Where do you read this blog, are you currently sat at your kitchen table? Are you at work? How about on the beach, or in the bath? Though I’d like to think that this blog is a useful resource, you can’t beat a good old fashioned book to sit down and read wherever you fancy.
This week, I’m reviewing ‘Wargaming on a Budget’ by Iain Dickie. For those of you unaware, Iain used to edit Miniature Wargames magazine, so he knows what he’s talking about. The book presents ideas for gaming ‘constrained by money or space’, so you can see why it piqued my interest.
The scope of this book is huge, everything from ideas for campaigns and satellite combat rules, to descriptions on making ships and even casting your own figures. It really does have it all, but the wide breadth of areas does not allow a large amount of depth; the book could quite easily be twice as long and still contain plenty to keep the reader entertained on each page.
This reflects the slightly more ‘grown up’ tone of the book, it gives plenty of ideas and instructions, but doesn’t go into them in the type of explicit detail that many gamers are now used to. As somebody who’s read lots of gaming and modelling articles, I appreciated this approach. The book is decidedly ‘old school’ wargaming, covering all gaming periods and scale, again this may scare a few of the GW Fanboys off, but it shouldn't, there's so much content in this book and the majority of the ideas can be read across to any system or scale you choose to play.
The book doesn’t mention the internet as prominently as may be expected, which is a little strange. I firmly believe that the internet is the single biggest gift to the frugal gamer; it allows price comparisons, reselling, discussion of tactics, free magazines and downloads, and a wide range of other resources. Though of course, any talk of ‘modern technologies’ instantly dates a book, so perhaps this was a wise move on the part of the author.
One of the ideas raised in the book is that, as gamers, we also need to be frugal with space. It’s not something really covered in this blog, but it’s an area that surely affects us all. Only a lucky few have dedicated gaming rooms where we can store all our figures, terrain and boxes of unfinished projects. The author looks at ideas for changing scale, storing figures and making gaming tables that can be easily collapsed and stored away, ideas definately worth considering.
For me, the greatest strength of this book, alongside the huge amount of ideas, is the format. I know this sounds stupid, but having a proper sized paperback to read, rather than an oversized glossy paged book is so convenient. It can be read in the bath, in bed, or on the bus, without having to jostle for elbow room or tilt pages to look at the text.
So don’t expect hundreds of glossy pictures and detailed instruction, (though colour pages are included). This book makes a refreshing change from the step by step 'How To' guides that gamers have been spoon fed over the last decade. If you want something with lots of genuinely novel and useful ideas in a friendly format, this is well worth adding to your Christmas list.
I'm giving away my review copy of this book in a prize draw; to enter simply send me an email with the title 'Book Giveaway' and I'll choose a winner at random. The draw will close on the Saturday 18th of December at 1200 GMT.
Wargaming on a Budget by Iain Dickie is available through Pen and Sword books. Many thanks to Rachele for the review copy.