Friday, 3 January 2014

Wargame armies: "I've got a ..."

Interesting phrase, that. You can tell an awful lot about a wargamer by what <X> is and/or what is implied by <X>. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek here, note...)

See, sometimes, <X> can be "<system> <force>", for example '40K Tyranid army" or 'Flames of War SS army' (or "Bolt Action Russian army" these days, I suspect!). (The system is often implicit or obvious from context.) And you can pretty much guarantee from that that the army is mini-maxed to within an inch of its life, and the owner probably thinks of it as a single entity. I remain slightly boggled by (for example) people I see selling a very specific FoW army who I know are moving to some other WW2 ruleset... Uh... hello? Ever considered you might need some of those vehicles or infantry...?

Sometimes, <X> can be "<force> (based for <system>)". It's a racing certainty that the force is historical. It's probably also a halfway decent bet that they haven't mini-maxed it (with the possible exception of things based for WAB and its children) because their ruleset doesn't do points in that way.

Sometimes, <X> can be "<force> <organizational unit>" ("DAK infantry company", say.) This is the next step up from the previous. Pretty much guaranteed historical, definitely not mini-maxed. And tells you that the owner cares more about the historical force balance than the system, is very likely more into playing scenarios than head-to-head points-balanced scraps, and is prepared to work round basing issues if it gets them a game :D

Have I missed any?

Is it safe? (It's James' birthday and I'm tucked away in the office from a houseful of 14 year olds armed with Nerf guns).


  1. Interesting thoughts, never really realised the implications when reading that type of adds. Although the ones that really attracted my attention (and some laughter too) are those "historical fantasy armies" (???) specially from the LOTR series

  2. 'A household full of q4-year-olds armed with nerf guns'? Methinks a Funny Little Wars Game opportunity going begging there!

    Interesting points, but I believe there are some categories missed there, Mike. Several, withal. I'm leaving aside, as you have the overtly Fantasy type 'armies', and, somewhat reluctantly I'll set aside Science Fiction as well. But I like building generic forces, not historic in particular (Davout's Army Corps) but in general (a fairly typical French army or army corps, with a reasonable balance of horse, foot and guns; Imperial guard, if present, in some reasonable proportion). Not based to a particular system, and it's fairly coincidental that the figure frontages are to the WRG convention (but the guns aren't based, so they have nothing to do with WRG game systems... a rule. In fact I do have armies based and built for a game system: Byzantines and Bulgars for DBM (which system I no longer play, so those armies have lain neglected for several years until I figure out what to do with them); and Imperialists and Swedes based for DBR a decision I have long regretted, but which will require some work to become compatible with 'Pike and Shotte'. The army there will be tailored to what I already have in the way of figures, the limiting factor being the number of pikes I have or can adapt.

    I do have a Roman army built with DBA in mind, but that was purely and solely to employ some Airfix Romans that I knew I would never add to. It has seen almost no worthwhile action, but may turn up to the next HoTT tournament sort of minimaxed: it will have a god (Mars or Mithras...).

    I almost never mini-max armies. Don't understand why anyone would... or does. Except for the Romans, you will see that when I buy an army, in general I buy two. Partly that is because I have in mind solo play, but I also simply like to have opposing armies in my inventory.

    Which brings us to a second category of war gamer: those who provide their own opposing armies. Not all, but most of my armies come in pairs, or even multiples.

    Then there are your imagi-nations war gamers. Some keep it pretty imaginary, but I like to model mine as closely as I can - bearing in mind the limits of available figures and space - to something historical. E.g. my 18th Century modelled on 7YW - though some recently acquired peripheral 'nations' are less recognisable...

    If my 18th century armies are imaginary modelled upon historical, others are historical, but can be placed handily enough in an imagi-nations setting: 30YW as Austeria and Severia; ACW as the Amazonian Civil War between the United States of Amazonia and the secessionist Confederated States of Anaconda; WW2 as the 'Latin Wars' of late 1940's Latin America.

    The 'third category' of imagi-nations was something set up with a concept in mind, such as my 19th century guys (RED and BLUE). Here I did have something historical in mind, but as the antecedents are lacking, not making a big thing of it. My 'Army Men' project (a.k.a. 'Jono's World') was based on an intriguing vision by one Jono, who has since gone his own way.

    I think I got off the subject a little bit there, but I reckon that will do anyhow. But before I disappear into the night, I am reminded of another type of minimaxing that I find odd: terrain. Playing the old DBM systems, I noticed a lot of thought went into generation and placement of terrain. Maybe I' was just lazy: I used to take what comes. I doubt my results would have been all that much better if I had paid more attention...


  3. "I've got a Chaos Space Marine Army painted as Waffen SS"

    Back away quickly...

  4. I have a Later Achemid Persian Army originally for WRG 6th, that tells you all you need to know LOL


  5. "I have Winter War Finns and Soviets, plus some Early War French and Late Germans".
    Feel free to analyse.

  6. I think that many wargamers who start off with a modern figure-focused system (especially if it's GW) have to realise for themselves that figures are not irrevocably tied to specific rulesets; it's not intrinsically obvious if you don't have the historical background or the idea that the forces might exist independent of one manufacturer's concept.

    Barks: how about "I've got a Waffen SS infantry company painted as Chaos Space Marines"?

  7. Just read this, very interesting. A bit of a non sequitur, but that last bit had me flashing to Marathon Man. "Is it safe?"

  8. I have DBx "armies" but then then they are supposed to represent army sized formations on the table. Otherwise, I have based for . These three pieces of information are enough to tell a potential opponent if we can easily get a game together. Telling someone you have 6mm Marian Romans based on 25mm frontages for DBx does limit your options but avoids disappointment when you arrive at the table.

    I am far from a min/maxer with most choices beyond the core force, when one exists, based on what figures I already have. Extra figures are bought in to create flexibility rather than maximize game winning potential.

    Most of my armies are paired due to my interest in esoteric topics - like Home Guard and Space 1889 Colonials on Mars. But again flexibility is the key driver. Home Guard can pinch hit for Early War British, BEF or VBCW, Fallschirmjaeger can cover Norway, Case Yellow, Sea Lion, Crete and again proxy for their later brothers with a relaxed opponent. Colonials - well they have lots of options from the Zulu wars on. My Martians are the least flexible but can cover 1889, John Carter and will feature as a band for In Her Majestiy's Name VSF.

    And not to forget my 15mm SF, these are mostly ancient Martian Metals figures bought for the Traveller RPG, supported by a similarly ancient 15mm Dalek and a couple of hundred robots from a Risk game. Mechs are coming from spare figures used in a board war game the name of which escapes me. Larger spare mechs and mutants will be done up as Battle Suits and aliens for VSF after a little work with the exacto and paintbrush.

    Then there are the dollar store Dinos for HotT, VSF and Darkest Africa.....

    I best hope the missus doesn't see this post.... ;)

  9. Formatting got dumped. Sentence two above should have read:

    Otherwise, I have *scale/size*, *formation* based for *rules* .


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