13 May 2009

What's your favorite part of the wargaming hobby?

I'm borrowing a series of questions posed by Jim "Alte Fritz" Purky over at The Miniatures Page because they are kind of interesting and thought provoking. They certainly made me think a bit as I sipped my morning mug of coffee today. Just what is it about the hobby that you enjoy most? Is it the painting and collecting of hundreds of finely detailed and painted metal or plastic miniatures? Or is that something you'd rather get through, so you can get on with the more important gaming? Do you enjoy building and modeling your own terrain and scenery, instead, creating finely detailed miniature tableaus? Maybe you most like to peruse the various wargaming magazines, books, and/or blogs or websites, gazing at others' lovely and inspiring work? Or do you prefer reading the military history on which your other activities are based?

As for me, I guess that I enjoy each one of these activities to varying degrees. Sure, painting is sometimes a chore (especially the horses and cannon), but the pleasure that I get once another unit is all finished and added to the collection is worth it. You know, pride in what I've done and all that. The same can be said for the small cardboard and balsa buildigs that I've designed and built myself over the last couple of years. Now, the table and hills weren't terribly exciting, given the copious amounts of green paint necessary, but here again, the end result was worth it.

And of course, the reading of history, uniform, and books by "classic" wargaming authors (plus some occasional writing myself) have their places in the hobby for me too. The games are also good fun. After all, the whole point of all the other activities is to get some figures on the table and maneuver them around. . . even if one's own tactical abilities aren't the greatest! ;-) But if I had to pick one feature above all others, it would have to be the painting and collecting that I most enjoy. Even if you just spend your time gazing at the ranks of infantry and cavalry, there is something immensely satisfying about a well laid out and presented collection of toy soldiers, either historical, or fictitious.

But enough about me. What do all of you visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen think? What is your favorite part of the wargaming hobby? What first grabbed you about it? What keeps you at it now?


DC said...


I came into wargaming from military modelling (as i suspect most of my - 'airfix' - generation did). On a good day i enjoy all aspects of the hobby, but the 2 things i never tire of are finishing a new unit and admiring nicely painted toys. We fought an AWI game a few weeks back with 500 figs on a 5x10 table - whilst i enjoyed the game, the spectacle of the forces laid out on the table was worth the effort alone. cheers.

Frankfurter said...

I came into wargaming from chess.
For me, the game is the curx of the matter.
But, I also love creating enjoyable characters, scenarios, and worlds which give the individual games a shade of meaning ...
about on the level of school boy satire

John Clements said...

Hi Stokes,

I seem to have always wargamed even when I was too young to know what it was, starting with lead soldiers then the first Airfix ones. I was introduced to Featherstone by a fellow student in my first year at university and discovered a more scientific way of proceeding.

Now I spend my time painting the increasingly wonderful figures being produced, reading, and wondering when I might find time to actually fight a battle!

Thanks for a great blog.

Fitz-Badger said...

Can I choose the variety? :-)
I like it all, but if I had to narrow it down to one it would probably be the painting and making my own minis (such as they are) (sorry, that's 2 - the 2 things I enjoy the most are painting and making my own minis, and creating worlds - I'll go back out and start again...)
I also making maps, coming up with characters, playing games, reading and learning about the history, reading what others are doing and seeing pictures.
So, I'll go back to my first answer - there are so many aspects that people can enjoy in this hobby how can you limit yourself to just one? :-D

Fitz-Badger said...

that should say "I also love making maps", etc.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Wow, Stokes, what a question.

There are a very great aspects to the hobby that I love . . . and at different times, different aspects loom most favoredly.

I think the thing that I like best is the way it stimulates my imagination. Thinking about what I want to do next . . . thinking about how to portray something . . . thinking about rules and campaigns . . . and so forth.

-- Jeff

PS, yes, I know that "favoredly" isn't really a word . . . but everyone can understand it . . . call it a "nounce word" if you must.

Grimsby Mariner said...

Gee that's a tough question to answer.
I get great satisfaction from painting figures. I get a great deal of enjoyment from playing a game with like minded individuals - much more than from playing some faceless person over the internet in a video game. I enjoy tremendously playing over good terain. I realy like digging through the history and understanding the period.
But the single best part? I guess it would be the painting if I was really pushed to it. But I wouldn't give up any of it.

guy said...

I would echo most of the comments above. The hobby can be at all sorts of different levels but I think I have just seen something which must be at the very peak of our fantastic hobby. If you have a look on the WD3 site there is a picture gallery of a battle which has just been fought by John Ray as part of his Fulda campaign. I'm sure you have seen some of his collection on the Phil ollney site and WI magazine. To say the quality and quantity of the figures is jaw droppingly good would be an understatement.

I therefore think my favorite part of the hobby is to try and imitate that.


tidders said...

I started playing with soldiers when a little lad. Graduated to paiting and wargaming in my youth. I like all aspects of the hobby, planning , collecting, gaming etc.

Most of all I like to let my imagination go and create things for my little 18C world.

-- Allan

Keith Flint said...

The game's the thing for me. That's why it's called wargaming! One thing you don't mention, Stokes, is the pleasure of choosing a set of rules, developing house rules to make them work better for you, or developing your own rules. This ties in very directly with making the game the centre of the hobby.

But good luck to those whose main enjoyment comes from other aspects. Doesn't really matter in the end, does it?

Keith Flint.

Snickering Corpses said...

My favorite part is probably the storytelling, followed by the research and reading. Painting is still very much the chore.


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