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"Unplanned skirmish gamer because of the work required?" Topic

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1,677 hits since 9 Jan 2017
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daler240D Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 11:37 a.m. PST

So, I remember getting into miniatures gaming about 4 years ago and being amazed with the pics of the armies people built up. I was initially interested in 18th Century and Napoleonics and started collecting different rules (Sam Mustafa's were a favorite)…then after getting figures and starting the painting…I realized this was never going to happen, not that I didn't enjoy the painting, I do, but…
Anyway, now I am skirmish gaming with Sharp Practice and Two Hour Wargames. Has anyone else ended up as a content skirmish gamer due to "realities" of space/life/money after starting off wit grander plans? If so, do you still think one day you'll amass a large army for big battles or will you stay at this level?

acatcalledelvis09 Jan 2017 11:44 a.m. PST

Sharp practice are a good set of rules – and you can build a core force and then add lots of support options. Keep doing that and you soon will have a large amounts of figures, especially if you are doing both sides!!

I started 28mm with skirmish games after starting whilst young at 25mm. I have soon built up large armies of 28mm by adding a unit there, and unit here. Keep at it.

warwell09 Jan 2017 12:03 p.m. PST

Another option is to go to smaller scales. I play "big battle" games with 3mm (and even then I don't field very many blocks).

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 12:10 p.m. PST

Inspired by articles and photos in Wargamers Digest, I started collecting 1/87 vehicles for big WW2 games in '76 with 1 vehicle = 1 platoon. Quickly realised that it would be awhile before I had enough to play any scenarios. And after acquiring and trying the available rulesets, learned that I didn't enjoy any of them and would likely have to write my own rules once the armies were done.

So worked up a set of skirmish rules and played those for years. Then in '86, Command Decision was published which was exactly what I had been looking for in the 70's, and by then I had enough vehicles and troops painted and ready to roll!

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

I like painting and enjoy skirmish rules less than big battle rules so went with smaller scales.

There is just a certain satisfaction in being able to field a complete German Corps for 1914 in 10mm that I find difficult to obtain with a few (even better painted) 28mm for EnGarde etc.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 1:08 p.m. PST

I started out with a "mature" group. They were happy to add new players, but didn't have a crying need for more troops. (Two newbies obviously made for some fairly small battles.) So I could fight big battles for years before I could field big armies.
Looking back, I should have had one big scale to correspond with the group and other armies/periods smaller and cheaper for home use. But the options were more limited at the time, and I didn't always have the information--or the intelligence!--to pick up on the ones which were open to me.

Personal logo Dale Hurtt Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member09 Jan 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

Yes, except that it was not unplanned. My approach for Napoleonics in 42mm had always been skirmish > big skirmish > small battle > medium battle > big battle. I am up to big skirmish right now. grin

An alternative is to switch rules as you progress. Base figures singly and use movement trays to support unit frontages. Some rules require six figures for a battalion, while others want 24. Start with the lower resource rules first and move up as you staff up.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 1:49 p.m. PST

Not explicitly for those reasons but skirmishing does have the advantage that you could buy a few bags of figures, paint them up and have fun without committing to painting up 300 15mm blokes and then realising you'd rather have stuck with WW2.

sillypoint09 Jan 2017 2:17 p.m. PST

Those reasons apply, but for me mainly wanting to sample a period, without having to have a whole army.
Putting together a William Wallace game using Lion Rampant was less a commitment than gathering enough figures for a traditional tabletop battle.

45thdiv09 Jan 2017 2:18 p.m. PST

I like the look of too many eras so skirmish games give me a chance to paint up units I really like and can play with. I do have larger armies but they have been building up for years.

Schogun09 Jan 2017 2:34 p.m. PST

I started playing SP1 because I could finally do Napoleonics without having to paint a lot of figures. But then began…need some Spanish…and some Portuguese. Ooh, Brunswickers! And Nassau. Lots of French allies in the Peninsula, so a unit of Baden, and Hesse Darmstadt and Westphalians. And I need more cavalry. And a few more artillery.

So just the opposite -- what started out as small scale skirmish has grown into a collection of hundreds of figures!

WillieB Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 4:00 p.m. PST

Exactly as Shogun.
Worse in fact. Sharp Practice is a fantastic ruleset but not intended for a butterfly brain like me.
I always wanted if for the Indian Mutiny but my armies aren't finished yet. Same for my Napoleon in Egypt. Luckily my FIW is ready and several clubmembers have ACW and AWI figures.
But the real devious thing is that you 'only' need say about 100 figures to play a new period. And those Studio Afghan War miniatures looked great so I bought them. After all, I already had Pathans for my Indian Mutiny…
Now, those Cape Wars figures look mighty good too and since I only need a mere handful…

AICUSV09 Jan 2017 4:14 p.m. PST

The group I started gaming with was a old well established group that had no shortage of figures. But coming into the hobby from being a figure painter I wanted to do something. I would paint up individual units to add to our already large forces or begin a new period only to find that the line was incomplete. I then decided I would do a small group of ACW figures in the new large 28mm scale for a skirmish game. I now have 2 Federal Corps and 2/3 rds of the Army of Northern Virginia.

coopman Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 7:47 p.m. PST

Yes, sometimes.

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 10:24 p.m. PST

I have painted 2,000 15mm Naps 1,200 10mm Naps, 1,000 10mm ACW, only to sell them off at lead cost. As you age your eyes will fail and 28mm will seem on the small side, and since its hard to fit 2,000 28m on a gaming table you end up doing skirmish or WW2. You'll be fine.
Here is a picture of my Stalingrad "skirmish" 200 figures 8x10 table and an AWI game.

marshalGreg10 Jan 2017 7:59 a.m. PST

Yes- I finally amassed a substantial collection for the mass games, after 35 year wait.
Starting enforce ~2010. Going strong since.
Only problem now is my gaming buddies have either lost interest or moved away!
So no buddies to play with, without traveling 1/3 the country side ( of the USA that is). :-P

Keep a stiff upper lip and continue to recon! We only have one life time to do this!


Glenn Pearce10 Jan 2017 12:40 p.m. PST

Hello daler240D!

No, when I started in the 70's there were few if any skirmish games or rules. Everyone was working towards the big battles in 25mm. It took me two years just to find a group and once I did I became a prisoner of their goals. Regardless we never really amassed big enough armies until near the end of that era when we realized that the scale was the actual problem for all of our woes, both collectively and individually.

We switched to 6mm in the late 70's and have never looked back. You can skirmish game in a month, fight small battles in six months, bigger ones within a year. This is all by yourself. By the end of our first year we had Napoleonic French, Austrian and Prussian armies within the group. Today we have thousands of figures for a lot of periods. Players come and go some take their collections others donate them. Still the collection and periods just grows and grows giving everyone a ton of options.

Today firms like Baccus 6mm are producing figures that are really 25mm quality in 6mm scale. So the sooner you get into 6mm the sooner you will break free of your larger scale prison.

Hope this helps you out in some way.

Best regards,


Marc the plastics fan10 Jan 2017 1:38 p.m. PST

Keep painting. I have 500 imagis, several thousand Naps, several hundred WW2, four hundred ACW. More to come. So just keep painting

alien BLOODY HELL surfer Inactive Member10 Jan 2017 3:28 p.m. PST

my problem is I cannot get back into painting but I still keep buying – and have way more than I could use or display where I live lol

14Bore10 Jan 2017 4:24 p.m. PST

Am thinking of getting a skirmish rule but maybe with a twist. Havd unused 7yw figures – 24 musketeers, a few officers, around 18 artillery men but recently picked up 3 musket firing women and a couple Russian partisans. But could use all in a 7yw skirmish with 1 =1 and maybe in a sci-fi scenario.

Vidgrip10 Jan 2017 7:05 p.m. PST

I would have happily gone the skirmish route, but haven't cared for any of the historical rule sets I've seen. Fortunately, there are "large scale" systems that don't require a huge number of figures. I recently started a new period (19th Century unification wars) using Neil Thomas' book. 12 figures (mounted three per base) is a regimental sized maneuver unit. A two-player game might use 100 figures per side. I admit, that's more than most skirmish games require, but still fairly manageable.

Fantasy gaming is another matter and there are plenty of skirmish rules I enjoy for that.

Glad you found skirmish gaming to your taste. If you are having fun with it, no need to change just because you can.

Personal logo edmuel2000 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2017 12:46 p.m. PST

Don't worry. Give it a few years and you'll have plenty more figures.

Mick the Metalsmith11 Jan 2017 3:18 p.m. PST

I came to it as a refreshing excuse to buy the 28mm figs and reading too much Cornwell. I have plenty of big battle armi es in 15 but the old RPGer in me said skirmish with individual napoleonic figs would be just too much fun to ignore. Why should it just be fantasy that get the treatment.

cae5ar11 Jan 2017 3:20 p.m. PST

daler240D, you describe a very similar experience I went through, and I suspect is increasingly common with the time constraints we all find ourselves under these days.

I also like Sam's games but now find myself playing Sharp Practice, Bolt Action and SAGA for the reasons you have mentioned. I'm not too disappointed, as these are all fun games, achievable in an evening, and we can usually rustle up plenty of interest.

Another solution we found was to start collecting a smaller scale to play the classic big battles, so we also play Maurice with 10mm 18th Century armies that have evolved very quickly and painlessly.

Queen Catherine15 Jan 2017 11:30 a.m. PST

I think that skirmish gaming is just as fun and engaging – and detailed, if you like – as big periods, but faster, more economical, etc.

2HW are certainly a great set to use since most expand up into larger numbers of figs, and they are very suitable to solo gaming, so you can continue gaming between games you host with others and not feel like you have to stop your narrative and await a big game.

This sort of thing helps keep me motivated, anyway. I don't necessarily use any one ruleset, but that's my goal regardless of ruleset.

It also gives me motivation to quickly paint up a small force and get gaming, which is motivating. Also, it usually teaches me how I'm going to paint that batch of figures.

Case in point, the gang and I are preparing Northwest Frontier Brits / Pathans in 54mm plastics from Armies in Plastic. I've never held one of these figs before, so it's going to be a learning experience from day 1. I'll end up taking my batch and painting up 5-10 each of Pathans and Limeys, and then I'll start skirmish gaming at a 1:1 ratio with each fig being a separate unit that can also act together. So the unit is 1 figure, but they can act together with a leader.

This will keep me going while I work on the rest of my share of stuff.

Also, we blog our stuff, which helps keep us interested.

Queen Catherine17 Jan 2017 8:13 p.m. PST

Oh, and here's some Skirmish battles, rules, AARS etc.
Hope it's inspirational.

Most of the Skirmish stuff will continue on the 40mm sister blog as it is heading to the Northwest Frontier, but that's another story!

CaptainKGL20 Jan 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

Love the big battle look,not enough time to paint the troops needed. Went to 6mm for big battle look. 15mm for skirmish games. I like the scale size for that format, easier to paint 40 figures at 15mm too vs 1000+ . I use SP2 for skirmish games. Brits, French, Prussian and Russian are in that 15mm collection. 6mm are French Rev and Austrian.

huron72521 Aug 2017 3:27 p.m. PST

Been a 'by choice' skirmish gamer from almost day one. And will most likely always be.

Not into big battles at all. Played them before but just not my thing.

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