Coffee Break #18/2022

Wargamers pedigree… what an odd thing.

I am baffled at pedigree waving even done in a most innocent form (?) to make conversation and share some “veteran” nostalgia to impress the new generations.

Maybe I do find it strange due to the fact I suffer not from any nostalgia although I enjoy, as much as anyone else, in recalling good moments at the table.

I see it as nothing but a bunch of non precise dates along with some titles and chest thumping. And yes, we hear you. Good for whomever care.

Alas it is good to remember the foundations that built our future selves and how maybe the mentality that drives us to a hobby developed and wasn’t built limited but rather grew with influences from all wargaming media types.

Let’s start from the beginning and wave the pedigree.

One of our first contacts ( 6th grade, so 12-13 yo ) with “wargaming” was with finding Pierre Dupuis ww2 series. One friend made a map in A2 sheet and cut some square pieces and we decorated with flags and unit data. No grids, no hexes, just a map and little flags.

We did not use any dice or anything “mechanical” to solve the engagements.
We discussed the result – I remember that vividly – and presented arguments ( sometimes outlandish ) of why the little flag would survive or not.
I remember vaguely we did a version for Battle of Britain with more stuff.

Things get a bit blurred afterwards but somewhere 14-15yo I bumped into the Battletech, Cry Havoc and Dark Sun group, all of us parish youngsters, and that was the absolute explosion of fun for the future.

First game I remember playing with the group I was given the important task of being the scout of the lance piloting a mighty Locust.

( not my photo but same exact edition, which I still possess )

It is interesting that we mashed different systems together to achieve an intended result. Having acquired a copy of GDW Imperium we used it as meta level to drive our Battletech campaign.

We never had any disposition towards or against hex and counter or miniatures or whatever. All we saw ( and see to this day ) was fun while playing with imagination worlds, there’s no division.

( not my photograph )
Our GM favoured organising scenarios rather than playing. He had a small collection of minis we handled with care.

No fancy grail games or military family stories or connection to battlegrounds, no soldier culture. Just a group of youngsters having fun with ideas and games with swords and lasers, no matter if cardboard or minis or a mash of all.
Thing is we stuck with those three games, Battletech, Cry Havoc and Dark Sun. We needed nothing else.

As life goes the group got split, college and rock n roll got in the way.
I kept sort of in the loop and now and then picked a Casus Belli or a Wargames Illustrated issue but not often. We had more french and british mags than US stuff. I remember this issue well and really enjoyed the game included.

I do not remember ever seeing White Dwarf mag before I stumbled into this specific magazine issue cover…

“I heard it whisper my name and I obeyed the calling.”

Along with some friends we acquired the box sets together and divided the contents. Of course I kept the spaceorks and to this day it is my most beloved race in the entire 40k universe, with Empire for the fantasy version and Escher for Necromunda and Skaven for both Mordheim and Blood Bowl…

As we introduce GW to the storyline it is of note that miniatures were always present. Maybe not as pieces of a game but, in good tradition of the strongest trade here – static modelling – there were offers everywhere.

One of the aspects is that every friday in my younger years, like from 8 to 12 yo, every first friday of the month I would spend the allowance coins in Italeri/Esci sets at a store on the way home that had a bit of everything – magazines, toys, etc.

I vaguely remember the first set I got was this one. Big scale but it is okay. I still have them somewhere, half painted.
There’s something about horse cultures I always liked and felt drawn to.

One Christmas I was able to pick whatever I wanted and I asked for this.
We did not wargame with it… of sorts.
We decided if it was a miss or a hit and the little plastic soldiers “acted”.

That was how it started. There was no defining moment but rather a natural social thing. Also is not a continuum, there’s been hiatus periods broken by sprees. I remember buying some mag that had a game, acw battle, oh how I loathed it. It felt like nothing I played, was not fun at all.

Insert years of GW games in between and a good group in store-clubs nearby and evolution is normal. Buy, paint, play, buy more, setup a local group. Stop playing, do other stuff, come back after a couple years.

Then things changed. Stores go out of business. Tables get replaced by tiny spots for card games… ah well, nevermind…

Okay, that’s my wargaming pedigree.

I have no clue about all your “red boxes” and “famous designers” and whatnot you fashionable folk talk about, nor am i intelligent enough to be able to divide wargaming in categories.


( and lots of pew pew on the table )

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