Monday 5 November 2012

A Proper Wargamer?

This is my response to another one of those viral memes that occasionally do the rounds in our little online community. This one was kicked off by Phil Broeders on his blog The Wargaming Site and has been picked up by several other bloggers including Tamsin at The Wargaming Girl, Mike at Trouble at T'Mill, and Vladd at Too Much Free Time. I have decided to apply a points system to this so if you answer yes you get a point, half points can also be earned and of course no points for negative answers. As the first question has two parts the maximum score attainable is therefore 21 points... With the extra questions posed by Phil the maximum is now 57:

** This is an updated version of this article and includes an expanded list based on Phil's Pt 2 Post **

To genuinely call yourself a Wargamer, then you must have done most or all of the following:
* Spent at least £500 on figures / tanks - and you get extra kudos for every £500 you've spent
Oh yes, five hundred quid and then some... definitely get extra kudos for this one  (2 points)
* Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block - several times
Do the lances on Russian Cossack's count? I took more damage from my own troops in one game than they dealt to the opposition. (1 point)
* Tried at least 10 different rule sets and vowed never to play half of them ever again
Nearly... I own about 7 or 8 WWII rulesets most of which will never get played. Not that this will stop me from buying more in my pursuit of the perfect rules. I also have a couple of ACW rules sets although my F&F rules do get used (½ Point)
* Bought an army off EBay
I have never bought a whole army on eBay, but I have picked up a real bargain or two from here.(0 Points)
* Sold an army on EBay
Never sold on EBay but I guess there's always a first time (0 Points)
* spent months painting an army - then used it in anger once
..or never! If it wasn't for my membership of the Rejects I probably wouldn't get to play at all.(1 Point)
* tried several different periods and genres
Definitely yes. Since joining Posties Rejects I have played dozens of periods, scales and rules sets. (1 Point)
* dropped a box of figures on the floor from a great height
Oh yes...the pain of opening the box and finding all the models in bits still haunts me.(1 Point)
* lost a battle on the last throw of the dice
Moral checks are the bane of my life and on more than one occasion I have lost a battle by failing a moral check even though I was winning tactically. If my life depended on one throw of the dice I'd be a dead man. I find that the more crucial the dice throw the greater the chances are that I'll roll a 1 (1 Point) 
* made at least one enemy for life
Yes, my Mother... oh you mean because of wargaming. Then thankfully the answer is no (0 Point)
* had a proper, stand up argument over a wargamers table
Once, long long ago when I was still a teenager. I like to think I have a matured a bit since then! (1 Point)
* thrown a dice across a room
Several times. I have also taken dice outside and set fire to them, hit them with hammers and even on one occasion cut one in half with an axe! My dice know who's boss... (1 Point)
* rebased an army for a different rule set
Ye gods never. The thought alone makes me shudder. (0 points)
* inflicted a whopping defeat on an opponent
Only once, and I felt so sorry for him after the game it took the shine off the victory.(1 Point)
* suffered an embarrassing defeat due to a stupid tactical decision
Long ago, in a Galaxy far far away... back when I played Warhammer Epic I had a massive Imperial Titan and basically forgot to move it at the start of a crucial turn. All my main guns were unable to come to bare on the enemy and I was so annoyed with myself I nearly broke my fist punching a wall! Did I say I have grown up a lot since then? (1 Point)
* joined a wargamers club
I've never been a 'club' type or person but I guess the Rejects are a sort of club. (½ Point)
* bought a ton of lead that remains unpainted
I did have a big lead mountain. I have made an effort to reduce it in recent years.(½ Point)
* been to a wargamers show
Duh, yes! I love them, as regular readers will know. (1 Point)
* have more dice than is logical or necessary to own - and have used most of them
I have thousands of unnecessary dice in bags, jars and boxes all round the house and I still come home from shows with new sets of dice...its gone beyond obsession and become a mania. I'm sure there must be a clinical name for this disorder but I don't want to be cured. (1 Point)
* have taken boxes of troops down to a club just to show them off to your mates
As already stated I'm not a club man. But I do like showing off my models which is why I started writing this blog. (½ Point)

And now some extra questions....

* You have reference books on each period / army you play (I must have ten samurai books now)
Yes, my 'library' keeps on growing (1 Point)
* Having played so many different games you confidently quote rules for a totally different period, scale or ruleset to the one you're playing at that moment
Hell no, my mastery of rules is shaky at best (0 Points)
* You have lied to your partner / spouse about how much you've spent on the hobby
I've never lied to my wife...I have on occasion been economical with the truth, but I've never lied. (0 Points)
* You get genuinely excited when a package arrives in the post
Most of my parcels get delivered to work and my colleges are used to seeing me rushing through the office to the lunch room gleefully clutching a parcel and grinning like a kid at Christmas. (1 point)
* You have joined a re-enactment society (5 points for this one!)
No, but if I were ten years younger (and 10 stone lighter) I might consider it (0 Points)
* You have played in an unsuitable venue 
My first Warhammer games were played on the floor rather than a table. That was a killer on the knees  I can tell ya. Too old and decrepit for that now! (1 Point) 
* You continue to search for the perfect Napoleonic / WW2 / Ancients / ACW etc. rule set (knowing that it doesn't actually exist).
Currently WWII rules are my obsession and 'money pit' (1 Point)
* For that reason you have developed your own house rules for certain periods.  And think them far superior to the original author's efforts.
Not yet, but I'm on the verge of doing so. (0 Points)
* You have returned from a wargames show and sneaked upstairs to hide the stash.
Life's too short for secrets...and besides I'd only get caught (0 Points)
* You have an irrational aversion to some genres and vow never to play them regardless of how much fun they look.
I can't say I have. I'll play anything and haven't encountered a period I 'hate' (0 points)
* You have made your own wargames scenery.
Yes, lots of it. Its cheaper and its fun in sad way (1 Point)
* You have reached a painting 'wall' 
Often. When I'm in the mood I can paint like the wind, but then I'll just dry up and do something else for a while until the bug bites again. (1 Point)
* You have lost - and regained - your wargaming mojo.
I have spent my time in the wilderness playing other games, but wargaming is a hard addiction to beat (1 Point)
* You have the occasional (and short lived) sense of guilt with your wife/children when complaining to them about the money spent in clothes, shoes or toys/Xbox games when you have £200 of unpainted metal stuffed in an upstairs drawer.
I'm as hypocritical as the next gamer but yes I have had a moments guilt now and again. (1 Point)
* You have done armies in different scales for the same period 
Currently doing WWII in 28mm, 15mm and now 6mm (1 Point)
* You have jealously coveted someone else's troops.
Pretty much every painted army I have seen at shows! (1 Point)
* You have laughed (secretly or otherwise) as someone else's paint job 
Ah yes, the Turquoise Death leap to mind. My friends rather oddly painted Space Marine army...I swear he must have been colour blind or something (1 Point)
* You have provided a piece of useless trivia relating to the troops on the table to show off your wargaming knowledge. 
Yes, and then got slapped down by an even bigger nerd who knew his stuff better than me! (1 point)
* You have contradicted someone elses' trivia - demonstrating your superior knowledge and giving you a warm glow inside.
Revenge is a dish best served hot! (1 Point)
* You have caused a major disaster on a wargames table (spilling a pint, collapsing the table, dropped someone else's figures on the floor). 
I've knocked the occasional bit of scenery over but thankfully nothing big and catastrophic (0 Points)
* You have cheered when an opponent's dice lets them down at a critical point (I have literally danced in front of someone when he failed a morale roll) 
I have done the War Dance too, I'm ashamed to say (1 point)
* You have lied to your partner about going gaming.  "Mothers' not very well - just popping around to see her.  I'll be back in about - oh - seven hours".
See my earlier answer about not lying to the wife! (0 Points)
* You have lied to an attractive woman (man) about your hobby.  
...except of course back when I was courting her. I didn't admit I was a gamer until we'd been going out long enough I was sure she wouldn't walk out there and then! (1 Point)
* You have made an opponent cry.  It doesn't count if they are under 8 years old though.
No. I'm not that good. (0 Points)
* You have painted the same army in the same scale more than once (Monty, you dawg!)  
No. But there's still time.. (0 Points)
* You have reference books on armies you haven't even got.
Yes. My 'library' is extensive and growing (1 Point)
* You have bought figures for a period you have never and will never play - because they were cheap.
We're all guilty of that, aren't we? (1 Point)
* You have inflicted grievous bodily harm on a dice that has let you down. 
As earlier indicated I have been known to destroy badly performing dice. (1 Point)
* You blog or have a web-page about your Wargaming activities
Clearly that is a yes! (1 point)
* Your book collection is almost all war and wargames related
My wife and I love books and our house is like a library, but mine are almost exclusively military history related. (1 Point)
* You critique 'war' movies (especially Hollywood war movies) for historical accuracy.
Don't get me started! (1 point)
* You spend car / train journeys checking out the lie of the land - considering which way you would attack from and whether it would make good wargaming terrain.
When the muse is upon me I become a motoring menace! (1 Point)

Total 37/57 (65% Wargamer!)

Does a score of 15 from 21 37 from 57 make one a 'proper wargamer' I wonder? Thanks to Phil for the great list and the inspiration. It brought back mostly good memories of over 30 years playing wargames.


  1. Great answers I'm sure every gamer can appreciate!

  2. Lee - well over 50% so definitely a proper wargamer. Some other suggestions have included owning reference books on the period you play and if you have joined a re-enactment society (that should be 5 points right there).

    I based the list on my personal experiences (and from stories from other regular players) and could easily have added a few more..

  3. Good score but not a proper wargamer in Ray's eyes!

  4. I was not sure if this pertained to a single year in wargaming or throughout one's whole life! I suspect if you have to ask that question you really are a "Propper" wargamer! (I have Asked on Phils blog and he says whole life!).

  5. I cannot possibly answer any of these questions or put in on my blog for fear of the mrs seeing some of the answers, mainly the 1st question! shhhh!

  6. Iactamania would, I suspect, be a suitable term for an obsession with dice.

  7. I certainly wouldn't call myself a war gamer; just a bod who paints bits of metal and plastic and tries numerous rules sets inconclusively...although I used to be a member of a club once upon a time...

  8. Great list - another question for you

    Do you send packages of new models to your work address so you can sneak the contents home a little bit at a time?

    1. I do get stuff sent to my work address but not because I want to keep them secret from the local post office are **** and tend to leave parcels on doorsteps etc. I'd rather get them sent to work because I know they will be receipted properly. Plus I get to 'play' with my new acquisitions during my lunch break that way!

  9. Nice extension to the interrogation! fun stuff :)

  10. I would hope that losing points because one has found a spouse who actually supports their hobbies would not make me less of a wargamer in others' eyes.

  11. Great bit of fun. I've also competed the quiz, however can you confirm if a winning score is a high or low tally?

    My Wife is unsure as to how it works.


    1. Clearly - judging from other responses elsewhere on the web - our wives would prefer a lower score!

  12. I can't believe you only got 65% !!! Reading your blog, you are so definitely a wargamer, Lee - and yes, that's a compliment!

    1. Its a little worrying that I would have scored higher if I had a slightly less trusting relationship with my wife!

  13. Hi Lee,

    I used your answers to Phil Broeders list for a wider analysis of the questions. For the results, see

  14. 25 points. Ahem. What does that mean?


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