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...
When I was a kid, I played with soldiers. Indians and cavalry, knights and castles, WW2 armies, Texans vs. Mexicans at the Alamo. Couldn't get enough. I played solo, and of course I determined the outcome. As I got older, and ever interested in history, I began to pay a greater interest in military history, all aspects of it. My childhood interest resurfacing. Also playing Chess made me interested in strategy and tactics. One day I was browsing the internet and came across a miniature wargame being played with colorful soldiers on a beautiful battlefield. I knew the armed forces used wargaming, but I had never seen this. It was fantastic. I looked up miniature wargaming and hit upon the book "Little Wars" by H.G. Wells. I realized it sort of described what I did as a kid playing with soldiers, only this time with rules and an opponent. Great stuff. Another search and I found Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone. I bought it, read it, and was hooked. I HAD to do this. I am older and retired, but a kid at heart. I didn't start out with a 6' x 8' battle table and hundreds of painted soldiers. I first wanted to find out more about this wargaming thing. The internet pointed me in different directions. One was Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame. That seemed like a great place to start. I could play on a small gridded battlefield using markers for the various elements, and learn the rules. Thoroughly hooked by now, I searched for ever more books on the subject, reading them all, trying most of the rules, trying to decide what I liked and didn't. I also read about campaigns, and how they could provide a logical thread for the various battles, and required strategy and planning on a larger scale. All the time playing solo, and realizing this is how I played as a kid and loved it. So, a few years later, I am now well into it. Still not committed to large tables and painted models. Maybe someday, but for now, all battles take place on a table/workspace about 4' x 4'. I love finding rules for campaigns and battles, trying them out, tweaking. I play in three historic periods - ancient, Napoleonic, and ACW, with an occasional foray into colonial warfare from Bob Cordery's books. While I love Chess, and play it online computer as a diversion, it is limited. Wargaming on the other hand is limitless. It allows for simplistic fast play, or more sophisticated play with tables and charts and rules for those who enjoy that. I am trying to find that happy medium, but because it is a limitless hobby, I will never run out of things to try or new discoveries to make. Meantime, I'm using the creative side of my brain, which is like a muscle. It requires exercise and strength-training to stay fit. So there it is. Thanks for listening.
I like history, modeling and gaming. All three things support each other.. (Imagine a ven diagram.) it’s a more integrated hobby than most and you can spend time profitably in any of the 3 areas depending on life’s constraints and opportunities.
Toy soldiers are fun and games give us a way to socialize that fun. Balls are fun too.