Saturday, 28 May 2016

A Nomadic Wargamer...

I probably don't need so many camels in reality, but you can accumulate a lot of junk in a short space of time.
Back when I started this blog I was in a very different situation than I am today. I was returning to the 'hobby' after a long break and had ambitions for wargaming that were not unreasonable for the average person. I even had a permanent gaming room with plenty of storage space, with the option to add more if I wished. Since then I have changed career, which now means I work from contract to contract, rent my home and mostly work abroad. 

Time and circumstance have now collided and not only do I have the suspense of contract renewal time, I also have to find another apartment, as my landlord is selling the one I am currently in. Ordinary things for some of us certainly and not overly a big deal, but this year I also have to return to the UK for a few months, which has somewhat brought home the fact that my aspirations of way back when are not really practical now. I'm not complaining by the way, I enjoy what I do, I get to travel, but as with most things in life there is a trade-off.

In simple terms my trade-off has been that up to this point my pursuit of gaming has been mostly limited to talking about it. Most of my 'stuff' is in storage in the UK and what I have with me has been limited by airport baggage allowances. Research and writing is something I enjoy, and is also something I can do fairly easily in this age of digital media. Amassing miniature armies and terrain is a problem though, which has been brought home to me in light of my current situation. 

I don't have to give up wargaming of course, but I do have to consider what I can realistically move around, when I need to move it; I have become a nomadic wargamer.

Heia Safari!

I really need to try and avoid this.
These problems are not actually so unusual when you think about it. There are many wargamers who experience space limitations of one form or another. One man's small cupboard becomes my shipping crate or luggage space. The difference for me was that I had abruptly 'downsized' but had not yet mentally caught on to the idea that there had been a permanent change. Had I been faced with moving everything from the get go, rather than just storing most of it for some imagined perfect future, things would be somewhat different.

Quite simply I needed to 're-imagine' how I had to do things, rather than how I wanted to do them. Terrain and buildings are the biggest space eaters, but to me are as necessary as the figures you play with. While there are space solutions that could be utilised, there are some things you just have to accept.

My personal core interest is the Spanish Civil War, followed by the Late 15th Century and then various Post-WWII conflicts. While Spanish-style architecture can be found as far afield as the Caribbean and Africa, more Northern European styles are not. I can only spare the space for one set of themed terrain and while individual buildings are somewhat less of a problem, duplicating them for two or more different areas of the world is just not realistic, or indeed possible.

Quite simply, everything I do from now on has to have a Spanish or at least a 'Mediterranean' theme to a point. This was quite a hard call for me, as one of my long-term projects was the Franco-Burgundian War of 1477 to 1482. I have put a lot of effort and time into that, but it would essentially require a set of terrain and buildings solely for it, so it has to go. I have a replacement in mind to feed my inner Medievalist, but nevertheless it was a bit of a soul-crushing decision to say the least.    

I had also had plans for modular terrain boards and all the other good stuff we tend to see as the 'ideal' of gaming nowadays. Modular boards take up a lot of space too and tend to not travel too well unless some care is taken. A traditional cloth, or one of those new-fangled 'battlemats', is a much more sensible option and I have seen some quite spectacular layouts created with them. Add-in a few custom features, underlay some crude hill shapes and you can match the look of modular boards; without the unsightly lines between boards too.

Arlequín's Somewhat Smaller World

Actually that is quite a big area from which to select projects present and future.
The decision having been made, it still takes some getting used to. Nevertheless things are not so bad as they first appeared to me. Had I selected a more Northern European focus, then my options as regards things that interest me would have been far narrower as a result. I would have also effectively ruled out quite a number of projects I have toyed with over time and may still pursue in the future.

There will be some changes to the blog over the Summer, as time and movement allow, but in essence things will be more or less the same... but different. Hopefully they will be interesting though.