A good question and one that has been mentioned several times over at OSW for the last few days with regard to “what” is appropriate for posting at that group and what should be addressed elsewhere. Can anyone provide a fairly succinct answer to the question though? Many at OSW have, no doubt, pondered the subject already. Mike Siggins offered his take on the matter of the “old school” approach in a recent issue of Battlegames. And many of my own questions are similar to his.
Continuing along, what constitutes an "old school" approach to one's wargaming anyway? Is it limited solely to a fondness for big battalions? Perceived simplicity of rules? Attainable painting results? An 18th century focus? Imaginary combatants? A love for all things Young and Grant? Minimalist terrain? Must one, instead, simply love 30mm or larger figure sizes by manufacturers like Tradition, Willie and Suren, or RSM 95? Could we consider WRG's 1685-1845 rules, 1979 edition “old school” just because more than 25 years have passed since that rule set was first issued? ;-)
Is it, instead, simply a matter of the ages of OSW members, almost 40s-50s for most of us, combined with nostalgia for the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s in wargaming terms? Or is it an aversion to computer, fantasy, and sci-fi gaming, which seems to be gaining ground at the expense of our own branch of the hobby? Is it a preference for Charles Grant Sr's "the look of the thing" and distaste for tiny units of 12-16 figures that purport to represent, say, a unit of 800 soldiers and strange (to my mind) basing regulations?
I realize that much of this is like trying to pinpoint an emotion like love. In other words, it’s very difficult to nail down and slightly different for each person. But the litany of questions above is interesting for us to consider in any case.
For my part, I enjoy virtually every discussion topic over at OSW -- from battalion guns, to plastic (and metal) Spencer Smiths, to painting methods and painting challenges, to cartography software. Bill Protz's, Jim Purkey's, and others’ photo postings are great too. Sure, it can be a bit dull reading everyone's excited reports every two months on the arrival of their latest copy of Battlegames. Most of the time, though, I feel like each discussion topic has something interesting to it -- and I've even gone all the way back to the early OSW postings to read through those, much to the dismay of my wife, for hours at a time!
I can't quite put my finger on it, but the OSW group and its associated discussions are, to me anyway, much more interesting than those on, say, The Miniatures Page, which I also look at from time to time. No attack intended on that group -- It's just that, somehow, the topics, and tone, of most discussion at OSW resonate more with me and my particular wargaming, miniature, historical, and creative interests.
Happy Painting, Collecting, and Gaming!