Monday, February 7, 2011

The Scourge of God

For those of you who don’t know, I started my wargaming as a historical wargammer. From the beginning my love was Ancients. The rules in use when I started were Wargames Research Group (WRG) 6th Edition.

When I started in the mid-70s my gaming interest was driven by my historical interests and I was fascinated by Genghis Khan and the Mongol army. They created an empire that covered most of the known world in under half a century. Gaming wise they were pretty crap….but it was the army I wanted to play. New Zealand in the 1970s had draconian foreign exchange regulations and you had to line up at the Post Office to buy a postal order. The most you could buy was two pounds per day. There were very few Mongol models on the market so I decided to make my own models from Airfix US Cavalry based on an article on creating the Mongol army in “Battle” magazine – I still have the article. It involved using plasticine and hardening it with Banana Oil (no Green Stuff then). They were horrific.

My folks went on a trip to the UK and I managed to talk them into picking me up a 15mm Mongol Army from Mike’s Models. I painted it up and thought they were the dog’s bollocks. It was the only army I keep when I left the hobby for 15+ years.

When I got back the WRG rules had gone through a 7th Edition and moved onto DBM. I pulled my 15mm Mongols out and they were crap – but I loved the DBM rules. For two years I played enormous numbers of DBM games, painted and used 10+ 15mm armies which culminated with me taking my Early Samurai to the New Zealand Nationals in 2000. I managed to win that competition and straight after I started playing 40k.

In the intervening years I’ve had very few games of Ancients but I have never lost the love. Over the ten years I’ve bought two new 25mm armies, Early Vikings (which I had painted) and Mongol Conquest (which I painted myself). Neither had seen the table top. DBM has now gone and the Ancient world has splintered in Field of Glory and DBMM. I was a beta-tester for FOG but very quickly I learned it was very much a game of points denial and that unless I was very foolish I could almost guarantee myself no worse than a small loss – Dominate Romans 19 BGs for those who wish to know.

Locally the 25mm gamers are an “older” bunch but they were playing DBMM rather than FOG. Not surprisingly these rules are based on DBM and are newly into their second edition. I was downstairs last week and saw my three 25mm armies, I also have Patrician Romans (effectively end of the Empire) and decided that I wanted to give them a run on the table.

I located a set of the rules and lists and set about making up my army. The first thing that struck me was how appalling the presentation is. I’ve been spoiled by GW. Secondly, they are written in “legalese”. If you know WRG then you know Phil Barker. He really is the Godfather of historical rules, but a sentence isn’t a sentence unless it has at least five clauses in it. The bullet point certainly past him by! I tried reading them but…well I just can’t. I’ve decided to learn by osmosis……however you can bet the term “rules lawyer” was invented with this in mind.

The other big difference is that there is no Composition. There are lists with minima and maxima in it based on historical sources. You make the best list you can from within those constraints.

So over the weekend the Mongols came upstairs and were re-touched and highlighted ready for their debut. I’m hoping to get them on the table in little under two weeks when once again the Steppes will thunder with the sound of Mongol ponies.

No comments:

Post a Comment