Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wargaming in the Middle Ages or Old Enough to Know Better

I'm not old though lately I feel it some days. It is now 40 years since I took up wargaming and even a most optimistic assessment is that there are not 40 more years of wargaming ahead even if I do live to be 96. Given family history and my own medical history, state of my eyes and mind etc, I figure anything over 20 years will be a gift and if I'm painting more than the occasional token figure 10 years from now, I'll be surprised. A cause for gloom and despair? Not at all, its about planning for best effect.

Lets start with figures, three things are colliding here: expected painting rates, room to display or store figures and ability to use them. I have never kept careful records, its not in my nature and frankly, I usually don't care. Still, looking back, there are few if any years when I painted less than a 100 figures and I know there have been years when I painted 400 or more. If I set a goal of no more than 200 figures a year, that's still 2,000 more figures to incorporate or get rid of. I don't have room to store let alone display what I have at present so the policy at a minimum is going to have to be: 1 in 1 out and preferably something more like 1 in 2 out, at least in the short term.  Since I like to use as many as possible of the figures that I have painted, as often as possible, it also behooves me to revisit my planned  and existing collections to see if it all still makes sense or if I need to make some changes in direction, perhaps drop some less played or less favored collections or merging some to allow a more in depth. treatment with more trimmings, terrain and troop deployments and less bait and switch. I also need to ensure that I am planning for my my 5x6 table interms of number of figures and style of terrain and scenario.

Barring major, unforeseen changes in my life, I think an average of 25 games a year is not an unreasonable expectation, counting two short games in a single session or a long one spread out over separate days  as a single game. Indeed, for the next few years I hope to better that by anywhere up to double. So at a minimum that's at least 500 games ahead.

Don't worry, I'm not about to start planning the last 500 games out in detail, but it certainly sounds like there is still scope for variety and more than 1 campaign. But it also sounds like I'd best get cracking on the things I really want to do since I have some things that are still waiting after 40 years of diversions!

Hmm, what an odd thing is taste. Mixing Scruby/Zinnbrigade figures with Sash & Saber bothers me enough to ALMOST spoil a game but it seems that mixing semi-flat with fully round Prince August, Irregular, Trident  and maybe even Sash & Saber, doesn't bother me at all. Hmmm I sense a forth coming  merge of Rosmark and the Acadian War of Independence into the NQSYWinA. Hmmmm The Yellow  Hussars patrolling for Indian raiding parties?


  1. Ross Mac,

    This was both a rather moving and - at the same time - inspirational blog entry.

    I am 61 (and have been wargaming for 45 years!), and hope to carry on wargaming for as long as I can. That said, I have to think about what I want to do with whatever time I have left. My impending 'retirement' has made me undertake a similar thought process to the one you have undertaken, and I have yet to reach anything other than some rather broad conclusions.

    When I do, I will share them with my regular blog readers in the same way that you have ... but probably with less clarity.

    All the best,


  2. You are a wise man.
    "The merging of Rosmark and the Acadian War of Independence into the NQSYWinA.": extremely sensible, if I may. 'Union gives strength', and when developing either the 'tricornes' or the 'scalp hunters' you'll not feel 'dispersed' / neglecting the other aspect: once associated, any progress in one of them benefits to both.

  3. Lovely post. I tend to think of myself as having been 25 for a rather long time. Ageing doesn't seem to be a smooth, continuous thing - occasionally I'll realise that I am (and feel) 10 years older than last time I thought seriously about it. Weird things occasionally jolt me - a few years ago I sent some figures to a pro painter and they came back 18 months later. He was busy, I guess, but I worked out how many more units I could expect to add to my armies at that rate and I didn't like the answers.

    It's my mother's 86th birthday today. She is widowed now and partially paralysed, but she is as bright and optimistic as you could wish. She reads for about 6 hours a day - she's always been a devoted history student. Her gifts from us today will include Houtoulle's book on Wagram (in French - she spent much of her childhood in Paris, and likes to keep her French up), a DVD of Abel Gance's 'Austerlitz' (also in French) and a Del Prado figurine of a Portuguese Napoleonic cavalryman for the display cabinet. She has convinced me that age is an attitude of mind - if you decide to be old, you will be old. I know people who were never young.


  4. Clarity? That's not something that I have been accused of very often Bob. I imagine there were some eyes rolled at this post so I'm glad to hear that it wasn't all. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    Jean-Louis, You have it precisely.

  5. Tony, I like your Mother without having actually met her. My Mom hit 90 last year, I'm afraid the only history that has ever been of interest to her was family history, Luckily since her father liked his toy soldiers she always made sure I had some to enjoy, even after I left home. Sadly, it is only on an increasingly rare good day that she can associate this greying visitor with that young boy.