Copyright 2003 T. Sheil & A. Sheil All Rights Reserved
Games of Strategy, Tactics and Genius
Our earliest "war games" involved bags of plastic toy soldiers. We set them up ,dug trenches in the dirt in the backyard, and then threw stones or "enemy dirt bombs" at them. Dirt bombs worked best: dry little clods of earth that disintegrated on impact into a cloud of dust. We eventually outgrew dirt bombs, and our growing intellects sought something more sentient. Invariably, someone would find a book or pamphlet on wargaming. Maybe it was at the school or public library, maybe it was a booklet in a hobby shop. Either way, the discovery was made. Our toys gave way to "miniatures," and dirt-clods yielded to charts and dice and rulers. Wargaming became the order of the day.
Our early rules were usually derived from books. I remember that among my friends, the catalyst for games was a book by a fellow named Donald Featherstone. That tome opened up the door to World War II, Civil War and Medieval games. It also suggested the use of our favorite hobby figures, Airfix OO/HO figures. With these, we accumulated brigades of Roco Minitanks and slugged it out in little tank-fests. The games were fun. They kept us interested. It was the 1960s then, when 99.9% of all wargames were historical.
You know you have made the transition from playing with toys to wargames when you start referring to toy soldiers by height. The scale is measured in millimeters. Thus, the old Airfix "mini-men" were now 20mm figures, while Marx's old HO knights were "30s", or 30mm figures. Once you do that, you have matured from play-timer to a wargamer.
The 1970s saw big changes. On returning from the Army, I discovered hordes of 25mm metal figures available for many eras. Minifigs was the largest vendor. The rules we used for Medieval games were called "Chainmail." They were find for us, even if the man-to-man weapons were a bit off. In back were rudimentary rules for having fantastic creatures on a battlefield, along the lines of "The Hobbit." Meanwhile, the same company who sold Chainmail was winding up a big punch. They issued a curious boxed game with three books. It was called 'Dungeons and Dragons." Thus came the emergence of fantasy role-playing games.
For those who didn't like the Dungeon game's rules, new games kept cropping up. "Tunnels and Trolls", "Empire of the Petal Throne" and "The Fantasy trip: In the Labyrinth" competed for the gamers' dollars, while new companies like Ral Partha provided a greater variety of historic and fantastic figures. There must have been a hundred different games of medieval-style fantasy back then, from small "microgames" in plastic bags to huge boxed sets of books and charts and dice.
Of course, it all settled down eventually. Many of the smaller games makers fell by the wayside, either by attrition or through their own internal discord. A few larger companies emerged. Several of the figure makes also folded as gaming changed. The bog boom was over, but not the fun. Many games immigrated to the computer, and became "virtual games." Others evolved and grew, and some remained the same. Today, there are board gamers, miniature gamers and computer gamers and role-playing gamers and fantasy gamers and historical gamers. It is a big hobby with something for everyone.
There are all kinds of games, from historical to fantasy to science fiction, from individual character to massed battles. You can try any era of history, folklore, myth or legend, or even make up one of your own! The sky is the limit.
Historical, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Role-Playing, Board Games, Games Using Miniatures, Ancient Era, Medieval Era, Renaissance, 18th Century, Napoleonic Wars, American Civil War, World War 1 and 2, Wild West, Modern Era, Sword & Sorcery, Toy Games, etc., etc.
Boards or Miniatures or Something Else?
At the end of each main page of the sections below, you can find links to wargames and gaming materials, including free games and accessories. Feel free to look at all that is out there. There are games for every interest.
Want to know more? Each section will introduce you to another kind of game.
Ancient & Medieval Games
Modern & 20th Century Games
Fantasy Role Playing Games
Science Fiction Games
Renaissance Games / Pike & Shot
18th and 19th Century
Micro Games (in the works)
Other genre (Still in the cooker)
Adjacent Scales - a few tips to help wargamers use supplies made for other hobbies
Free Downloadable Paper Kits - makes scenery: small houses for 25mm to 40mm scale
Troop Substitutions - when they don't make what you want, use the next best thing,
Click here for our Wargames Links Page
Visitors since July 16, 2004
FastCounter by bCentral
Click here to go to Army Men Homepage