Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Are you a proper Wargamer?

     
      
CTRL+ALT+DEL is hilarious

There appears to be a bit of a 'meme' cropping up on my Blog roll. It was started over at the Wargaming Site by Phil Broeders. The idea is a Simple one, ask yourself a number of questions and if you can answer yes to most of them, apparently according to Phil, you can count yourself a proper wargamer. It's just a bit of fun, and some of the questions are too precise and prescriptive, but here goes my attempt:


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

A: Good lord I worked this out a few years back now, plus when I go onto certain online stores I can see exactly how much chuffing money I've spent with them over the years too. The answer? It's getting on for nearly £10,000 I reckon... easily! That's not including paints and glues and stuff. I have owned so many armies through the years that it's really shocking the amount of stuff I have brought.

Q: Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block - several times?

A: This is one of those questions I personally found a little bit too prescriptive. Have I maimed myself on miniatures? Hell yes, let me recount the ways. I've tripped and put my hand down on a block of old Warhammer Night Goblin plastic spearmen, and pieced said hand in a number of places. I had an old metal Empire Steam Tank fall off of a shelf once and land on my foot breaking two toes. I also once sat on a Battletech mini my dad was putting together that had pins sticking out of it, and well... it ended up sticking out of my thigh as a pin pierced my jeans and my flesh. I've wounded myself many other ways with miniatures as well, it's a hazardous hobby after all, well, to a geek any way. But, on a pike block? No. Never.

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

A: Yep, check. I've tried way more than 10. Yes 10 is a paltry number, a number for wimps, I've tried working out the exact number of game systems I have tried, and lost count / interest around about 35. That's not including multiple editions of games either. The fact I currently only actively play 14 wargame systems on a semi-regular basis and dabble with a further 5 tells me I've abandoned way more than half of them. Not too sure it makes me a proper wargamer though, just experimental... or just mental. I'll let you lot decide.

Q: Bought an army off eBay?

A: Firstly no I've never done it. I just don't use eBay all that much. I have brought second hand miniatures from friends and people I know. I have brought limited edition miniatures, I've brought rare components etc. secondhand, but I've never brought an entire secondhand army. I've never had the need to. I'm an early adopter who always buys way more than I should, so even when a system becomes extinct I have the mini's to still play it. Plus I like buying new stuff to put together and paint myself.

Q: Sold an army on eBay?

A: Again no, I simply do not like eBay I guess. I hardly ever use it for anything. Have I sold second hand armies? Good God yes, I used to fund my own hobby by buying, painting and then selling armies for a very tidy profit indeed. With these profits I brought more armies and sold more and more. At one point it was close to becoming a full-time job while I was at university, especially as at the time I was getting my Games Workshop stuff half price! Don't worry, I worked there. I'd play with the armies briefly and then sell them on to people. I've also recently sold some stuff to various people, but not via eBay. So I guess it'll have to go down as a no!

Q: spent months painting an army - then used it in anger once?

A: No. And I contest that a proper wargamer would never use an army only once in anger. A proper wargamer would play, and then play again, hone, understand and learn. Sure I've abandoned armies early on. But, only played with an army once? Nope.

Q: tried several different periods and genres?

A: Yes. I've tried a couple of ancient game systems, dark ages too because of my father. Also a fair few Napoleonic period games and a friend at uni had a thing for Renaissance period warfare, in particular the Italian Wars. Then look at my banner at the top of my page, there's steampunk, fantasy in space, fantasy, fantasy-steampunk, pure sci-fi, mecha and a whole host of things in-between represented up there. Again though, I question whether that makes me a proper wargamer or just a mug.


Q: dropped a box of figures on the floor from a great height?

A: Again, possibly too prescriptive. A box no. A true wargamer does not store ones precious miniatures in a sodding box!!! No we store them in magnetized tool boxes, converted camera bags, bespoke carry-cases and more recently in my case, Battlefoam bags. Have I dropped many of the containers I have stored my miniatures in over the years? Hell yes. It's an occupational hazard that I think we all know only too well, which is why a real wargamer NEVER stores their precious toy soldiers in a box! So no, I've never dropped a box that I can remember.

Q: lost a battle on the last throw of the dice?

A: Erm... please better define this for me. I mean there is always the last throw of a dice in a wargame, and it normally signifies the end. Yes, indeed quite often a game is designed to specifically end on a throw of a dice. Especially where random turn numbers are considered. Also I've found quite often in wargames there is a winner and indeed a loser. So when you couple these two facts together there is a pretty good chance everyone who has played only a handful of wargamers could answer yes to this question. So, I'm taking it he meant have you been winning a game, cruising to victory and then something has gone hideously wrong at the end, when the dice have deserted you. For instance has somebody got off an implausible caster kill in Warmachine when you were a turn away from a crushing victory? Now if you are asking that question then the answer is yes. In more game systems than I care to mention. I've also done it to more people than I care to remember. Fate is a fickle mistress, and us wargamers are often the brunt of her jokes.

Q: made at least one enemy for life?

A: Yes, but this has very little, if anything to do with wargaming. Most wargamers I've met have become friends for life. Do I have choice opponents who always give me good hard fought games? Yes. Are they enemies? No, not even close, or by stretching the definition of the word would I call them enemies. So the answer to this one is a no again.

Q: had a proper, stand up argument over a wargamers table?

A: Have I had stand up rows over games, rules and interpretation there of? Yes. Have I had rows over illegal army lists, cheating and 'fast rolling' dice amongst many other things? Yes. Have I actually had an argument over an actual table, the table itself? No. Most wargamers I've found over the years understand the importance of balanced and fair scenery, and most games I've played the two of us will set up a table we think is fair for whatever game we are playing on both sides. That's how real wargamers do it. But, I guess this could be a poorly defined question couldn't it?

Q: Thrown a dice across a room?

A: Thrown a dice across a room? In jest, yes. I've actually thrown dice at people as well who have been taking the piss out of me. I've even gotten quite good at disguising the throwing action now, and I'm deadly accurate. But, in anger? Genuine pent up nerdrage? No. I don't do it. I don't like giving my opponents the satisfaction of seeing me snap, never have and I never will. I've always tried to behave like a gentlemen... I will swear occasionally, but bouts of petulant, impotent rage? Nope, it's just not in my character.

Q: Re-based an army for a different rule set?

A: No. I also contest a real wargamer would collect a new army because that's what real wargamers do. We look for any old excuse to bloody buy new shiny toy soldiers don't we? "But honestly love this one has an extra button on its tunic. So it's different to this one!"... come on. Real wargamers actively try to buy new stuff.


Q: Inflicted a whopping defeat on an opponent?

A: Yes, and I do so on a regular basis. I'm not being big-headed when I say that either. It's just a fact that I'm pretty good at most of the wargames I play, and I'm a lucky jammy git with the dice rolls. Those two facts actually mean in wargames I'm undefeated now in over two years. Along that journey there have been some really humiliating defeats for my opponents.

Q: Suffered an embarrassing defeat due to a stupid tactical decision?

A: When I was younger I used to lose to my father and his friends all the time. I didn't want them to go easy on me either. They taught me many a valuable lesson about stupid tactical decisions too, because yes, I lost many a game due to my own tactical ineptitude. I've learned though, and I rarely put a foot wrong now tactically speaking.

Q: Joined a wargamers club?

A: Does starting multiple wargames clubs count? I attend a few wargames clubs on a regular basis now. Although I'm not too sure that counts as 'joining' as I'm a member of none of them. I'm going to tick this one off as a yes though. Although there are plenty of very serious, and tip top wargamers who I know who do not attend any clubs and never have. They do tournaments pretty much every weekend and have there own gaming room. I mean I have my own dedicated gaming room with an 8' by 4' board. I actually have no need to attend clubs as I know enough opponents to be able to get a game in any night of the week on my own gaming table. Surely that makes me more of a wargamer than attending any clubs?

Q: Bought a ton of lead that remains unpainted?

A: Yes. I've written articles on this very topic.

Q: Been to a wargamers show?

A: Yes. I've even been abroad to visit some wargames shows.

Q: Have more dice than is logical or necessary to own - and have used most of them?

A: Yes, my pile of dice is insane. I have a trick of buying new dice for every game system I own, and sometimes even for specific factions. I often have dice stashed away in places just so I don't have to think about picking any up when I leave the house to game.

Q: Have taken boxes of troops down to a club just to show them off to your mates?

A: Yes, but everyone likes showing off their new shiny toys to friends, I also don't think it has to be at a club either. I've taken miniatures into work to show colleagues who wargame what shiny new toys I have, or round to friends houses. I'd also feel slighted if my friends didn't do the same to me when they got shiny new toys!

So there you go. My answers to Phil's questions. If I take the questions literally I only just scrape it as a wargamer with 11 yeses to 9 no's, and even that was squeaky. However, if I take a more looser definition for those questions then I come out with 16 yeses and only 4 no's. As a bit of fun I guess it's OK, but I do have to ask the question, what do you think makes a real wargamer? Honestly I don't know. I looked at some of these questions and was like "sucker please!" and other I looked at and thought "why the hell would that make you a real wargamer?". We all I guess rank various people in the hobby in some way, we know who we think fall into our own little clique's, and who we'd exclude. I think my definition of what makes a real wargamer would be a little less prescriptive and probably a damn sight more inclusive than this list of 20 questions would suggest. What do all you lot reckon though? What do you think makes a real wargamer? Peace out!

34 comments:

  1. RE: tables - obviously you've never had someone blame the table for it upsetting itself and ruining your toy mans when it was bumped. Cue existential arguement on the mobility and free-will of tables.

    Also, RE: rebasing - hear hear! As is only proper. Good show.

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    1. No I once had some dimwit lean on a table when he was told not too and it collapsed. I don't think it was the tables fault, more the idiot who did the leaning!!!

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    2. I've had the idiot deny it to the social death sadly.

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    3. Well that's just silly. I once knocked some poor sods Steam Tank off of a shelf you know... and even though it broke two of my toes I still paid for a new one and apologised as it was my fault. Although looking back on it I should have sued the shelf for failing to do its job properly.

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  2. What makes a real wargamer, Jody? I've no more clue than anyone else, mate. But my view is that a lot of it is in the mind and doesn't have a huge amount to do with how much lead or how many dice we have littering the garage or shed (although those are helpful indicators). In the end, what I think matters is having an enjoyment of all aspects of our multi-aspected hobby, a certain sociability to share that enjoyment with our fellow wargamers, a sneaking suspicion (or more) that each of us is actually (test or no test) a wargamer and a relaxed attitude once we reach that conclusion. How's that? :)

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    1. Agreed Sidney. I just think we have a tendency in this hobby to think the way we each individually approach the hobby is the right way to approach it. Hell, I'm certainly guilty of that sort of self serving attitudes at times. For me, though I'm not sure it matters as long as people are enjoying what they're doing. Who cares if somebody has played the same game and army for 35 years plus?

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    2. Bravo Sir! It's always nice to feel part of a tribe, but within that tribe we're individuals at heart!

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    3. Yep exactly, or we should be. I've personally never been the sort of guy to proclaim his 'brand loyalty' so if something looks cool I want in! However, I'm not going to exclude somebody from my circle as it were because they have only ever play WFB or Warmachine or whatever. More power to them if they can resist all the shiny toys from other manufacturers. Our hobby has small numbers as it is, without trying to shrink or partition that group any further.

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  3. CAD is bad and you should feel bad.

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    1. I take it by CAD you mean CTRL+ALT+DEL, and not Computer Aided Design? Why should I feel bad for finding some of their comic strips amusing?

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    2. This chap may be expressing a personal opinion, which would be fair enough.

      But, the way they've worded it, they're one of those internet warriors who have decided that the CAD author is the antichrist: https://encyclopediadramatica.se/CTRL_ALT_Delete

      I love the internet.

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    3. Ah I see, somebody gets pissy because he was accused of being a kiddy fiddler or sorts and starts having a go at people because he can't see the 'funny' side and everyone should hate him. Right, yeah, OK I've got it now. Cheers Fiendil, I'm so glad that you've been able to show me what I should think on the Internet. Heaven forbid I should formulate my own opinions on my own experiences.

      Indeed, I too love the Internet. -_-

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    4. I haz storeeeez!

      Damn your link-web of tangled time-commenting!

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    5. Honestly the scariest thing about the Internet is how so many people seem to take whatever they read on it as fact, when reality is at best it's informed opinion and more often than not... uninformed opinion. I just wish people would engage their own brains and try hard to think for themselves.

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  4. I'd say anyone who has an interest in wargames. This hobby is small and (for me) relaxed enough that we don't need to seperate the 'true' wargamers from the posers :)

    Thanks btw! I'm not addicted to the new shiny, I just don't like rebasing my stuff!!

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    1. Yep, why be exclusive when you can be inclusive. That's my motto... and the one that really used to get me in trouble when I was younger with my girlfriends!!!

      Also stop lying, you know it's got sod all to do with not wanting to rebase miniatures, and everything to do with wanting new toys... speaking of which some just arrived today. YAY!!!

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    2. How do you expect me to convince myself if you go around saying stuff like that? :p

      Ooh, any chance in sharing what shiny new toys you got or is it a secret once again?

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    3. No it's not a secret. I got a set of the new Freebooter's Fate faction the Cult to Beta-test. They look pretty darn cool if you ask me.

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    4. Well, I can understand the YAY from before :p But I had a few shinies arrive myself lately, so I can't complain.

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    5. Well I'll post a brief photo article about them tomorrow. did you get anything cool?

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    6. Very good news, I'm looking forward to it!

      I did, two discount orders from just before maelstrom imploded. Some older Kingdom Death stuff (the Mother and the Male Great Game Hunter), Ophius the Gorgon Lord and big daddy Krull Servile Lord of Dis himself.

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    7. Oh right that's cool. Glad your stuff turned up, but you are one of the few lucky ones. Krull is indeed splendid.

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    8. I know.

      On a sidenote, do you already own Ophius (and do you like the model)? As Maelstrom decided I could have two for the price of one. I send them a mail at the time, but I'm guessing they won't need it back now.

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    9. I don't actually own Ophius. I've seen him up close and personal thugh and he's really cool.

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  5. I may have to do this test at a later time. Great read!

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    1. Yeah it's an interesting exercise, even if I think ultimately it doesn't tell you whether you're a wargamer or not.

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