I picked the hobby over model railroading and military modeling. It combines model building with my interest in history, takes up less permanent space than a railroad, less display and storage space than the models, has nearly as much visual appeal as either and is fun to play on top of it all. Well, theoretically there was less storage needed. I have to admit my wargaming stuff now exceeds the space my models ever took up.
I was mad on chess and loved to check the Hobby section at my local library for any new books and found a book called Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone.Amongst its illustrations were Airfix plastic soldiers that I had had for years.
Movies too played their part, seeing the 1965 300 Spartans film led to me to my 1st 25mm metal army at age 11.
I also live near the Roman wall and in Castle rich Northumberland as I grew I gained more and more Historical knowledge, my A level History covered the English Civil War followed by my gaining a job in Pipeline Inspection that took me all over the World giving me a glimps and interest in other Cultures and their History.
For me the draw to wargaming is twofold; I have an intense curiosity about things (be it what actually happened in history, or what new things science has discovered), and a deep rooted need to solve puzzles (which could also be considered as curiosity). Because a wargame, and indeed most computer games, are puzzles. How do I defeat this enemy...how can I best use these troops...what is the best way to use this terrain...etc.
I’m afraid that I find the modelling and painting side of wargaming a bit of a chore, but a necessary one so that I can get my armies on the table, and start having fun re-creating or at least simulating real life historical battles.
But there is also a bit of role-playing involved. As I am unlikely ever to be able to travel back in time to visit an actual ancient battle, wargaming is the next best thing. It gives me an insight into how our ancient ancestors saw things, the foolish mistakes they made, how they made their decisions, and how they solved their own puzzles.
I love history and I love games and wargames combine the two. (I love geography too, board wargames do more for me in that dimension.) Plus I just like to look at the models even if I don't paint them (my armies are from ebay, thanks to everyone who assembled them). Last weekend at the Mercian DBA I was driving someone else's 4 elements of 4Pk, Spanish I think, with pikes as long as my arm up towards two lines of bow arranged in a v, it felt like I was on the hill at Balaclava watching the charge of the light brigade. I didn't win that game but it is one of my best memories of DBA.
… with the first edition of DBA in my hand I got a new access to history. There were so many people and nations to learn about. As a chess player I like strategy. With my Japanese friends I also used the Japanese Shogi version. With the army lists of DBM there were even more nations to learn about. Living in German speaking Switzerland I could learn from my former enemies. As a Czech speaking Bohemian I tried to field Slavic armies and to learn mote about their tactics. But on the other hand I did visit so many Japanese castles I wanted to learn more about Japanese history. So for me Vikings are not Germans as we do not know where their history did start. There are many questions in written history and it depends of the author of any particular story…
Love of history keeps me flitting from period to period and war-games allow me an excuse to get and paint toys around that. I'd likely do that even if I did not game for the 'zen of painting' as someone called it once. I'm just not that great at it...
I do really like the gaming and social aspects though and they are very important items in the hobby. Thats why I play nearly as many board games (many with figs) as old style war games these days it seems.
Like Tony A. I'm a pacifist in real life. I suspect part of the apeal is to have an outlet for aggression.
I love modelling, the history and gaming. All hangovers from my childhood. Only wargaming lets me combine the three. I also appreciate that its an inexpensive pastime at least compared to say Golf or Skiing...