Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pretty Pictures

Oh well they'll do...

Cue photo...

I haven't done any highlighting, or given them flesh tones, or details.... pretty typical for the last figures in an army...

They'll do....

You know you are getting old when you try to chat up a girl who has never heard of Chicago... not that I have been chatting anyone up - the missus would kill me - but bumbling around the interwebz I have been feeling like that bloke dancing with his thumbs up.

When I used to wheel me butcher's bike up that hill with a loaf of Hovis in the basket, if anyone had told me that I would even consider paying a tenner for a set of rules - frankly I would have said, 'Oooooo I could crush a grape.' (well I wouldn't, because I'm older than that but I can't recall Bernie Clifton's catch phrase).

The point being that when I started wargaming, rules came in A5 booklets that generally sold for £3.50.

I tell a lie.

As my first venture into wargaming was via a copy of The Wargame by Charles Grant, that I borrowed from the school library, which ended in my possession because the school went comprehensive before I returned it - meaning that no one asked for it back - perhaps it helped that I wanted the book so badly that I switched the library ticket with someone in my class - so maybe their parents got the letter fining them for an overdue book. But ignore my pubescent deception, that book brought a whole new meaning to my 1/72nd Airfix soldier games - oh tthe happy days of Germans machine gunning Romans and Robin Hood stopping a tank with a lucky shot through the drivers slit.

I mention this because the subject of how expensive rule books are becoming came up on a forum today.

As with most things about wargaming, wargamers in a sense have only themselves to blame. If you fancy a game of podcast cricket/bingo, it is pretty much free points for someone to say, 'full colour,' at some point, when talking about this or that publication. Yet while some wargamers seemingly demand this level of production, it is equally noticable that other wargamers will start complaining that the actual rules are only on 30 pages.

While I recall the rules of my youth being home brew, mimeographed, booklets. It would seem that the rules of the generation before me had actual books, akin to the £30 tomes so fashionable today.

Don't get me wrong.

I love my copy of Black Power - maybe love is a little strong, but I certainly am enormously pleased to own it, really like the rules, like playing the game - but I certainly don't think it of equivilent quality to the musty old Donald Featherson books I used to get from the local library. True the Featherstone books were pretty much useless - the rules were too complicated and poorly laid out - however what they did have was a set of principles and ideas that have stood the test of time.

Perhaps Black Power will be the same - who knows what might be inspired in the mind of an equivilent teenager today reading that book and looking at those pictures - and before you get all Daily Mail about the pictures, I defy anyone who has read the Charles Grant book to deny they spent hours gazing at the pictures of the battle of Mollwitz, and wishing they were the Archduke of Lorraine.

The conundrum between high price, high production books vs home brew pamphlets, was brought home to me last night.

I have a moderate case of grey plastic fever, which led to my looking at cowboys. After a bit of window shopping and pricing up a few things that I really just had to have, I started thinking about rules. I recalled that the D6 Generation had recommended a set called Gutshot.

I found them online, and was pleased to see they were reasonably priced at £20 - full colour, yadda, yadda...

So I put them in my cart and went to the checkout, at which point the £4 shipping price made me reconsider if I really want to pay £25 for a book. Especially when I was only planning to spend about £10 for the figures.

This in turn got me thinking about how back in the day, if I was approaching a new period/project I always did so from the angle of getting the maximum number of figures and spending the least ammount possible on the rules.

And besides which, why not spend £35 on figures and make up your own rules?

How revolutionary can the mechanics of Gutshot be?

Ah yes but it's full colour, with pretty pictures...


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