A wargames butterfly

Too many periods, too many scales, too many rules, too little time.
– The Wargamer’s Lament

I suffer from a disease that will be familiar to many other wargamers, that of the wargames butterfly. There is always something new to fire my imagination. There is always something “shiny” to come along to catch the butterfly’s eye to set it in flight towards a new destination. Sometimes it will be a new company producing miniatures for a brand new period or a new rulebook. Perhaps it’s a new take on an old period (I’m still waiting for some really nice metal Persians in 28mm). However, the butterfly never stays in any one spot for long, soon taking flight when a new period or product takes its fancy.

In part, my job as a magazine editor does not help. In fact, my career feeds and nurtures an otherwise bad habit. I shouldn’t complain though, as it gives me a good knowledge of the hobby. One good thing is I tend to see the good stuff and the bad stuff before anyone else. (I’ll discuss the perils of being a reviewer in a future blog – believe you me its not as good as it sounds and there’s no such thing as “free stuff”.) What you end up with is a whole pile of small collections, which you really need to keep as reference material for future issues of the magazine.

So where has my butterfly taken me recently? I’ve already collected and painted vast armies for ancients and World War II, primarily in 28mm but also in 15mm. Samurai and Biblicals, particularly.

What was it last year?

Napoleonics have certainly taken centre stage with our planned Project Ligny for 2015. The advent of plastics for Napoleonics have made this period affordable to me. Plastics, however, are a good thing and a bad thing. They have make large Napoleonic games possible for me, but I’ve got to paint them all, too! When you start to collect one side, there is a tendency to collect another. Austrians have caught my interest (all Steve Jones’ fault!).

The American War of Independence is a growing interest. Miniatures have even been painted. This is partly due to my boss Jasper Oorthuys and that Steve Jones again.

What will it be this year?

I’ve always fancied a Republican Roman army to fight my Carthaginians in 28mm. In Her Majesty’s Name has taken off locally, so I’ll need to finish off a Victorian force for this.

I’ve always fancied doing the Chaco War. I’m still waiting for nice miniatures to appear for this one. The Desert war, Rommel vs the Desert Rats, was something I played as a teenager. Sadly, my 20mm collection is lost to the bin (my dad in his wisdom thought I’d grown out of model kits). I’d like to recreate the force I had in 28mm. I also fancy doing some Modern espionage at some point.

Wargames companies will keep on releasing new stuff and I really have to limit my butterfly to sanity. My time is mainly taken up working for the magazine, so wargaming and preparing for games is a nice break. Realistically, I need to focus on set periods. I know I need to curb my hobby and scale down on some of the more grand projects, but where to start? And what happens when the next big thing comes along? Oh dear…

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