Tuesday, 16 May 2023

The BIG PROBLEM with historical wargames

I've just watched a video on YouTube, I am not going to mention who it is because I don't want them getting any more traction. As limited as that might be from this page. If you are that desperate, look at the title of the post. It's made me so angry that I am posting for the second time today. I have never seen such a judgey, self righteous video on YouTube. By a wargamer, about wargamers.

Just to cover some basics and tell you a bit about me. My politics are left of centre. I support equal rights. I am, in general, very egalitarian. I've even been on anti Nazi rallies in the past. Is there something I feel passionate about fighting against, it would be the far right.

So...This video has just told me that the big problem with historical gaming is that there are Nazi armed forces being played out on the table top. That some of the people that play them are Nazis. This is why historical gaming does so badly and GW does so well. Did I mention the fact that whilst painting a couple of tanks they were schilling for a WW2 computer naval warfare game, which has Nazis? I have some WW2 Russian troops. Does that make me a communist? I wonder?

The guy that got me into wargaming was a WW2 veteran. I have mates who a serving soldiers that play WW2 games. I was brought up on war stories by relatives who fought in the war. One of them asked me about running a Dieppe game as it was someone who had been there and had been wounded. I played with a guy who wanted to be on my team because we were playing the Parachute Regiment. A Regiment I have some personal affinity for. This was so he could connect with his grand dad, who had been at Arnhem who had died the month before.

I own some German figures. Nothing I would call an army. Mainly stuff that the the good guys could shoot at in a WW2 RPG I ran. I have known plenty of Germans too in the real world. I recall one of them being extremely upset by the Death Corps of Krieg. Mostly annoyed by the poor history and the critique of the German people as a whole.   

Even if you accept the criticism about using Nazi forces, the title smears all historical wargaming. Real war is not good. Nobody in their right mind would argue that it is. I would argue that from time to time it is necessary. But this is rarely the case, WW2 and the defence of Ukraine being two example in relatively recently history that I think of as just. Gaming links us to that history. It allows us to learn from it. 

Just recently I have seen all sorts of attempts to change our view on history. Don't get me started on the subject of bankers in the recent, ish Mary Poppins film. This video feels like an attempt to airbrush out certain elements of history. That feels like the kind of thing that authoritarian countries do. I can see it happening in Russia now, a Germany during the rule of Hitler. Pulling down a statue of a man who made money off slavery, does not change history. It deprives us of a reminder of how bad things can be. There was an exhibition space in Leeds named after Jimmy Saville, They didn't  pull that down but they did rename it,

Apparently GW does so well because it has no got any Nazis in it. But apparently as long as the Imperium of Man is a fictional entity, it's fine. Nazism is bad, end of story. But suggesting it should not be played because of its fascist history? Right now, GW is doing more than any other company to justify fascism. Which is in itself a meaningless statement. It's just a game. An amalgamation of books. Having played a fair bit of Warhammer FRP I can comment on what a fascist, violently religious, bigoted state that most of it is too. I cannot think of another game where I have seen people burned at the stake.

I'm not a big fan of GW. Not sure is anybody I know is in doubt of that. 40k is not about fighting the good fight. It might have been back in the rogue trader days. Now its mostly about power gaming. All sides are bad. Some are worse than others. Well ish. They are all pretty bad, but at least they are preaching at me from a position of ignorance. If some of the people that play Nazis in historical games are Nazis, because why would they be anything else, are not some of the people who play 40k also Nazis? I cannot think of any book I have ever read that has glorified Nazis. I can think of many that glorify it in 40k. Both are just games,

So, apparently historic fascism is bad (which I think most would agree) but fantastic fascisum, that goes beyond anything that has ever happened in reality is fine, Yet I recall a school kid who was reported to the police as a potential terrorist because he had a British Union of Fascists force for A very British Civil War. Which is fiction with some historical elements. I can draw parallels between VBCW and 40k if you like.

The author of this video should take it down. I mean according to him its not going to be monetised anyway. But what the hell, I am sure the sponsorship will help him out. 

Welcome To My World

I guess I am having fun. Not quite sure as I seem to have forgotten what that was. So here I am in the new workshop, working. Would say working hard but I am enjoying it so I guess that things are generally enjoyable. Most of my time has been spent in front of a laptop or laser cutter but I have a TV in front of me and a cup of tea in hand.

Right now I am even contemplating doing something for me. I need some release. That has been running which has helped me lose some weight. Well its that or the stress. I have lost a quarter of my bodyweight since Christmas. I could do with something that is a bit more fun. So I might actually pick up a brush. One for acrylic rather than emulsion. Maybe I need to put some MDF terrain together.

I did finish some figures this year. Some Star Wars Legion Imperials. These are currently sat on eBay if anyone is interested. I have the matching Rebel force to finish too. I watched The Force Awakens which nearly killed my love of the films. Again. Not sure why I punish myself like that. Even the Caravan Of Courage was a better movie. Come to think of it I would have sooner watched the Christmas Special rather than The Force Awakens.

Rather than avoiding work and typing, I am going to post this and get on with it.

Friday, 28 April 2023

Brand New Plan

Today is not actually the start of a brand new business plan but it is a major step. I got my first proper business sale today. If I can get another sixty just like it this month, well maybe I can make a living out of it. 

I drafted a post back in October when I truly thought things were going to go a different way. I had a huge expectation for 2023 and to be honest, things have not gone my way quite like I thought It has been a rough six months. Outside of parents dying, I would say it's probably the worst I have gone through. Given what is going on in the economy right now, it's maybe not the best time, but I had to do something.

There is an upside though. Through all the c^4p I actually think I am happier. A lot of stuff has gone on in my personal life over the last seven years and the last five years, I seem to have volunteered for really bad stuff. And that is now over. So a place to move on. Poor but happy. Still got a lot of stuff to deal with.

So I now have more own business. I have my laser cutter and a lot of other toys to play with. So I am making scenery, bases and gaming aids. That's not going to make enough so I am doing anything that I figure I can make money from. The days aren't getting any shorter but they are a lot more fun.

The only thing I am trying to make sense of right now is how I am going to get my daughter a dog.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Money, Moving and Miniatures

My guess is that I am not the only gamer who is feeling the pinch. It's not that I am flat broke but money is tight. I am worried that I am about to get shafted by work and of course Christmas is Coming. Add this to the increased uncertainty about what the next months ahead are going to bring.

Having spoken to the people I know in the gaming market, things are not good. Prices are up across the board and margins are tighter than ever, just to stay competitive. Nobody seems to be on the edge, well except my local gaming cafe, but they are worried about the future. So buy it now whilst it's cheaper and whilst you still can. I wonder what the new year will bring? 

I spent some money at Partizan but not as much as I would under normal circumstances. I have brought some Star Wars:Legion stuff of eBay but only because it was ridiculously cheap. Right now I suspect that I will get more figures as gifts that I will buy for myself this year. My brother in law gave me a box full of 40k bits. There is not a lot that is of instant use but I can see some uses for it. There is a knackered Rhino and a Hammerhead that I have no practical use for but I can see them being used as terrain pieces. 

There are a couple of itches I want to scratch but I am guessing that I will be waiting until next year. Stargrave has been the main focus this year and there is some new stuff for that I really want.  I have developed an urge to make a couple of Sludge armies. As there are no other players I would need to do two armies so this becomes a bigger project. Then of course there are all the existing projects on the bench already. 

Right now I don't really need any more. I have a grey legion sprayed even greyer which is based and ready to go. This hasn't got much smaller this year but I have kept almost kept pace with painting and buying. This is not such a good thing as I would have liked to get more figures painted but I have been saying that every year recently. 

The solution is consolidation. So I am moving in with my other half and hopefully that will sort out some of the problems. Most of my stuff is now boxed up and ready to go. As I posted last week, I have trimmed a load of stuff from it's sprues. This has freed up a whole 35l RU Box and been replaced with a couple of mid sized zip lock bags. Maybe I will get round to finish a few before the move (I said it was boxed up I didn't say I'd moved the boxes off the bench) but I guess I am done for a while. My biggest gaming purchase of the year, so far at least, has been on a couple of KR Multicases. These are now a week passed their dispatch date so I am getting a bit twitchy. I wouldn't have brought these but for the move. They are really just to protect what I have whilst I am moving.

Moving in is something I want to do but I have a feeling it is going to keep me away from painting. Space, at least for a little while, is going to be at a premium. Every time I move I complain about the space I have for a work station. I have managed to work out a paint station that works but is not my ideal but this looks like something I am definitely going to miss, This time should hopefully be the low point with the prospect of moving on up thereafter. I've gone from having a room to considering a large travelling makeup case.

If anyone has any suggestions about semi-portable paint stations (it's not going to be moved out of the house but needs to be able to fit in a corner) I would appreciate it?

So two posts in a week. It's funny how things change. I really have the urge to paint but I guess that's because I am tired of looking at boxes. Despite that I might get a chance to cheat a little.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

D&D Why I Love To Hate It

Setting aside Airfix figures, my first real gaming passion was role playing. I got started with Tunnels and Trolls. I have a lot of love for that game but I recognise that it isn't really the best game on the market and that over time it has become even less like the first choice. Great for solo play but then so was Fighting Fantasy. Even then there were better games.

I moved on to Basic D&D and quite liked it. It was a better game. I played a few games of AD&D and then kind of forgot about it until 3e. I didn't really want to play D&D even then. We had been playing Harn, which is a system I really love. Harn was a series of experiences that I loved and even made me cry. Then Butch brow beat the DM into converting the characters into 3e. I cried again when I figured out that my somewhat flawed but courageous holy warrior would have to become a paladin. I mean a paladin. It's just not me. Lawful Good, well it's just crazy.

So this became the norm for a few years. Roleplaying was just not as fun anymore. Three big books later and I was really done. Then 3.5e came along and then a load more money went out the door. It didn't really improve the game, it just changed it. Too much detail in the rules lead do what I called "real life lag" as the rules lawyers got into it with the DM. Most of which was Butch trying to get his own way. It very quickly ceased to be fun.

4e came along and somebody else tried to talk me into it. This justs seemed to take some of the ideas of magic, tapping abilities and the like. I never ran the game as I just could not wrap myself around the ideas. I got persuaded to play a Warlord. This meant that most of the time it was better for me to give another character an extra action than do something myself. This is just not worth playing.

I cannot comment on 5e as I never played it. I was bored before I even started. This would have been the fourth set of books in ten years or so. D&D just seems to be so wrapped up in itself. In fairness this is not the worst abuse of the fan base, I am looking at you GW. That said, most contemporary RPGs require a significantly lower cash outlay to get into the game.

Modern D&D has a number of backgrounds but they are just absurd. It moved away from sort of the classic high fantasy races to those that were created just to make the races look different. As a figure painter I like to have figures for the characters and it is only comparatively recently that this was actually possible. They seem to tinker for the sake of tinkering. This allows them to charge the players even more money.

Probably it's just me. D&D has the same number of players as Columbia has people (that's 50 million). I see the game being played by a particular type of player. They are less about the story and more about the ability to kill  every mother f{}%ker in the room. It makes the game less for for the few of us who love the story. 

Yet this is the game people want to play. Even now there are better games to play.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Sprues and the Pile of Shame

 Looks like I am about to move again. As a way of making the pile of shame a little easier to hide, I mean move, I have trimmed everything from the frames. This is one of the bags.

OMG how much shit do I own?

I never really think of myself as a hoarder but when it comes to moving house I begin to question that. 

Friday, 29 July 2022

6mm Wargaming

6mm wargaming? Well I used to do that quite a bit. Going back thirty years it was practically all I did. Timing is becoming my thing at the moment so this is about a month out of date but I went to the Joy of Six recently. It's not really my thing now but a few of my mates, and one in particular, are still keen. So having done my duty in the morning, the thought in my head was "what the hell". It was on the cards anyway.

I enjoyed the show. Some pretty stuff there. I got several ideas. More about the terrain than the figures. I spoke to a lot if people from the world of internet wargaming. So had a nice time there. 

For some reason I did not buy anything aside from food and a drink. I was looking at the idea of brigade games' Imperial Skies. If I got two forces I could probably find another player. As my paint queue of 28mm stuff is at least four years, if I only include what is painted and based. I would to think how long the rest would take.

Given that I am more into the idea of gaming in a more compact area, 6mm has a lot of appeal. There has  been a lot of growth in the area and it now covers a number of areas I am interested in. Skirmish is still winning, I have pretty much everything I need for that but I am always open to a change. The fact that I still need two armies kind of puts me off.

Polemos rules seem pretty good to me. They have worked for Napoleonics and I imagine they will be fine for the other two mass battle periods that I like the idea of, ACW and ECW, would probably also work. Give that I like the idea of making everything smaller I would like to make the 60mm square bases smaller, 40mm or 30mm. As I am working on the premise of using skirmish sized tables, this would allow me to get biggish battles on the table.

The last gaming that involved 6mm was a Napoleonic game. The plan was to refight the entire The Napoleonic Wars using a boardgame of that name as a campaign structure. That might sound impressive, if not stupid. The plan was big but the forces involved would not have been that high in reality. I was going to be the French and I was figuring £200 would have given me absolutely everything and a few allies. So I spent most of that. I think I was a bit light on artillery but that was about it.

So I started painting. After arguments about rules and basing we started to make progress. Then it petered out. Every now and again I paint a few more bases. Just to keep my hand in really. It's something I wouldn't mind going back to. I play about with the idea every couple of years and I drag a few minis out for some out for painting. As I recall it's the Hussars that have the most interesting uniforms so they get the most attention.

Somewhere there is a part of me that would love to get back into this scale. The idea revolved around using the boardgame, The Napoleonic Wars, as a background. It's already a pretty enjoyable game. I play Napoleon so I do pretty well all the way along, right almost to the end. We had played our way through this a couple of times. This wasn't going to be an every week game but it was an opportunity to get together and make an event of it. Personally I could have see this going on longer than the actual war. Everyone was picking a side, getting the figures. It just kind of fizzled out.