Sunday, November 18, 2012

Are you a proper wargamer?

If Peter Cushing isn't the model of a proper "toy soldier" man - I don't know who is. 

* Spent at least £500 on figures / tanks - and you get extra kudos for every £500 you've spent

I wish to point out that this question has been put to me while I was not under caution - in clear breach of the Judges Rules, I might add - and therefore I refuse to answer as is my right under Article 38 of the Constitution.

(More points than I care to think of, certainly two figures)

* Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block - several times

I did prick a finger on a Peter Guilder drawing pin sword at Old John's home. It was worth it to see the figures though. 

* Tried at least 10 different rule sets and vowed never to play half of them ever again

Legends of the Old West, Savage Worlds, Cold War 83, Memoir 44, Battlecry, Command & Colours: Napoleonics, Command & Colours: Ancients, Rapid Fire, Warhammer Panzer Battles, Little Wars, Advanced Squad Leader, Warhammer Fantasy (3rd), Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader, Kriegspiel, Warhammer 40,000 (3rd edition), Ogre/GEV, Ogre Miniatures, Flintloque, WarZone, FutureWars, En Avant!, Crossfire, Force on Force, the list goes on.

Also Featherstone (various), Wallman (various).

Those in italics, I would not play again. Curiously enough, despite really enjoying reading Charge! and Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun, I've never been tempted by the miniatures rules. I really enjoy the Generalship game and the Kriegspiel elements though.

* Bought an army off EBay


* Sold an army on EBay


* spent months painting an army - then used it in anger once

A Fantasy Empire army - it was a dark time. 

* tried several different periods and genres

As you can see from my list of rules, I have tried one or two in my time.

* dropped a box of figures on the floor from a great height

My crowning achievement in this regard was dropping a video case full of 6mm figures down a flight of stairs in Trinity College. It slipped through the bannister and fell two storeys straight down, but curiously they were not much the worse for wear.

* lost a battle on the last throw of the dice

More times than I would care to mention. 

* made at least one enemy for life

Hard to say. I did attract a stalker once, which was extremely odd.

* had a proper, stand up argument over a wargamers table

It wasn't over a wargames table, but there was a bout of fisticuffs on one occasion during a game. Not an experience I would repeat.

* thrown a dice across a room


* rebased an army for a different rule set

Once. Never, ever, ever again. 

* inflicted a whopping defeat on an opponent

On a couple of occasions. 

* suffered an embarrassing defeat due to a stupid tactical decision

Too many to mention, but classics of the genre have included.

 - repeating all of Burnsides mistakes, and inventing some new ones, at Antietam. I was horribly hungover, but it's no excuse.

- challenging General Du Gourmand to a drinking contest with predictable results. As Icecream put it, "Any man who is drunk enough to challenge Du Gourmand, is already too drink."

* joined a wargamers club

I used to regularly attend one, at present, I'm more of an informal gathering of friends sort of chap.

* bought a ton of lead that remains unpainted

I refer you to my first answer.  To say nothing of the stash of plastic.

* been to a wargamers show

To many to mention.

* have more dice than is logical or necessary to own - and have used most of them

Not as many as I used to, but still quite a few. 

* have taken boxes of troops down to a club just to show them off to your mates


* You have reference books on each period / army you play (I must have ten samurai books now)

-ahem- I would like to cite Article 38.1. 1,200+ books and counting.

* Having played so many different games you confidently quote rules for a totally different period, scale or ruleset to the one you're playing at that moment

I can certainly hold more than one ruleset in my head at any point, but I don't think that's any great achievement.

* You have lied to your partner / spouse about how much you've spent on the hobby (When my wife saw my painting table, I told her that Vallejo paints are only 75p each - I'm going to Hell...).

Article 38.1

I have recently discovered that Mrs Kinch know exactly how much I spend on wargaming. This was a surprise. Actually it was two surprises. One, that she knew and two, that she hadn't taken "direct action".

* You get genuinely excited when a package arrives in the post - then hide it upstairs quickly before your partner sees it.  If your partner finds it first, you lie about the contents.

Yes and not anymore.

* You have joined a re-enactment society (5 points for this one!)

I am too hefty to be a fighting man of any era.

* You have played in an unsuitable venue (I have played in a wooden pavilion in the middle of winter where we had to keep coats, scarves and gloves on to play - and in a social club where we used the pool table as a battlefield (making us the most unpopular people in Wallasey).  I have since vowed only to play where both heat and beer are accessible and in plentiful supply.

Nothing is springing to mind. We used to play with 6mm figures on a Memoir '44 board in a local pub. It did occasionally involve putting up with inquisitive drunks.

* You continue to search for the perfect Napoleonic / WW2 / Ancients / ACW etc. rule set (knowing that it doesn't actually exist).

No. I am very happy with the rules I have at present.

* For that reason you have developed your own house rules for certain periods.  And think them far superior to the original author's efforts.

In certain respects, yes.

* You have returned from a wargames show and sneaked upstairs to hide the stash.


* You have an irrational aversion to some genres and vow never to play them regardless of how much fun they look.  Like Dystopian Wars, 6mm Napoleonics, Warhammer 40k, Malifaux etc. 

I have never grasped the attraction of big robots, mechs and what have you. Ancients is a bit of closed book to me too.

* You have made your own wargames scenery.


* You have reached a painting 'wall' ("If I have to paint another f________ Gaul, I'm going to scream")

Definately yes and it is one of the reasons I subcontract a lot of my painting now.

* You have lost - and regained - your wargaming mojo.

I lost interest in wargaming (though not gaming as a whole) between the ages of 13 and 20. I've been at it ever since.

* You have the occasional (and short lived) sense of guilt with your wife/children when complaining to them about the money spent in clothes, shoes or toys/Xbox games when you have £200 of unpainted metal stuffed in an upstairs drawer.

I can't think of any time I've ever criticised Mrs Kinch for spending too much money. She's the far more thrifty of the two of us.  

"1: Wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily: and sweetly doth she order all things. 
2: I loved her, and sought her out from my youth, I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty.".

* You have done armies in different scales for the same period (e.g. ACW in 28mm, 15mm and 6mm).

Yes. Second World War Russians  in 6mm and 1/72.

* You have jealously coveted someone else's troops (if Ian pops his clogs, I'll be round his house with a Transit van before he hits the ground).


* You have laughed (secretly or otherwise) as someone else's paint job (Marks' purple camels come to mind)

Back when I played Warhammer 40,000, a good friend of mine assembled a Genestealer Cult army, whose palette for those of you not au fait with the dark future of the 41st millenium is predominantly red/purple/blue. My friend is red/blue colour blind and somehow contrived to paint his force in a mixture of light powder blue and white, which made them look like a horde of horrific, alien - traffic wardens.

I'm not entirely sure how colour blindness works, but I'm still baffled at how he managed it. It took three weeks of club nights, before a deputation was formed and I was shoved to the front to break the news to him.

* You have provided a piece of useless trivia relating to the troops on the table to show off your wargaming knowledge. 

Of course.

* You have contradicted someone elses' trivia - demonstrating your superior knowledge and giving you a warm glow inside.

On occasion, yes, though it's bad form.

* You have caused a major disaster on a wargames table (spilling a pint, collapsing the table, dropped someone else's figures on the floor).  Mark has flattened two tables in the past year - and he was losing both battles....

I have sort of - I was GMing an rpg at a convention in 1999, that was taking

* You have cheered when an opponent's dice lets them down at a critical point (I have literally danced in front of someone when he failed a morale roll) 

I don't think so.

* You have lied to your partner about going gaming.  "Mothers' not very well - just popping around to see her.  I'll be back in about - oh - seven hours".

Not really. I did once attempt to give up wargaming in an attempt to set aside childish things. Mrs Kinch soon chased me back to a more sensible state of affairs.

* You have lied to an attractive woman (man) about your hobby.  

No. I've actually quite forthright about it.

* You have made an opponent cry.  It doesn't count if they are under 8 years old though.

I don't believe so.

* You have painted the same army in the same scale more than once (Monty, you dawg!)  

No. There are limits.

* You have reference books on armies you haven't even got (I have books on ECW, ACW, SYW, 30YW yet not one solitary figure for any of these periods).


* You have bought figures for a period you have never and will never play - because they were cheap.  Step forward my HOTT dwarf and evil goblin armies.


* You have inflicted grevious bodily harm on a dice that has let you down.  This includes the guy who used to drill holes in them and impale the offenders on cocktail-stick stakes and Big Lee taking an axe to one offender.


* You blog or have a web-page about your Wargaming activities


* Your book collection is almost all war and wargames related


* You critique 'war' movies (especially Hollywood war movies) for historical accuracy (like the use of American tanks - Pershings I think - to represent German Panzers in the 'Battle of the Bulge'.)


* You spend car / train journeys checking out the lie of the land - considering which way you would attack from and whether it would make good wargaming terrain.

Oh Dear Lord yes. 

Points Score: Rather more than I probably should like. 


  1. Great answers Mr Kinch! I really enjoyed reading that. I've found that the process of answering the questions can be quite cathartic and brings back many memories.

    Got to know more about he fisticuffs!

    1. Perhaps over a drink someday. It's not a story that is particularly to my credit.

  2. Some of my Merten (or Preiser?) figures were reputedly from Mr. Cushing's collection, but due to a mix-up - 'by' - the seller (I'm being kind) and a lack of provenance...

    Heyho, it's a nice thought!

    1. When the Legend becomes fact, print the Legend.

  3. General Du GourmandNovember 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    played in an unsuitable venue

    I think the battle of the Boyne site on the stone plint in the cold and dark would count for that one

  4. Sounds like Wargamers anonymous to me .... BTW I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Brought back a bunch of fond memories and I do say some ugly ones too! My first go at some WW2 1/72 scale figures were butt ugly however practice makes perfect. I havn't painted a figure in 6 months too busy with other stuff but hopefully at christmas I'll get back into it. Real life has a way of creeping into hobbying or lack of ...Jeff

  5. I believe I shall have to pinch this and enter my own responses.

    Fan of Cushing's work in film though ...

  6. Fortunately I have never played 40k or owned a 40k army though I have a "step grandson" who is trying to inveighle me- he WILL FAIL... as for the rest ... mostly ... probably .... at least once....