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"Your shortcomings as a wargamer" Topic

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4th Cuirassier24 Feb 2023 3:34 a.m. PST

One of the ads I'm being show here is for a book about how to win wargames.

Now there is every kinda gamer. Some people are rules lawyers, some people are excessively (or insufficiently) preoccupied with uniform details, some people insist that you can't have that unit because the L/70 wasn't available until late in 1944, or should all be mounted on black horses, or something. I once played a guy who formed infantry squares at the drop of a hat, because they look nice. He used to send tank attacks down roads in a column for the same reason.

My main shortcoming I think is that I don't really care what the outcome is on the tabletop. I couldn't really care less who wins. I just want to admire other people's miniatures, tanks, and ships, absorb the eye candy, argue about whether the Austrians or the French had the second- and third-best Napoleonic artillery systems, drink, and have a few laughs.

I'm thus probably the worst possible co-player for the bloke who wrote the book. He writes a whole book about how to win and I couldn't give a stuff about it either way.

So come on, weigh in. What's your worst habit?

Prince Rupert of the Rhine24 Feb 2023 4:11 a.m. PST

I hardly ever play an actual game. I collect, paint and convert miniatures, I buy and read rule sets, I spend time on researching a period, I buy and make suitable terrian, I spend way to much time on hobby related websites but actually rolling dice in anger….hardly ever these days. So my shortcoming is I'm a (or I think of myself as one) gamer who never actually games 🤣

RittervonBek24 Feb 2023 4:14 a.m. PST

I must be a close cousin to you both!🤣

JPChris5624 Feb 2023 4:49 a.m. PST

Oh dear . . . Where do I begin and how do I count the ways?

Based on the responses so far, I would hazard that I identify more with Prince Rupert. However, I am on the other side of the scale or spectrum or graph, etc.

I am a solo wargamer and try to average 6 or more battles/scenarios/refights a year. I have nothing to do with miniatures as I do not have the talent nor do I have the discretionary income.

I have a collection of rules, some that are used more often than others. Some just sit in storage. I don't really know why.

I enjoy research as well. As for terrain, well, like my "miniatures," these features are more representative or symbolic or functional than jaw-droppingly stunning in appearance.

Worst habit? Hard to say, even though I tend to be very good at finding fault with myself . . . Maybe my worst habit is writing battle reports instead of other pieces, and using too many words in those battle reports.

Mea culpa, mea culpa . . .


cloudcaptain24 Feb 2023 5:31 a.m. PST

I wonder why I rarely find someone to game with. Then I remember I game in 20mm and 54mm…

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 6:05 a.m. PST

I game about once a month, 12 times a year, at my home. I Usually have 8 to 12 players. I have all the terrain that I could possibly use that represent many different periods.
I love to write our own rules for each period. I love to research the period that I am doing.I have armies in 28mm and 54mm.I love to paint the uniforms, and I love to play with the miniatures.I guess I love everything to do with the hobby.
I used to provide all the snacks for the guys but now they are all trained to bring the snacks, I just provide water. In fact, they started bringing pizza, tacos, etc.
I have a couple of teachers, a cop, a computer expert. the Youth Pastor at our church, three retired Marines and a number of young people from our church. I am an assistant minister at our church also.

rustymusket24 Feb 2023 6:20 a.m. PST

I rarely game due to one reason or another. It seems like no matter how I plan, something interferes with getting together with my gaming friends. I am probably going to quit trying and just collect the Arthurian and AWI 28 mm figs I have been collecting the last several years and set up scenes on my soldier table. I don't really miss the gaming but I enjoy seeing the guys.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 7:13 a.m. PST

I'd need a book to list them, and I don't think Helion would be interested.

steve dubgworth24 Feb 2023 7:41 a.m. PST

I spend most of my hobby time researching modelling and painting very little time on the table. come to think of it i have not played a real game for some years.

i used to play every friday night with my small group of friends but as they have now sadly passed away there is only little me left.

wining was never the be all and end all for me it was asocial thing.

rules were very simple and none of us were rule lawyers but we laughed a great deal.

we used Terry Wise's rules which were simple and we stuck to the spirit of the period.

the only thing we insisted on was painted figures properly based. none of us broke that rule.

my failings I always attacked and kept attacking caution never. Odd as in real life Im a placid sort of guy. if my opponents held their nerve they would win but often they would hesitate and give me a chance. not always though.

Murvihill24 Feb 2023 8:01 a.m. PST

I get to a point where I understand the basic rule system in a game but not the gory little details, then I turn into a rules lawyer and get overly upset when my plans are thrown out of wack by a detail I didn't know.
Once I realize I'm doing it again I stop but there are some unpleasant moments in between.
One of my friends actually tells me I'm going to get pissed off in a game before we even start.

Lancer5824 Feb 2023 8:02 a.m. PST

Game every wednesday, loads different rules and periods, dont care if I win or lose, good banter and pushing metal/plastic figures around the table, sets me up for the rest of the week, been doing it for 50+ years, best hobby out their.

MacColla24 Feb 2023 8:32 a.m. PST

Prince Rupert, you just described me, 100%!

BattlerBritain24 Feb 2023 8:43 a.m. PST

And me 😊

I always seem to be tweeking rules to fit how I think it should play.

But I very rarely play against someone else.

I do have an old friend I play Squad Leader against whenever we meet, which is usually annually. We play Guards Counterattack on an enlarged board, which we play through a couple of times before the beer deflects us to just talking.

Trajanus24 Feb 2023 8:53 a.m. PST

My worst habit is curiosity and consequently never being able to restrict my interest to less than 8-10 Periods, or variants thereof!

And that doesn't even include Board Games, although to be fair, all of those are inside the 8-10 Periods.

After 50 years of this nonsense its a bit late to pull it all back now! 😀

mjkerner24 Feb 2023 9:58 a.m. PST

I too am a first cousin to 4th Cuirassier and Prince Rupert.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 11:00 a.m. PST

My main shortcoming I think is that I don't really care what the outcome is on the tabletop. I couldn't really care less who wins. I just want to admire other people's miniatures, tanks, and ships, absorb the eye candy, argue about whether the Austrians or the French had the second- and third-best Napoleonic artillery systems, drink, and have a few laughs.

This. However, I don't think it's a shortcoming. MH

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 11:24 a.m. PST

My shortcoming is in painting. I just want to get them painted and the board. I don't do washes or dry brush anything. I don't mix paints to get just the right color.
So I am always looking at how well other people's figures look like and feel envious.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 11:42 a.m. PST

I live in Utopia! I game at the club almost weekly, collect loads of figures I will probably never paint, paint some figures that I want to paint, and write/modify rules.

Then there is all that life stuff!

I am too busy to die!!!

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 12:05 p.m. PST

I am a passable strategist, terrible tactician, and a worse die roller. Fortunately I get to play weekly with good friends who laugh with me at my shortcomings.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian24 Feb 2023 1:08 p.m. PST

I am another in the visual and companionship side of the hobby. I enjoy the painting, planning, research and the visual coming together of the hobby. I am fortunate in having the opportunity to get in competitive games 3-4 times a month yet I rarely remember outcomes a day or two later but rather the enjoyment of the process.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 2:31 p.m. PST

My shortcoming in wargaming is that I don't understand why not caring who wins is a shortcoming.

pfmodel24 Feb 2023 5:14 p.m. PST

The main reason figures games enter the figure gaming hobby is the bling of the figures and playing area. If that was not important you would play a boardgame instead. On the other hand once you enter the hobby on this basis you still want a game to end with a clear winner and loser, otherwise you are better off just creating diorama and not worrying about gaming. If there is no desire to win, you lack a stake in the game. ON the other hand if winning was all you were interested in, then you are better off playing competition games. Its all a balance.

Mr Elmo24 Feb 2023 5:36 p.m. PST

I don't play well enough to win a lot. My tournament goal is usually "upper half."

Playing is just a reason to use the models you built and painted.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 6:08 p.m. PST

When I was gaming every weekend, I used to say that I painted 10 hours for every hour gaming. I've really cut down on all that gaming getting in the way of painting.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 9:53 p.m. PST

My shortcoming in wargaming is that I don't understand why not caring who wins is a shortcoming.

I'm with Etotheipi on this point. I'm there to have a good time with others.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 10:41 p.m. PST

I should be gaming every week, but I usually get in one game a month, plus conventions.

I have too many interests as a GM. Narrowing down my painting and collecting would probably benefit my gaming life overall. At last count I have 32 separate projects going (not counting terrain projects); that number should probably go up, because different WWII theaters/campaigns should be counted as separate (e.g., 1944 CBI and 1942 SoPac and 1942 Western Desert planes don't really have any overlap).

I don't have enough interests as a player. I pass up a lot of games because the period, rules, or scenario just make me yawn.

- Ix

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 10:49 p.m. PST

I get 90% of the way through a wargame project and then lose interest which results in not finishing it. I don't want to count the number of unpainted or partially painted figures I have languishing because of this. Now that I'm retired, I play much more often than when I was working and thoroughly enjoy that gaming with a great bunch of guys. So I try not to get upset over not finishing a project.

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2023 11:21 p.m. PST

Dice….dice hate me !

uglyfatbloke25 Feb 2023 4:41 a.m. PST

We play all the time; SWMBO is a little bit (utterly, ruthlessly) aggressive and I am defensive and heavily imbued with sympathy for the little lead and plastic orphans of our fallen soldiers. Most of our games are part of a wider narrative and we don't really have victory conditions any more – you generally know if you've had a good/bad day on the battlefield.

Wolfhag25 Feb 2023 6:01 a.m. PST

My worst habit is I confess to being a war game bigot. I rarely play a game other than my own design. However, I am playing a board game called "Crowbar" solo which I like.

I'll go to a convention and see some stunning tables and then see the rules they'll be using and don't sign up. Then I'll come back to check out the game and know why I didn't sign up. In my opinion, most are too gamey and too much sitting around waiting for your turn. However, people do have fun which counts.

I'm not really a "miniatures guy" as I don't collect and paint figures from any period. Much of the miniatures game "experience" in between turns the social aspect is talking about the hobby, painting, terrain making, etc. which unfortunately I can't really contribute to but do admire people's skills.

From my observation, for most players, the game is a visual experience that creates enjoyment, and "realism" is on the table, more than the rules. Not me but I respect that. I could use wood blocks for my units if the rules were "historic" enough and less "gamey".

To my credit, when I do play in a game that is not my design I keep my mouth shut and don't bitch about the rules, realism, historic tactics, etc.

So is it obvious I'm suffering from a severe case of narcissism? Can anyone recommend a 12-step recovery program for me? Is there any hope for me?


14Bore25 Feb 2023 7:41 a.m. PST

Don't play enough, a big solo game once a year mostly and 2 games at conventions.
As for playing at a convention, not that think I am a bad general, but often don't do what I think is best.

phil bagnall25 Feb 2023 9:34 a.m. PST

Prince Rupert, I don't think I've ever seen someone else describe how I am – a gamer who hardly ever games – so well before. The fact I'm clearly not the only one in this situation is reassuring (though I dearly wish I could game more….)

Prince Rupert of the Rhine25 Feb 2023 10:30 a.m. PST

phil bagnall@ this thread seems to suggest there are quite a few of us 😆

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2023 12:04 p.m. PST

Dice….dice hate me !

Wolfschanza, you mustn't think this makes you a bad wargamer, or even a bad person. Dice hate or love us for reasons entirely their own--probably reasons incomprehensible to those of us who are not polyhedrals. It's nothing you've done, and treating your dice well, or even having custom dice made won't buy their affection. (Well, it shouldn't anyway. We all know what sort of dice will be nice for money. They shouldn't be discussed on a family website.)

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Feb 2023 1:05 p.m. PST

I'm 5'7".

Nine pound round25 Feb 2023 1:08 p.m. PST

I'm a lot more interested in fire and logistics than I am in maneuver, which exerts a corresponding effect on my purchases and painting priorities. I have lots of artillery – the bigger the better! – and all kinds of other troops who don't wave a saber or fix a bayonet: sappers, gendarmes, wagons and artillery trains, you name it. A full regiment of French infantry has sat on my workbench in their white undercoat for weeks as I get brainwaves, and they aren't much closer to completion than they were two weeks ago. Le feu tue, but I need to get more for it to kill, it just takes a long time and the uniforms are all the same, 36 figures' worth.

I guess I'm just a REMF at heart.

UshCha26 Feb 2023 2:15 a.m. PST

Interesting apparently Wahammer has lots of folk who though identifying as gamers never get round to it, so you are not alone.

Me I get grumpy if i miss a game for more than a couple of weeks I normally p[lay one or often twice a week.

Definitely a gaming bigot, I will only play about 3 sets of rules and in reality only play one. The others perfaps once or twice a year.

I love 3D printed prone troops, minimum detail and fast to paint.

I hate based tanks ….. I could go one but that would be Boring, oh and I'm a war games rules boor!

Mark J Wilson26 Feb 2023 4:29 a.m. PST

I have this strange idea that using period tactics should be more important than throwing dice.

Wolfhag26 Feb 2023 5:56 p.m. PST

Determine if your average die roll is above or below the average and find a game that will fit your rolling results where rolling high or low is best. If you are always rolling against odds with less than a 50% chance of success it's not your die rolling it's the game.


4th Cuirassier27 Feb 2023 2:56 a.m. PST

My shortcoming in wargaming is that I don't understand why not caring who wins is a shortcoming.

Well, it can probably be quite irritating for fellow players on your own side who disagree…I've been in games where someone launched their heavy cavalry against unbroken squares, because "it looks kinda cool…like a movie".

One guy in a WW1 naval game allowed his T to be crossed, because he "thought it would be interesting to see what actually happens, when that happens". What happens is, your column falls into total disarray as the leading ships are battered down to a speed of 8 knots, and everyone then merrily collides with each other trying to turn away. Who knew?

I played alongside one guy who sent a column of about six or seven tanks plus half tracks etc down a road, because this looked nice. The first and last were hit from the side by concealed anti-tank, which then blew away everything stranded between them in the middle. "Yeah…I always wondered if you could do that," he remarked.

They were lovely-looking games in which you could see what was happening. Nice turret-top recognition circles and red funnels on the battleships. Nicely airbrushed half-tracks. Heavy cavalry with fuse-wire reins, drybrushed metal on black armour, and foam-flecked horsage. That was all these guys cared about.

I'm kinda the same. I never do completely loony stuff that's sure to lose the game. But I have allowed my flank to collapse rather than reinforce it, because a total rout with cavalry pursuit just…looks interesting.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2023 4:14 a.m. PST

My shortcomings as a gamer ?? Well, ALL AND ANY of the
preceding comments fit !

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2023 4:27 a.m. PST


For me, the best bit of the hobby is making tactical decisions. That means I am impatient to get games onto the table, impatient to have my go, impatient if the game doesn't change fast enough to generate interesting decisions, impatient to finish the game so our decisions have consequences.

- my terrain can look a bit scruffy or improvised as the important thing is to get a functional layout on the table, not win prizes for dioramas
- I often use proxies rather than wait to finish painting the right army
- I dislike game systems where only one player at a time can act, rather than all the players on one side acting simultaneously
- I dislike game systems that are too slow and laborious for the game to move along swiftly, or scenarios that are too ambitious for the chosen rules, hence games take forever or even fail to finish.

I expanded on some of these aspects in these essays from my series of "Reflections on Wargaming":

On the virtues of IGO-UGO

A popular (if contentious) one on why pre-Napoleonic warfare is linear and limited and hence produces far fewer interesting decisions:

Who cares if we don't finish the game?

A link to all the collected Reflections is here:

Wolfhag27 Feb 2023 4:27 a.m. PST

They were lovely-looking games in which you could see what was happening. Nice turret-top recognition circles and red funnels on the battleships. Nicely airbrushed half-tracks. Heavy cavalry with fuse-wire reins, drybrushed metal on black armour, and foam-flecked horsage. That was all these guys cared about.

Over the years I've noticed this quite a bit in the miniatures games. Realism is created in the visuals more than the rules. I'm the opposite.


Nine pound round27 Feb 2023 2:32 p.m. PST

One other challenge: guessing exactly how far away something is, and positioning a unit so it can perform as I expect. I'm of two minds about whether players should be allowed to measure distances prior to movement or firing. There have always been techniques for estimating distance with a reasonable degree of accuracy, but there have also always been commanders who make mistakes when doing so.

Fundamentally, this is one of the things that makes miniatures play different from gridded hex board games: at the end of the day, fire and movement take place in a manner that approximates different elements of reality. For tactical and operational-level games, there are some interesting gains in terms of positioning challenges; on the other hand, it's harder to take advantage of that ability without a lot of hard work, because it's a challenge to capture even fairly flat terrain accurately in 3D (without a substantial investment in time and money).

The ability to pick, choose and paint units is another benefit of miniatures games over board games that come with a fixed number of counters – but as we all know, just getting the base armies painted is time-consuming, even before you start painting units for what-if scenarios. You have to love the craftsmanship…..because it does take a lot of your time.

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2023 11:18 p.m. PST

it's not your die rolling it's the game.

LOL…Same dice rolled hi for my ally. I gave them to him :) It's just a challenge to be overcome ? LOL :)

Ah do suffer from some of the other problems mentioned in the thread.

Wolfhag28 Feb 2023 5:15 a.m. PST

Try rolling with your other hand?


Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2023 12:15 p.m. PST

it's not your die rolling it's the game.

LOL…Same dice rolled hi for my ally. I gave them to him :) It's just a challenge to be overcome ? LOL :)

‘Tis but a rough patch in the great random number table of life…

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2023 11:06 p.m. PST

What was that line in an old 'Table Top" magazine poem…." O woe are we, men are but mice, who dare wage war against the dice" <lol>

4th Cuirassier01 Mar 2023 4:02 a.m. PST

@ Nine pound round

I am actually inclined these days to let people measure this sort of distance. Contemporary officers seem to have been pretty good at estimating distance. Maybe players should be allowed to measure ranges but using a ruler marked off only at intervals of 'musket shot', or '100 paces', or something.

The Last Conformist01 Mar 2023 6:56 a.m. PST

A lack of focus. I've gotten better about it, but I'm still too prone to start something new instead of finishing old projects.

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