It has been a year now since I returned into the fold of wargaming after my hiatus, and still that same question keeps raging in my head.
I don't know what I like the most!
Now, that seems like something odd, considering I played quite a few games in that year and joined some events as well. But bear with me, I actually like them both, but for various reasons...
On the one hand, there is the world of fantasy and sci-fi gaming. Now, in all these examples, I'm not talking skirmish gaming or mass battle events might you, but just the 'regular game' no matter the usual playing size for said system / world / era is about...
The benefit you have with these is that it is pretty easy to get a game arranged, especially if it's a system that's widespread or popular at the moment. All it takes, being in two clubs, is a single facebook post and I can play that week 40k, War Machine, Malifaux or whatever... even those 'historical plays like fantasy' as they are often called games such as Bolt Action or Flames of War, though ww2 isn't really my era of intrest.
On the other hand there are the historical games, being them dark ages like the Dux rules, ACW, AWI, name your drug... the bigger issue with these is that you don't have those "balanced pick up games" like you have for the fantasy and sci-fi community. Surely, L'art de Guerre, Mortem et Gloriam, Black Powder allow for "points playing", but in general more organisation is required. It's harder to find an opponent with a campaign related force, to arrange the game, and actually have both players being versed in the SAME rulesets...
I admit, my regular club doesn't have "adventurous" as one of it's keywords. Games are played often by solid, well working and often used by clubmember rulesets, so when new kids appear on the block, like for example Mortem et Gloriam, they aren't played unless someone starts pulling the bandwagon... and even then. I still have my By Fire and Sword Cossacks sealed away until the game is going to be played... and that rumour was from 2013 that they would be doing it.
It's a bit the same with scales, 28mm rules our tables. All fine with that actually, because I like painting in that scale as well the most. But that brings me to another part of the dilemma, the actual painting.
I love doing the research on units and their historical colours and flags. It's a thing for me, to field the correct forces and it's a joy to paint something that is identifiable even though for example, as I said as the point for 'campaign related' forces. An ACW battle where the Irish Brigade wasn't present historically... what do you do? Field the wrong flags, or don't play? See the issue with getting an actual recreation onto the table?
That is not a problem when you play fantasy. Chaos smacks Imperial Guard. Elves assault Orks. Rohan holds back the tides flooding from Moria. Khador struggles against an Orobos invasion... there are no limits in essence.
Okay, and paintwise, historical gamers seem to be far less 'expecting' then the fantasy and sci-fi gamer, as the non historical models often have lots of little tidbits of details that just scream for nearly propainted jobs compared to romans or british line infantry.
Is it to that end that tournaments are so popular? You can play with balanced historical forces in totally oppossing era's like all those DBA or MeG events out there? Something the fantasy and sci-fi players have been doing for decades to great effect?
If you look for example at the T3 website (a european tournament tracker that lists all competitive - okay; or most as you need to put your event up there - events) the amount of 'historical' events like SAGA, Bolt Action, MeG,... are blown out of the water in between the heaps of 9th Age, 40k or X-Wing events. Even if you stay within a band of say 250 kilometres, you can play an event every week, 52 weeks a year. Even 2 per weekend if you really are into hardcore gaming and travelling. Historical players have to look out towards 'that certain event' once every few months, and often have like 10 to 16 participants then...
And that's the issue I'm still struggling with after all that time and games now. Even though I played if you look at the battlestats just as much solo Dux as 40k (not counting mega events, multi players etc etc) after a year (around 10 of each) that is in part due to not *willing* to play 40k very week, compared to *having* to play my dux campaign games each month. Nemesis for example plays 40k almost weekly as he has no trouble finding opponents at all in the club 'pool'.
Oh well, guess I'm going to use those saturdays we are open now to organise more events at the club, from a wider variety of era's and games in both fantasy and historical I guess. I'm in talks with another club to do some 'joint venturing' on that part as we have the infrastructure and they have the know-how, but more on that in a (far) future post...
US Marines for Bolt Action
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