Thursday 23 March 2023

Board Games vs Miniature Wargames: There and Back Again

Wargame boardgamers and miniature gamers are usually seen as sitting in opposing fields. The former are apparently driven by their interest in realistic simulations while the latter by the visual pleasure of deploying their creations on a table.

My first wargame dates back to 1980, Avalon Hill's Panzerblitz, a Christmas gift from my father. Soon after, I met a group of local wargamers in Madrid and in 1983 we launched Club Dragón. Over 40 years has passed, and I continue heavily interested in our hobby.

However I have gone through different phases, shifting my focus of interest each time: 


  • Only boardgames initially; 
  • Fantasy miniatures (Warhammer Fantasy) and RPG (Dungeons & Dragons, LOTR or Cthulhu) in the late 80s;
  • Entering the 90s, I turned to historical miniature gaming  mostly, with Warhammer Ancients Battles, Command Decision, Fire & Fury Napoleonic, Volley & Bayonet, Crossfire and Blitzkrieg Commander); 
  • Lately (2010s) abandoned most the previous sets and got immersed in many of the Too Fat Lardies sets (Through the Mud & the Blood, Charlie don't Surf, Troops Weapons and Tactics, Chain of Command, O'Group, Infamy!Infamy!, Sharp practice);
  • And very recently (2022) I added Saga to my list of most played games.

As you see boardgaming went out of scope in the 90s mainly.... until COVID and the mandatory lockdowns in 2020. First I discovered VASSAL and then I joined a group in my club that net daily to play ASL online after work. 

This represented my return to boardgaming. I have expanded my interest from ASL to the Simonitchs' "194x" series, GBOH (SPQR, Caesar, Cataphract...) and a few other selected names (Pacific War, Vietnam or Almoravid) since March 2020.

Back to in-person gaming at the club in early 2021, I have being combining both board and miniature games. These are not at all incompatible, but probably unconsciously I was approaching each type of game in a different way.     

 Board wargames 

These are an excellent and efficient means to recreate large battles, campaigns, and generally speaking major operations or extended conflicts. Logistics, forward planning, coordination of resources in the right place and time, the consideration of social and political events, high to medium level strategy... all are key drivers in these games. Board games are great to simulate, study or consider alternative approaches to these high level operations.

Miniature games 

On the other hand, miniatures are great to play low-level and skirmish-type actions (and visually are unrivalled). The focus of these games are on formations, tactics, mostly junior commanders abilities, training, short range weapons and supports (mortars, small caliber guns) capabilities, use of terrain, etc. Logistics or strategy are less of an issue at this level, although can be inserted as part of a game context (specially in campaign formats).

Summarising, I'm not one of those wargamers to pitch board versus miniatures. Each type of game offers advantages and over time I've found boardgames more interesting for large scale operations and miniature games for low-scale actions.

Do you play exclusively board or miniatures games, or you play both? What motivates you to play one or the other? Interested in your views.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Painting Challenge Report: The Last Salvo

On midnight Sunday, the 13th edition of the Painting Challenge closed. The two days over the last weekend were declared "free fire zone", in other words, challengers could post freely at any time. Because coinciding with Father's Day in Spain on Sunday, family engagements and celebrations limited my availability to paint.

Nonetheless I could finished painting both, an LMG team for my Early War German Fallschirmjager project and an individual ammo carrier model.

The LMG is 3D printed model sold by Eskice Miniatures and it comes in one block (including the tree trunk). Eskice designs are somewhat irregular, and as commented in previous posts, the German paratroopers are probably among the lowest quality in the range: uniforms are not 100% historical  (the jumping boots for example, they look more American than German), the gear pieces are inaccurate (they never jumped with the gas mask canisters or the trench tools) or created out of the designer's imagination.

In any case, I like this specific piece due to the poses and sense of action, and that's why I decided to print and paint.

At the conclusion of the Challenge, my accumulated points scoring reached 709 points, which exceeds by 9 points my 700 points goal. Very happy with the output this year, I think it's the first time in eight editions that I have hit the target.

It's been a great edition this year, lots of high quality submissions and I encourage my readers to take a look to the Challenge's blog and get some inspiration for your own painting projects. I hope to participate again next December, but I'm planning now to take a more or less long break from the brushes, and focus my hobby time in playing both boardgames  and miniature games.


Wednesday 15 March 2023

Painting Challenge Report #12

All good things must end, and the Painting Challenge too. The last three months went away incredibly fast, an coinciding with the start of Spring the Challenge concludes. My latest Tuesday submission is a second German motorbike with sidecar (an Eskice brand 3d printed model) and a few German Fallschirmjager from Warlord in the early war jump suit.


The veteran wargamers looking at the photos may have realised a terrible and unforgivable historical mistake in one of the German paratroopers models: one is carrying a MG42 LMG model!!!  These only went into service from mid to late 1943, unlikely any jumped into France or Crete 

 The Warlord plastic German paratroopers box mixes both early and late war models. When I assembled the models, I classified in two different trays,  but it seems that I mistakenly put this mini in the wrong tray, only realizing only when finished painting and basing the model. 

 My score after this submission is 689 points, or just an inch away from the 700 points target set for this year's Challenge. Luckily, this weekend will have a  "free fire" slot, in which challengers shall be allowed to post at any time until Sunday at midnight in Canada. Already working on some late minute contrbutions to be posted over the weekend.    

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Painting Challenge Report # 11

This week my paint work slowed drmatically for many different reasons, and I could only finish one motorbike with sidecar model for my motorized early war German unit.

My initial plan was to have the three Eskice models painted this week, but it was derailed because I procrastinated for too lomng and also because I forgot to print the third model (unfortunately, the printer is stored in my parents summer house, that will remain shut down until Spring)


I could only add 20 points to the scoring this week. The accumulated figure now is 654 points. I have  exactly two week to hit the 700 points target mark. Except for some unexpected event, I hope to reach it in time. 

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Painting Challenge Report #10

As commented last week, I'm taking a few weeks of the Challenge now to break away from my core Saga projects and capture some bonus points from the Challenge Studios, painting some minis on the side. Last week it was all fantasy and the Lord of the Rings, this week is Second World War.

I have an old German early war project for Chain of Command half finished. It was initially planned for the 2019 Challenge but other projects stepped in the way (ah! the wargame butterfly inside of me). Having in 2022 jumped into the 3D printing activity, the project was rekindled last summer after printing a set of German motorbike riders from Eskice Miniatures.

These are going to work as a motorized infantry squad support unit or as part of a recon group. I still have pending a couple of motorbikes with sidecars that will provide the LMG tgeams to the squads. 


Painting filed grey and panzaerr grey is not very exciting but it is fast; and despite being very dull colours, I'm noy unhappy with the final results.


After this week submission, my accumulated scoring has reached 634 points or 91% of my 700 points target. With a little bit of effort I may reach the finish line next week, let's now pray that any unexpected professional o personal committments don't come in the way.