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.
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.
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.