The front cover of issue #1.
Kinda quiet here lately as work and real life continue their relentless assault on available free time (and the necessary calm, uncluttered mind) for wargamerly pursuits. But. The first dozen issues of the old Practical Wargamer arrived in the mail yesterday. Hurrah! Thanks to G. B. in the U.K. Very rapid postal transit and well-packaged, so the 27 to 30-year old magazines arrived in fine shape.
But what about the content? In a word very good to excellent. The photographs are, admittedly, not as prominent or, frankly, photoshopped as we have become accustomed to, but the articles! Text heavy, interesting pieces by many familiar names in the hobby, both past and present, including a number of big guns, some still with us, others now departed. Definitely worth the wait, and what a shame the magazine isn't still around. Without doubt, I place it right up there with most issues of Battlesgames (to which PW seems closest in spirit), early issues of Miniature Wargames, and the first few issues of Wargames Illustrated.
Haven't picked up an issue of the latter in more than 10 years, but it definitely had lost something by the late 1990s. And to be frank, as much as I miss the independent Battlegames, things were never really the same after it was absorbed into Miniature Wargames, as published by Atlantic (I was always a bit anxious following that particular hiccup), to say nothing of the publisher after that.
The other shoe did, in fact drop, not too long after when long-time MWBG helmsman Henry Hyde moved on to greener pastures. The first issue or two of MW under new direction, and before my subscription ran out, just didn't quite scratch the historical miniatures hobby itch as well in my view. Only my two pennoth, of course, but I felt as though the magazine lost its focus, and my will to write and submit something for possible publication dried up with it. Take all of that with a grain of salt. I probably don't have any idea what I'm talking about. And maybe things have stabilized for the magazine in the time since? Perhaps it has once again found its red thread, or raison d'être?
But back to Practical Wargamer! I delayed looking at anything until my own bedtime just following the Young Master's, who was out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with the Grand Duchess in tow for a couple of hours early on Halloween Night. After the usual pajamas, tooth-brushing followed by flossing, and bedtime reading together with said Young Master, I later spent a delightful two hours curled up in bed, paging through issues #1-#12 of Practical Wargamer and then reading a few shorter articles more closely before the ol' eyelids grew heavy, and I turned out the bedside lamp. Can't wait to repeat the exercise this evening, but hopefully I'll manage to stay awake for a while longer. What a windfall!
Before turning to more serious matters that actually pay the bills (it is 11:40am Wednesday morning here, and I am on campus waiting for my next class to start), I will leave you with this observation. It was quite interesting to peruse old advertisements for figures in 1987, '88, '89, and '90 and take note of figure prices then versus prices for metal figures now. Even Battle Honours Napoleonic unit, brigade, and division prices seem downright cheap by 2017 standards.
I mention these figures specifically because they were what I coveted most all those years ago. I think continuously rising metal prices -- the rise of the internet, increasing popularity of digital gaming, the rise of mobile phones (like an incurable disease, these infect virtually everyone), the phenomenon of and now the palpable need for instant gratification, short (-er) attention spans, etc. notwithstanding -- are a major factor in why so many fewer young potential miniature wargamers enter the historical side of hobby now versus, say, the halcyon days of the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. Even the better sets of plastics on the market, while less expensive than metal figures, are not exactly cheap if enough are purchased for an actual "army" of, say, reinforced brigade size (4-6 infantry units, a cavalry formation or two, and some artillery). Again, just a randomly passing thought. Discuss!
Still enjoying these magazines several days later. So much to read and think about. Consideable bang for your buck with these old Practical Wargamer magazines, even thirty-odd years on. Imagine my surprise to turn the page in one issue from 1989 or '90 and see a group photograph of several wargamers that included future bloggerati Robbie Rodiss and Colin Ashton, whose blogs I routinely enjoy in 2017. Another little bit of fun that has come from seeing these magazines for the first time.