Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Are Brick and Mortar Stores Obsolete for Historical Gamers?

For the historical miniature wargaming hobby, do we need brick and mortar stores?  No.  Do I wish we all had local stores that have all sorts of stock with lots of available game tables.  Yes.

We have seen countless stores close over the years with no replacements springing up.  But I have seen lots of new boardgame/card stores open.  They seem to be doing well.  I think this is because the boardgaming hobby is growing.  General hobby stores have virtually no historical miniature related stock apart from Warlord Games (Bolt Action) or Battlefront (Flames of War).  The Sentry Box (photo below) store in Calgary is a bad example.  They have lots of historical stock.

I am told constantly to support your local brick and mortar store, but I drive to these rare stores and find nothing to buy.  At this point, it is a complete waste of time.  These days I find myself buying most of my needed miniatures and buildings from across the ocean (UK or Europe).  I don't mind.  The exchange rate is not too bad at the moment and for most of what I need I don't have an option.

The only reason I can think of the purpose of a brick and mortar store for historical gamers is a place to game.  This of course does not help the owner, because there is nothing to buy.

Maybe things will change in the future and there will be a resurgence of brick and mortar stores with lots of great historical hobby stuff to buy.  Though, I think that is a just a dream.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Operation Pedestal Game

I put together a video showing my Operation Pedestal game using the Bomb Alley ruleset with miniatures.  I wanted to use a ruleset that would move the convoy along and finish in four hours with up to four players.  I think the rules worked out very well and now I want to try/test out Midway (also by Avalanche Press).  A Midway campaign may be too predicable, but could still be interesting.  If it turns out to be a good one like Operation Pedestal, then I can see myself buying the needed miniatures (probably just the Carrier task forces).

I enjoyed painting up the ships (1:3000) for the scenario.  The ships are from NAVWAR, Davco, Mick Yarrow Miniatures and North Head Miniatures.  Most are from NAVWAR.  The planes are 1:600 from Tumbling Dice and PicoArmor.  A notable difference between these two manufacturers is the Tumbling Dice miniatures are made from a softer pewter than PicoArmor.  Both are recommended.

I want to thank Malcolm Wright again for his series of camouflage books.  They were exactly what I needed for painting up the ships.  I enjoyed painting up both the ships and planes, but the planes took a lot longer than I thought it would.  Also, the decals were insane (putting decals on 1:600 planes).  The Ju 88s for example have eight decals each.  For decals, I recommend Flight Deck Decals .com.  This company has also has carrier deck decals, but I chose to paint my decks.  I'm sure the deck decals work fine.

Link to Operation Pedestal game video:

The game was an adventure to research, paint, layout, test, and run.  I do think it was a bit too large (ships/planes) but it proved you can do a large convoy campaign.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Gateway Games for Historical Miniature Gaming

Do we have good "Gateway Games" for the Historical Miniature Wargaming hobby? We do. A gateway game is a game with simple rules that is easy to teach to a non-gamer in order to attract new players into the hobby.

Back in the day the gateway game that got me into the hobby was playing two The Sword and the Flame rules games in a single sitting.  I was hooked.

Do we have a single gateway game that we can agree on? No.  I think there are some good gateway games for certain periods.  I wish I could say I've played all these games, but based on what I know about these rules, I think they fit as current gateway games.

  • Bolt Action
  • Cruel Seas
  • What a Tanker!
  • DBA
  • The Sword and The Flame
  • Black Seas

This is a small list, but all you need is any good gateway historical miniature game to get you hooked.

I think certain publishers are focused on gateway games such as Warlord Games and Osprey, which is good.  They makes for good rules to use at conventions.  Also,  skirmish games make for the best type of gateway games and shows that you don't have paint up hundreds of figures to get into the hobby.  Save the big games for later.

I'm sure you have ideas for gateway games as well.  I'd like to read your ideas in the comments below.