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Subject: Miniatures and Board War games rss

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Kev.
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I am curious about the intersection of interest of those that play both board war games and miniatures.
Which do you prefer?
Why do you play one over the other?
Is one the subset of the other if so which way is it?
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Pokey 64
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I play both.

I prefer miniatures for small scale actions and board games for larger actions.

For example, if I want to play the whole of the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2 I'll play the board game "War at Sea" (Avalon Hill). If I want to refight the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen vs. Hood and Prince of Wales I'll break out the 1/2400 scale minis and the "Seekrieg" rules and go at it.

I play one over the other because of scale of the battle and the look of the models. 3D models look better than a cardboard counter so it's just a question of how complicated you want it to be. I once fought the Battle of Corinth (American Civil War) in 6mm scale miniatures. I was using computer assisted miniatures rules "Rally Once More!" and had a bedroom in my house with a table four feet by eight feet (it was my game room) to keep the battle set up for a couple months. It was a lot of work but it looked fantastic! Much better than pushing cardboard around on a map but then again, I had the time and space to devote to the project.

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Richard Milner
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I used to play a lot of board wargames.

I switched to playing mainly miniatures because of the attraction of the little men, the terrain and so on.

I never totally gave up board wargames, though.

Recently I have started getting back into solitaire wargames. There are some very good board wargames designed for solitaire play.
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Kent Reuber
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I like miniatures because you can make up a wide range of battles, using any figures and terrain that you have. You aren't limited to playing on the boards included in the game or playing the specific scenarios included in a boardgame.

The downside of playing miniatures is that you have to paint all the figures and make the terrain, which, for me at least, takes just short of forever.

Several years ago, I was playing wargames with miniatures almost exclusively. Now, I've swung the other way and am playing more board wargames.
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John Peterson
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I play mostly boardgames, but enjoy painting the miniatures. I'd rather play miniatures games, but my regular gaming group is almost exclusively boardgamers. I've looked at ones that feature both - like Incursion and Hybrid - but these tend to be 2 player games and my group usually numbers 4-6 people.
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p55carroll
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hipshot wrote:
I am curious about the intersection of interest of those that play both board war games and miniatures.
Which do you prefer?
Why do you play one over the other?
Is one the subset of the other if so which way is it?

Historically, miniatures came first. Modern miniatures rules can be dated back to at least the 19th century. Board wargames came along in the 1950s.

I started out with board wargames, and I still prefer them--sort of. I've made a few abortive attempts to get into miniatures. Mainly I was put off by the collecting and painting; I suck at painting and hate doing it. Nor do I care that much about the visual effect of miniatures--which I think is what appeals to most miniatures wargamers.

However, I recently bought The Ironclads and Battles & Leaders, and those are both basically miniatures games in board-game format. I do like games like that. And sometimes I toy with the idea of getting miniatures to replace the cardboard unit-counters. I just don't have a strong enough incentive to follow through.

Miniatures games often involve some "fudging" (inexact measurements) and judging (liberal rules interpretation), and those things go against my grain. Board wargames tend to be more discrete and clearly defined.

Miniatures wargaming is also more social overall: people want to show off and share their miniatures, and they often play team vs team. As a mainly solitaire wargamer, that doesn't work for me.
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William Boykin
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I prefer miniature gaming, because miniature wargaming is actually the intersection of three different hobbies.

1). You have the history- looking up and reading about the army/force that you want to recreate in miniature. Not just how to paint it, but where did it fight, who fought in it, etc.

2). You have the actual painting of the models.

3). Then, you have the gaming.

The advantage of miniatures is that I can do the first two things BY MYSELF, without other people. If you're very busy with life, this allows you to be 'in the hobby', even though you might not have time to game that often.

When I was the manager of a large KB Toy store in the holidays, that was about the only 'gaming' that I got into. Boardgames are fun, but once you know the rules, there really isn't that much that you can do with them, other than try to play them solitaire, which I never find that interesting. I'd rather work on another force, dreaming of when I'll actually find time to play again.......

Darilian
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Sean Shaw
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I used to be big into miniature wargames, but then I got a lot less time to assemble them, build the armies, or do any painting. Slowly, the boardgames I knew grew into a bigger arena of interest, and then wargames started to creep in more and more strongly until they replaced much of the miniature gaming that I did. Now I still have the material to play miniature wargames, but invariably I always will play a Board wargame instead.
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Martin McCleary
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
hipshot wrote:
I am curious about the intersection of interest of those that play both board war games and miniatures.
Which do you prefer?
Why do you play one over the other?
Is one the subset of the other if so which way is it?

Historically, miniatures came first. Modern miniatures rules can be dated back to at least the 19th century. Board wargames came along in the 1950s.

I started out with board wargames, and I still prefer them--sort of. I've made a few abortive attempts to get into miniatures. Mainly I was put off by the collecting and painting; I suck at painting and hate doing it. Nor do I care that much about the visual effect of miniatures--which I think is what appeals to most miniatures wargamers.

However, I recently bought The Ironclads and Battles & Leaders, and those are both basically miniatures games in board-game format. I do like games like that. And sometimes I toy with the idea of getting miniatures to replace the cardboard unit-counters. I just don't have a strong enough incentive to follow through.

Miniatures games often involve some "fudging" (inexact measurements) and judging (liberal rules interpretation), and those things go against my grain. Board wargames tend to be more discrete and clearly defined.

Miniatures wargaming is also more social overall: people want to show off and share their miniatures, and they often play team vs team. As a mainly solitaire wargamer, that doesn't work for me.


I pretty much second all of this. I've done both over the years but always prefer board games. Like Patrick I hate to paint and also suck at it. I'm also 53 and bifocals just make it harder.

Again as with Patrick I typically find mini rules to be inexact especially if you prefer ancients, medieval, etc. WWII and modern stuff with tanks and such aren't as bad (unless it's Flames of War which I simply detest). Now, Naval mini games do work well for the most part and for me are probably the most enjoyable mini games.

My local group is almost exclusively mini's. They spend endless amounts of game time talking about the figures, where they got them, painting them, on and on and typically very little time actually playing. It's tiresome for me so I rarely join in.

In the end I recommend you give both styles a try and see which you like best. If you ever get a chance go to Historicon (assuming you're in the states). It's all miniatures and will blow you away. Some tremendously detailed work and super talented people and depending on the game master and game can be just loads of fun. Just google Historicon.
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Michael Hopcroft
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There are some genres I would play in miniature were miniatures not so expensive. WWI naval in particular would appeal to me. I love the idea of a row of battleships steaming down the table.

But miniature ships are expensive and hard to come by....
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Don Weed
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I like a blend of the two. The eye appeal of the miniatures with the regementation of a boardgame. Things like Memoir '44, Battlelore, Napolean's War: the 100 days, old Eagle games, etc, I wish there were more that made use of 1:72 scale minis.
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John Smith
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Miniatures games often involve some "fudging" (inexact measurements) and judging (liberal rules interpretation), and those things go against my grain. Board wargames tend to be more discrete and clearly defined.


After my one (or maybe two) miniatures experiences, I learned a few things.
1) My dice were faulty.
2) I'm not the type of person who looks forward for the opponent to start a big move, and then argue how the angle of fire is 3-degrees too narrow to hit.

I probably wouldn't mind so much if it was on a grid.
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Steve Severino
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I greatly prefer miniatures wargames over board wargames, but to be fair, they're very different beasts.

Board wargames are great for a quick, out-of-the-box play. I really enjoy the block wargames by Columbia (Hammer of the Scots, Wizard Kings, Richard III), and as these are strategic or campaign level wargames they scratch a completely different itch than a tactical minis games does. When I want that "grand conquest" type of feel, where I sweep across an entire country engaging in battles on multiple fronts to win a war (not just a single battle), these games fit the bill.

Miniatures gaming is really an entire hobby unto itself, and not just a type of game. There's all the pre-game prep; collecting models and terrain, painting them (or buying painted figs on eBay or at shows if you don't enjoy that aspect of the hobby), basing your troops, constructing the makeup of your armies, creating profiles for your leaders/heroes (especially in fantasy/sci-fi games), and designing battle scenarios.

There's the game itself, which involves laying out beautiful terrain on your battlefield and engaging in the tactical battle itself.

Post-game, you'll evaluate how your tiny men did and what strategies & tactics you might use next time to win or perform even better. You'll consider how to tweak your army makeup (do I need more shooting units, more heavy infantry, a different balance between regulars & elite units, etc.). And if you play a campaign (connected battles) you'll also ponder all your grand-strategic choices as well -- when to invade, when to lay back and recruit more troops, how to replace fallen leaders, where to move on the campaign map, etc.

Many diehard mini gamers even write their own rules. So there's a whole research aspect to that (reading history or fantasy novels, purchasing other wargame rules just to gather ideas even though you don't really intend to play that game as-is, reading hobby magazines like Battlegames for tips on modelling / scenario-building / rules ideas, etc.).

Miniature gaming is really a life-style choice. It takes up far more of your time than just the 3 hours or so required to play a single game. And it definitely appeals to highly creative people much more than pre-fab board games do. Not that there's anything wrong with an out-of-the-box experience now and again.

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Michael Hopcroft
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Earlier this year I played Flames of War for the first time. I was completely lost and ended up having my tank battalion break just when I thought I was making progress.

It seems to me that mini games have just as high a learning curve as some boardgames. I thought the tactical aspect at least would be intuitive, but even though a more experienced player on my side had come up with the basic plan it was difficult for me to execute it.

Maybe it's my sense of tactics that is thoroughly lacking, however....
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p55carroll
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:

It seems to me that mini games have just as high a learning curve as some boardgames.

Well, some do. But then, board wargames have varying learning curves--some are easy, some are hard.

In either type of wargaming, the rules can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be.

The real difference is that miniatures wargames almost always have miniatures, and board wargames almost never do. (But yeah, there are exceptions and hybrids.)
 
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Robert Kuster
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It all started with a miniature board game (Heroquest) which lead to only mainly playing miniature tabletop games for years (Warhammer, 40K ect.)
Then back to board games more often once Settlers and other great Euro games became more abundant. Now it's a split. I like either just as much but Mini games take longer, have more preperation and have the hobby element of painting, terrain building and the rest.
So board games do get more playing time but I would play either anytime.
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Peter B
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For me "miniatures" can mean two different things.

The first meaning of "miniatures" can mean simply playing a game with little figurines instead of chits or tokens or blocks. I enjoy that. I've even been known to paint figured for some games - we have a set of Roman soldiers that we use for our games of Commands & Colors: Ancients, for example, and that's tons of fun.

The other meaning is sort of implied, that a miniatures game means that you're not using hexes, ranges and the like are determined by getting out a tape measure and using a protractor on the bases of your figurines to see whether you're doing a frontal or flanking attack. Personally, I would rather be subjected to watching another terrible Lars von Trier movie than play that sort of miniatures game.
 
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Kev.
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Thanks for all the notes fellas.
It seems to me that the miniatures hobby has more than its fair share of rules dogma. One would think that in attempting to simulate a battle the "shit happens rule" or a liberal application of a rule would be applied more often than not.
I tend to want to be flexible with rules where discrepancies come up and try and be pragmatic and reasonable.
Perhaps its the American I must win at all costs mentality or is it the
rule is the rule mentality!?

I recall as a kid (14-15) having painted my first 2-3 regiments of miniatures alone, I took them to a meet, only to be castigated for doing the Imperial Guards wrong and painting the French flag colors in the wrong order on my Cav...... I told them all to sod off and never touched minis again. Maybe time to call my therapist? LOL.

I am so pleased to have found such a great community here that supports and promotes all of these hobbies and is in general graceful to one and all.

 
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