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"Is Historical Wargaming Dying or Dead?" Topic

18 Posts

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Tango0115 Aug 2021 9:17 p.m. PST

"This is a topic that been raging all over the net quite recently after Little Wars uploaded a YouTube video regarding the topic. So as a historical war-gamer a few people have asked me for my opinion regarding this issue. Now I started wargaming in the early 80's playing a set of war-game rules using my Airfix models, before being introduced to Warhammer Fantasy Battles, along with D&D.

I've always played historical over the years and from my days as a teen up to day, most of my opponents have been older gamers, as a teenager I had to play gamers who were in their 20's or older, as I've gotten older the age of my opponents have come closer to my age. Though a lot of the gamers I play today didn't start off playing historical games when they were younger, they originally played Fantasy or Sci-Fi games, predominantly Warhammer Fantasy or 40K. They made the switch or added historical games to their repertoire as they became older…"
From here


Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Aug 2021 9:46 p.m. PST

Not this again…..

John the OFM15 Aug 2021 11:52 p.m. PST

This has been a topic of discussion in gaming periodical since 1975. The internet has only made the discussion worse.
It's tiring.

Chimpy16 Aug 2021 1:36 a.m. PST

Murphy +1. It was my initial reaction as well.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2021 2:21 a.m. PST

Those darned kids and their orcs….only the first lot of darned kids and their orcs are now about fifty or sixty years old, and a lot of them have found Napoleonics (or Malburians)

gamershs16 Aug 2021 2:21 a.m. PST

When Dungeons and Dragons came in the miniatures manufacturers were pushing fantasy figures and the complaint was that there were going to be no new historical figures. A D&D player only needed a few figures and a historical player needed dozens or even hundreds (or thousands?). So the miniatures manufacturers went back to historical miniatures.

When HMGS came into existence fantasy games were excluded from HMGS conventions. At the time I was putting on a Star Guard game at the conventions. I was officially listed as future history and was allowed to put on my games under HMGS.

LaserGrenadier Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2021 3:06 a.m. PST

Apparently, and sadly, some wargamers seem to be dying, but wargaming survives in its many forms.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2021 4:34 a.m. PST

The king is dead. Long live the king.

Stryderg16 Aug 2021 4:59 a.m. PST

Life, no one survives!

Kevin C16 Aug 2021 7:48 a.m. PST

Even as a young person I always preferred historical miniatures to fantasy or sci-fi. That said, I am not typical in this respect. It has been my observation that many people start off in their younger years interested in fantasy and sci-fi, but as they age they either move on to historical miniatures, or add historical miniatures to their hobbies. Therefore, historical miniature players, like model train enthusiasts, have always tended to be older on average than fantasy and sci-fi players. Thus, the greying of the hobby should not be seen as the dying of the hobby, because it has always been a grey-tinged hobby. That said, I would also add another observation. Historically speaking (no pun intended) historical miniatures have tended to be associated with larger scale table-top battles (think Napoleonics, etc.) and therefore, quite expensive for kids, teenagers and twenty-somethings to get in to. The recent uptrend in skirmish level games, however, have the potential to bring in younger players. However, even if this doesn't happen, for the reasons that I mentioned previously, historical miniature collecting and playing are not dying hobbies.

Oddball16 Aug 2021 9:13 a.m. PST

I've been in the hobby for 40 years and was hearing that it was dying when I first started rolling dice.

Andrew Walters16 Aug 2021 10:08 a.m. PST

I wish I had kept all the magazine and newspapers from the '80s and '90s saying Apple Computer would be dead within a year. It was a constant thread. Apple did okay.

This hobby is thousands of years old. It will never die. It will change with technology and social attitudes. Older people will always think it's changing for the worse. Since for the last generation or two it has been a large-business driven hobby some people will always think that since it's not Disney or Walmart it must be dying. But it will outlive us and our grandkids.

Some people just say silly things.

Swampking16 Aug 2021 11:43 a.m. PST

There is no way that a hobby that has manufacturers by the tens of dozens is "dying" or "dead".

The right question to ask is what about the wargaming convention – is it 'dying' or 'dead' in the age of Covid? Even with the "vaccines" (yes, I know they are NOT vaccines in the strict sense), will gamers go to cons anymore?

Capt John Miller16 Aug 2021 4:40 p.m. PST

Funny that this topic came up. I addressed it here:

YouTube link

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2021 8:19 p.m. PST

This has been a topic of discussion in gaming periodical since 1975.

My gloss on John the OFM's astute comment would be as follows: "This has been a topic of discussion that we can remember seeing in gaming periodicals since 1975."

It would not surprise me if, a hundred years ago, people were finding the end of historical gaming in people using H.G. Well's Little Wars rules for battles set in his The War of the Worlds.

gamershs18 Aug 2021 9:51 p.m. PST

I also was told that historical miniatures were dying. No one was going to buy the hundreds (thousands) of models needed to put on a game. Naval rules were popular because it required fewer models and no terrain. We played Fletcher Prat rules (using 1/1200 scale) and it turned out the post WW2 modification.

Bought a copy of the original Fletcher Prat naval rules (the ones that came out before WW2). Ship scale was 1/700 and all ships were scratch built so how many ships you owned depended on your woodworking skills. You guessed the range and if you hit a model of a ship was put on the wall and you threw darts at it. I think modern rules are a little bit more realistic and do not rely on your skills with darts.

Gorgrat04 Sep 2021 7:01 a.m. PST

Dying? Difficult to say.

I'd say more evolving than dying.

On the one hand, I've attended cons since I was a teenager in the late 70s. Back then you saw oceans of tricolors and inion Jack's battling it out across vast green painted sheets of plywood, trying to reverse (or keep stable) the course of history.

Maybe a quarter of the tables had fantasy battles on them.

Now that situation has far more than reversed. Same for in-store gaming.

Truth is truth.

Closest I have been able to come to running a historical game for these whippersnappers, is organizing a DnD game where the players are Foreign Legionnaires. But it is not really historical.

Yes, there will be battles with the Arabs, and attempts to perform treacherous deeds in Fort Zinderneuf, but I also had to promise to throw in Cthulhu, Tarzan, lost cities, etc.

Even then, I got some skeptical looks, and requests to play elves that crossed over from other dimensions. One guy even asked to play a spawn of Yog-Sothoth. Kind of a kinsman of Wilbur Whateley who joined the Legion…

Uh… we'll see.

And we'll see if I finally get enough interest to make it happen.


For anyone who is interested, issue 5 of The Whisperer magazine has an excellent article on player character Legionnaires in Call of Cthulhu. This is very well written and researched, and can be used with OSR DnD without conversion. I daresay probably also with 5e.

It is old, but still floating around on the web.

Albus Malum12 Jan 2022 10:50 p.m. PST

While I am primarily a Fantasy Wargammer, (but not GW) I would love to do ancients ( greeks, or romans) and also would love to do a crusader army and I hope to print a and paint a "Age of Sail" fleet.

In the small town I live, I cant see it being practical to attempt to do historical, and its even a little impractical for the fantasy, other than my young son to play with.

As I dabble in the 3d printing, I have noticed that there are finally a small few of patreons starting to try to support historical by creating the stls needed for people to print historical armies, but sadly, not so many people are supporting those patreons, where many people are supporting the better fantasy stl creators.

As for scifi, I personally dont have any interest in it. I think people like it, because its easy to paint space marines and find a gameer to play with.

One of the things about historical is the question of what time period. If I buy and paint a Napoleonic army, and you have a ACW army? do you want to have a battle against me, or if I have War of the Roses, and you have Crusaders? what then? and so forth.

Where as with Fantasy, you bring some orcs, and I bring orcs also, or elves, or undead, or even a crusader army, ( if we are not meeting in a GW store, ( never seen one) we can have a game. With miss matched Historical, likely not.

There is another thing about Historical vs Fantasy, even though a person may try to duplicate some particular time period, or certain battle, its all just a assumed representation, ie its a Fantasized version, that is not really going to represent what truly happened, no matter how hard you try… (history is kind of fuzzy)….ie.. even the historical is really fantasy, and at that point, why not just play fantasy. A fantasy game can still be played strictly historical armies, even without any of the typical fantasy elements. In the End, its all Fantasy!

I think with historicals, its the same as me in the small town. If you buy, paint and bring both sides to the table, maybe you can find someone to play, but if you expect to only have one side of the table available, and your a "snob" as many historical people at least present themselves as…. well there you see, there the difficulty of Historicals, whereas a person has more opportunity to actually play with others with the Fantasy or Scifi army that they have invested both time and money in.

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