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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!