I was rummaging through some old scribblings this morning when I came across the following. Written to a friend as part of a discussion on how figure gaming has changed since I was a lad, it is a tongue-in-cheek view from a grizzled old grognard that I thought you might find amusing.
28mm* is the scale that gentlemen game in. In the (good) old days you’d make an exception for modern games (WWII on) because of the availability of 20mm models and little else. When 6mm WWII came in you could excuse it on the grounds of mass tank battles. Occasionally people would do skirmish games in 54mm, but they were weird. Everything else was cause to check someone’s levels of medication.
15mm gaming turned up later as an aberration caused by lack of funds, bought only when people couldn’t afford proper (28mm*) armies. The models and games have never looked as good to my eye. The only exception is WWII+ where the small size allows vehicles and long-ranged weapons to be used more comfortably. Smaller scales follow the old Soviet principle that quantity has a quality all its own.
Since then the market has ballooned and you can get models in a huge array of scales, which is nice, confusing, and frustrating in equal measure.
I have gamed in most scales over the years, and can see more merit in non-28mm scales than the above may suggest. Even so, if I listen to my emotions rather than my head then this heritage still strongly influences how I think about scale. Initial experiences are formative ones. Even now I’d still plump for a table full of beautifully painted and ranked 28mm Ancients if I had to pick a single image to define wargaming. For me, that is. I suspect that there are a handful of different archetypes that people could name, and for many people I bet that there would be a correlation between the archetype you choose and your age.
So which image of figure gaming is your archetype?
*Of course, when I say 28mm I really mean 25mm, but that was before they ate all the pies.