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Inaccessibility of Historical Wargaming

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This topic contains 130 replies, has 35 voices, and was last updated by  limburger 1 year, 10 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 131 total)
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  • #1237933

    CoG Member

    Historical Wargaming is not inaccessible and I think there has to be a better way to describe or define the core of the issue being discussed here.

    If anything it is one of, if not the most accessible Wargaming type available. History essentially becomes your fluff, model ranges from early man to modern day, rule sets available for all sorts of periods and it’s not only tabletop. Cards games, board games, travel games, kids games, adult games there are all sorts available.

    I wonder, if you think about it there have been more historical miniatures released out there than maybe all the other genre types combined. Heck even the green plastic soldiers might give big companies a run for their money on their own.

    I understand that this discussion is more about some of the Historical Wargaming Communities being inaccessible. But it doesn’t really seem to be that either, accessing them is not the issue. It seems that most of this discussion is about interaction with people who have a different way of viewing and playing their games.

    Just leave those people to their version and play your own with like minded friends.

    It’s all about happy gaming guys, yours and theirs 🙂



    @Gaz I agree that there are a lot of options for Historical gaming. Like any gaming a bad early experience can put the newbie off. Imagine trying to get in to 40K and just turning up at the local club with your new Space Marines only to be trounced by a power gamer 🙂

    The perception of inaccessibility will put some people off. It might make an interesting and useful set of vlogs for BoW to produce a guide for getting in to Historicals.


    Historical wargaming shouldn’t be inaccessible – however you want to define that – in reality it can be and I fully understand people being put off by it. Despite being someone who deals with the military history and WW2 as my job, I found it incredibly difficult to get into WW2 gaming in a way that never was the case with SciFi gaming. Communities largely had such a tone that there was little incentive to join in. Maybe it is down the the groups, who knows, but by and large online communities too aren’t welcoming.

    More recently I’ve had a vague spontaneous idea to do some Napoleonics, after a couple of weeks researching what I wanted I came away with little actual information what I needed. I’m reasonably fit in this area but I didn’t get the sense it was particularly welcoming or accessible.


    CoG Member

    In my local group we haven’t had any problems with new people feeling left out or swamped.

    There’s almost like a three stage process that I’ve seen in the past few years.

    First is when people express interest/first buy some stuff and it’s pretty much just “Hey yeah you’ve got some US Paratroopers with a couple of USMC support Weapons and a Grant? Awesome let me throw together however many points that is and lets have a game”. People have zero issues with what you put on the table it’s all about having fun and helping you get that crucial foot in the door.

    Second is “Hey you know what would be really cool? Maybe swap out a few of those Support Weapons for the Paratroopers Versions or take these Support Weapons instead (eg. The Airborne Anti Tank Guns instead of a Heavy Howitzer) since it would be more Historical”. No one has ever refused a game (that I’m aware of) because someone didn’t have the right stuff on the table more like a nudge towards Historical Accuracy.

    Last is the point where the new person isn’t new anymore. They’ve finally got their head around what Tanks you’d expect to see with certain types of forces, what type of gear they’d be carrying, what colours their uniforms are, what type of support weapons fit their play style/theme and what faction/s they like to play. Most of this is self “policing” rather than peer pressure.

    I’ve never actually run into this problem to be honest. All the Historical players I know are more interested in having fun than rivet counting and all of them play other games like Star Wars Legion or 40K and like trying new games.

    I think what a lot of people misunderstand is pride in historical accuracy. A lot of times when Historical Wargamers are going on about how accurate their particular force is it’s not meant to degrade anyone else’s minis but to show their own accomplishments. For example my WW2 Japanese are a modeled around an early Sinno-Japanese War Platoon and I’ve read a few books about the period plus it’s a very interesting part of the war to me but I’m more than happy to play against someone’s Italian Late War Platoon since it’s about having fun and if I only played games against Early 1930’s Chinese Armies I’d never take them out of the case. Now I wouldn’t use them if we were going to replay a Historical Battle in North Africa but that’s different.

    Sort of like how 40K Players will mention they’ve recreated X Company of Y Chapter a Historical Wargamers might point out that their force is based on a real force or (as is common here in Australia) a force that one of their ancestors was a part of. A lot of new people might mistake this personal pride/attention to detail as putting down their “Unhistorical” force when that’s not the intention.


    CoG Member

    I think it depends on the forum. The miniatures page while probably the biggest isn’t the most accommodating at times and it depends who I’d around when the questions are asked




    CoG Member

    A handy tip for anyone wanting to get into historical Wargaming is to look for Rebels.

    Feeling swamped by what Uniforms you need to paint your minis? Easy Grab yourself some US Civil War Confederates and paint them however the heck you like. Don’t want to have to paint uniforms? Maybe take a a look at the Southern Theatre of the American War of Independence or the Indian Mutiny or the Sudan War (my personal favourite period at the moment).

    Also most people don’t have the British Facings memorised. No one will notice that your 23rd don’t have Blue Facings since you built your force for the Peninsular but you want to try out the New Waterloo scenarios.

    Here’s an example from my collection and I can absolutely confirm it is so much more liberating to just paint minis without having to scour the internet looking for material.


    A huge problem/massive benefit to Historical Wargaming is that there isn’t a dominant system.

    Should I base my minis singly or multiple men to a base? Well it depends on the system you want to play. Compare that to 40K where the minis come with the box and it’s just a matter of gluing them on.

    This is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome and having a local group that already has a system can be a huge bonus.

    My personal recommendation for rank and file wargames is base all your 28mm Stuff four Minis on a 40mm x 40mm base. This will give you the widest net that you can cast when looking for a system.


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  elessar2590.

    CoG Member

    Sorry last post but if anyone ever wants a hand getting into Historical Wargaming feel free to send me a PM (no matter what period or system) and I’ll do my best to help you out.

    We’re really pretty friendly once you get past the beards.



    I’ve been in this hobby for 30 years and I have seen attitudes change dramatically over this time.

    I must first point out that I live in the U.K. and have the luxury of being able to have had access to the hobby at its full.

    I started out in school getting involved in a D&D group after reading The Lord of the Rings abs being blown away by the story. When I left school I joined a local gaming club (Devizes in Wiltshire) where I was introduced to historical Wargames. At this time fantasy and sci-fi gaming in clubs from my experience was frowned upon, likewise was wemen playing games.

    As I experienced through the late 80s to mid 90s our hobby took a dramatic dip, especially in the historical gaming scene. At this time GW was growing fast, opening stores and welcoming all walks of life to play there games. This at the time was a breath of fresh air and it reinvigorated the historical scene to try and make it more accessible to all.

    I am glad to say after coming through these times that our hobby is in a strong place right now and I think it is recognised that the hobby needs both sides to survive while still making it open and accessible to all.

    I enjoy both historical and I will say GW style games in equal measure, I am very open minded to try anything. I think the reason historical gaming can seem inaccessible is something @torros said in that historical gaming you have a vast subject to choose from. Also within these subjects we all have our own ideas on how things are done, yes we can all read books on a subject, but from my experience a lot of books and views are open to interpretation.

    Using the Bolt Action from the OP I think it was bad timing to suggest what he did, but I don’t think he did anything wrong as he seemed he wanted to help. Bolt Action isn’t a decent set of WW2 rules, but they are good at allowing people to play a game using WW2 miniatures and they are good at bridging the gap between 40k and historical gaming.

    Sorry for the long post, I got carried away. Now I am very lucky to have built a room with 2 tables and game at home with a group of people, but my advice for anyone trying to get into our hobby or getting into a particular part is to look for your local club where today you will find any help you require more so than what I experienced when I started.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  chaingun.

    CoG Member

    I would say that there is a greater variety in the size (don’t want to say scale) in the figures used compared to scifi or fantasy

    It’s a bit of a generalisation but leaning towards fact I think

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  torros.

    CoG Member

    Something else that makes historical gaming less accessible is the relative lack of intro sets.   Most fantasy / SF gaming these days have at the very least a core book or box and some sort of starter’s set of miniatures.   Progress is fairly easy because you can buy / download the army list / book and see what else you’re allowed to take and you can rely upon your growing experience and the advice of others as to what’s going to work for you.

    There are some historical wargaming starter sets available these days, but they tend to be cobbled together into a box rather than designed specifically for those starting out.   Then, even in games with very open systems that give you a lot of flexibility in choosing armies for historically flavoured games, you’re still faced with the issue of working out what’s historically ‘right’.

    I suspect that’s partly why light historical skirmish games involving pirates, etc. do well: because they’re difficult to do badly!



    @elessar2590 hit it right on the head. I was a fantasy wargamer introduced to historicals by a teacher in high school. He showed me what he did and gave me tons of advice.

    I followed that model with friends and now I am part of a group of dedicated historical war gamers. Definitely ran into some odd set ups at first like the Soviets landing at Normandy but now we play historic scenarios with research behind them.


    CoG Member

    Maybe this new WW2 film coming out which seems historically correct through the whole trailer will give us a talking point to help bring more people to this side of the hobby.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  noyjatat.

    CoG Member

    I think vlogs would be interesting but even after all these years I wouldn’t have a clue where to start


    CoG Member

    @noyjatat : that’s more like Wolfenstein instead of historical … lol.
    However WW2 is kind of a great setting for this sort of stuff.

    // —

    The lack of startersets combined with too much choice in systems (or not enough choice depending on era) does make it daunting to get started.
    Both Bolt-Action and Flames of War have done a semi decent job at making good jumping off points, but afterwards the incredible amount of options available is another roadblock. And that’s even when you limit yourself to the ‘famous’ battles.

    One challenge unique to historicals is that not every faction/nation/era has an army list that is fun or balanced enough for a beginner, unless you ditch the historical accuracy aspect. That is something you have to enjoy (or at least learn to get used to) if you think of getting into this stuff.

    Another potential roadblock is that a lot of material isn’t aimed at gamers.
    Sure … you can find a lot about Overlord or Market garden. But the amount of stuff that’s aimed at beginners and wargaming is minimal to say the least. It also gets worse the farther from the big stories you get.

    The historical series by @oriskany (and others) here at Beasts of War are great jumping of points though. And with the projects & discussions that can be linked to these series we may have something that could be the start of something very cool for everyone.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  limburger.


    I would have thought… That if you want to play historical games, then you may have an interest in the historical period you wish to play… So that is your specific starting point?

    I don’t see why lists and if they are balanced has any bearing on genre choice… surely that’s more in the choice of the game itself? But then I can honestly say I’ve never considered such things in regards to historical gaming. War isn’t fair or balanced. Then again it was never much of a consideration when I played 40K either… so maybe its just me!

    I think historical wargames do require more work. That’s good. It makes you seek things out. It makes you read and immerse yourself into a project. It widens your horizons and reveals other discoveries. I prefer that. I like the fact that I have to go looking for things rather than relying on a ‘one stop’ shop, ala GW style. That does little to inspire me frankly. But then it wouldn’t would it? I’ve been gaming historical wargames for over 30 years. Im not the target market for such things…

    I can certainly see how many gamers will benefit from a ‘starter set’ to get them going, especially those new to the genre… but they also need to be made aware of the sheer variety, the masses of companies and the fun to be had in making those little discoveries along the way… and not be tied to one single source for everything.

    Variety is the spice of life.


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