Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Not sure what to think!!

As you are all well aware our hobby is very individual. Would not have it any other way myself, yet sometimes, just sometimes something really makes me wonder why the hell some blokes bother.
 So it was when MW412  plopped on the matt a few days ago.
 Actually it is not a bad magazine the star article being for a Caesars Gallic War campaign. Althoigh not really my thing this is meaty stuff and I'm sure some of the ideas and mechanics could be used for later periods.
 The " Island in the Sun article... well although set in 1935  technologically speaking it felt more like 1905 or 1915  as far as the political background went- nothing too new here - Featherstone was doing  his "Mythical East Asia " campaign in the 1960s and this reads like an updated version . Nothing wrong with that at all.
In the steadily growing Darker Horizons Fantasy section there was actually something decent - needed to be after the nice to look at but risably  sub-titled "How to paint a  realistic elven army" - my italics- Gimme a break ! Since when did Elfs  become real.?
 Now this new piece highlighted the Dropship from the movie Aliens and was basically a how build one using a commercial kit and as a sometime SF game it was tempting. I can see the 69th M.I.LF. debussing from one or more of those suckers but as I'm unlikely to drop a ton and half for  just one of them I will have to find another option ..... Nice article though.

 There was other stuff- building Greek Temples and a pirate scenarioand a nice little piece about the Maidstone Wargames Society but the rest of the mag - bar one piece- was mostly reviews- including a long review of Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame books- now however interesting these may be to some I simply can't see the point. If you are so time, or family or space pressured that you can only give up an hour or so a week to wargaming then frankly I would not bother. You should have better things to do.

 Now as it happens I only tend to actually PLAY around a dozen times a year or even a little less- which actually works out at  a bit less than an hour a week but personally I'd rather spend time doing fewer but arguably better games  with my mates that this 2 foot square fiddlefarting about just because they need to indulge a "gaming fix". Oh and no I don't have- or indeed want my own table- rather have more bookshelves and play at the pub with the rest of the T.W.A.T.S. We actually - at least some of the time prefer to put a bit of personal effort in.

Speaking of effort we now come to the piece that inspired the title of this post. "Hypocrisy in Wargaming- written by - once you read the piece- one of the Hypocrites. He makes it clear that he likes the visual side of the hobby and tells us how important it is- then says that it shouldn't matter , well not for him anyway . Not that his assertions are wrong  but I'm afraid he just come across as a bit whiney. It is at bottom another anti- painting and modelling piece by one of the "Can't paint , won't paint" brigade- though I suspect that being colour- blind is a bit of a handicap. Having said that one of our members suffers from this malady to an extent and it has not stopped him. This fellas seem to come from the Fantasy competitions part of the hobby -  but the piece appears in the main body of the mag rather than the Fantasy Ghetto of "Darker Horizons".

 I'm not sure but this lad seems to have been persecuted for putting unpainted models on the table at  some Fantasy Competition or other using some game I've never heard of by a company I don't care about. If true- no reason to doubt the chaps veracity- then somebody is guilty of at best bad manners at worst being a complete bastard deserving of one of two outcomes. Either walk away and tell 'em to shove their competition or give the offender a punch up the throat- your choice here depending upon the severity of the offence! (But of course in the whiney world  you have created you can be as nasty as you like to anyone you like without fear of retribution... and they call it freedom ...)

 This must be a fantasy thing. I've not seen unpainted models on a table at a public event since about 1979 and even then that was unusual enough to be memorable (They were flesh pink Atlantic plastic Ancient Egyptians). I've not had unpainted models on any of my games since about 1974. As I grew up it became one of those  "Things That Are Just Not Done" - you know like farting before a Bishop - (especially when you know it should be his turn!)

So it seems to me as if this bloke wants to use his disability to explain why he- and others like him should not follow the rules laid down(or perhaps not) by the various fantasy outfits who run these competitions. You know if it was me I'd tell 'em to "garn ferk thersels"  in no uncertain terms.
 Some of the claims he makes about the various competitions  simply would not happen in Historical wargaming(you must use this brand of figures for this game - again GFY)  The piece overall simply made me even  less likely to ever play any form of Fantasy game ever. The whole scene comes across from this a just too narrow and possibly at times dammed unpleasant.

I'll go and play with some more civilised gentlemen down the boozer !

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Odious Cubes Strike again... and fiddling in a little sack!

There are large parts of our hobby that I find distinctly risable and last Saturday saw laughter in fine measure- both at ourselves and at the situation.
 Let me explain....
 Saturday saw out usual gathering at our usual watering hole for a game. We had a total of 6 members abnd guests present. Steve- in the chair Andrew Shaun, Lim aka Garth- and Liam's younger brother Jake
 Steve was in the chair and opted for a WW2 Russian Front game in 20mm. He has a really cracking collection of models by various makers including Elheim a maker I'd not seen in any detail before-who do some really sweet 20mm models. If I were a 20mm man I'd be sending some shekels his way but I'm not so I'm saved!!
Russians- dug in . 

 I opted for the Russians- expecting some T-34 and Katyuska .WRONG!  It is 1941 so the Russians don't have any decent kit. Hi-tech is a T -26 or BT-7  or some big klunky wossname with guns sticking out in all directions but not enough crew to man them all.
 Mind you the Germans were not much better off top of their tree was a 38t
 So the stage was set for an interesting day- just not quite in the way I imagined.
Panzer 38t.Halted by consistant Russian Mortar fire. 

 Steve chose the "Battlegroup"  rules which the rest of us had never tried and yes they very definitely have a plus side but they also have some pretty strong minus points as well . Most notably  no command structure worth a damn...(actually that is not strictly true but you will see what I mean)  Very VERY dice heavy- this is another "game" where  rolling D6 is seen as an intellectual activity and also some fiddling about in a small sack to draw chits- which are mostly pointless unless they are super deadly. Both sides spent at least as much time fighting the rules as they did each other. This "game" suffered from the modern curse of "mechanisms" seemingly put in for their own sake rather than as an aid to the players understanding of how battles worked.
The Germans finally reach their intitial objective.

  This game was at a relatively low command level of squads and platoons rather than say CD where the level is companies and Battalions. The major problem here was in the area of command. Now as you would expect the Russian Command Structure in 194 was a bit ropey to say the least. No problem there but the game called for you to roll "order dice" every move to see how many orders you could issue. Again no problem there, not a bad idea at all. However for reasons not explained to me troops immediately forgot any orders they had already been issued with at the beginning of each turn. Further a tank unit for example consisted  of individual tanks which each had to be issued an individual order so 5 tanks 5 orders-  though there seemed to be some kind of "command Radius" which meant tanks were almost track to track-each turn even if an order had already been issued to them. Add to this an IGOUGO turn system and the game slowed to a crawl with large periods of time doing nothing, waiting for the other side.  Andrew commented that the whole thing felt rather "bitty". I know what he means.. The skill - with this "game" is to fight the rules not the opponent. I can see the point of some of this stuff after all it introduces Clauswitzian friction into the game rather nicely but this is obviously designed as a "game" for mechanism freaks rather than period freaks ... and in this particular case the drawing of chits from Steve's little felt sack changed the game so utterly that skill or period knowledge had nothing to do with it at all only luck- there were apparently 2 "air strike" chits in the bag-  out of around 50  chits I think the Germans drew them both in succession and killed 60% of the Russian armour in 1 turn - or was it two. The Russian air and artillery was not negligable- halting their tank advance and wiping out an infantry squad and frankly had it not been for the luck of the draw the game may well have bogged down into a stalemate as each side fought the rulebook to try to get something to happen. I would have expected a German command superiority here but Shaun And Andrew seem to have lesser but similar problems- they never seemed to be abler to move all of their troops - even those not in contact without the re-issuing of the same repeated orders each turn.

The start of the Russian counter attck. Most of these troops and more would be slaughtered by 2 Stuka attacks .

 Frankly that to me is a clumsy mechanism which does not reflect the actuality. Troops will usually attempt to carry out there orders until the situation changes so having to repeat the same order to non-moving troops or troops not in contact with the enemy is just silly and over complex. Now changing orders can be hard so perhaps needing more order points to change an order would help here rather than repeating yourself. Overall there was more than a hint of  the currently fashionable "game mechanism for the sake of mechanism" here than a set of low level WW2 rules.

The Victorious Germans after our single air strike came in. 

 Yet these were not complete rubbish by any means. We will need to play several more games to be sure but there is a bit of potential here. Combat resolution is pretty simple- artillery does work well  though perhaps some kind of observation rules might help. One game does not give you all the nuance- assuming these rules have any- but I'm certainly willing to give them another bash

Monday, 3 July 2017

Shining again

I decided to have a little bash at photographing some of the nice shiny French I've recently added to the "Shinyloo" project which now only needs some available table time for the first game. I suspect that a little tweaking will be needed but nothing major.

 When I consider what bloody awful condition some of these figures were in when I bought them and how they look now I am on the verge of being rather smug- if not actually so !

 The Chasseurs of the Guard are mostly old 30mm Minifigs on Stadden or Willie Horses . Most of the Grenadiers are Minot- with some Stadden
 The single Mameluke is a Stadden

My mind is working towards using "Charge!" for the games but with a few amendments. Mostly to organisation - French Companies for instance will have 18 privates- allowing them to form 3 ranks of 6 . They will of course only be allowed to fire 2 ranks deep. This should neatly give the British their historical fire superiority without unbalancing the rules. -Solving the tactical problem this causes will be the French Commanders task. The only other amendment I'm thinking of is adding specific rules for the British Rifle. A longer range certainly but hampered by slower loading, perhaps an ability to "pick off" officers etc at closer ranges. Still thinking about this. Possibly not until a game or two have actually been played .

The following day.
Had another look at the batch of pictures I took  before deleting the rubbish and decided to add 2 more photos to this group. The Grenadier officer with his arm stuck out is a 30mm Minifig with a replacement sword from flattened brass wire. The Chasseur officer is a Staddenon a Stadden Horse.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

What do you expect from a "Wargames Show" ?

 Recently I was reading up a few blog posts regarding the recent Durham Wargames Group show- which the T.W.A.T.S  attended with a 40mm Wars of the Roses game- which it has to be said was well received by several bloggers despite the odd factual inaccuracy.
 However in other ways the show got a bit of a spanking. Various chaps called it tired and lacklustre which I think was a bit harsh- and wishing to consign it to the dutbin of history is a bit unkind even if it is just a chairman's ego trip,

Sash and Saber 40mm Napoleonics. Emulating a pic from a Featherstone book.

 Now I'm not conversant with internal politics at the Durham club- nor do I wish to be but the points raided by Colin Ashton and Zabadak are worth considering in regard to small shows in general and what people expect from them.

 Putting my traders hat on for a moment I don't go to Durham primarily as a trader  as it is too small- and possibly more importantly - there is no space.

40mm English Civil War - again from a Featherstone book. The figures are  mostly Romanoff some with Sash and Saber heads

However even if there were space I'm not sure I'd go as it is too small and I doubt I'd cover the £250-£300 it would cost to do. Frankly an awful lot of small shows are like that. Battleground in Middlesborough  did not do the economic business- the last one I did being- financially speaking- the worst show I'd attended for over 20 years (which probably means , taking price rises and inflation into account the worst EVER by a long way). Border Reiver looked to be heading that way too. Now I'm no longer involved -and have no axe to grind- being no longer financially responsible for the show (and yes taking a cut of the fees and door money since I was paying most of the bills) I can say that without that - in straight day trade so to speak -the show was ,at best, marginal over the last 4 or 5 years with last year being pretty poor. Over the years I've been to other small shows across the country where trading has frankly been at best marginal at worst a waste of time. Over time these events have been winnowed out of the Old Glory UK calendar.

40mm Sash and Saber Viking and Saxons slugging it out. Again from a Featherstone book 

Now how other traders  fare at these events is, of course, a question for them and nothing to do with me so if they do OK  and fulfil their own criteria then they will keep going I assume. Of course if they are part-timers they may not have strictly economic  criteria to fulfil but that is another story.

Old Glory 25mm - or 28mm if you prefer . The difference is purley academic. This picture inspired by Young.

Now back in " ye olden tymes" before the internet going to shows was just as much about advertising as about making a few quid. Despite some chaps thinking traders should go to shows "for the marketing opportunity"(whatever that actually means. In extremis  it has tended to mean standing about for 8 hours while some geezer tells you the sandals of your 15mm Samnites are from the wrong century or asking you why your 10mm figures don't have bare feet. Yes both of these happened to me at different shows - neither of which we do now) shows just are not as important as they used to be. Now as it happens I still think customer contact is important so will continue doing some shows each year as long as they remain economically viable which,for me, means not actually losing money by turning up i.e I'd like to at least break even. In the past I've given shows a couple of years to do this  but now I'm down to a bedrock 7 events a year ALL  of which have in past years cut the mustard.
 This year only the new Derby Worlds at Bruntingthorpe in Liecestershire is a possible candiDate for future dismissal but we'll have to see. Yes Old Gloryb UK are going to the show but as I said in a previous post I'm only taking the 15mm lines and maybe 10mm so other range will have to be pre-ordered Jumping the stand price by almost 20% was a bit on the steep side so even with a smaller stand  factoring in Van hire, Hotels and crew wages a Grand will have gone before I've sold a soldier. It therefore follows that on the whole, for me smaller shows are not always economic

Now taking off my trading hat and putting on the Punters cap.....

As a punter my wants at a show -especially a small one -are a bit different and Durham filled those very well. This is not to say that I don't see Colin's and Zabadak's points as, if  I and the rest of the T.W.A.T.S  were not doing a demo there I personally probably would not go- simply because in most respects I'm no ordinary punter in that I live with this stuff every day. I'm surrounded by it and on most days -unlike a hobbyist- I can't simply walk away and do something else.
 Having said that I enjoyed Durham in a way that I didn't enjoy many of the lacklustre shows I have traded at. It is pretty nice to talk to chaps without my traders hat on and to connect with the hobby in a way other than business. The onus to at least cover your sometimes considerable costs simply is not there.

But in the wider sense is that enough? I like running a demo  game now and again but is that the same for everyone? I enjoy the player and punter interaction but obviously some gamers do not judging by how hard it is at some shows to actually get a word out of some demonstrators. This kind of stuff has happened at shows since Christ was a corporal. "Introverts R Us " is nothing new but at best it is bad manners at worst downright nasty.What these people expect from a show is largely beyond me. I can't see why they would bother when all they do is the same as they would on "club night".

More 28mm Old Glory and Sash and Saber. Inspired by Young.

My personal impression is that it is on the rise again after mostly disappearing in the 90s. I do far fewer shows  these days than I did back then so perhaps I notice ignorance(and bad hygiene) more now than I did then. What that means is that I don't want to fall into the same trap on my "one demo a year" as I have found at other shows. Not being obsessed by the actual gaming is an advantage here. Understanding that mere dice rolling is not an intellectual activity means that I can turn my energies to other things within the broad spectrum of the hobby. And yes blokes at shows often ARE interested in other aspects of the hobby besides the dice rolling. Whatever the game design lobby may think.

 On that level Durham does well and gives us what we want from a small local event. No pressure, a  relaxing day . A chance to put on something a little better that our normal games in the pub (no beef butties though!)and a chance to talk to chaps outside our group about what we- and they- enjoy about the hobby. So for a smaller event that will do nicely thank you.

The photos- all of these are "studio shots" of pictures I've done at various time "re-imagining" pictures from the classic books. I leave it to you , Gentle Reader, to guess which books .

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The rest of the Year. Shows in 2017

 I thought I'd better bring interested chaps up to speed on Old Glory UK's show dates for the rest of 2017.
 We have 3 more events in the rest of this year.
 Next up for us will be Claymore! in Edinburgh of Saturday August 5th at the Usual venue of Edinburgh College ,Granton Campus West Granton Rd Edinburgh EH51QE.
Always a good event and well worth travelling to.We will have all of our usual show stock there . Hopefully we will also have some new Blue Moon  15mm releases in several different ranges. Mad Anthony Wayne, Xulu war and maybe Boxer Rising.

After that there will be The Other Partizan at the George Stephanson Hall, Newark Showground.  on August 20th. Now the change in venue really has sparked this show up. No more dark dreary Kelham with miners lamps on your head.! No more tortuous unload with everybody and his brother getting in the way.
 No that is all gone. Now we have a light airy hall where you CAN see your hand in front of your face and you CAN get your gear in easily. The catering is, by show standards pretty good too.
 So yes we shall be there again with all of our usual show stock

Our final show of the Year will be the Derby Worlds at the new venue of Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire- pretty far away from Derby really and to all intents and purposes a new show. on the 7th and 8th October. The new venue looks good in the promo video- similar to Newark but perhaps a bit shinier and after a bit of a false start the new organisers seem to be getting it together.


 WE ARE ONLY TAKING 15MM and possibly 10mm ranges to this event. as we have only booked a 12 foot stand due to the high price of stands at an unproven event.
 So we will have with us all the Blue Moon 15mm and all Command Decision WW2 and Modern.and very possibly all of the 10mm Gunpowder ranges.
 All other ranges will need to be pre-ordered. as we will not be carrying 25/8mm or 40mm with us at this event.
 This restriction ONLY applies to this show

Of course pre-orders are welcome for all 3 shows and as ever the "6for5" deal will be in operation.

Now that is it for the rest of the year as far as shows are concerned.
 As I intimated in an earlier post I will not be attending Border Reiver in September- the current organisers made it quite clear that Old Glory UK would not be welcome so I am complying with their wishes.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Time to get back in the shine !

 I seem to have been painting 40mm Wars of the Roses for months.  Since about February I've done very little else as far as painting and modelling are concerned. Other projects have very definitely take a back sent.
British rifles- the 95th. Mostly Stadden but the chap with the fixed sword is a Hinchliffe.
 The look is deliberately retro.

 So now the Durham game is done it is time to give the WOTR a bit of a rest and go and do something else. Mind you the WOTR is only resting . I still want to finish the "cart of War" that I collected the components for but ran out of time to complete are also some more pieces from Irregular to add in to the forces. Currently the WOTR is the only one of my 40mm projects that has much life in it. I'm seriously thinking of selling the 40mm ACW and Napoleonic forces and possibly the Dark ages ones as well but only if I can get a respectable price for them- especially the ACW  which has a good bit of professionally painted stuff in it as well as  plenty of my own work when I could see better than I can now.  Actually the 40mm ECW/TYW project still has a bit of life as I have some half done Imperialist Cuirassiers on the table as well as a couple of other figures in various stages of dress. That is a collection that is definitely not in the sale possibility.
Another of the same. The office figure is suppoed to be Harry Smith- somehow he can't get anyone to post his letter for him!! 

So what do I do next- some more shiny dudes as they were on the desk anyway and"Shinyloo" is as good as table ready . After that some 28mm ECW I think unless something else takes my fancy ... I still have some more Moderns I want to add to my forces and I really need to get properly stuck into the 15mm ECW for the Dunkirk Dunes idea.
 However I have now finally finished all the "Shinyloo" British riflemen I have  so here are a ferw pics of them skulking behind some ancient Britains  plastic hedges which are roughly the same age as they are. All are Stadden 30mm except for a couple of Hinchliffe I acquired already painted to a fine standard in a job lot of assorted toys I got from ebay.

So all in all plenty to be going on with. Rules and games- who needs 'em  more stuff to do in the real world.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How many rules do you need?

There is no doubt in my mind that the hobby is changing . Parts of it are  possibly in their death throes. In 20 years even assuming it survives it will be unrecognisable to the previous generations. (As incidentally will the by then  non-existant UK. With England a poor 3rd world rump that everyone in the rest of the world ignores unless it is as a holiday theme park for "Heritage" excursions)
Good or bad does not enter into it. A hobby  of sorts will still exist but will it be wargaming as we know  NOW it and  should we actually give a toss since most of us will be dead.
 It is however interesting and amusing to speculate upon the possible outcomes of some current trends- if indeed they are trends or merely fashion blips.
 Will the current passion for seemingly endless releases of similar "skirmish wargames"  continue? Will "serious" wargames be drowned in a sea of lightweight fluff?

 Will there still be a military book industry- 

Well yes of course in some form simply because there are plenty of people interested in Military History that would not come within a mile of a wargames table. Some days I can see their point!  The "reality gap" between the modern hobby's roots in Military History and many of today's "games" gets wider and wider. This trend is likely to continue simply because games companies want to sell you a different game next week in a prettier box that requires even less effort on your part. Also you had better get bored with it pretty quickly (you will) so they can sell you another one. In a prettier box but actually the same as the one you just bought- except for page 4 of the 8 page rulebook. This of course has 2 different stats for the  Death -Ray or Chaos Doomblade   or whatever silly name the d6 WITH SKULLZ on has in THAT box.

 Yes of course I'm being waspish and facetious- It's my job! 

Of course it may do to the other extreme- 10 hour games with 5000  figures a side and  50 lashes for each button out of place on those 10mm infantry but I think the former case is the more likely.

Will there still be a Model Soldier industry?

Now this one I am less sure about and the answer is probably - though how much of it will be historical is more open to question. The "miniatures gaming industry" is awash with so many similar sci-fant skirmish -a-likes  ranging from funny  WW2 (with or without Zombies) to  Steptoe in space- taking in sundry sub-Tolkien dwarf-fiddling along the way-all from blokes who want to be Games Workshop -2. so dystopian nastiness abounds (just like the UK in 2017 then) and same old same old in a different box is the rule. There is nothing new under the (plastic) sun.
 Doubtless there will still be private producers making the stuff that interests them but the accessible public face may well be almost entirely non- historical  or even non- war Wargames so new chaps- assuming there are any such may well have an even harder time  than now- especially if they are historically minded. But then they will probably be immersed in the latest VR world- sitting on an automated  kermode for 18 hours a day eating grasshopper and beetle burgers from a (recycled) plastic bag. Not seeing an actual human being for months on end - if ever -living a virtual life from a festering bedroom -only opening the door to accept the next pizza or burger delivery.

Will there still be Wargames shows?

Now this one is a hard call- I honestly don't know. Speaking commercially many perhaps most shows simply are not worth the effort of hiring a van. There was a time when even the smallest show was worth the advertising time. This is no longer the case. Back in the 1990s I did 26 shows a year and could have done more if I chose. This year- 2017- I will do a total of 7. I know of some companies who do none at all and are happy that way. Personally I still value customer contact both by phone and face to face at shows.. Though again I know of outfits who will not speak to the people who put bread in their mouths without the  interdiction of a computer interface or sometimes even at all.
 The drive to greater personal isolation and therefore  outside control continues-. We are entering an age of Totalitarianism by commercial pressure- usually by Insurance companies so wargamers may become even more personally isolated  because of factors outside the hobby. This will of course mean that games companies will have to produce smaller and  simpler  boxed games that Daddy can play with Tarquin or Jocasta for the odd half -hour that their attention span lasts before the next burst of social media input fries their brains .

Of course in the Orwellian nightmare that will be  Gaminland no dissension will be allowed, no departure from the 2 foot square table or the ready painted plastic spaceship or day-glo elf(unless by special  Gaming Police dispensation it is a 4 foot square table). Those caught reading Chandler or Reid or Young sent to  CORRECTICON  A convention of re-education and force read  Martin and  strapped helpless and screaming  to Lion Rampant games !!

I suspect a few larger shows will survive and even thrive- given a stable economy- which of course went out of the window last June- but given current trends they will be mostly sci-fant and games will be merely those put on by the games companies for their own advertising needs. To the "commercial=popular therefore MUST be good" type of games player this will be hog heaven but to those of you who prefer diversity and individual thought perhaps not so splendid. Those of us who like toy soldiers  in numbers more than a couple of dozen will all be dead by then.
 Of course we might all get fed up and take up something interesting like Alligator wrestling or Crochet so that we don't suffer what Zabadak called "meh"  after you have been to yet another same old same old show. Now I'm not at that point yet by a long chalk- but maybe I can just see it from here.

Am I going round the bend.

 Quite possibly with the unmitigated gold star f**k up perpetrated by the sorry bunch of self-centred  non-entities masquerading as a government that you have saddled  the country with since this time last year. The strane on the brane(quoting Molesworth) has been enuff to last a lifftime .
 Nevertheless within the hobby the short term -i.e. the next couple of years, looks OK at the moment- new stuff coming out from Blue Moon , Raven Banner and Drabant- and those are just 3 of the companies I deal with . Other miniatures companies also producing historical stuff despite the deluge of same old same old sci-fant.

Rules, Games, Games Rules

  Rules are really beginning to get up my nose. Or perhaps we have to call them "Games" now. Especially as I realise that in the last couple of years I've spent more money on the bloody things that I did in the previous 10 years.
 What did I get for my shekels. 4 Ospreys and 3 hardbacks and 1 softback
 to whit
 The Hardbacks
 Black Powder- which is pretty awful . Hard to find stuff in the book and historical bunk to book. Full of errors and gamsey rubbish.Sort of OK ish with smaller scales if you  be bothered to wade through all the tripe to find the good bits - of which there are some.

Pike and Shotte- Better but still not good-  some silly formations and troop distinctions that bear only an occasional resemblance to the actuality mar what is a not too bad rule set if you know your period. However these days the urge to "play the game" at the expense of period whilst not universal is pretty common. Sacrificing period for mere dice rolling does not inspire me.

7TV A splendid idea and probably not a bad game but the cost to get a decent set up is a bit prohibitive especially for something  where  the likelihood of  multiple games is pretty remote and EACH of those games possibly require a different set up with some different characters- at around 3-4 quid a figure. plus specialist scenery and props- find me a decent 1/50th ish scale Jag mkII or a Ford Capri or Ford Transit(this last I can get but it is not cheap) or what about a Dofge Charger orFord pickup.
 I have not given up on this but it is far harder to get it right than say an ECW army.

Now 4 Ospreys
En Garde- Not a bad set of rules for low level  skirmishes. Though perhaps a bit  fiddly. Definitely has potential for 40mm use.
 Lion Rampant/Pikemans Lament.
 The same crap in different covers. I honestly fail to see why they are even remotely popular. Childish and simplistic and especially PL- actually  run counter to the history if purports to be inspired by

Honours of War. I have not yet made up my mind about these. They are not rubbish by any means but the one size fits all unit sizes and formations are a big downer (despite the optional rules for larger or smaller units)  but very common in lots of "games" these days. It is as if the writers don't want to tax the poor players brain with anything that might resemble they way things were done in the period under consideration. Yet there is still useful stuff here especially for smaller size figure games.
 However as I now study my own (very recently aquired) copy I see more potential if I can solve the "standard unit" problem to my own satisfaction.
 Of the rules bought over the last couple of years these are probably the best.
and finally
 Cold War Commander
 This is the absolute pits- makes Lion Rampant look historical, What utter dross.  No organisation worth a damn and no way of using the rules with your own. Long winded and simplistic- which is quite hard to do. The gamiest game of them all . To be rubbish it would have to improve.

So 8  different- well 7 different- sets of rules/games. Using them I have played a total of 3 games- 2 of which were Black Powder the other beoing Honours of War in 10mm  which - with a bit of tweaking will be essayed again I think.

However in toto these 8 sets have cost  me about a ton or maybe a bit more. I'd estimate that about half of that is money down the drain. The "quality" and limitations of many more recent "games" has been at least partly responsible for a partial reversion to retro wargaming. Team Yankee seems to be not a great deal more than a posher prettier version of Charles Grants WW2 rules - with a bit of Lionel Tarr thrown in. There is nothing  in many of these sets that an averagely knowledgeable chap could not do himself so why I have spent a ton plus looking for better rules ,in retrospect , I cannot imgine.

What you must decide.

Is exactly which bits of the above are satire, parody or merely taking the p""".and which bits are interpretations of o cold hard facts and which to be candid(e) 
 are all for the best in this the best of all possible worlds.

Seriously for a moment I invite your comments- unlike at least one other blog I visited and temporarily commented on very recently I will not delete stuff I personally don't agree with - as long as it is not libellous or illegal- discussion and differing opinions are paradoxically one of the things we may be losing in the social media age.