What’s wargaming?

Wargaming is the pursuit of happiness by fighting battles with miniature soldiers on a table representing typical battlefield terrain, or with cardboard counters on a gridded board depicting a stylised map of such an area.

Such games may be played by two or more opponents, or even solo. They are usually divided into turns, a concept with which you will be familiar if you have ever played chess or family board games such as Monopoly or Risk.

Unlike chess, wargames have no single, standardised set of rules. Even players interested in fighting the battles of a single era, and using the same sized miniatures, may use completely different rulesets. This may seem crazy, but to aficionados of wargaming, this is liberating. Just as Napoleon said that every soldier has a Marshal’s baton in his knapsack, so every wargamer believes that deep inside him lies the potential for writing The Ultimate Ruleset.

Beneath the Lily Banners game at Partizan

Beneath the Lily Banners game at Partizan

I mentioned there that wargamers use different sizes of miniatures. These can range from as tiny as 2mm tall, up to 54mm or about 2½ inches. Most games are played with figures somewhere in between these extremes, where our little men are about an inch tall (25mm-28mm).

Most players paint their own miniatures and organise them into armies for their games, although you can pay others to paint them for you. Boardgame players have the advantage of being able to open a box and find all the counters required inside, beautifully printed and ready to go. And whilst the boardgamer simply unfolds their map and gets going, miniatures gamers set out elaborate scenery for their forces to fight over. Sometimes, it can be so beautiful as to be indistinguishable from a model railway layout in quality.

But the main thing is, it’s an absorbing hobby that we do for relaxation and fun. Why not give it a try?


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