The Waving Flag: I Used To Be A Wargamer!

Thursday 17 June 2021

I Used To Be A Wargamer!

There's been something nagging me for quite some time.  It's about my hobby.  It's so troubling that I've written this post at least three times.

I enjoy painting toy soldiers.  To be specific I like painting 15 mm figures for the ancient & medieval periods.  It relaxes me and I like to think that, after years of practise and hundreds of figures, I've become proficient.

So what's the problem?  It's this: all this painting has to have a purpose.  I don't want to be a collector.  I'd like to think that the units I've painted will see service on a table (one day).  But as this year has gone on, I've become less and less certain this will happen.

Regular readers will have seen my posts about the new version of Art de la Guerre (ADLG). In recent weeks I have:

My twitter followers will have noticed that I have even sorted my scenery.  I have repainted my collection of hills and made new foam bases for fields & various sized villages.  I've even checked all the sizes and everything is now "ADLG compliant".  I have lots of new figures to play with too.  During Lockdown I've painted far more figures than I would have otherwise.

I have certainly kept myself busy and from all these preparations you might conclude that I'm keen to start playing ADLG as soon as possible.  As it's turned out I am both keen (see above) and not keen (see below) at the same time.

This was brought home to me recently when I had an opportunity to play my first games of ADLG V4, albeit in a two day competition.  To my surprise I felt less than enthusiastic.  At first I thought this was because I didn't fancy the period; the travel & booking accomodation; the venue; the Covid 19 restrictions; you name it!  On reflection it wasn't any of these.  I just didn't fancy it at all: I'm not ready.

Partly, my reluctance is due to the changes brought about during Lockdown.  Like everyone else my social life changed radically during the last eighteen months.  I'm now essentially home based and more importantly I've got used to it.  Using the car has been a rare event.  A weekend away, or even a long day trip, would be a big step.

From a wargaming perspective, I'd prefer to ease myself into things by a series of local games followed by a competition later in the year once ADLG has sunk in (again).  I know I'm a slow learner.  Having learnt DBM, DBR, DBMM, FOG AM & R, and ADLG V3 (almost), I know from experience I only become comfortable with a set of rules by playing regularly.  However, I don't think this is very likely.

Sadly, my playing options are limited.  I have always struggled to find opponents in and around Warrington.  Therefore I've always had to travel to get a game.  I used to have a regular opponent but he had to give up due to ill health.  Since then I've struggled to find a local club with members who play ADLG.

If this wasn't enough I have not played in a very long time.  I ended 2018 dissatisfied with my progress as an ADLG player and more than a bit fed up with wargaming in general.  So in 2019 I took a break from playing with the intention of starting afresh in 2020.  We all know how that turned out!  The end result is I'm now completely out of the wargaming habit.  I haven't played an ADLG game since November 2018 and a Field of Glory Renaissance (FOGR) game since October 2017!

So, I find myself in a bit of a bind.  The big question is how to change things when the UK Lockdown ends in July.  Answers on a postcard please.


Sgt Steiner said...

Think many are struggling to reconnect with full social interactions after so many months of restrictions and the continuing deluge of cautionary tales/advice. Not confined to wargamers I imagine. I know wife and I are wary of going to restaurants despite it being ‘legal’ as interaction with strangers just seems odd/undesirable. Thankfully I have just gotten back into face to face gaming with regular ‘enemy’ (with LADG coincidentally) and it is very therapeutic indeed (and highly recommended) whereas relentless solo gaming was becoming very tiresome. Might just take a bit more time for confidence to fully return.

Norm said...

We just probably need the wargame show circuit and the club tap turned back on again for a wargaming vibe to start to infiltrate through the wargaming media and fabric of the hobby.

Covid behaviour change has had enough time to get hold and I think with that comes the potential for a siege mentality, that we probably don’t recognise until reaching the point of things opening up. Perhaps it will equally take months to unravel and for old behaviours to be re-established.

A friend of mine has actually started to enjoy certain aspects of life being done via Zoom type inter-actions!

You could try to freshen things up a bit by treating yourself to a new rule set, say something like Sword and Spear from Great Escape Games and doing a few knock around solo games with that …… just to get dice rolling again :-)

Fire at Will said...

Just starting out again after lockdown and also we lost our usual venue, so the old Airbus club building has been replaced by an undersized replacement and we moved from Thursday to Wednesday. So the club has split three ways the remainers on Wednesday, and two new clubs on Thursday in Mold and Elton (only just down the M56 from Warrington) It's been difficult to get into the mood but I'm persevering on Wednesdays and Thursday at Elton, so hopefully my mojo will recover fairly quickly.

Regrettably the only ADLG players I know of are down south. We seem to have very few Ancients players and those that do play Hail Caesar, etc apart from one determined WRG 6th edition player.

Vexillia said...

Hi Will. I heard about the travails of the Deeside club and one of the splinter groups moving to Elton. There does seem to be a concentration of ADLG player further south. :-(

Vexillia said...

I agree Norm it may indeed take months.

Vexillia said...

I hope so.

Dan Foley said...

The group I game just got back together a few weeks ago. I was a bit apprehensive at first over thinking all the negative aspects but in the went. It was fun but I was still a little tense. We've played three times and each time it's been more relaxed and fun.

Some things have changed. A little less sharing of dice, less moving about (it's a small room) But overall it's the same good times. It just takes a little reacquainting.

Unknown said...

HI Martin,

I feel your pain! Although I do enjoy playing in tournaments, the 'enjoyment factor' tends to drop if you do not have a regular opponent to practice with. Not sure where you live in Warrington, but are there no players in Manchester?


Vexillia said...

Hi Jesse. There are a few players in an around Manchester but they have all been playing FOG. I have heard a whisper that some are switching to ADLG but I've not 100% sure of this. If so things might get a bit easier when Lockdown ends.

Vexillia said...

"A little tense". I imagine that's how I'll feel once I get going again.

Justin Swanton said...

Play VASSAL modules!

Vexillia said...

Not a great fan of computer games prefer the real thing.

Backpackbrewer said...

I am a soloist by choice so lockdown hasnt really changed anything. getting some impetus to do some actual wargaming is the thing even solo. I really have to be in the mood and playing against a real life opponent feels stressful. i fill my time with reading, tweaking, painting, collecting and occasionally playing. Seems to work for me. Hope the mojo comes back to you in whatever form

Robert said...

Hi Martin. Chris Tofalos, Dave Ruddock and Phil Powell all played in the York competition. Not sure if any of those 3 are close to you.

Vexillia said...

I'd seen that. The issue is finding a venue. I'm waiting for MAWS to reopen. Thanks for the pointer anyway.

Stiùbhart said...

Have you thought about running a game.vietually with friends? Admittedly, this would require you to have scenery and two opposing armies, which could be a bind. But it could be a way of enjoying your game without having to leave your house.

Vexillia said...

Sadly, I don't have the space and the technology to do this.

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