correctly (or perhaps early this year) where at least one female wargamer in the UK was receiving support from a section of the wargames community as a result of issues with others.

Anthony’s left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

In Australia in video games rather than more “traditional” wargames, Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen, a presenter for many years on the Good Game, was the target of cyber bullying and doxing (doxxing?) comments, even though her gaming skill (and the fact that she could put together a coherent sentence) rated her way in excess of most of her detractors.

The 2mm division assembles

Wargaming is not a large hobby relative to other pasttimes but it seems to be a bitchy one, and for no good reason. Criticism, and not constructive criticism, is levelled at wargmers based on ridiculous items such as figure scale (6mm and 2mm gamers have heard them all); rule sets (the pro-DBx anti-DBx arguments come to mind along with the DBA 2.2 vs DBA 3.0 debates); historical vs fantasy; technical questions such as “how good was the Bismarck ” in naval circles; and so on.

Forums, arguably so 20th Century in these days of Facebook and Twitter, have become more acrimonious places generally (there are some exceptions). One whose acronym means more to me now as I have worked in IT for 45 years as a “temporary file”, is a prime example and one I gave up on 10 years ago.

It is a hobby, a pastime, to coin the dictionary definition, “an activity that someone does regularly for enjoyment rather than work; a hobby”. My work day is full of stress and pressure so what can be better than sitting down in the evening, loved ones around, a good coffee or single malt in hand, and read or prepare for a future wargame project?

My early World War 2 Soviet Battlegroup

So, I agree with Chris King’s piece in WSS. Wargaming should be inclusive, not exclusive. We should be welcoming those who want to play with little toy soldiers or boardgames with open arms, making them feel welcome and help the hobby to expand. Wargaming is a worldwide pastime now. I am writing this from Manila, Philippines (there is a Manila in Australia too – just to be clear) and there is a healthy wargame club, the Makati Marauders, about a 1km walk from where I am living currently plus a large boardgames group. I know of a healthy number of players in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India. I know gamers in Brazil and Japan. So a hobby that was originally “Britocentric2“, then became “Eurocentric3” is now truly international with games played on all continents. There must be room for everyone in the hobby, especially for those of us a little old fashioned who like to handle the games pieces rather than just shuffle images around on a screen.

Play nice in the sandpit kids!


1. I just put some random photos of wargame figures through this piece to remind folks what my pastime is
2. OK, I wasn’t sure of a term to describe something that started in England (and Germany too I guess) then spread through many parts of the Commonwealth so being a good English speaker, I just made a word up
3. OK, so I think I just made up another one 🙂

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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!

Still Waiting for the Postman

Back on 8 August, in the post, Waiting for the Postman, I noted that I’d ordered some wargaming items mail order, including some board games, figures, flight deck decals and so on. I also noted that the delays in delivery are all at this end of the world.

The Navwar Ships

The ships from Navwar were cleared through customs back at the end of July. They were despatched to the delivery office, Makati Central Post Office, on 2 August 2019. It is now 12 days later and they still, apparently, have not been able to travel the 7kms from the Customs Office to the main post office in one of Metro Manila’s CBDs. Remember, these items arrived in Manila on 19 July. Still, I am patient.

The GMT Board Games Parcel

The GMT Board Games have now cleared customs yesterday, and today were, were despatched the 7kms to Makati.

I am confident that they will arrive just I am not sure exactly when.

When they do arrive, the service at Makati Central Post Office is absolutely brilliant – but I am impatient – want toys now 😉

Waiting for the Postman

I’m waiting for some ancient galleys

I’ve ordered some wargaming items mail order. This includes some board games, figures, flight deck decals and so on. The connections internationally to the Philippines are good, it all slows down however when it arrives in country.

I ordered some ships from Navwar before I left Australia on my last trip back and asked for them to be sent with tracking. Here is the tracking report. They were posted on 10 July 2019 and arrived in the Philippines on 19 July 2019. Not so bad.

It took 12 days to pass a customs examination and then on 2 August, the parcel was placed en route to the delivery office. This is a distance of about 7.5 kilometers or so, a distance I could walk in about 90 minutes. 6 days have passed and it has not arrived there yet.

Board games from the US

I also had tracking on an order of two board games from the US (see left). These were despatched on 1 August, arriving in the Philippines on 8 August. Not bad. They have now gone for customs examination. I am guessing this will take another three or four weeks to pass that inspection then find its way to Makati – or I will get a notice that tells me I need to go to customs to pay a fee.

It would be difficult to set up an industry here that relied on the Post Office being able to deliver and despatch items quickly. In the meantime, mercifully, I still have many more books to review to keep me busy this long weekend coming.

The Great Wargaming Survey – 2019 Edition

It’s on again. The Wargames Soldier & Strategy Great Wargaming Survey – 2019 Edition.

This is a survey that has become an annual event now and one where the number of respondents have been increasing each year. It focuses exclusively on tabletop miniature wargaming.

The survey only takes about five to ten minutes to complete and the results will, when published, I am sure provide grist for the podcast and discussion group mills for many months into the future.

Last years survey was discussed between Jasper of WSS and the Greg and Miles from the Little Wars Club (which is a great YouTube channel by the way, well recommended).

There is also a section on the Wargames Soldier & Strategy blog discussing past surveys and results.

Wargame Soldier and Strategy will publish the result of the survey when it completes and as a sweetener for participation, they are offering both prizes and every participant may claim a voucher which can be redeemed in the Karwansaray Publishers webshop for a €6.50 discount or be used to ‘purchase’ one of the sprues made available by Rubicon Models, Wargames Atlantic, and Sarissa Precision! Instructions on claiming that are on the final page of the survey.

The survey is running from now until 31 August 2019. I do recommend you spend the 10 minutes it takes to complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PJ825GK and add your voice to that of the wargame community at large.

Bavarian Army – Napoleonic Period

Note – I started writing this on October 22, 2010. I guess this is a typical wargaming project, one that starts with a rush then slips to a back shelf as something new and shiny flashes past only to have the interest rekindled when looking at old notes. Of course, I have a number of other projects on the go currently that will prevent the Bavarians leaping t the top of the pile but soon (which in wargaming term could mean sometime in the next 27 years!

Bavarian Infantry from Baccus 6mm (https://baccus6mm.com/catalogue/Napoleonics/Bavarian/)

In my Napoleonic painting and wargaming project, I have decided to concentrate essentially on the Germans – the Prussians and the Confederation of the Rhine along with the Duchy of Warsaw for additional flavour and colour (yes, the Duchy of Warsaw is Polish but is attractive as an ally/opponent). The Bavarians contributed the largest part of the forces of the Confederation of the Rhine as one of the founding members of the confederation in 1806. They came to Napoleons side in the wars after the Austrian general Mack invaded Bavaria as part of the Ulm campaign.

Bavarian chevaux leger from Baccus 6mm (https://baccus6mm.com/catalogue/Napoleonics/Bavarian/)

It occurred to me at the time, and has me thinking again about the Bavarians, I have a feeling that the usual wargamer’s megalomania will start to surface as we want to increase the size of what we are doing to recreate bigger and bigger things. The Battle of Ulm comes to mind as one of those things to recreate. Basically it was the culmination of skirmishes and manoeuvring over a period between he French and the Austrians. That wonderful mine of misinformation, Wikipedia, has an article on the Battle of Ulm. Of course, to do that I would need to model around 150,000 French soldiers in the French army at the time as well as about 75,000 under the command of Mack, the Austrian army facing them. To make it interesting, I could add the Russians that were marching to join up with the Austrians. I then start to think about the Battle of Leipzig – see what I mean about megalomania?

I digress. The Bavarian Army was part of the Confederation of the Rhine. In fact, prior to the formation of the Confederation, Bavaria was an Electorate (a term I will explain elsewhere and at another time, probably about the time the 30 Years War starts to intrigue me again). Sorry, more digression. At the time the Confederation of the Rhine was formed Bavaria became a kingdom and was a founding member of the Confederation. I’ve listed the members in a previous post.

Bavarian artillery from Baccus 6mm (https://baccus6mm.com/catalogue/Napoleonics/Bavarian/)

So, the Bavarians were something to add to my 6mm collection. The nice thing about the Bavarians is that they fought together as a single group, for example being VI Corps of the Grande Armee in 1812. Whilst they had Bavarian commanders, perhaps the most famous and successful Bavarian commander was the French marshal, Gouvion St Cyr. The Bavarians sent around 33,000 troops with Napoleon in the invasion of Russia, around 4,000 returned. The Bavarian corps of 1812 therefore seemed the best to model as part of my project.

The Organisation of the VI Corps at the time is shown below. The Bavarian Order of Battle 1809-12 reflects that Organisation fairly closely, without the other German troops. In Germany in 1809 its Commander was Marshall Lefebvre, the Duke of Danzig. Initially, in Germany in VII Corps the Commander was Colonel-General de Cuirassiers, Laurent, Marquis de Gouvion St-Cyr who was perhaps the best of the commanders of the Bavarians.

Type Battalions Grade Name Coats Facing Colours
Commander-in-Chief: General de division G. St. Cyr
Chief of General Staff: Colonel d’Albignac
Commander of Artillery: Colonel de Colonge
First Division
Commander: General von Deroy
Staff Officer: Major von Gravenreuth
1st Brigade: Generalmajor von Siebein
Light Infantry 1 Regular Tyrolean Chasseurs Green Blue
Line Infantry 2 Elite 1st Line Infantry “Liebe” Blue Red
Line Infantry 2 Regular 2nd Line Infantry “Kronprinz” Blue Red
2nd Brigade Generalmajor von Raglovich
Light Infantry 1 Regular 4th Light Infantry “Theobald” Green Black/Red
Line Infantry 1 Regular 4th Line Infantry “Salern” Blue Yellow
Line Infantry 1 Regular 11th Line Infantry Blue Green
3rd Brigade Generalmajor Graf Richberg
Light Infantry 1 Regular 4th Light Infantry “Theobald” Green Black/Red
Line Infantry 2 Regular 3rd Line Infantry “Prinz Karl” Blue Red
Line Infantry 2 Regular 9th Line Infantry “Graf von Ysenburg” Blue Red
Cavalry Brigade Generalmajor Graf Seydewitz
Bavarian Dragoons 1 Light Cav 1st Dragoons White
Bavarian Chevaux-Legere 1 Light Cav 1st Chevaux-Legere Kronprinz Green
Bavarian Chevaux-Legere 1 Light Cav Green
Artillery Oberstlieutenant Freiherr von Lamey
Bavarian Foot Battery Regular 2nd Line Battery – 6 medium guns, 2 Howitzers Dark Blue
Bavarian Heavy Foot Battery Regular 4th Line Battery – 6 heavy guns, 2 Howitzers Dark Blue
Second Division
Commander: General der Kavallerie Graf von Wrede
Staff Officer: Oberst von Comeau
1st Brigade: Generalmajor von Vincenti
Light Infantry 2 Regular 2nd Light Infantry “Wrede” Green Red
Line Infantry 3 Regular 7th Line Infantry “Lowenstein” Blue Pink
2nd Brigade: Generalmajor von Hugel
German Jägers 1 Crack Freiwillige Jägers: can field as Rifle armed skirmishers Green Blue
Guard Grenadiers 1 Crack Wurttemberg: Fusse Garde Dark Blue Black
Line Infantry 2 Regular Wurttemberg: Prinz Paul Regiment Dark Blue Yellow
Line Infantry 2 Regular Anhalt-Lippe Contingents of 5th C. Rhine Regt. Green/ White Pink/ Green
3rd Brigade: Generalmajor Graf Minucci
Light Infantry 2 Regular 6th Light Infantry “Taxis” Green Red/ yellow
Line Infantry 3 Regular 13th Line Blue Black
Line Infantry 2 Regular 8th Line Infantry “Herzog Pius” Blue Yellow
Artillery Brigade: Oberstlieutenant von Lamy
Bavarian Foot Battery Regular 5th Line Battery – 6 medium guns Dark Blue
Bavarian Foot Battery Regular 8th Line Battery (can field as 1st Light Battery horse artillery instead) Dark Blue
Cavalry Brigade: Generalmajor von Preysing – poor
German Cuirassier 1 Regular/ Crack “Prinz Karl” Blue
German Hussars 1 Regular/ Crack 1st Bavarian Hussars Blue
German Uhlans 1 Regukar/Crack Uhlanen Green
German Horse Artillery Regular 1st Light Battery
German Horse Artillery Regular 2nd Light Battery

Notes:

  • I was also thinking about the Battle of Leipzig and started to build II Corps of the Prussian Army present at that battle – a perfect opposition for VII Corps of the Grande Armee
  • Cavalry and Artillery Brigades can form separate divisions or detached brigades
  • No Grand Battery
  • If I start using FOB rules, any Line Infantry can be reclassified as Raw
  • The Bavarian Infantry are famous for both their cornflower blue coats as well as their rappenhaulms
  • This post was originally written when I was considering using various wargame rules, most of the names of which I can no longer recall but where Principles of War was one
  • I am going to base on 60mm x 30mm bases using 6mm figures
  • and lastly, this is a plan for when I move from the small Manila apartment to something a little larger, that will permit me something like a 6′ x 4′ (1.8m x 1.2m) table to play on

The Perfect Captain – Wargames Rules

I have tried some of the Perfect Captains rules before and enjoyed. In fact, I seem to recall interacting with them what seems a lifetime ago. I thought I would give a shout out to them however here, especially as they have a number of different types of rules for different periods. I can recommend getting into them, most work well and those that are a little obtuse become clear after a little reexamination.

I am thinking of using these for my hoplite project, I’ll let you know how that goes.

Do slip out and have a look, the Perfect Captain.

More Ships – Ancient Galleys

While I was back in Australia visiting mother, I thought it would be a good idea to buy some more ships. Not modern warships, not World War II, World War I or Russian Japanese War. Not Napoleonic but rather ancient vessels. OK, I did buy some World War I ships, an American fleet pack, however everything else was ancient.

As you may remember, I reviewed a few books here on ancient naval battles, Rome Seizes the Trident – The Defeat of Carthaginian Seapower and the Forging of the Roman Empire – Review; A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War – Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC – Marc G DeSantis – Review and Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees – Review in particular. I have always had a love for triremes, quinquiremes and the like so I decided that I should engage in some scenarios from those books.

I already had a Roman and a Carthaginian fleet pack pack in Australia so packed that and brought it back to Manila. Each pack has about 20 vessels in it. An order was sent off to Navwar for more galleys – there are never enough – and I purchased:

  • Hellenistic pack (Greek Warships mostly with a couple of large vessels) – about 20 vessels
  • Phoenician pack (same but a little different enough to make it a little more interesting on the tabletop – about 20 vessels
  • two packs each of:
    • Greek Triremes
    • Carthaginian Quinquiremes
    • Greek Pentekontors
    • Quadriremes
    • Roman Merchantmen
    • Roman Liburnians
    • Roman Quinquiremes
    • Greek Merchantmen
    • Hemiolas
  • four packs of Lembus

This should provide a nice basis for some galley on galley action. I like the Navwar galleys for their cost, and painted they look the business. I may add a couple of Langton galleys in the future as flagships and such. Biggest decision prior to painting will be to paint them with sails up (colourful) or sales down (historically more correct).

Right, well that’s another project to get going on with – only about 100 other projects to finish before these little beasties turn up from England.

Slingshot 323 – Arrived in Manila

Rather, it arrived in the office today. It arrived in Manila on March 28 then spent until April 4 making its way the 5 kilometres from the airport to Makati where the office is. Still, it is an anticipated read every two months and with postal times, it gives me a wargaming fix between the digital editions of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy turning up.

Also, in perfect timing, it arrived immediately before lunch, so it was sandwiches today, manageable in one hand and no dangling bits flicking chilli sauce everywhere and spotting magazine and shirt. Sandwiches also left one hand free.

So, what is in this read?

The issue starts off with a continued “fiery” discussion of the New Chronology of Egyptian Dynasties as well as the Jebel Barkal temple. Both these discussions have been moved to the SOA forum to keep relevance and stop us all hanging on for two months for the counter-arguments or the gracious folding of a position.

Aaron Bell discusses the Battle of Thapsus between Caesar and the Pompeian forces there led by Scipio and Juba. While a battle I knew of, for some reason I had never really got around to reading about it in detail. Lunch stretched a little past the hour today.

Of particular interest to me is David Kay’s use of 3D printing to produce 6mm accessories. Now that honourable number two son has a 3D printer and is printing Dystoptian War type vessels I may pay more attention that when he is telling me than in the past.

The refighting of the Battle of Arausio with DBA from Andy Offer was also interesting to me.

Of a high interest as well is the item by Periklis Deligiannis in the Battle of the Kalka River. After a fair time living in Mongolia I still have an interest in Mongol goings on. I also have this battle at home in a board game which I have not even punched the counters on. I may get that down off the shelf this weekend – the article is tonight’s post dinner reading.

Also including in Slingshot 323 is:

  • Over by Vespers: a Mediaeval Scenario Game – by Anthony Clipsom
  • Inventing Early Bronze Age Scenarios – by Steven Neate
  • The Long, the Short and the Flat: the Origin of the Longbow – by Anthony Clipsom
  • Slingshot Figure Reviews: 15mm early Imperial Roman Equites Auxiliares – by Mark Grindlay
  • Slingshot Figure Reviews: 28mm Viking Age Scots – by Thane Maxwell
  • Slingshot Book & Game Reviews: Roman Heavy Cavalry (1) – by Duncan Head
  • Slingshot Book & Game Reviews: Ptolemy I Soter, a Self-made Man – by Jim Webster
  • Slingshot Book & Game Reviews: Pandemic, Fall of Rome – by Gavin Pearson

If you are not a member of the Society of Ancients but have an interest in Ancient History and in particular wargaming, the Society’s membership fee is well worth the cost. Recommended.

Early Days of Wargaming

A YouTube video turned up in my “Recommended Viewing” box the other day so I viewed it. It basically covered the early days of wargaming and in particular wargame figure manufacturing. I had pause to think then about my early days of wargaming and what was available then. I started gaming in the early 1970s I think. I can’t recall the exact date and time but I am certain it was after I left school and had cash in my pocket – that would have been 1972 for being out of school but I guess 1975 when there was cash in the pocket. So, around that time, a mate, Jeffrey, called and said, “come around home and let’s have a wargame?”

“Great” says I, “er, what’s a wargame?”.

Rolled up to Jeff’s and he had set up, on a Masonite board, Plasticine hills and a number of Airfix Union and Confederate soldiers and a copy of Donald Featherstone’s War Games. Jeff took the Confederates and whupped my boys good! It was great fun.

The following week we played again, this time Airfix Romans and Ancient Britons (oh how good those Roman Chariots looked). Jeff took the Romans and I the Britons. Let’s just say that the result was Boudicca’s revenge! Both games were probably the most fun I had playing in the early years. Simple rules, two people who did not know enough about the rules or the history to argue the finer points and unpainted plastic figures on the table.

Later we became more mainstream and started frequenting a shop, Models and Figurines, firstly at Naremburn in Sydney and later in Crows Nest where it eventually changed its name to the Tin Soldier.

In those heady days of pioneering wargames in the 1970s (back then it was “War Games” now we refer to “wargames” regardless of the failure of spell checkers to recognize the new fangled spelling from world wide usage) we were somewhat restricted in the figures available. Leaving aside the “flats” (German manufactured historical figures, moulded as flat figures), at the start there was HO/OO/20mm or 1/76 scale (Airfix) and 25mm size figures. The main suppliers we had access to at the start were Airfix (plastic figures and the subject of much conversion work); Hinchliffe (Frank Hinchliffe and designer and wargame figure painter extraordinaire, Peter Gilder); Lamming Miniature (from Bill Lamming); and Minifigs (owner Neville Dickinson and designer Dick Higgs). The clip below shows a news piece from around the mid to late 1980s I think about the setup of Miniature Figurines, the production of figures and wargaming in general. Worth a look for the history of it all.