Nicely Laid Out Terrain from a Club Game of WWII Bolt Action:
I read it all the time! I see it all the time too: I read about it and I observe it said over and over again, many times.. ad infinitum: “The terrain and the modelling are as important as the game itself.” Actually I take exception to that statement as, who has the right to set the standard of what is good and what isn’t. I once actually watched one guy (an older fella, approaching his sixties) painstakingly painted his entire army. He had come along one week to the club I used to attend, with a mind to taking up wargaming: something he had wanted to do all his life, and now his wife had died, he wanted something to immerse in. It took him months, meticulously learning how it was done, and he painted his horses, and his artillery train, all his little generals and staff officers, command elements, and line infantry, dragoon mounted foot, all the flags.. individually, and wow, he stuck at it; and over the winter he managed to paint it all (I had helped him to pick and choose his collection in September, and by the following summer, wow, he has finished the lot: about 400 figures I think). He looked so proud of himself. The Summer came and he was excited, and bought his finished army to the club hoping to get a game or two....... because, this guy, eager not to be a burden on anyone, had even taken the time to find out the popular rulebook and supplement manuals used by the club, for the era he had chosen to collect in (Black Powder Napoleonics): and then he purchased that set of rules and learned them as thoroughly as he could, without actually playing.
The Proud Collection
But then something happened I hadn’t expected. It had not even occurred to me all the time I had watched this lovely elderly gentleman work away on his models. I had encouraged him throughout and was so proud of him for sticking to it. But at the club the guys looked at his collection with what I can only describe as petty disdain. And for the first time I saw it... they were comparing their own amazingly painted works of art to his first time at it, barely average miniatures, with no ink wash, no fine line detailing, face shadow or dry brushing to speak of, and I l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y could see it going through their minds: “I`m not putting MY miniatures on a table near THOSE” I even heard a whispered joke about: “Put your men too close to that lot, and they may come down with a virus or something.” Suffice to say, this poor man could not find a willing opponent to play with, as everyone avoided playing against him like he (or rather, his collection) had the plague. After some weeks, he just stopped coming to the club. And my heart broke for him. Next club meeting, I stood up and told the guys what I thought of them and where they could stick their club, and I took my stuff and walked away, and never went back again.
Every gamer should try attend at least one of these big game conventions every year if they can: it will open your eyes to so much within the hobby.
I went back found the man, and I played games with him for a while, twice a week. It would make his day. It wasn’t really my subject, but I had a blast with this man, because he was so lovely and the games ended up being amazing fun. In the end I found him an opponent (someone else who had just gotten into wargaming, and wasn’t sure what to go for). I introduced them to one another. It turned out both their wife’s had gone, but their women had known each other through local social community activities. So the new guy (Bob) decided he would collect Napoleonic French (as Jake had been collecting mostly English) and Jake and Bob became close friends, and found a deep passion for the joys of gaming, and a new friendship that was obviously going to last for life.
Super Dungeon Explore: it really is a super game.
They did an amazingly lovely thing for me, even though I had, by now, stopped playing and left them both to it... the next Christmas, they both chipped in and bought me Super Dungeon Explore, which is how I ended up owning my very own boxed set, and developed such an intense love for chibi/anime gaming. It was so sweet of them and so very appreciated, and they should not have, but I thought it was lovely of them, and every time I get the game out and enjoy playing it, I think of those two lovely gentlemen. I still go visit them sometimes for “a game of Napoleon and Welly” as they both seem to call it hehe.
Pulp Fiction Narrative Adventure: Our Heroine Actress is just being told "And ACTION" as the camera man prepares to shoot. But suddenly an Intruder makes an unwelcome appearance though the jungle tree line.
But anyway, I`ve done it again, like a Bill Connolly sketch, I`ve gone all round the houses to get back to the point where I began. “The terrain and the modelling are as important as the game itself.” Assuming you set out wanting to make your games look amazing, and let’s face it, sometimes it IS nice (especially if you are a solo gamer) to spend time to make your table top endeavours look absolutely amazing to the eye.
A Solo Girl Gamer
The solo gamer is unfettered by the problems facing the more gregarious hobbyist. The man (or nowadays, woman too) who has to consider an opponent, or multiple club opponents all the time, barely has time to think outside the box, as he is struggling just to make the club meetings, or the scheduled weekly game with his good friend Joe Blogs: all his attention is focussed on making regular time, and making sure he has what’s needed, for the next game session.
A Club Game Laid Out and Ready For the Evening`s Game.
However, the soloist has all the time in the world. He or she can play, scheme, cogitate, and get lost in intricate details and minutia that simply isn’t usually possible for the ordinary non soloist to achieve.. probably due to time restraint alone (a strange thing happens to the human mind when it is forced to meet time tables, like weekly meets: give a man responsibility he feels beholden to commit to and fulfil, and he will actually tend to get less done than if he can work at his own pace. Any good wife will work this one out for herself in time, I am told by Hil, hehe).
But there are two types of hobbyist, and it’s actually fairly easy to see which of these categories you fall in. Your work space. Does your work space look like this:
If you are now wincing in pain as it’s a little close to the bone, then you probably recognise something of yourself here. The scruffy hobbyist is far less likely to get things done in an orderly fashion: “I have A B C and D to complete for the next game, so I need to get on with it” this type of gamer usually works in a tidy space and yes he does make his personal goals the majority of the time. The hobbyist who works in a clutter is more likely to have piles of unpainted lead, cupboards and boxes full of half finished projects and collections he simply lost steam with, half way through. He usually never makes social functions (like club games) and is content to wallow in non productivity *grins* Nothing wrong there, just you won’t achieve much is all.
Make a tidy work space. KEEP it tidy. You are far more likely that way, to feel motivated to complete the task in hand, whatever that personally may be for you.. only you know that one. Work systematically. Set yourself goals, and try achieving them. The rewards will bring in dividends for you.
The Ideal Game Board... no clutter, neat and tidy. Conducive to PLAY.
Doesn’t take much to make your own hobby more fulfilling for yourself. It can be as simple as being inspired by something you read on a blog.
Article by Tarot.