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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, 11 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 106 through 120 (of 131 total)
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    Choice is a problem?

    That’s a new one. We used to moan about not having enough choice in historical games.

    Can’t win.

    Here is a thought… pick a historical period you’re interested in.

    See… simples.

    As for ‘guidance’… Always the option at the other end of doing the hard graft for ye self.

    It’s really not that hard though.


    Cult of Games Member

    Just been watching XLBS, totally agree with Bens assessment of how historical games are percieved, In fact this discussion has gone on for years and has been a discussion in games mags for years there was a famous article in min wargames on typesvof games players.


    Cult of Games Member

    Like Sam’s idea of Dads Army in Far East!


    Cult of Games Member

    @piers : too much choice is as bad as too little choice.



    It’s really not… 🙂


    Cult of Games Member

    I am loving this thread little did I know how it would run when I posted …lol


    Cult of Games Member

    Not sure how more choice can be a negative. Most of us know what we like.

    I get the whole “I’m drowning in choices” but the other side of that is “This is so boring you old Historical guys only have like five different rulesets”. That’s unwinnable as far as I’m concerned. Plus the exact same thing could be said for any Genre out there.

    Again I think we’re comparing apples and oranges. There is just as much choice when looking at Sci-Fi and Fantasy as there is for Historicals. People are comparing a genre to a Wargame.

    Why are you getting into Historicals? Is it to recreate the Major Battles? Play at the Divisional Level with Multi Based minis? or are you more of a fan of skirmish games? That answer alone with massively help you when looking for a ruleset. What period do you like? Don’t know? Awesome jump on Perry Miniatures and Warlord games and just go wandering through the different categories until you find something cool. Then go on Wikipedia and check it out. Start with a Skirmish game like Sharp Practice and pick up both sides if no one around you wants to play that game. Almost all my historical armies have an enemy that I can loan to someone.

    I want to play something Sci-Fi. Ok now what? How is saying “I want to get into Historicals” any different to saying “I want to get into Sci-Fi”? The huge range of choices, scales, rulesets and styles is far more daunting than Historicals, to me since I’m coming into it totally blind whereas most people will at least know the basics of what a Viking or a Redcoat is.

    Check out some of the Historical Wargaming pages on Facebook. I’ve never seen someone torn to shreds over their painting or what type of minis they picked. Often people will just post a picture of a Starter set and ask what they need to do next and dozens of people respond to help them out. Almost every games has a Facebook group that you can check out and see if you like the vibe and see great examples of what you need to play.


    Cult of Games Member

    Quick example I found of a new player just picked up the Warlord Games American War of Independence Two Player Starter Set.




    This is a pretty frequent occurrence. If you’re interested let people know, there’s so many Historical Wargamers out there you’re bound to find someone eager to help out a new person.



    Watch out… you may ruin the streotype…

    If they find out we are helpful and normal… Lord knows what will happen!!! 😉



    Cult of Games Member

    I’ve posted these thought in the XLBS forum too but I thought I’d add them here too.

    Picking a historical period is no different to picking either a genre and then an IP and finally a faction. Will I play Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Zombies? Will I play Warhammer, Kings of War or Lord of the Rings? Will I play Orcs, Elves or Dwarves? Etc. Questions like scale are common to all types of miniature gaming.
    As to the model ranges, previously everything was in metal, the quality of the models varied greatly because there was no ‘GW’ pushing the historicals manufacturers to ever higher quality levels. It’s only in relatively recent years that Warlord, Vitrix, Gripping Beast, the Perry’s and Fire-Forge have moved into hi-res resins and then plastics, long after GW moved Sci-fi and fantasy there.

    I think it’s easy to forget that GW Historical rules pushed into the historical games world and could have easily dominated the market had they miniatures to back those rulesets. Warlord, the Perrys and most of the big historical rules sets have GW designers/sculpters at the helm.
    The number of rivets argument is ridiculous too. If you paint a Space Wolves army bright pink, people will comment that it isn’t very accurate. If your Elves all have blue skin, people will ask what the hell happened to them. In ‘real life’ everyone knows Orcs are green, that’s why they are called “Green-skins”! Companies like GW spend loads of time creating colour schemes of uniforms for players to follow.
    The historical reality is that the mass production of uniforms in a factory doesn’t happen until the mid 19th century and even then there is massive variation. You only have to look at German uniforms in WWII to realise the variation in colour, design, etc even within the same divisions, despite being ‘uniform’.
    In regards to the ‘Grognard’ issue, historical wargamers have traditionally replayed historical battles, Zama, Cannae, Hastings, Waterloo, etc. The funny thing I’ve seen with these battles if you want a different result you need to set up differently, manoeuvre differently, etc or you get the same result but then I’ve watched historical gamers almost go into melt-down when a player departs from what happened in history. Don’t get the point myself. Sci-fi and Fantasy never really had that restriction. You were fighting battles that never happened in worlds that don’t exist. Having said all of that, the worst meltdowns I’ve seen have been in miniature games that weren’t historical gaming. The historical gamers got frustrated when history didn’t repeat itself in game, a rant about dice and rules and then back to the game. Some of the meltdowns in 40K and Magic that I’ve seen over the years have been ridiculous, dangerous and bordering on violence.
    With the advent of larger scale warfare, such as the world wars it’s been easier for historical gamers to abstract conflict and not pin themselves to specific battles. There were so many theatres of conflict in the world wars and so many battalion sized battles in so many locations that the range of what may have happened is greatly broadened. WWII Russians fighting Brits? Maybe it’s an accidental exchange in Afghanistan. Germans versus Japanese? It could be German trainers and German equipped Chinese troops versus the Japanese in Shanghai, etc.
    It’s the same in any game world. Anyone familiar with the Warhammer World would have had to ask themselves how often Ogres and Lizardmen would have fought, or Dark Elves and Chaos Dwarves, Chaos and Tomb Kings, etc. In 40K the Tau Empire is tiny and yet they seem to constantly come into contact with every race in the galaxy. Marine Chapters situated on a single home world seem to cross the galaxy, pass possibly hundreds of other chapters and threats to the Imperium to fight races they would feasibly never come into contact with.
    Historical gaming is growing. Slowly. Games like Bolt Action, Flames of War and the ability to go beyond just replaying history will continue to broaden the number of people playing historical miniatures games.


    Cult of Games Member

    @horus500 you make some very good points here. Essentially it’s all gaming and within every genre there are lots of flavours and hooks to get people in.

    I think it’s our own interest that is the real barrier. I have always loved History, so much so that I did it as degree at university. I think that because many kids have not been taught it in an interesting way, they find it boring. Thus translate this to gaming they love playing sci fi and fantasy games on the computer and seeing the same things in the cinema and on TV do they can connect to the genres because they found it on their own and were not forced into it.




    Warhammer Historical would not have dominated any market – even with their own miniatures. A fundamental make up within traditional historical wargamers – They tend to be averse to rules and figure packages in the main back when GW was making historical rules. Plus the whole ethos of Warhammer Historical wasn’t to ‘take over’… it was because so many of the GW designers played historical games that they wanted that involvement… it wasn’t about selling figures, It was, if anything, more a series of vanity projects that were also very good games in the main. The success of FoW and Bolt Action comes from drawing in Sci-Fi/Fantasy gamers with a familiar format more than converting existing Historical gamers to their system. The nearest GW came to any sort of dominance was with Warhammer Ancients and that still never surpassed DBA or DBM.

    As for historicals slowly growing… Its been growing for 70+ years. Maybe you mean that’s its growing with those who play other generes, where as previously there was little crossover? Its always been growing to me.

    In all my time I’ve never seen a historical re-fight played directly as per its historical counterpart nor have I seen these mythical meltdowns of historical players. I’ve not witnessed these telling off of players for having stuff painted wrong or hissy fits over gamers playing not like their historical counter-part. I must have led a lucky existence in the historical world for the last 30 odd years… Im sure these people do exist, just they may not be as widespread as the tales make out… I also think the idea that historical wargamers spend all their time playing Waterloo while wearing a bicorne is another myth. In all my time gaming, I can count the actual number of historical refights I’ve played on one hand. But again its how you define and term such a thing. I play a lot of scenarios based on actual WW2 engagements for example… But I don’t see these as strict historical replays. They are always a construct of our chosen scale and system… and we are in essence just taking a setting for our scenario. Very few wargames will ever be actual refights of a battle… mainly as its simply very hard to do and to manage. Both 40k and WFB drew heavily on history as their guide in their fluff. Historical games do the same.

    Im not even sure what replaying history is… Surely any historical game is replaying history. If you divert from that, and play something that isn’t historical… then by definition you are no longer playing historically?

    I don’t see playing WW2 Japanese against Finns as historical. Because its not. Same as I don’t see fighting Cold War battles in West Germany as historical. They are both fantasy constructs using historical based forces. Which is fine. Just not to everyones taste. These ahistorical encounters are of various degrees of separation from historical gaming, and some may not see one as ahistorical, while they might another… again it all goes back to that sticky issue of personal interest and viewpoint. For example, I’d happily play a Cold War battle, but have no interest in fighting Japanese versus Finns on a WW2 battlefield.

    I think @horus500 is right in that really, their is little difference between the genres. Its mainly down to personal interest plus perhaps missed placed prejudice and stereotyped myths that are the key elements, coupled with a lack of exposure or contact with the other genre that’s the key. I’ve sat on both sides of the fence since 1984 and in all honesty the player types on both sides are largely the same. In most cases people have just wanted to play games and have fun. The few negative types I have encountered have been equally split from both sides and it was their personality, not their gaming genre, that was the problem.

    To me, the people you play with, regardless of the game, are the key factor. I don’t care what I play with my gaming group. Its spending time with my friends and having fun that’s key and the escapism and enjoyment that brings.


    Anyway… I think that’s enough of my rambling on this thread. Would be nice if in time, a more positive view of historical gaming and its players could emerge. Surely its in the interest of all wargaming to put aside such preconceived notions of a section of the hobby and perhaps try to understand and appreciate what it might offer. For a web site such as BoW, surely being proactive and promoting of historical gaming will only open them up to even more followers as there is a huge market of historical gamers who lack any portal or ‘home’ online. A welcoming and informative historical forum could be a boon to BoW, both from a point of view of the people involved and perhaps in financial return.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  piers.

    Cult of Games Member

    Totally agree with the idea of promoting Historical war gaming in a positive way.

    In my opinion, although @warzan has been converted and is pro-historical these days, Beasts of War have only scratched the surface of Historical gaming. @oriskany does a grand job with his excellent articles.

    There are two things that I think would help on BoW. 1st not so much focus on the 20th Century, yes its popular, but there has been very little coverage in comparison on Ancients, Medieval or Renaissance periods. 2nd more video content on Historical games, some of the best have been the likes of Justin playing Sharpe Practice, but we also need see other scales not just 28mm. 15mm or 6mm which are very popular in Historical and also painting tutorials for how to paint a 15mm ancient Army or a 6mm Renaissance army to dispel the myths about the difficulty of it.




    Cult of Games Member

    To respond to the latest posts of @piers and @commodorerob

    Would be nice if in time, a more positive view of historical gaming and its players could emerge.

    I would agree.  God knows we’ve tried.  But there’s only so much I can do.  Honestly, I’m tired.

    A welcoming and informative historical forum could be a boon to BoW …

    I would agree.  The issue here, though I feel … isn’t so much with BoW, but the community.  Even historical players aren’t terribly supportive of each other.

    A recent example: I went through the Projects and hit +1s and comments on just about every historical project I could find.

    The Great War project didn’t get a single comment.  Plenty of +1s, sure.  But the project and the Centennial Wargaming thread basically died.

    I’m certainly not the only one who’s had to put up with this, just an example.

    Again, it’s a community support issue, not a BoW Team support issue.

    Beasts of War have only scratched the surface of Historical gaming.

    I would agree on that.  But they have to follow what the community responds to.  So I get it.

    @oriskany does a grand job with his excellent articles.

    Thanks very  much.  But like I say at the end of the Kursk Part 05 – I’m stepping back from these big article series for a while.

    I hate to sound repetitive, but again … just not enough community support, at least when compared against the amount of work poured into it.

    Like FDR said at Yalta: “Yes, I look tired.  You’d be tired too if you spent four years pushing Winston uphill in a wheelbarrow.”

    … not so much focus on the 20th Century …

    Yes, we’ve tried that.  See AWI series and Saratoga series.  Of @elessar2590’s FWI and Sharpe’s Practice series.  Again, not the greatest levels of community support.

    Ancients, Medieval or Renaissance periods …

    I look forward to these articles.  I can’t wait to see who writes them.   😀  I’d write them except (a) no one would read or support them and (b) I’m not spending $$$ or time building armies required for the photos.

    … more video content on Historical games …

    I would agree on a personal level.  But leaving aside Boot Camps, who would watch these videos?

    Old Bolt Action and Chain of Command videos didn’t get the best of comment counts.

    Also, there are tons of historical unboxing videos.

    I don’t mean to disagree with everything you say, in principle I agree 100%.  I just feel like we’re asking the BoW team to do more and more, when the actual shortfall in effort, investment, and commitment lies with the community.

    Put another way, there has to be more than one “Oriskany.”

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  oriskany.


    I don’t think this a specific to historical games thing, in relation to the points you raise @commodorerob.  In all gaming areas there is now a wide array of different rules set, published and fan made but there are a core of players that don’t want to try different systems or are more comfortable with the readily available games.  There are a variety of reasons I can see for that, some I understand others which puzzle me.

    Which is why I think warlord and battlefront have had the success on spreading historical gaming as they have followed the gw model.  Starter sets, readily available minis, simple list construction.

    As for the rivit counter thing, historic accuracy arguments etc is that really any different from thats not characterful, why aren’t you using this cookie cutter list, you are wrong if you take x arguments? To my mind its the same.

    The other two points that I think have been covered are its a very wide church and some people don’t feel right gaming with real settings.  I used to be the same, to some extents I still am, still would field SS or game later than ww2.

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