Sunday, January 15, 2012

Playing favourites.............(I knew this would turn out to be an epic !!)

Been holding off doing this (as I really should be painting or playing !!) but here goes for an idea from 'Dont Throw a 1' blog which he got from other blogs. As a lover of nostalgia I could not resist.
Compiling was easy but cutting my waffle to readable amounts much more difficult !!

To quote from 'Dont Throw A 1' herewith the premise:

"Over at Steve's Random Musings, he recently posted a list of his favourite Wargame facts. He got the idea from Too Much Lead and has invited other gamers to post their favourites.
Steve goes on to say, "We all  have favourite games, periods, inspirations and so on, the challenge then is to document what they are so we can all see what drives us....."

And so to the sleep inducement:


Oh dear what a start ! 20+ years ago this would have been easy as it would have been World War 2 exclusively but since then I have delved into so many periods its a toughie to pick just one (my Blog indicates my 'butterfly' tendancies nowdays).
Currently Horse & Musket (1700-1815) is my main interest, certainly figure painting, rule purchases and reading/research has been mainly in support of this period of interest.
The appeal of lines of blokes shoulder to shoulder advancing into blackpowder volleys with cannon roaring and mass charges by blokes on big horses is stirring to my loins and infuses the blood.

Still have a hankering for Ancients period for similar stirring reasons only the black powder element being replaced by hack and slash images. 
I probably have more Ancients figures than anything else (at least in 15mm) and does have added appeal of being able to go to competitions to play against others quite readily (an aspect of wargaming that I have only gotten back into in last couple of years)

But when all is said and done World War 2 is still my favourite period as the boyhood hook of Tiger tanks, D-Day, Arnhem, Stalingrad et al is a force still strong in this one !


15mm is my favourite across all periods as a good balance of size versus quality and affordability and suits the size of table I have been able to use through the years 6' x 4' or now 7' x 5' maximum). 
6mm is a great scale for WWII and I suspect if I was just starting out in wargaming 10mm would be a real option. 
I started with 20mm (as did many of a similar age) as that was what was readily available and still consider it best for skirmish type games. 
I consider 28mm and above modelling/diorama scales and impractical for wargaming unless a massive club or show-demo projects.


Oh lordy lordy this one I simply cannot narrow down to under a hundred so will quit whilst ahead !!
I am an incurable rules junkie/collector.......................................

Cover pictures of a (very) few select favourites (in absolutely no order of merit) will have to suffice:


From a background of Risk, Campaign, Escape From Colditz and adverts in Miltary Modelling I became heavily into board wargames throughout the late 70s and into the 80's with numerous Avalon Hill (RIP) games adorning my shelves. I love the 'game in a box' appeal especially when visiting my Father as I could/can carry a game to his much more readily than any figure game. Interest waned in late 90s early 00s (?) but has been rekindled of late.

All time favourite has to be the one true king (I still get goosebumps and lump in throat thinking of this arriving on my doorstep for my birthday back in 1978 !!!)

Honourable mentions to:

Up Front The Squad Leader Card Game

Conflict Of Heroes: Storms Of Steel! - Kursk 1943

Panzer Blitz/Panzer Leader

Blackbeard (not truly a wargame but close)

The Battle Of The Bulge (Avalon Hill)

PC WARGAMING (not one listed on other blogs ? but part of my wargaming 'career')

Bought my first ever PC (a Win95 model) in 1997 primarily (sold to better half as an assest to household and investment for 'soon to start school' sons education) to play Talonsofts Eastern Front thus making this one of my most expensive wargames purchases ever ! Have bought loads of PC wargames since ranging from direct ports of boardgames through to Call Of Duty entertainments. 
Most 'important' and fun aspect has to be playing wargames by Pbem which has given me a whole raft of new contacts with players across the world. Have cut back on this very time consuming form of wargaming but still play Eastern Front and its sister Western Front and the excellent Combat Mission WWII games.


Lots to choose from here. 
In 15mm bulk of my stuff would be Essex certainly for Ancients subjects, with lots of Old Glory/Skytrex for 15mm WWII and in 6mm the rather spiffing GHQ vehicles with Adler infantry replacing the venerable Heroics & Ross. Minifig 15mm have a distinct 'old school' appeal. Of course I cant forget Airfix plastic 20mm with which I started out ('midgies' as they were known here) and of which I still retain hordes. 
Must mention the various model kit makers (oh how I struggled for years trying to bind bloody rubbery plastic tank tracks !) including Airfix, Hasegawa, Esci and Matchbox. 
Taimya 1/35th also get a nod as I built several of these prior to starting with Wargaming (I recall being awarded a Boys Brigade badge for a Taimya Horch jeep I completed)


Short list this one regarding clubs as I have only been on and off member of Ulster Wargames Club (formerly Ulster Military Modeling Society) in Belfast as the venue and meeting times have seldom well suited my job circumstances or shift patterns. But I have met many fellow gamers in its hallowed halls and had many excellent games therein. 

I do miss the annual show they used to put on at which I usually managed to put on a game.

I am in this one (no idea how long ago) on left just behind bloke in green top (no idea what we are playing ?)

Have been lucky to have attended several Wargames shows/conventions (or geek-fests if you prefer) with my first being to Derby World Championships in late 80s. Played in a few Ancients competitions here and also at Britcon Manchester and in Munster Cork. An annual pilgrimage to Warfare show last few years (I think I have been to this show at least 8 times) is a real highlight of year for me. A full wargaming immersion experience and a massive test of the Steiner financial security (and physical well being upon return !!)


Stephen Brittain is by far my most regular (I think its down to bran flake intake ?) 'Enemy/Opfor' and has been for more years than we would both care to recall. 
As his brother John says regarding his dice rolling abilities 'he is in league with satan' to which I readily concur, his ability to force my dice to roll one's by simply stating "you dont want to roll a one" is evidence enough for me. 
Of far greater annoyance is his relentless churning out of well painted armies for all periods at a rate of knots far exceeding my own (albeit modest) production rates. 
Long may our wars continue as all I can say.

My Dad has been a long time opponent especially in board wargaming aspect (and ultimately to blame for my interest in all things Military. 
Again I hope long may this be the case.

ONLY HALFWAY (you still reading !!)


Yikes !!! a myriad of influences is short answer. 
A random listing:
My Dad, time living in Paderborn West Germany on BAOR base (whilst Dad was in Army), Airfix, Military Modelling and Battle magazines (and later Miniature Wargames/Illustrated), Battle and Commando Picture Library comics, Sven Hassel pulp fiction, Military History section at local library, War films on TV/Cinema. 
I suspect many many more in the dark recesses of my brain cavity.................................................


Another yikes category !!

If I had to sell all and keep only one then it would be:

But oh so many other that fall into the above mentioned inspiration category. Again I will select a very few from the legions in no particular order:

Band Of Brothers

The Longest Day

Saving Private Ryan

Hell Os For Heroes

The Great Escape

Apocalypse Now

Kelly's Heroes

The Blue Max

The Bridge At Remagen

El Cid

The Alamo (John Wayne version)

The Eagle Has Landed


A Bridge Too Far

Boy oh boy that was dreadfully painful leaving out a lot of other favourites !!!!

I simply cannot fail to mention this 'film' an work of amazing scope and magnitude never bettered


Again just so many choices. Battle! and Operation Warboard where my first rule sets and still among my favourites and biggest influences. Osprey titles must get a mention great resources.
My favourite book 'award' would go to:

I broke several piggy banks to afford this one at publication.


Big influence on me at young age (7-8yrs) was time spent in Officer Mess at Paderborn Barracks in West Germany circa 1972 (my mother was part-time cleaner) whose walls were adorned with numerous large oil paintings of a myriad of British Battles and Exploits. Sensory overload for such tender eyes !

I guess this category could include Figure Painting at which I would class myself as only moderately skilled. 
Lots of ifluence from the brushmanship within Rules, Magazines and Blogs and indeed my opponents figures. 
I was for years a died in the wool advocate of Humbrol enamel  paints but have now changed to using primarily Vallejo Acrylics. 
I perhaps strangely paint direct to figures of all scales not favouring an undercoat or shading as such as I find that at the 15mm and under scales I use natrual light provides enough shading in use (if not under close up scrutiny) and that in particular black undercoating makes figures too dark overall for my tastes. 
But I do see its attractions for speed and outlining but having tried it a few times it was a waste for me as I ended up painting figures in their entirety anyhow (or they somehow felt unfinished).


Again lots of influences with many of mine coming from Film Soundtracks (I have the original vinyl Cross Of Iron LP OST among others). Lately I have found U-Tube to be a goldmine for discovering recordings of Military Bands and Tunes (many have made their way into my iPod for use as background 'noise' whilst gaming/painting)


This has been a simply massive boon to Wargamers with easy access to an overwhelming amount of resources previously unattainable. 
Online Discussion Groups and similar, Publishers and Figure makers web-sites abound and these very Blogs are a time killing deep black hole of wargaming goodness. 
Not a day goes by but I am not checking blogs, newsgroups etc. I have made a number of 'cyber'friends/contacts' that I would never have otherwise and one wonders how one existed prior to all this whether of an 'old school' disposition or not. 

Favourites (most used/visited) are:

Would be impolite not to mention 

I subscribe too far too many Wargame related discussion groups of course !

Find myself checking this most days


Similarly Board Game Geek is a time consuming resource.

FINISHED !!!!!! If you managed to endure to the end of this rambling nonsense award yourself the Steiner Endurance award (alternatively seek help urgently !!)

And I dont know why Blogger has put large gaps/spaces between entries/pics here it must have gotten mightily bored as well..............................(so much so I had to edit to remove lots of pics !!

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