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.

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