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"Getting Young People into Historical Wargaming" Topic

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Must Contain Minis07 Nov 2021 9:46 p.m. PST

A while ago myself and another person heavily involved with the Indie Wargaming scene appeared on The Canadian Wargamer Podcast to talk about our journey into historical and indie games. We also discussed our thoughts with our 60+ year old hosts on how to draw more people into this side of the hobby.

Come give it a listen. I have it embedded and linked on my site.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine08 Nov 2021 12:40 a.m. PST

Pardon my ignorance but what is the indie wargames scene never heard the term before?

Jcfrog08 Nov 2021 3:54 a.m. PST

One of the numerous problems is education. They are coming from zero in history if not reversed ides, zero on even vocabulary, understanding, not to speak of no reading.
Start explaining napoleonic warfare and need company bataillon, lines , chain of command , ranks, balls not boom, scales, everything nearly. Do you or even more, do they have the patience for it? Like my dame trying to install a bit of sophisticated cooking in me. 😃

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2021 7:27 a.m. PST

I disagree with you in part, Jcfrog. If you start going on about companies and battalions and the chain of command, their eyes are going to glass over and they will go back to their Pokemon and Magic cards. Keep it simple and get them pushing figures as quickly as possible. "These are your four infantry units, and this is your cannon. This is your general. We are going to attack that little village in front of us. Movement is X, your guys can shoot X distance. I'll help you as we go…" Get them interested in gaming first. Those who are interested in digging deeper will find the history to read.

Must Contain Minis08 Nov 2021 7:28 a.m. PST

Thanks for the comment JcFrog.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Indie Wargaming is short for wargames published by small and Independent publishers. These are many of the games covered on The Miniatures Page. Basically your non-warhammer stuff and games you can find on The Wargame Vault plus many other places. :)

Must Contain Minis08 Nov 2021 7:30 a.m. PST

79thPA. I really like your take on things.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2021 7:46 a.m. PST

I agree: keep it simple, feed them more detail as their interest dictates.

Napoleonics are highly complex, as a whole, but if you start them with simple inroads, and they like the eye-candy aspects of the uniforms, formations, etc., their interest may increase -- or not. I personally found Napoleonics to be too much, too complex a set of rules, for me. I've played WW II ships, and ground troops, as well as WW I aeroplanes. Out of all of them, I really enjoyed the biplanes rules, figures, and challenges. My gaming group, back in the 90's, was full of rivet counters, and I am not that type of person. I abandoned historical in favor of fantasy. The historical games got me into miniatures gaming, and its varied sub-hobbies. I do not regret it -- I am thankful for it.

I wrote an introductory miniatures game for children and adults, using plastic Army Men figures. I taught classes using it, for my local Community Education program. I never expected the kids to stay with it, I hoped it would spark their interest in historical gaming, possibly, or maybe even other genres of miniature gaming. I do know, however, that they had a lot of fun in my classes, with many repeating my class. In my opinion, you need to ease newbies into miniature gaming of any genre. Overload them with too much information, or too many rules, and you will bury them, and lose them to other hobbies. As they learn the basics, introduce more detail (if desired, if they show an interest). If they choose to keep playing simpler rules, with less complexity and detail, no issue with that, IMO. There is room enough in this hobby for every interest level. Cheers!

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2021 8:02 a.m. PST

As 79thPA mentions … keeping it simple, and hands on up front are both key.

As they get interested, help them do what they are interested in doing, compliment them when they do things, and take an interest in their interest, too. Along the way some will ask questions, and that's when to start giving them some details, but not long lectures. Just enough info for them to ask more questions. Some may get so curious that they'll start on their own paths as well.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2021 10:15 a.m. PST

I just intro'd my 2 g'sons via knights questing
w/very simple rules. First is quest for the
Dragon's hoard (which is a half-dozen of those
gold foil wrapped chocolate coins…)

They are half-way there. Ages 6 and 4 BTW…

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2021 12:23 p.m. PST

Regarding keeping it simple with Napoleonics, there are quite a few ‘higher echelon' rules (one stand=one battalion/regiment/brigade) where the player moves and shoots the stand while assuming the ‘stand commander' has his battalion/regiment/brigade in the appropriate formation (column/line/square).

To increase the ‘eye candy' aspect, as well as slowly teach tactics and doctrine, I've played with youngsters where the rules assumed the commander had the unit in the appropriate formation, but the we used multi-stand units and showed the actual formations, changing as appropriate. Here's what I mean:

-Kiddo A has a four stand unit of line infantry and says he wants to move it. So we help him move it, placing the stands in column, explaining that's how they normally moved.

-Now it's Kiddo B's turn; he has a unit of line infantry in range of Kiddo A's unit that just moved and says he wants to shoot, so we place the four stands into line and let him shoot.

-Back to Kiddo A. He's got a three-stand unit of cavalry and he wants it to charge the unit that just shot, so we let him move the horsies up, placing them in a line in base contact with the infantry that just shot. BUT, we also take the infantry unit and put it's four stands in a square, explaining that's what infantry commanders would do when their unit was charged by cavalry, even pull up a pic on a phone to show the kids how it worked, what it looked like to really cement it in their heads.


I hope that all makes sense. It's not perfect, and perhaps not fair, but it let the kids just worry about moving, shooting, and charging while giving them a some sense of how it was supposed to happen and how it looked.


Volleyfire10 Nov 2021 12:49 a.m. PST

In order to keep their attention I think it needs to be a fast paced game with relatively small forces, otherwise their attention starts to wander and it becomes boring. Bolt Action seems like a good type of game to go with. Anything where they are standing around waiting for their opponent to move lots of brigades of troops around and you've lost them.

Jcfrog10 Nov 2021 4:45 a.m. PST

You are right about the start simple. No doubts. It is just that compared to those born in the 50s up to 60s, we all had parents who lived the war (s), some fought, here and there, ties to and way back to others who did, tales and books.
No shame of it, no taming down, no deconstruction, pride even.
We grew into it, every boy would know, would recognize. It was part of the culture.
It is like me being told cuisine,I even lack the vocabulary, or ma dame with computers. You need a teacher's patience and skill, and they need to be able to get attention more than they are used to. Too much for me.

John Michael Priest10 Nov 2021 5:45 p.m. PST

I used 54mm gaming in my high school history classes. It really motivated some of the students.

coopman14 Nov 2021 4:37 p.m. PST

Get a copy of Neil Thomas' "One Hour Wargames" and you'll be well on your way.

AICUSV17 Nov 2021 5:31 p.m. PST

I'm putting a simple game for my grandsons (7&9), using Plastic army men and tanks. Rules are very basic. I'll let them play and develop their own more complex rules in the future. .

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2021 5:26 a.m. PST

I think the complexity and the lore/fluff of 40k and such demonstrates that younger gamers CAN absorb and learn details from historical periods, the trick is to convince them to WANT to.

I think a nice battlefield filled with decently-painted Nappies or ACW or whatever can wow a young non-historical gamer, if they see it. I have seen many a 40k or fantasy player stop and ask questions at historical games. That is why on other forums I have advocated that we put on games at general gaming conventions more often.

Then the question is to what resources do we point them when they ask. What books to read, uniform guides to buy/find, and figures to shop for.

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