Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Posts Tagged ‘Miniature Wargames’

And another thing, or three…

Posted by Martin on May 25, 2010

One of the spin-offs of the recent series of posts about organizing Prussian forces for Republic to Empire was a spate of comments speculating about the correct terminology for ad hoc formations placed under a sub-commander by Prussian brigade commanders for specific tasks. There was no definitive conclusion so I’ve been asking around about this and had feedback from Peter F., George Nafziger and Peter Bunde as well as some of the regular BfK readers.

The upshot is that nobody is aware of a specific formal term that was used by the Prussian army. However, consensus is that the German word Abteilung would have been understood and recognised at the time. While this is a helpful conclusion, it does leave one final difficulty because Abteilung is used in many different senses by Germans and therefore has a range of possible translations into English depending on the context. General opinion is that the most appropriate translation under the circumstances I’m thinking of is detachment. So now all I’ve got to do is decide if I prefer to use the English or the German…

Elsewhere, my attention has been drawn to an article in the current issue of Miniature Wargames that compares four horse and musket rulesets: Sam Mustapha’s Lasalle, Black Powder, Foundry’s Napoleon and, the much admired in these parts, Republic to Empire. I scanned through the article at the shelves of W H Smith yesterday and came away feeling a bit disgruntled at what I view as some shoddy handling of Republic to Empire.

Of course, it’s fair to say that I only skimmed the piece and that reviewers are entitled to their own opinions – even ones that differ to mine 🙂 However, I did get the impression that the reviewer went into the venture with pre-conceived notions and looked only for things that confirmed his initial position. The main criticisms are ones that I’ve seen voiced on TMP by people who, by their own admission, have never even played the rules. Namely, a mistaken belief that Republic to Empire is overly complicated, hard to learn and too time consuming to play. As somebody who’s had the privilege to participate in a game at Salute I can tell you categorically that such criticisms are bunkum.

Back to the Miniatures Wargames piece – at least they did attempt some playtesting of each ruleset, so credit is due there. However, I think that the nature of the playtest (for example, it only being on a 4ft x 4ft table) was almost doomed to show Republic to Empire in a poor light. I think that to give any ruleset a fair crack of the whip you need to be sensitive to the conditions under which its authors intended it to be used.

Finally some sad news this week. Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy AKA The Spanish Magazine has announced suspension of publication of its English language edition. It’s a magazine for which I have a high regard and affection. I think it shook up the complacent competition and I’m fortunate to count some of those involved with it among my regular correspondents. As far as I understand, the magazine will continue to be published in Spanish but the current financial climate has made it uneconomic to continue in English at present. I sincerely hope this is a case of adieu and not goodbye.

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What’s happening with Miniature Wargames magazine?

Posted by Martin on October 3, 2008

During my lunchtime constitutional walk I happened to darken the threshold of the local W H Smith and, picking up a copy of October issue of Miniature Wargames magazine, I was assailed by the photo of a new person at the editorial helm. How long ago did that happen? It’s not a magazine that I regularly read or even buy so it could have happened ages ago but, having examined the evidence in more detail, I realized that this is a recent event.

One of the reason I don’t tend to pay much attention to Miniature Wargames is that I’m not a particular fan of it. And, judging by the slight size of the October issue, I suspect I’m far from alone in that opinion. I further suspect that this is (at least partly) the reason for the editorial change. This, in my mind, is a magazine that seems to have fallen behind the times so it was a surprise to me to see a Web site address printed below the editorial. And I knew that this was the place I’d have to check out to discover more about what’s going on.

Sure enough, the home page currently bears a screaming yellow “Under New Management” box with a link to a press release that provides the basic details of a change of ownership. Iain Dickie and his wife have sold up to a new chap called Andrew Hubback though Iain will continue to be involved as a consultant editor. My suspicion is that this is a critical juncture in the life of this venerable magazine. It’s approaching its 25th anniversary and probably needs an injection of something be it finance, enthusiasm or new ideas.

Iain and his wife have clearly devoted many years of their working lives to the magazine and we should celebrate and praise that effort. I think we should also recognise just how much that level of effort can take out of people. So I wish them all the best for whatever their future plans are and I also wish the new owner, Andrew, the best of luck too. I think he’s going to need it plus a lot of other things to ensure a successful future for Miniature Wargames. There’s fierce competition out there – not just on the newsstands but also online from the various Web sites that offer downloadable digital magazines. I hope Miniature Wargames can carve out a distinctive and interesting niche in this new age.

I’ll be watching how things develop over the coming months with a great deal of interest.

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