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1st Corps Figures - 'The Spirit Of Wargames'


Welcome to the Wargames
Beginners Page


What is wargaming all about?

Wargaming means different things to many people. Iím not trying to sound blasť, itís simply true in this case. Wargaming can take any of the following forms :

  • Board games, such as Avalon Hillís excellent ĎThird Reichí.
  • Play by mail wargames (PBM), such as Austerlitz.
  • Computer games, such as the Talonsoft series or Sid Meierís Gettysburg.
  • Tabletop wargaming using miniature figures.
Whilst each of the above are indeed wargames, this information relates to the last type of wargaming Ė Tabletop Battles.



OK then, what is tabletop wargaming all about?

Tabletop wargaming, or wargaming for the rest of this article, gives us the chance to be an armchair general. We can simulate a battle, or campaign, using painted miniature figures to represent the various units (ie. these can be vikings, knights, voltigeurs, tanks or even ships).

Wargaming ranges from skirmish level, where each figure represents an individual, to huge battles involving tens of thousands of men such as Borodino or Gettysburg. Add to this the diverse weapons technology (from thrown javelins to the javelin missile) and you could be excused for being a little confused.




ACW Union Infantry stands based for Fire & Fury Rules


Help is at hand though!

The wargames industry has grouped the different types of warfare into categories, such as ancients, medieval, Napoleonic, and so on. We will discuss these categories in a bit more detail later. Because the wargames market is so diverse, the question most new people ask is "How do I get started?"

In the following sections, I have put down some thoughts to help you. It is not just a list of things you need to have (although I have included this), rather it is a step by step guide to helping you through the decisions which need to be made in order to start wargaming.

Why do we feel qualified to do this? Quite simply weíve been through the process (as have most other wargamers) and know the pitfalls. Speak to most wargamers and they will confirm owning many packets of will-never-be-painted-or-used figures. The unnecessary purchases we made need not be repeated.



So what is this list of things we need?

Below is a list containing most of the necessary equipment to do battle on the table top. It is not too detailed because you will eventually choose your own rules and techniques for determining casualties and movement. Itís a starting point though :-

  • A tabletop or board, preferably 6í by 4í (I will discuss this in depth later).
  • A painted miniature army.
  • Various pieces of terrain (buildings, hills, trees, etc.)
  • An opponent with another painted army.
  • A set of rules.
  • 1 or 2 measuring tapes.
  • Various dice (determined by the rules).
  • A watch or clock, even better is a stopwatch with a beeper.
  • A calculator, paper and pen.
There are other playing aids, such as roster sheets, artillery measurement sticks, DBM movement measures and firing arcs which can be made/bought if you want to use them. The list includes the basics though.

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