Thursday, 28 April 2016

First Issues of Miniature Wargaming added

I've added 4 issues of Miniature Wargaming to the growing index ...

It's quite amazing when you go through a lot of wargaming magazines as I've done during the past couple of months, how much hidden gems there have been published: rules, scenarios, experimental ideas, ...

It's one of the reasons I started the index, to tap into the potential of published articles much more often, rather than resort to always buying new stuff because you don't remember what you already have.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

New recruit

We have a new recruit at the Liezele Wargaming Mansion. However, I doubt he will be moving figures on the table or rolling dice.

But the wargaming consequences are I currently do not have much spare time to keep myself busy with wargaming stuff. A new dog is a lot of work!

Monday, 25 April 2016

7 issues of Practical Wargamer added

I added 7 issues of Practical Wargamer to the index, that were donated to the cause. Slowly but surely the index is growing!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

First donation for the Magazine Index!

This week, I received a first donation of old magazines for completing the Wargaming Magazine Index.

Robert McLean from The Wargamorium was so kind to donate 20 issues of old Miniature Wargames and Practical Wargamer. They will be added to the index shortly.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Imaginations in 42mm (4)

Yesterdat I also finished 4 cavalry figures for my 42mm army. The gloss varnish really came out well, and give the figures the impression of shiny toy soldiers.

My question now is whether I should do something to the bases. I varnished them as well - for me it's fine as they are right now, but I am so conditioned that wargaming figures should have "proper" bases, that it still feels a bit strange to me.

The last image shows 2 old toy soldiers - lancers - I acquired during a garage sale many years ago. I have no idea about the manufacturer or how old they are, but they fit size-wise perfectly. I'll probably clean them up and repaint them in as close to their original colours as possible.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Imaginations in 42mm (3)

I finished the 3 infantry units & 1 artillery gun for my late 19th/early 20th century imaginations campaign. I applied 2 varnish coats, one spray-painted mat varnish, then a gloss varnish applied with a paint brush.

I was not entirely sure the gloss varnish would work out ok, but it did. I have the practice of first trying the varnish coat on a few figures first, before applying them to the whole bunch.

I am quite happy with the results. Below you see them, using my vintage wooden block set to build a small fort.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Why I write my own rules ...

I like writing my own rules ...

... because I think that wargaming as a hobby is about designing your own game, not playing someone else's game.
Just as we hunt for the perfect figures to use, paint them ourselves and engage in building scenery, I feel that constructing your own rules is part of the wargaming experience. A wargamer should design and build the entire game himself. But of course, one should not be too dogmatic about this philosophy. After all, I don't sculpt and cast my own figures, nor do I carve my own dice out of wood.

... because published rules also contain quite a lot of arbitrary design choices.
When I started out my career as a wargamer in my late teens and early twenties, I slavishly followed published rules. My impression at the time was that wargaming rules were the perfect representation of how battles had happened, and that rules designers spend years honing and polishing their rulesets, based on original research. However, after a couple years, you start to learn that published rulesets do contain a lot of arbitrary design decisions, ranging from game mechanics to army lists to point values to die modifiers; and that the "deep research" is not so deep after all. Once you realize that a published ruleset is just written up by another fellow wargamer instead of an all-knowing demi-god - the step towards modifying published rules or writing your own suddenly becomes much smaller.

... because wargaming is about telling stories, not simulating war.
Although I know that some wargamers see a wargame as something that should recreate the commander's experience, I see a wargame more as a tool to tell stories inspired by military history.  I understand that if you consider wargaming as a way to simulate (for lack of a better word) a real battle, a well-researched ruleset is a necessity. But I have evolved towards another approach, in which the purpose of a wargame is not to learn something about how battles were conducted, but as a way to tell stories inspired by military history. In that sense, the rules should support storytelling, and should not support the idea of running a simulation. This provides much more freedom in writing rules and injecting elements that are not aimed for historical recreation, but are aimed at providing drama at the gaming table. As such, one should not be too worried about the historical validity of wargaming rules. As long as the rules provides an exciting game, it's ok.
... because developing rules is fun.
I like tinkering with game mechanisms. I like playtesting various ideas. I like the creativity. That's why I like wargaming as a hobby so much!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Imaginations in 42mm (2)

A progress report on my 42mm Balkan Wars figures, which will form the core of my imaginations armies.

As you can see, I have 3 units of 8 figures each. Each unit has 6 riflemen, a standard bearer, and an officer. I plan to develop the hex-based rules such that 4 figures occupy 1 hex. That means that a unit will occupy 2 hexes, thereby nicely dividing a unit in 2 subunits. Whether these are Regiments/Battalions or another scale remains to be decided.

Each unit has a distinctive fez colour (red, straw, turquoise), with artillery crew in the back having a magenta fez. This of course is not historical at all, but is a nice way to visually distinguish units. Moreover, since these figures will be used in an imaginations setting, I do not feel any restrictions w.r.t. the historical colour of uniforms, although things must remain plausible. Note that the unit colour also is repeated in the flags.

I spend quite some time on deciding the flag pattern. Since this is an army in the late 19th, early 20th century, a somewhat modern look was ok. I also wanted something different than the traditional 3 vertical or horizontal bands, or cross patterns. I browsed many webpages listing historical flags, but finally took some inspiration from naval signaling flags.

The current design is rather simple to paint, and allows customization and addition later on - either when more units are added, or when these units have deserved their battle honours. As in some of my other campaigns, I don't mind repainting figures or flags to match their wargaming history.

The only thin that's left to do is to paint the bases, do some touchup work, and (gloss) varnish.

I also started working on the horses, and my efforts of indexing my wargaming magazines already proved it's usefulness. It pointed me directly to an article on painting horses in MWBG 374, which in turn had a reference to a colour plate in MWBG 366 (which I did not list in the index), but will be very useful. In less than 5 minutes I had the relevant reference material.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Imaginations in 42mm

Ever since I read a copy of Little Wars I wanted to do a proper toy soldier game. The closest I came was a game of Shambattle (1929), using my Woodens figures.

My Shambattle game.
For a long time I've had my eye on some 42mm toy soldier style figures, produced by Irregular Miniatures for the Balkan Wars. The main reason was the picture below, which appeared in Wargames Illustrated 158 (November 2000). It was a convention game based on Little Wars.

Wargames Illustrated, issue 158, November 2000
However, I never ordered some of the figures (too busy with other wargaming projects), but a few months ago, I finally placed an order for 2 armies. Each army has 24 infantry, 4 cavalry, and a cannon.

I want to use these figures in an Imaginations setting, so I am not too worried about the correct painting schemes, but I do want each army to evoke a specific character. This process hasn't fully converged yet - I still have to come up with names etc. for my countries. My approach (which I also use for my scifi and fantasy settings) is usually bottom-up (invent things as you need them in your games), so things will fall in place.

This hasn't stopped me from starting to paint some of the figures:

Work in progress ...
Work in progress ...
As you can see, I am using different colours for the fez for various groups of figures, instead of painting them all red. Since I will use these figures for an Imagination campaign, I was looking for some ways of giving various units a different visual look, and their hat colour was an obvious candidate.

I opted for block painting - a simple painting technique without too much shading or highlighting. This suits me fine (I've never been a great painter ... ). I hope the gloss varnish will emphasize the colours, because now they still look a bit dull. The figures in the back are not green army men, but 42mm Russians/Bulgarians, the other army I ordered from Irregular. I have the habit of using an undercoat of the dominant colour, and since I want to give them green uniforms, I spray-painted them all green. It's the same reason why the Ottomans all have blue bases ;-)

As for developing the future look of my units, I am still not sure what path I will take. But I've always been a fan of the "Operette" style of military uniforms. One source of inspiration ever since I  was a kid, were the uniforms depicted in the Tintin album Ottokar's Sceptre, of which you can see a colour plate below.

Military uniforms, Ottokar's Sceptre

Friday, 8 April 2016

And now for something entirely else ... wooden blocks.

I have a soft spot for old toy soldiers. I have collected quite a few over the years - mostly flats, but also some other types. I still haven't played a game with them, but at some point, we will do that.

Old toy soldiers also require vintage scenery, and one of the candidates for setting up a (fortified) city is the wooden block construction set pictured below.

The wooden box
The contents. This is only the top layer of blocks, there is another layer underneath.
This particular box has been in family for roughly a 100 years. It once belonged to my grandfather as a child (which places it roughly in the 1910-1920 period), and I also fondly remember playing with this particular set when I was a kid in the 70s. As such, the box and blocks have seen some wear and tear, but miraculously, only 1 piece is missing. And I know exactly what piece, and I know roughly when I went missing, because it was still there when I was in charge of this set as a kid ;-)

The box doesn't mention a manufacturer, and only mentions "Architecture Marocaine" on the boxlid. Some pieces indeed are shaped based on some geometric shapes as seen in Arabic architecture, so I guess there must have been other boxes available with other themes as well.

Anyway, it seems like the right kind of toy to put up some Wellsian game in the future. Below you see an image from "Floor Games", a predecessor to Little Wars (and both books are in my collection). Lots of wooden blocks!

Little Wars and Floor games in my gaming room, along with some old toy soldiers.

Photo from Floor Games (Bob Cordery's site)

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

For a few tusks more ...

I recovered all the text and images from our old site (dating back to the mid-nineties), and placed it all on this page.

WW1 House rules

I added our WW1 house rules on their own page (available on the right).

Sunday, 3 April 2016

MWBG 396 added to the database

My personal little pet project, building a usable index for all magazines in my collection and make it open for others to use, is steadily growing in size.

I just added Miniature Wargames with Battlegames, issue 396, to the index.