Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beach Musings

I am on vacation at the beach and have been thinking about how I came to this point in the wargaming hobby.

I started with miniatures when I was about seven or so. I had some sets of 40mm or so German and US figures...the "green army men" that many are familiar with. I soon graduated to 20mm Airfix and others and even found two boys from friends of the family to play with. We mostly used unpainted figures with a few haphazard attempts at getting some color on the figures. We made up our own rules and started in on vehicles as well (these we painted in all kinds of cammp). Most figures were WW II but we were happy to incude other periods. I remember having a force of Vietnam era US troops allied to my Afrika Korps Germans. I also remember having a STUG I painted and a German halftrack with rockets on the side plus several German armored cars. STUGs and ACs are still my favorites.

While writing this I vaguely remembered the older boy trying us out with some AWI horse and musket figures. We played our games on a sandtable my dad built in my basement (8'x4'). Lots of figures, lots of fun.

I graduated to computer wargames (played with the same guys) and figures fell by the wayside. I had a brief resurgence in my teens when I picked up some Napoleonic figures after reading Chandler's Campaigns of Napoleon. I made my first "imagi'nation" with Austrian infantry, Russian guns, and some French Cavalry.

Sadly all these figures are now gone (I have searched my parents basement several times) but the board from the sandtable is still there.

I refound miniatures while working on a computer game. I wanted to design and publish (have someone else program) a Napoleonic tactical wargame. It did not turn out how I expected, but I did get linked up with Matrix Games ( and through tme I have been a part of publishing several games. I recommend our relaunched version of Horse and Musket. While researching my game design, I found The Miniatures Page and bough many sets of rules.

The final straw was broken when I purchased a mass of plastic Napoleonic figures just before I went to Iraq in 2008. I had them all boxed up ready to be shipped my way when I found lots of 15mmm metal figures online. I made the switch and have been at it for almost three years.

The first unit I painted was Austrian infantry in helmet (in imagi-nation colors) just like I did 20 plus years ago with the plastics.

I listed to View From The Veranda podcast on the beach this week. Always a pleasure along with the Meeples and Miniatures podcast. I am also reading old issues of Miniature Wargaming, MWAN, and Wargames Digest that I picked up for $1 each at Historicon. Great fun.