Why I love big wargames and you should consider them.
If you’re like me, you love tabletop wargames. There’s something satisfying about commanding an army of tiny soldiers and seeing them clash with your opponent’s forces. It’s more than just playing toy soldiers.
But, not all wargames are created equal. Some people prefer skirmish games, where you only have a handful of models and each one has a name and a personality. They like the fast-paced and cinematic action of these games, where every move and shot counts.
I have mad respect for that, hell I enjoy them enough I worked for GW. But I’m here to tell you why I enjoy massive battles more than skirmish games, why big battles are the true essence of wargaming plus why you should give them a try.
THE SCALE FACTOR
One of the main reasons why I love big battles is the scale (yes, it’s a double entendre). There’s something awe-inspiring about seeing hundreds or thousands of miniatures on the table, representing entire regiments or divisions of troops. The visual impact of these games is unmatched by any other hobby.
But scale is not just about aesthetics. It also affects the gameplay and tactics. In big battles, you have to think strategically and plan ahead. You have to maneuver your units as cohesive formations, not as individual models. You have to deal with command and control issues, such as morale, orders, and communication. You have to account for terrain, weather, and logistics. You have to balance offense and defense, attack and retreat, flank and center.
In short, you have to think like a general, not like a squad leader. And that’s what makes big battles so challenging and rewarding.
Plus, with skirmish games you are usually using 28mm or worse yet “Heroic Scale”. With mass battle games, you’re probably using something ranging from 2mm to 15mm. A good example is a phalanx. You’re looking at 400 men. With 28mm, that’s probably 30 inches wide and pretty deep. Problem is, that’s a LOT of minis to be moving around. Also, you usually would have 5 of them working together as a big unit. That’s just ridiculous. But in 2mm, it’s easily fitting all 2000 men on a 40mm base.
Cost is another scale consideration. Compared to every other smaller scale, the cost is ridiculously expensive. 28mm will cost you $2-5ish each, and I’m only talking about base figures here. 15mm you’re looking at $.50usd each and 2mm, you can get what is effectively thousands of people in two armies for $20usd.
Variety. Variety Is Good
Another reason why I love big battles is the variety factor. There are so many different types of wargames that you can play with big battles, covering every conceivable time period, genre and scale. You can play historical wargames, such as Bolt Action, Warhammer Fantasy or Kings of War, and recreate famous battles from history or explore alternative scenarios. You can play sci-fi wargames, such as Warhammer 40k, Star Wars Legion or Dreadball, and fight in futuristic or alien settings with advanced technology and exotic creatures. You can play fantasy wargames, such as Malifaux, A Song of Ice and Fire or The Walking Dead, and use magic, monsters and zombies to spice up your battles.
And within each type of wargame, you can choose from a variety of factions, armies and units, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and styles. You can customize your force with different weapons, equipment and abilities. You can mix and match different scales of miniatures, from 2mm to 15mm, to suit your preferences and budget.
Speaking of scales, let me tell you why 6mm is the sweet spot for miniature size. 6mm is also the smallest scale you can reasonably play skirmish games on the tabletop with. But why would you want to do that when you can play big battles instead?
The Play Is The Thing
The final reason why I love big battles is the fun factor. Big battles are simply more fun than skirmish games, in my humble opinion. They are more immersive and epic, more strategic and tactical, more varied and diverse. They offer more opportunities for creativity and experimentation, for cooperation and competition, for storytelling and roleplaying.
Big battles are also more social and friendly than skirmish games. You can play them with more people, either as allies or enemies. You can share the joy of painting and collecting miniatures with fellow hobbyists. You can join clubs and communities of like-minded wargamers. You can participate in tournaments and events, or host your own.
Big battles are not just games. They are experiences. They are hobbies. They are passions.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your dice and your miniatures and join me in the defense of big battles. You won’t regret it.