Hobby: The Last Man Club

For years my blog was called History Stuff that Interests Me and what I wrote up was just that.

Recently, I began to wonder how I might include my other historical interest-the world of miniature historical wargaming.

What exactly is Miniature Historical Wargaming?

Here’s a bit of personal history as I try to answer the question.

I started wargaming way back in the late 1960’s when I was in High School. It certainly was “not cool” and in general you really didn’t talk about it to your peers unless you knew they did it also. (Try explaining to a girlfriend that you can’t see her Saturday because you are playing with little soldiers-not cool!)

The hobby was related to plastic model building (tanks, airplanes, ships) and basically that’s how you got to know another guys who had an interest in WW2 history-a conflict that most of our dads participated in.

What got some of us interested in historical miniature wargaming was the availability of 1\72 (HO scale) plastic figures and tanks. Airfix was the maker of the figures and Roco the maker of the tanks. The small scale vehicles and soldiers was related to model building as they were painted and sometimes modified to look as real as possible.

At the time there was a board game company called Avalon Hill (might still be around). Avalon Hill made historical wargames to be played on a card board map about the size of a Monopoly board. Some us really got into the Avalon Hill games with their detailed rules and cardboard counters that represented historical units and the campaigns of WW2, the Civil War and other periods.

Historical Miniature Wargaming takes the board game concepts and makes the game 3 dimensional. Instead of a Monopoly sized board a tabletop is utilized. The table top varies in dimension but a 6′ by 4′ is common if you have the room.

This my 4′ by 4′ gaming table. Note the model buildings that serve as terrain features in the game.

The tabletop is populated by hand painted figures and these days many wargamers are capable of little works of art. Terrain is added to the table top and in that the table starts to look like the very best model rail road people can produce.

The historical part can be and often is more important than an actual game. The reason for this is the research. Although it varies from gamer to gamer some of us are meticulous about the history. This includes having the right uniform on the right figure for the right time period. It also includes, when available, the names of the actual units that were involved. The name of the unit pictured below is the 2nd Canadian Continental Regiment. This particular regiment has a historical background and a historical uniform and as you can see a historical flag. It takes a genuine interest in the period in question to uncover details like that!

The figures are actually plastic and were painted over 45 years ago when a friend and I started to game the War of Independence period. It was 1976 and the Bicentennial was popular. The Liberty flag was recently added to the old collection.

To all that is added the rules of the game. The complexity of the rules is a variable depending on a person’s interests, scale (meaning small games with a few figures or large games with hundreds of figures), time and so forth and so on. Games at Conventions can be massive or they can be small-it just depends on the size of the groups involved, their interests and what they are trying to accomplish.

Typical set of wargame rules. The scale for this set is less than 75 figures per side (but it can work with more).

When it works best is when you have a number of people with common historical interests to not only play the game but truly understand the history of the period you are gaming in. In this way it’s like any other hobby where people can get together around a common interest, enjoy one another’s company and have fun playing a game

These days everything seems to measured against political correctness and\or whatever social justice is supposed to mean. Most mature wargamers are perfectly aware that any connection with real war and playing games is pure fantasy. Usually, the interest is simply history and playing a game. Politics is rarely mentioned and the injustices of war and the periods in which they take place are not matters for a wargame table. I’ve often thought that’s how sports used to be before it became so polarized and politicized that my interest in football has dramatically declined. In the end most wargamers just want to have some fun around a mutual interest.

The small group that I wargame with is called The Last Man Club. The name reflects the fact that 3 out of 4 of us got back to the 1960’s and we are all in our sixties. Most of the people we knew back in the 70’s and gamed with have either moved on, passed on or in other ways lost connection. All of my posts will fall into that category and often be featured as a link to my blogger blog titled The Last Man Club.

For those of you interested I also run a group on MeWe titled Miniature Historical Wargames.

I’m also involved in a number of wargame groups on FaceBook. The purpose of groups like that is to keep in some sort of contact with gamers around the world and see their work. At times some genuine friendships can be made in this fascinating hobby for history nerds such as myself.

The intent of this separate page is to simply explain my hobby to those unfamiliar with it.

2 comments on “Hobby: The Last Man Club

  1. Very interesting. I could relate to everything here, although I never got into wargaming. For many years I subscribed to Strategy and tactics magazine, which included a historic turn-based war game in each issue.

    I loved it, but since my dad was in the service, we kept moving around, and I never really connected with any other like-minded gamers.

    Glad to hear how you’re continuing to enjoy the hobby. Most folks I know who game are into the fantasy genre (e.g. warhammer). Wouldn’t be my choice though… since one loses the historical research dimension. (Yes, I realize their fantasy universe has its own history–but it’s fake!)

    • Yes, many a S&T game as well as Avalon Hill game back in the day. I love the research that went into those and the research I do with the historical miniatures. Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

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