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"Is it better to drill deep or sample Miniatures periods?" Topic

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13 Apr 2019 11:32 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

MiniPigs13 Apr 2019 11:13 a.m. PST

So what would you rather have, a couple of wargaming miniatures collections that have all the bells and whistles or small amounts of adequate but lean miniatures collections that allow you to game many periods with smallish, bare bones forces?

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 11:19 a.m. PST

I'm primarily a "digs deep" gamer, but I do have a few adequate but lean periods. My larger challenge is that I tend to "dig deep" in too many periods. grin


MiniPigs13 Apr 2019 11:27 a.m. PST

Yeah, Im with you colonel. I just did my taxes and looked at my wargames expenditures and it's a good thing I engage in this hobby with my heart and not with my mind. Although, I tend to combine the excesses of both gourmet and gourmand, I think I like a handful of periods with all the options. I like it because my storage space is limited and I can only game once a month. Thus it's not like I get sick of a period.

The key for me is gaming periods I'll never tire of like Napoleonics, WW2, ACW, AWI, Colonials.

But even with Colonials, it's tempting to do some of this and some of that and end up with hordes of miniatures. I am concentrating on NW Frontier and I want to do a handful of Darkest Africa too. But even with darkest Africa, I find it hard to know what nation's Askaris to do up in order to use in multiple cross-periods and it seems I always want more witch doctors than ever existed…

Uncle Goblin13 Apr 2019 11:29 a.m. PST

Same, we end digging deep in many periods.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 1:46 p.m. PST

Digging deep in a few periods and always adding another unit as I discover them.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 2:04 p.m. PST

I dug deep for many years. Now I'm starting to ask questions about table size, game length and necessary numbers of units and castings.

If I'd asked those questions 40 years ago, the garage would be less crowded, and I'd be spending less of my life manning a flea market table.

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 3:52 p.m. PST

I prefer digging deep, building large armies with all or nearly all the troop and equipment types available.

Martin Rapier14 Apr 2019 1:20 a.m. PST

If I'm starting a new period I buy and paint enough stuff to do a reasonable range of typical engagements. So I guess that is lean.

I then spend the next 40 years adding more and more and more stuff to it.

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 6:27 a.m. PST

Lean but with lots if choice of factions like Saga – variety is the spice of gaming

Dynaman878914 Apr 2019 6:55 a.m. PST

If it gets on the game table it is a must. If it does not get on the game table it is a collectible. Which is fine if you want collectibles for the sake of having collectibles.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 10:29 a.m. PST

I like to refer to it as the Airfix method. Many periods with enough figures for a small game between two people. There are a couple of periods that warrant larger armies with some bells an whistles but for the most part 50-80 figures a side works well for me, some periods can have less but they tend to need more scenery.

DBA does this well, as does Saga and the Rampant series. Sharp Practice, Chain of Command, Crossfire and Bolt Action also work well for this approach if you keep your options under control.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 11:30 a.m. PST

Define "better."

vichussar Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

40 odd years ago I started gaming WWII in 1/76/72 with my late brother using Charles Grant's Battle:Practical Wargaming.
Then in my teens I joined a local wargames club and was introduced to 1/700 naval using Fletcher Pratt; ACW with airfix figs and rules; 25mm Napoleonic with various rules including Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature and Empire; Never could get into ancients but was introduced to 15mm 30yw using George Gush and Tercio rules.
The arrival of Phil Barkers DBx rules finally allowed my expansion of interest into Ancient and Medieval periods in 15mm.
I took a brief look at Warhammer Fantasy/40k but it never really appealed to me although I do have the Space Crusade boardgame with the expansions.
Today my collection stands at:
WW2 Polish (Mediterranean Theatre 43-5)
Modern Canadian (Cold War)
Jordanian (Arab-Israeli Wars)

Ancient Mithridatic/Pontic
Medieval Sicilian-Norman
30YW Swedish
Napoleonic Wurrtemberg (1809/12)

Napoleonic Wurrtemberg (started 35yrs ago and my oldest)
French Indian Wars (skirmish Musket & Tomahawk)
Weird War 2 Russian (Secrets of the 3rd Reich skirmish)

1/2400 & 1/3000 naval
Japanese (1942 Indian Ocean raids)

My library covers all the above plus I like collecting and reading different rules sets for the periods I play even though they won't be used necessarily.

So does that count as deep immersion or Period sampling?
I would say both, I sampled a number of periods over the years but then immersed myself in those I have kept.

Aquahog15 Apr 2019 2:40 a.m. PST

I go deep for one "period" i.e. 10mm fantasy and then it's pretty much sampling for other parts of the collection. There's some historical periods, some sci-fi and fantasy universes. Detailed analysis available at:


UshCha15 Apr 2019 5:05 a.m. PST

I just do one period deeply as a wargamer. Even then its hard to get your head round one army. Multiple armies means you would never master any of them. Wargaming would just be pushing toys around, definitely not me.

Timmo uk15 Apr 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

I've simply aimed to get enough to be able to play the multiple periods I'm interested in with some variation to the OOB that I can hope to field.

I would get bored of painting the same thing over and over again so I was never going to have one period in great depth. I like air and naval gaming as well as H&M.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 10:19 a.m. PST

I tend to go deep. There comes a point I just say enough is enough. Usually when I get enough figures to be able to do any scenario in the scenario book. Which also handles all my written scenarios.

MiniPigs26 Apr 2019 11:55 a.m. PST

Well, I like to have enough variety and enough to cover all the options plus some nice vignette and objective features. It could be that the fun and usability of the rules plus the inventiveness of the scenarios are more important than how many units you use.

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