Sunday, 19 August 2012

Third Birthday Anniversary

Hard to believe that three years have gone by since I first started posting things on this blog of mine. I'm still of two minds whether or not wargaming is a goddamn hobby (WGIAGH) versus wargaming is away of life (WGIAWOL) question?

Recently I've been writing about BattleTech canon in two parts, here and here. Both were presented as way of life topics, because after-all life is too short to be really arguing the merits of canon versus apocrypha unless one's hobby is currently become one's way of life? In the past I was actively pursuing a career in the wargame industry, having written for Games Master International and FASA Corporation. Life decided to bless with me with other challenges, but now I found myself in a position where I may be able to work on the periphery of the wargame industry, which rather excites me if truth be told.

After all this is a hobby about toy soldiers and pushing bits of cardboard over a map. I like the toy soldier aspect as you can all probably guess by now. Over the last three years I have shown off my Marik Marauders, first here, and then here. These will ultimately be the OPFOR  to my players House Steiner unit here, and here. Hard to take such stuff too seriously, giant stompy robots, but in my experience what I see is players becoming seriously immersed in the worlds that they play in, and my Operation Sandbox Mummerset campaign though moving slowly, does move forward.

So, if it's all about the toy soldiers for someone who plays wargames, then what makes them become so attached to particular periods, scales and even level of actions? Is it just the enjoyment that comes from playing the game, or is it liking the flavour of the rules, or is it something else?

Or perhaps this is just a role-player thing? On balance I think not. Besides BattleTech has its own trope, and how cool is that?

Games, I would argue, engage the imagination of the player, and that at some level or another we all move between WGIAGH and WGIAWOL. Then, if you agree, it is just a matter of degree.

I have also written about the other games that satisfy other parts of my imagination. Like VietNam, and where would I be without rivers and trees when playing games of Charlie Don't Surf? Or even games set in places like Mogadishu using AK47 Republic rules where one needs war torn towns like my very own Newten and again here. And when I'm not surfing I'm taking a walk Through the Mud & the Blood of WW1 based actions, which is not a period that people first think of as being an innovative period, but it was. Not just in the use of aircraft, and the development of the tank, but also the creation of modern day infantry platoon tactics too.

Of course I mustn't forget my first love, Steve Jackson Games OGRE/GEV, the first SF wargame I ever bought from the long defunct Just Games branch at Piccadilly. Since that fateful day I have bought more miniatures than you can shake a big stick at to play games with, and I've also made my own homebrew OGREs as well. Of all the things that I have gotten from my hobby, the best by far are the happy memories of playing fun games with my friends. I thank you all.

Finally, you may have also noticed that over the last week, or so, I've completely revamped the tags for all the entries. Why, because while they were quite descriptive, they were not allowing me to search the site in a useful way, and I want readers, new & old, to be able to find things of interest. After all I want reading this blog to part of the fun you have from being in this great hobby of ours.


  1. Ashley
    A nicely written thoughtful piece here. My own experience on this is that when playing in a busy campaign (with good friends) with gaming sessions at least twice a week, then that can become a fantastic immersive experience that is certainly in the WGIAWOL category.
    Kind regards

    1. And one has all the happy memories that go with it too.

  2. Congratulations on the third anniversary, Ashley. Hobby, or way of life? Hmmm ... you may get different answers to that question from our spouses, partners, etc. Whatever, many happy returns and here's to many more for you in the future.

    1. Thank you. It's nice being three again. :-)

  3. "...but now I found myself in a position where I may be able to work on the periphery of the wargame industry, which rather excites me if truth be told."

    Interesting. I take it you cannot provide more detail than that?


    1. I can say a little bit more. I'm now a reviewer for Battlegames, and have the potential to see three articles published over time. In addition I'm a (Wo)MiB for SJ Games, and I'm submitting some sculpting to a figure company over here in England.

      None of this is going to make me rich. Probably keep me in wargame goodies though. There is at least one, maybe two other projects bubbling under the surface too.