Have you ever done miniature wargaming?


  • I am a new wargamer. I am very interested in world war 2 and I would like to learn more about board wargames but I am also curious to discover miniature wargames.

    Have you done the two? If yes, what are the main differences? The pros and cons. Why you prefer one type of wargaming instead of the other. What about the cost and the equipment needed … Is it easy to find players with both types of games?

    Thanks for your help!


  • Board gaming and miniature wargaming aren’t really two distinct categories. You could have a board game with loads of expansions, added rules, and supplementary miniatures. Or you could have a miniature game with collectible factory-painted miniatures with one simple ruleset.

    Cost and equipment vary per game, as does ease of finding players. It’s not like if it’s generally popular nationwide you’ll be able to find a game. It tends to work in clusters - in one area one particular game will be all over the place and in the surrounding towns too, but you drive a few hours in any direction and that particular game’s nowhere to be seen.

    I don’t know that I would say there’s really differences. You get together, you do the thing, players tend not to be really strategic or tactical, it’s a casual thing. Maybe ordering takeout or watching a sports game on TV or talking or whatever.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    In my opinion, the most basic difference between miniatures wargames (like Axis & Allies Miniatures, which has a whole section of its own in this forum) and board wargames (specifically the various Axis & Allies board games) is this. Miniatures wargames tend to be tactical in nature: they emphasize battles – specific engagements at a single place at a single time – and they can let you get into a very fine level of combat detail (such as which individual unit is shooting at which other enemy unit). They tend to be self-contained, meaning that they don’t lead from (or lead to) anything other than the battle itself. Board wargames tend to take the opposite approach. Their focus tends to be on either an entire war, or on a specific campaign within a war, so they’re strategic or operational in nature. The forces which fight each other are large (divisions and fleets, not individual tanks and ships) and the combat mechanics are fairly abstracted. In the A&A global-level games, economic management is an important factor, since units are purchased; miniatures games, by contrast, tend to be come-as-you-are games in which the units you have at the start of the battle are the only ones you’ll ever get to use.


  • Thanks for the both of you.

    That’s what I was thinking. Miniatures games are mostly tactical and board games mostly operational or strategical. I have more experience in strategic games but I am also interested to learn the tactical ones.

    Do you know if one of those types of games can be played more often as solo games?

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    AXIS AND ALLIES IS MINIATURE WARGAMING.


  • @SniperSquad said in Have you ever done miniature wargaming?:

    Thanks for the both of you.

    That’s what I was thinking. Miniatures games are mostly tactical and board games mostly operational or strategical. I have more experience in strategic games but I am also interested to learn the tactical ones.

    Do you know if one of those types of games can be played more often as solo games?

    You can always play both sides or make custom scenarios. But I think you knew that.

    The real question is, what do you want from your game experience, specifically? You don’t have to answer that question to me or anyone else. But in your mind, you’re playing a game solo. Where are you? Do you have reliable, sporadic, or nonexistent internet connectivity? Why are you playing a physical boardgame rather than a computer game (say, Hearts of Iron IV against the AI, available on Steam?) Is the physical representation of the model important to you? If weighting historical accuracy of a model against its breaking, which do you emphasize? Are you interested in painting your own pieces? Is it the historical aspect of World War 2 you’re interested in, or miniatures? What about fantasy miniature wargames like Warmachine or Warhammer? (I don’t recommend the latter’s rules or paints but their miniatures are nice).


  • @aardvarkpepper well what I want is this:

    I am searching for solo games because I live alone and I already have difficulties finding players to play Axis & Allies while not in a lockdown.

    I live near Montreal and I have an internet connection but no computer. I do everything on my old six years old iPad. That means that TripleA doesn’t work for me. I am also trying to spend more time offline so I would prefer a board or a miniature game.

    I am very interested in world war 2 history. I am already doing oil painting but on canvas, not on miniatures. I have done a few scale models a few years ago.

    I love when I play a game and I have to think for my next move, my next combat, should I go here or there? Should I build an industry, searching some ressources, create some vehicles, develop this technology or this one instead.

    I have a little bit more experience with strategic games but I am also interested in trying operational and tactical games too. I also like a game that I can play several times and it’s not always the same things happening (replay value).

    I also like games in which you have to build your economy, cities, industries, armies. That can be ww2 related or science-fiction.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    You might want to try finding a second-hand copy of Donald Featherstone’s 1973 book Solo Wargaming. I read it ages ago, so I don’t recall much about it, but I remember that it mentions one particular wargamer who, as a multi-year project, solo-wargamed the entire Second World War – something that’s a little too ambitious for most people, but the chapter on that fellow (which includes his rules, if I remember correctly) could provide some useful ideas. The book might even be available online somewhere; there’s a link to it in the Wikipedia article on Featherstone, but it doesn’t seem to work.

    Just a point of terminology, by the way, that I should have mentioned in my original answer: “miniatures” in the wargaming sense has two meanings. In the traditional sense, it refers to the scale models (soldiers and tanks and other land equipment, or ships for naval wargaming) which are used to fight “miniatures wargames”, which is also known as tabletop wargaming. They come in all sorts of sizes, and some of them are actually rather large; hobbyists often paint them in great detail, and sometimes build them from scratch. The A&A Miniatures line of products, which are pre-painted, are an example of these relatively large miniatures. The other meaning refers to the tiny plastic units used in A&A board games – sometimes called micro-miniatures, but more often called sculpts. To give you an idea of the scale, most A&A tank sculpts can fit on a dime (not counting the gun barrel). They’re essentially glorified gaming tokens. That’s not to take anything away from them: they’re great fun to use and collect (I own more of them than I can even estimate), and they add enormously to the WWII flavour of the game. But they’re closer to being game tokens that conventional “miniatures wargaming” units, which I think of as being conceptually closer to being model railroad trains or standalone plastic model kits.


  • @SniperSquad I think you would be able to find Axis and Allies type games on iPad. But if you prefer a physical game, by all means. I prefer physical boards myself even if computers are convenient.

    @SniperSquad said in Have you ever done miniature wargaming?:

    I love when I play a game and I have to think for my next move, my next combat, should I go here or there? Should I build an industry, searching some ressources, create some vehicles, develop this technology or this one instead.

    I have a little bit more experience with strategic games but I am also interested in trying operational and tactical games too. I also like a game that I can play several times and it’s not always the same things happening (replay value).

    I also like games in which you have to build your economy, cities, industries, armies. That can be ww2 related or science-fiction.

    I think Axis and Allies could temporarily suit your purposes, but perhaps not for long. The core of the system is - there’s stacks of units, income, production, and logistics. Gameplay is about effective application with regards to those, and it’s pretty limited, especially for a single player.

    Let’s say, for example, that you think you have to balance control of the Atlantic against maintaining forces in Europe. You might be wrong about that being important, but as a solo player you wouldn’t know. Further, you’d come to certain ideas about what “optimal” action would be, and after you decided on “optimal” action, your play would return to the same lines again and again.

    You could put in house rules to change industrial complex location and to randomize starting units, or add entirely new custom rules. But the core gameplay of Axis and Allies returns to that simple evaluation, and added bells and whistles make the gameplay unwieldy. (At least, that’s my expectation. You could have a very elegant solution I’ve never considered.)

    So what should you look for? I think you don’t want a multiplayer game with inter-player resource swapping, diplomacy, or hidden information. Every time you took the role of another player you’d know information you ought not to know, and though you could try to play cleanly there would always be undertones.

    I think the game you’re looking for will have multiple resources (like wheat, sheep, bricks, ore like in Settlers of Catan), have randomized setup (also like Catan), and have multiple paths to victory (Catan again). Though I think Catan may be not be suitable in the end either as it also has inter-player diplomacy and resource swapping, it does have some things I think you might like.

    A lot of games have multiple resources, but the way it works in Catan is - say you start with wood and brick. Well, you’re not going to be making cities, but you can build roads to hem and block other players, and your roads can get you to nodes that you can build towns on to collect resources - and those new towns could get you those other non-wood, non-brick resources you lacked. Or in any event you could trade a surplus of wood and brick with the game’s “bank” to get other resources.

    Or say you had wheat, sheep, and ore. You could upgrade your town to a city to get more resources to trade with the “bank” (or whatever it’s called) or you could get resource cards.

    Then there’s things like the board layout being different each time combined with the distribution of the numbers that determine when resources are collected. That, together with the diplomacy and trade elements, makes the game.

    Or there’s Carcassone. Then there’s other games. Like there was a game I forget the name of that progressed through history, and with each era change there were serious changes to the game, so empires would fall and rise. There’s a lot of board games I’m unfamiliar with, and your preferences will be different to mine.

    If it’s “miniature wargames” again, there’s a lot I don’t know. But I expect most decent miniatures wargames will feature different scenarios. So if you build a force, you’ll have to consider more than its brute strength - you’ll ideally also have to consider things like mobility, ability to infiltrate, ability to operate under different conditions (like in forests or snow) etc.

    I think you might find miniature wargaming interesting, but you’d have to research the systems carefully. A lot of systems have hidden costs or poorly written rules that veterans really don’t talk about. Perhaps look for a system that has a limited range of pieces (otherwise you’ll be collecting forever) and a limited ruleset, perhaps even discontinued. “Mordheim” by Warhammer (formerly the company was known as “Games Workshop” is such a game, though you control only a single warband rather than develop an entire nation, perhaps it would be to your taste.)

    I can’t recommend Warhammer’s main line games “Warhammer Age of Sigmar” or “Warhammer 40,000”. They tend to be plagued by constantly new rulesets that rotate out viable miniatures (they want you to buy new miniatures), power creep, and a full ruleset costs you 1000 USD last I checked plus you’d have to keep buying new rules releases (or re-releases) unless you pirated - and I don’t care to pirate.

    “Warmachine” is another game that isn’t as popular, and I like the miniatures the company puts out less. But as far as I know you can get the entire ruleset free, so there’s that.

    Well, luck. Hope you find something entertaining!

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