Thursday, 8 November 2012

True Wargamer

From The Wargaming Site, which I got from Tamsin's Wargaming Girl blog.

There are many steps you must go through before calling yourself a true Wargamer. To genuinely call yourself a Wargamer, then you must have done most or all of the following;

* Spent at least £500 on figures/tanks - and you get extra kudos for every £500 you've spent

Yes, but I assume over the last year, rather than all time total? Either way, yes, but really does spending money make you a true anything?

For me what makes a true wargamer, rather than board-gamer, is playing games using miniatures on terrain boards. Anything less, is well, less really. I accept one buys stuff to make stuff, and if you have not talent for painting them getting others to paint for you is okay, but the point is the intent to play with miniatures on the tabletop.

* Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block - several times

Yes, but not pike blocks, but certainly I've been bitten by the aerials on my vehicles and mechs. One blogger I read took exception to the specificity of this question in a rather pedantic way. I suggest understand the intent of the question, which is to show a common bond.

* Tried at least 10 different rule sets and vowed never to play half of them ever again

Yes, at least ten, but I thought that the reason I play so few was because I was crotchety and set in my ways?

* Bought an army off EBay

Yes, my MechWarrior Dark Age collection started by buying a whole load of Clix infantry.

* Sold an army on EBay

Never, my preciouses...

* spent months painting an army - then used it in anger once

Maybe? Really can't remember. I have sold on armies that fell out of favour. I say on balance no.

* tried several different periods and genres

Yes, but not in the last year, but over the years I've done quite a bit. Ancient Greeks, WW2, WW1 (aircraft and land forces for both), Vietnam, SCW, African Wars, SF.

* dropped a box of figures on the floor from a great height

No, I can't ever recall doing that, but I'm sure it can happen.

* lost a battle on the last throw of the dice

No, not on the last roll, can't recall that happening, but I've lost plenty enough battles.

* made at least one enemy for life

Probably, but that's a bit of a sad thing really.

* had a proper, stand up argument over a wargamers table

Yes, but not for a long time, but it has happened in the past when I was younger.

* thrown a dice across a room

Yes by accident, but not deliberately. I will tend to walk away if angry.

* rebased an army for a different rule set

Oh yes, the pain, the suffering, the doubts about was it all worth while?

* inflicted a whopping defeat on an opponent

Yes, as I have a bit of a reputation for pulling victories out from the jaws of defeat to my opponents chagrin, especially when I've been playtesting Phil Barker rules.

* suffered an embarrassing defeat due to a stupid tactical decision

Yes, on many occasions.

* joined a wargamers club

Yes, but no longer a member of one. That's because I think I've become old and crotchety, and can't get along with clubs anymore.

* bought a ton of lead that remains unpainted

Yes, but I like to call it the Maturing Phase.

* been to a wargamers show

Yes. Regularly been to at least three shows a year over the last four years.

* have more dice than is logical or necessary to own - and have used most of them

I don't understand the point? What has logic to do with the necessity to have lots of dice?

* have taken boxes of troops down to a club just to show them off to your mates

Yes, but not recently, and usually only a few choice figures.

So on balance more yes's than no's, but that is not really the point of these questionnaires really. For me they are about the narrative. Am I experiencing the same problems as other people? Are we in the same group? Do I belong?

The answer to that is definitely yes. Unfortunately, I tend to think that wargamers become crotchety as they get older too.


  1. Brilliant answers, Ashley. I really liked your first reply about getting figures on the table. I think that's absolutely spot on. I think you're definitely a wargamer, based on your blog and seeing you in action at Salute the other year.

    My only follow up question (if, indeed, I am allowed one!) is whether you think of yourself as more of a wargamer, or more of a role-player, or somewhere in between?

    1. Of course you are allowed one, as long as it's not asking how old I am? :-)

      I'm going to be all sophisticated and grown up and say I'm basically a thematic wargamer, which probably puts me right int he middle. Neither a true role-player, or a true wargamer, for definitions of true that exclude, rather than being inclusive.

    2. A perfect reply! That's a great place to be for anyone!

  2. Great answers Ashley. I definitely agree that a lot of the questions are too specific/proscriptive.

    1. They are, but I chose to read the intent, as it made for a more interesting commentary to post.

  3. I also question a lot of the questions. For example, the spending . . . what about those who cast up their own figures (or those who sculpt and cast their own figures)?

    I also note that there are no questions about history or research among the questions . . . sheesh!

    And, yes, I too agree about getting figures on the table top . . . that, to me is the essence, isn't it?

    -- Jeff

    1. Well, I'd interpret spending as a metaphor that can be replaced with time and effort. After all if you are spending time and effort making your soldiers you are not working and making money. Accountants have a word for this, hidden costs.

      Bang to rights about research though. I forgot that, and even us SF fans have to research things by reading fiction. Research again being IMO a metaphor for study and learning new things.

      Funnily enough, the more I think about it, I see the getting the figures on the table as the defining element of being a wargamer.

    2. And the research in fiction leads to research in reality - Hammer's Slammers makes a lot more sense once you know a bit about Korea and Vietnam, for example...

      But yes, I'd agree, and this is why I don't regard myself as a serious wargamer - I have little lead and no terrain.

  4. I think I'd include "have designed and played your own rule set". I don't think I know any wargamers who haven't, at any rate.

  5. Splendid set of replies, Ashley. From following your blog it is clear that you go beyond the pure wargaming aspect of the hobby and undertake some additional thinking (I remember a great discussion about the concept of "skirmish" in the TFL Yahoo group not long ago), which I think is a great a to avoid falling in sort of routine, leading in the end to boredom