Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Word on behalf of my Sponsors

As 2019 starts to creak into gear, now is probably a good time to put in a few plugs for the sponsors of this blog. You know, those who make decisions about where the money-spinning posts come from, who regulate the tone, etc.

First up is random comments from cats on internet wargaming sites. Thank you! You provide constant food for serious consideration, some of which is written about, some not. Some is inscribed on pixel and later, having been thought better of, deleted. Either way, you keep us keeping on. To you I give a Bobby de Niro finger wag and a YOU, YOU, YOU!

Next is this blogger professes to trying to do better at painting. Ha, we got your number, buddy, and I AM you! You/We still suck. We see you - posting only the best curated pictures of your figures - oh, we see you! Sure, maybe you're a bit better than you were, but the bar was pretty low to begin with. To you we give a Jim Carrey toilet scene, and an angry Bobby de Niro in the background.

Then we move to games played. Well, now we're really getting into diminishing returns. Battle report: SAD. Battle report with commentary: SADDER. Battle report with commentary and trinkets: EVEN SADDERER. To you I give a drunk, wildly misogynistic Oliver Reed, in various stages of self-justificatory belligerence. You may not understand his words, but you know what he means!

Next up we have pretentious pontifications from the blog writer on gaming, reading, cultural stuff, or whatEVAR. All class, matey! Hard to present in complimentary terms, but obviously someone is making a killing. To him is given a bunch of local specialty pickled plums, presented by a somewhat mystified but very highly paid Noel Gallagher.

Finally, we have plans for the future. To you, we give an Olympic award - incorruptible, and all about the joy of competition - that will be recognised by all, and received by a family member who will draw little international attention.

From this blog's sponsors to others - we wish everyone a year of similarly spectacular unbridled success!

Friday, January 11, 2019

All flocked

Have finally managed to get all the 15mm figures painted during the big push last year flocked and ready to go.

It's a bit of an eclectic mix, but especially pleasing were figures that came from fellow bloggers. One set, from Aaron Hunt, was kindly sent to add to my Dux Bellorum project. They are a mix of Old Glory Saxons and Germans, and they were very nice to paint, even though they were done quickly. For my purposes they will be mercenaries or local roustabouts. Many thanks, Aaron!

The other set of models comes from Jonathan Freitag. These four Carthaginian chariots will add weight and heft to my existing (but previously puny) chariot arm and turn them into a force to be reckoned with. Many thanks! Sorry that the photography is a bit off, and the painting is not quite up to Jonathan's own high standards.

The other big talking point is the infantry for my long suffering nascent Achaemenid Persian force. Mystified readers may wonder why they are flocked in green: the answer is that in my wargaming world, everyone is flocked in green.

So there we are. Nice to have them done, and very pleasing to now have more contingents from greatly esteemed bloggers to point out to anyone who happens to show any interest in my poor collection!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Responsibilities to the hobby

There's an idea with a bit of currency in wargaming circles that wargamers should, in various ways, be active in promoting the hobby. The thinking goes that we are ambassadors for wargaming and are under an obligation to be good representatives. We ought to do things such as introduce wargaming to new people, support outreach endeavours, chip in and help at club or organizational level, put on games at shows or other public places, make an effort to encourage a more diverse wargaming community and so on.

For various reasons, it's not an idea that sits comfortably with me. When I see a 'how we can bring more young people into the hobby' or 'what you need to do to encourage female wargamers' or 'how to get your girlfriend to play wargames with you' type of infomercial, it grates a bit.

Certainly, these kinds of discussions are sometimes genuine, but other times its just browbeating.

First, wargaming is a broad hobby, and we must carve out our own little niche in it. We are not all the same. I don't have an affinity with a 40K wargamer just because we both play wargames of one type or another. Wargamers tend to be quite focused individuals, often with strong opinions. As drivers of progress in the hobby, annoyance, dissatisfaction and contrariness are probably just as important as their opposites.
"I hate that basing. I'm going to do mine differently."
"These rules suck. I'm going to write a new set."
"I don't like the atmosphere in this group. I'll start my own."
"I can't stand this WWII gaming. It's back to Napoleonics for me." 
Second, wargaming is hard work. It takes a lot of effort to paint well. It takes a lot of time to really learn rules. It can be expensive, and it requires a particular type of masochistic energy to devote oneself to creating a set of miniatures rules, designing a board game, or building a 500 figure strong army. We come to wargaming by a circuitous path. It's not always easy to find other gamers whose interests complement our own. Of course, we want to be open and welcoming to new people, but if you are going to be a wargamer, to a large extent you have to find your own way and make your own connections. It's condescending to think that a wargamer will be created by having someone mess about with Memoir '44 one time.

Third, wargaming is a hobby, not a job. We wargame for pleasure. It may be different if you have a promotional role in a club or association, but under normal circumstances it's something to do for fun. Why make it more like work than it needs to be? Why allow someone to set rules about how you can go about enjoying yourself?

Fourth, proselytizing is desperate and degrading when it's over something so demonstrably unimportant in the grand scheme of things as wargaming. It would be odd to scour the neighbourhood for baseball fans and then try to convince them to come and watch cricket. It's the same with those on a mission to to find a Monopoly player with the intention of convincing them to switch to DBA. People will gravitate towards things that interest them. You don't need to force it, much less feel obliged to make some kind of effort to convert muggles into gamers. Leave that kind of thing to missionaries, vegans, and marketing departments. If someone is keen on wargaming with you, it will become apparent organically.

Fifth, gaming is a social activity (well, maybe not solo gaming...). You want to be around people who share a similar interest in the occasion or event. You shouldn't feel the need to persuade people who clearly aren't going to be into it to give it a try just so you can tick some kind of 'embiggener of the hobby' box. If you want to have newcomers at your games, then that's great. If you want to bring more people into your gaming orbit, go for it. But don't let anyone make you feel that you are somehow not pulling your weight if you don't.

Sixth, you can play with whomever you like. You don't have to have a gaming group made up of people from various cultural backgrounds, differently-abled, of diverse loves, of a range of ages and a fifty-fifty gender split any more than you need to make sure that you've got a skinny person, a white wine drinker, a person with a perm and a red headed beardy bloke in the room. If that's your scene then fine, great, and good for you, but it's not a moral requirement, and no one should be trying to make it a moral requirement for others.

Seventh, wargaming is already an interesting hobby for certain character types and has been for decades. There are plenty of avenues by which a curious person can learn more about it. It doesn't need me or anyone else to be shouting about it from the rooftops. If you are comfortable with and enjoy the hobby yourself and communicate that enjoyment to others in a natural way when you need to; if you treat others you have hobby interactions with with the same level of respect you accord people in other aspects of your life, then you're doing fine, and you don't need to do any more.

When you want to find people to play games with, go ahead and do it, just as you do when you want to find people to go running with, jam with, go bowling with, have round for your year-end barbecue, or whatever. Equally, if someone doesn't strike you as the kind of person you want to spend five hours hunched over a table with, don't feel obliged to just because you are both wargamers.

Eighth, wargaming requires individual commitment. Your inviting someone over for a game does not make them a wargamer any more than your eating a perfectly cooked scallop makes you a French chef. Enjoy what you do. When you do it with others, try your best to make sure that they enjoy it too. It may plant a seed, it may not, but it doesn't really matter. If the event is a success, then that's all that's important.

Enjoy wargaming in your own way, and don't listen to people who might want to tell you otherwise.

Enjoyment is the only currency we need to deal in, in my book.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

December game day

We had a very successful session of gaming at house Prufrock today, thanks to the fellows who turned up in spite of the congested social calendar at this time of year. At least one intrepid attendee spent a good part of the day dodging the after effects of an office bonenkai party, yet still dealt with the vicissitudes of on-table fortune with something close to aplomb. It was also - for the first time - a multi-generational affair: our young lad and some of the other offspring were able to get into some video gaming in one room while 'the adults' were messing about on the floor with plastic models in the other.

And thanks are also due to our wives or partners, without whose support and indulgence (to a greater or lesser degree!) of our penchant for play this kind of thing cannot go smoothly. I suppose, from my own dearly beloved's perspective, ordering early Saturday afternoon pizza for a bunch of wargamers is an order of magnitude less trying than getting a call at 3am asking her to come and peel a 'tired and emotional' husband off the footpath somewhere, but you can't be sure.*

But to the games: the first event was the game of What a Tanker that I've been going on about here on the blog interminably for quite some time. It went pretty well, and people picked up the rules fast. There is a jovial quality to the game, and no one took success too well or its opposite too badly.

The Allies got a bit beaten up, losing three tanks and almost a fourth, but they did put up a brave fight. Ironically, it was not the Panther G and Jagdpanzer IV who did most of the damage, but the lowly Panzer IV G, probably because everyone was so anxious to knock out the big cat that they ignored the hamster!

I didn't have much time to take photos, but here are a few shots:

Late game carnage.

The brave Crusader III, out of time, but not lacking in fight! He actually survived the battle, miraculously.
(Photo courtesy of Pat H)

The Hamster IV G's handiwork... (Photo again courtesy Pat H).

The German high command, including a rare photo of the author, the bald dwarf to the left.
(Photo once more courtesy of Pat H).

But more fun than this was the after lunch entertainment, Luke's game of Zombicide. Now, I'm not a zombie guy - I've never seen the attraction in the genre - but this was a lot of fun. The six of us had to cooperate to achieve missions while evading or massacring the zombie hordes which were rising up to bar our way. We started out with nothing but fry pans and a pistol, but through assiduous ransacking of the town found what we needed to win. I enjoyed it far more than I ever thought I would, and I think I'll be looking for a copy. Thanks Luke!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of this, but the other fellows did, so hopefully I can nab some of theirs and add them in later.

And there we have it: a really enjoyable day. Thanks to all who came along, and to all who made it possible.

*AHEM, any similarity here to real life persons or events is purely coincidental, and would have happened so long ago as to be almost not worth mentioning anymore anyway. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 painting review

Surprisingly, 2018 has been by far the best year of painting I've yet had.

Somehow, towards the end of the year, and in place of my usual shiftlessness, a sort of  'just paint it' mentality developed. I think in part it was a reaction to the fact that I knew I was probably going to be moving country at some point, and so clearing out all those boxes of primed but unpainted figures became a necessity.

But it wasn't only that: the painting drive was also assisted by purchases of some mainly painted figure lots, which gave impetus to a couple of projects and made quickly putting together playable forces possible. Being able to imagine a game after a month's work is far preferable to being able to envisage several months of work and several months more work yet, so thanks and appreciation is due to the suppliers of those lots.

15mm painting motivation was also provided by a review owed, by some figures won in a competition on Jonathan's blog, and by general feelings of desperation and guilt.

The thing I'm most pleased about though is getting the 1/72 What a Tanker project off the ground and ready for a game. That one required starting from scratch in a new scale, learning new skills and techniques, and experimenting until things were at an acceptable level of quality. At first I was very unsure how to approach it all. I'd even planned to do it in 6mm, but while waiting for my Heroics and Ros purchases to arrive, I wandered into a newly opened toy store and seeing the models there I just thought 'man, you're in the best country in the world for 1/72 kit. Just do it!' And so I bought a stack of them and the decision was made.

There are some disappointments, however. I didn't get the Union figures finished to partner the 1/72 Confederates that were done, and I made no progress with 1/3000 naval.

Still, there's always 2019!

On that note, I'd like to wish everyone all the best for the coming year, and hope that you all live well, that you keep your loved ones constantly apprised of your regard for them, and that you prosper greatly!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What a Tanker test run.

Set up a board and tested out the rules for What a Tanker tonight. I like them, and I think they are going to work well for the big group game planned for this weekend.

The rules are pretty simple but give players opportunities to make their own choices and put their own stamp on the game, which is just how I like it. Of course, the dice play a big part, but I think we can live with that!

This was a five vehicle solo game, and although it would usually be a bit onerous to run five vehicles at once, it was easy to get into the swing of things and the situations that came up were quite interesting. I think the terrain will be good to play on, and I hope that people will enjoy the game.

I was also pleased to see that the vehicles looked the part on the table. All in all, a satisfying trial run!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Big changes

Well, it's now official: in February I'm upping sticks and heading back to New Zealand. It's a move that's been a couple of years in the making. Work, schooling, life, bureaucracy, illnesses, and some significant deaths on both sides of the family have pushed the timing back repeatedly. In fact, now that the kids are two years older than they were when the original plans were made, it's been a much harder decision to finally take, and I'm no longer quite as convinced as I was before that it's the right one.

But better men than me have said things to the effect that, when in doubt, you should take the braver option, so that's what I've done.

As it stands, I'm going back to find work and spend some time with my parents (the old man is not in the greatest health) and the rest of the family will follow when the moment is right.

The last few days then have seen books and games being glanced over with a cold eye, and either packed into boxes for shipping or loaded into shelves for 'redistribution'.  Then it will come to the lead. Even before I take the armies into account, the number of boxes I've been filling would make a man's eye water!

Further down the line there will also be the small matter of a blog re-brand - I can hardly call myself a wargamer in Japan if I don't live here.

So big changes are afoot, and this Christmas / New Year will be seasoned with a peppy mix of excitement and trepidation!
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