Wargaming Deep Thought: In Praise of Trying Everything


There are, approximately, 14 kajillion different miniature games available and demanding your attention today. What to do?



So Much Choice

Some of them are lurking outside of your door right now, waiting for you to show weakness, to let your guard down and BOOM you’ll have a new game to learn and a new army to assemble and paint and before you know what hit you.  (or what hit your wallet)

Some gamers treat new games with great suspicion.  They treat new things as a threat to the games that they already know and like. “Can’t try that demo!” they exclaim.  “I’m already invested in this!  and that!  And we haven’t played the other thing in six months!”  The new shiny that comes near them is treated as anathema, and will be burned with fire as needed.

Other gamers have more of a magpie nature, flitting from one thing to the next.  They live for for the Cult of the New, the new shiny thing that is far better than anything that they have tried before and they will drop everything to buy that new army and talk it up to everyone.  Then they will look like a sad puppy if no one wants to play the new thing with them, but it won’t last; they’ll be chasing the latest release next week soon enough.

There are subsets, of course.  Some people are magpies within a given game system.  They always have the newest army – they tend to haunt websites for pre-orders on Friday nights just so they don’t miss out.  And they’ll discard their “favorite” army without hesitation when a new one is announced.

There are a few stalwarts who pick one army for one game and it is thier entire hobby.  I have a handful of friends who literally have hundreds and hundreds of models for the one army that they picked when they were 16 and getting into a game and it’s all they play today.

I myself tend more towards the omni-gamer side.  While I personally don’t have an army for every notable miniature game on the market today, it’s frightening to recount how many I do have, and typically it’s more than one.  With new games it’s nice to have two forces so you can teach people the game easily – or so I tell myself, anyway.  Demos at gaming conventions?  Fantastic.  I’ve done my fair share of giving demos; I have a very fine appreciation for people who can do it well.  The best ones are a mix of teacher, cheerleaders and salespeople – all without trying to push you into something.

Times they are a Changin…

I think it’s good to be open to new things.  Increasingly we are in an era of the skirmish game, where dabbling in other games isn’t a massive investment.  And many gamers find that a change of pace is surprisingly revitalizing for a main game starting to feel a little stale.  I also find that having lots of games and armies to focus on softens the blow when the winds of fortune and change blow, and a new supplement or rules change makes one of my armies less effective on the battlefield or otherwise less appealing.  It happens, and instead of shouting epithets at the heavens I can just shrug, play something else for a while, smug in the knowledge that the wheel of karma is turning and that army will be awesome again.


Summary time.

Try new stuff.  Don’t be afraid.  You don’t have to dive into everything – it’s not likely that you are going to love everything! – but at least keep an open mind.  And who knows – perhaps you will find that there’s room in your gaming closet and your gamer heart for a new flame.  Just to spice things up.


How many games is too many?

  • generalchaos34

    im a stalwart, I have 6 armies for 40k and growing and I still barely get to play them all as much as I like and I still have a blast 20 years since I started. So naturally my Gaming Buck is going to go into my 40k fund.

    • Aezeal

      WE player, was gone for 10 years due to university and first workign years.. and now back… just keep it building… I dont’play often so I still need to get my WE tactics fine tuned.

  • Zandur

    After playing Warhammer Fantasy for more than ten years (I fought in the Storm of Chaos final weekend megabattle at GW’s then-headquarters in Glen Burnie, MD) I’ve become an End Times ragequitter. I’ve vowed to walk away forever, put my models where my mouth is and sold my WHFB stuff, and… I really don’t regret it, because it’s opened my eyes to other manufacturers and systems that I wouldn’t have considered before. I’m tentatively exploring Warmachine, Dropzone Commander, Dystopian Wars and more.

    • OldHat

      I don’t get why you ragequit when you have no idea what it coming down the line for WHFB. Seems a bit like everyone is jumping the gun, believing possibly false rumors, and raging over the unknown. Blows my mind!

      • Zandur

        I was several months into assembling a Marienburg themed army when Glottkin dropped, utterly destroying Marienburg. When I heard the rumors about Khaine, I thought, okay, I’ll make the best of this, and finally assemble the Avelorn High Elf and tree spirit army I’ve always wanted. Then Khaine dropped, utterly destroying Avelorn. I have invested far too much time into thematically modeling my armies to have any interest if they’re going to invalidate said themes entirely.

        • OldHat

          And what makes you think those realms are gone just yet? I mean, I am on pause with my Ogres to see what 9th offers rule wise, so I don’t paint up models I need to bust up and redo, but I am not going to just sell off everything based on an expansion they could just as well pretend never happened (not the first time, either!). In the end, folks need to just be patient and wait. This ragequit stuff is crazy.

          • Zandur

            Enter another reason to quit: the merry-go-round of inconsistency and invalidated units. Under 7th Ed. WHFB, Empire halberdiers were trash. Now, they’re the best State Troop pick, especially when fielded as a Horde. Now, maybe 9th will come along and invalidate them… leaving me with 50 useless Halberdiers I need to “bust up and redo”. Why should I patronize a company that introduces events and army lists that they retcon a few years later? After Storm of Chaos I reworked my small High Elf army into the SoC Lothern Seaguard army… which has long been invalid, alongside all the other SoC lists, alongside the Eye of Terror lists for 40K. Speaking of 40K, my first 40K army was Sisters of Battle- need I say more? GW’s schizo design philosophy is maddening and I’m tired of having it effect my hobby.

          • OldHat

            So you are mad that they have a dynamic game that changes with editions? You are mad they got you to buy more product? They are a company that needs to turn a profit and god forbid you buy more models for more options? Also, the stuff isn’t invalid outside of tournaments. You can still run a Storm of Chaos list in a Storm of Chaos game. And yea, I get that GW has issues, but I stand by the whole ragequit thing being a silly thing to do. 9th could turn out to be the best edition of WHFB to exist for all we know.

          • Zandur

            Apparently, your definition of “dynamic” is “fixing what isn’t broken”. GW does not refine and improve their games with each edition, they just stir the pot and swap old problems for new ones. Regardless, you’re right, I’m sure I can get a pick up game of 6th Ed. Storm of Chaos at the FLGS. GW doesn’t need to screw me into buying new products in order to get me to buy new products. Just a few weeks ago, I bought a Helbrute for my World Eaters not because it’s any good on the tabletop (it’s not), but because it’s a sweet model and I wanted to build it. Maybe next time, I’ll buy some new models for my Sisters- oh, wait!

          • OldHat

            Whew. The butthurt is strong in this one!

    • WestFargo Dave

      GW isn’t headquartered in Glen Burnie anymore? Where are the US headquarters now?

  • Andrew Thomas

    If the system is relatively stable, the face-to-face community doesn’t treat newcomers like crap, and the story is good, I’ll try it.

    • Agent OfBolas

      say hello to Infinity friend 🙂 I highly recommend this system as it ideally suits your requirements.

      • Andrew Thomas

        At least they address the major flaw to 40k’s Overwatch mechanic: volume.

  • pskontz

    I dont have a store I can go to often for demos. (2 hour drive one way) so for me to try new things I really need to like it as Ill have to get the rules and like the models. some games have free rules online and Ill read all I can get. but I tend to stay with my main game or two. Im always open to new things but I will research the crap out of it before investing anything to try

  • Interrogator_Chaplain

    It’s a good time. My Dark Angels are about to get a boost in the form of the Skitarii (Finally a decent anti-air option that isn’t a Quad-Gun!), my local hobby shop just sold off a whole bunch of terrain, so my RoB Board has a tonne of terrain choices now, and Star Wars: Armada is basically one of the best games I’ve played in ages. (Most fun I’ve had since my first game of Dominion.) And, if the Dark Angels codex rumours bear fruit (And bearing fruit means making the codex competitive, not just existing.), I will be convinced that someone in Nottingham is actually paying attention to us.

    Not to mention just how many options exist for us all right now. Warmahordes, Malifaux, Infinity, Dreadball, Bolt Action(To name just a few!). The coming Halo fleet game by Spartan Games, and I don’t care what people think, I’m excited to see what happens with Fantasy. (They advanced the narrative! 2 years ago I would’ve called you crazy if you said that was happening!) Not to mention media wise, I’m a big fan (And Vault member) of Miniwargaming.com pumping out the 40k and war gaming content on the regular.

    Let’s face it, we’re kind of in a golden age for the hobby here.

    • Azrell

      Id suggest a better avatar.

    • It really is amazing the variety of choice we have available to us these days. When I got into the hobby, my choices, effectively, were a half-dozen GW titles (40K, Fantasy, Necromunda, Mordheim, Blood Bowl, and Epic), Battletech just when FASA was digging its own grave, Warzone/Mutant Chronicles, and Vor, the latter two of which nobody in my area played.

      Nowadays, my FLGS has leagues running for a different game every night of the week and stocks dozens of others, none of which are too terribly hard to find a pick-up game for (except WWE, which doesn’t seem to have caught on around here at all).

      …and that’s good, because I’m overwhelmed enough by 40k’s release pace to have lost interest in it totally, and am intensely, acutely, MASSIVELY indifferent to anything Fantasy has done since 7th.

  • It was Necromunda that got me into miniature wargaming to begin with, so the current popularity boom of skirmish games has been fantastic for me, particularly Malifaux and Infinity, both of which remind me of Necromunda in good ways (Malifaux for the built-in narrative that gameplay generates, Infinity for the way the gameplay thinks and moves).

    Probably because of Necromunda’s influence, I like to be involved with the story, not just with the game I’m playing, but with the army I’m playing. The narrative link from one game to the next is important, and it’s something my “main” games over the last decade (40K and Warmachine) largely lack. Sure, I can create it myself, and I do, but that’s not the same thing as the storytelling that comes baked into many skirmish systems.

  • Aezeal

    Pretty BS article… first you mention there are different gamers.. and then you try to force your opinion on them in the conclusion. Can I -1 you somewhere?

  • John Bower

    Heavily invested in 40k (3 Realm of Battle boards, 3 armies >6k, another 2>4k and a couple of minor armies) but doesn’t stop me trying new stuff. I love and play X-Wing when I do get the chance. I have just ordered SW:Armada and waiting on that to arrive(seriously couldn’t resist capital ships), Twilight Imperium 3 and if you can count it Dreadball all in my toybox. 🙂

    • Aezeal

      That is a pretty heavy investment yeah. I guess playing a 6K game on only 1 battle board gets a bit crowded?

      • John Bower

        It can, but when I do Apoc it’s either my ?City boards with 2 more added for an 8X4 or one of the others with 2 of the city ones added for same size. Still can get crowded especially Guard/Orks/Nids

  • RexScarlet

    Back in the way way back our group used to play a different game every quarter (Mordheim, Man-O-War, WHFB, Necromunda, Gorka Morka, 40k, etc.), but the ramp up of whfb and wh40k to basically Apocalypse, changed that to every six months, then lost many of the group to other than GW games (warmahordes, FoW, etc.).
    If you have a good group, vote on what games for the year/quarter/month/week, etc. then COMMIT and hold players accountable, armies will get painted, rules will be read, etc. it will motivate the players, and “that guy” with never painted army, who never has the actual rules, will stand out, be called out, and be put out.
    Opponents are the most important and most difficult commodity to find and keep.
    The miniature gaming hobby as a whole, is like organizing thanksgiving dinner party, everyone is set to show up at a certain, bring certain items, and etc., and when little Johnny does not show up, does not call, and was supposed to bring the dessert, he will not be invited back.
    The days of hauling all your toys from all “Miniatures” game systems down to a FLGS to find a “start-up” or “quick game” are coming to an end, embrace communication devices.,

  • Malevengion

    I play a number of games just to keep the hobby fresh and avoid getting burned out painting the same type of model all the time. When 40K isn’t releasing anything new I like I can count on WarmaHordes, when they don’t have anything new of interest there’s Dropzone Commander. After that, Infinity almost always has something cool going on. Malifaux has really upped it’s game too. It’s a great time to be a gaming connoisseur. (If increasingly rough on the wallet 🙂 )