Friday, 8 May 2020

Wargame Blogs - What's that all about then?

It's really nice to see the start of something new and in this case have the opportunity to welcome Greg and his brand spanking new blog 'Delta Coy'  to the world of wargame blogging.

I myself have been doing this now for a few years, here and on the Devon Wargames Group club blog, and it's easy to forget what it felt like getting into this interesting aspect of the hobby and taking a bit of time to just reflect on why, for some of us, it becomes a big part of what we do in the hobby, just as much as playing the games, painting the miniatures, attending shows (Ah, those were the days!), reading the books and exploring historical sites and places; in fact if anything, for me, it acts as a hub to all of that activity and yet for others they seem to enter the space, say what they want to say for a while, and then step off the stage seemingly having said all they wanted or needed to, which is just as it should be.

The inspiration for this post came about after a series of email exchanges with Greg based down in the larger part of the Antipodes, via JJ's Wargames, that ended up on the subject of blogging in general followed later by the launch of Delta Coy, which I think had been brewing in the background for a lot longer than our email exchange, but either way, I think it is a great time to be blogging in the hobby and great to see a new voice step on to the stage.  

It has struck me in recent times that perhaps blogging was not as fashionable as perhaps it was a few years ago with the rise of other platforms on the web, such as Facebook and others, that has seemed to draw in manufacturers and followers of one particular rule set or era, to set up a particular page and gather around. This trend even seemed to be affecting the traffic seen on other established wargame forums where a lot of that activity and discussion had been based but seemingly not so much any more.

Now that's a nice looking table and purpose built room.

It is interesting to note that the wargaming hobby, so traditional in many ways, has been at the forefront of adopting social networking platforms to engage with others about its various activities, and I suppose it should not be surprising that those platforms will change and come in and out of fashion over time.

That said I think I have detected another swing in those trends as the current world lockdown has forced most of us to rethink how we carry on with our hobby, which in the main is a very social one, certainly here in the UK, and with more time being spent at home, we have seen the rise of solo-gaming reports springing up all over the place, not to mention the painting and reading that is getting done with less other distractions, like work, to contend with.

In addition to those changes of exchanges on whatever forums, I seem to detect an increase in traffic here and on the Devon Group blog, where perhaps the varied diet of wargaming content, not just focused on one particular era or aspect of the hobby, mixed with an opportunity to get into a particular topic in a more detailed and perhaps engaging way, than simply an exchange of ideas in a group or forum, provides a more interesting reading and communication experience when people have a bit more time to sit down and discuss content.

Likewise, a lot of content on other forums still relies on those personal blogs that underpin a message referring back to a post on them, on which the detail of the subject is often found. 

If you then add to that aspect the amount of different things going on in the hobby with new rules, figures, books, the latest popular era or scale of game to do it in alongside that personal way of doing a lot of the hobby around those various topics, blogging still has a lot to say and offer as a way of exchanging ideas, that perhaps in past times was the prerogative of mainstream hobby magazines and we all know that that business is not what it was, with fewer of us willing to subscribe, preferring to buy on sight if the content in that month appeals.

Greg has a very nice collection of Seven Years War and AWI. Future plans look set to be focused on WWII 15mm,
one to one on that rather large table!

Alongside those aspects, the other key things that I feel blogging has to offer, is as an interesting way to keep a personal journal of anyone's time in the hobby that can be fun to look back over as the years and posts build up and can offer a fascinating insight into the way our personal hobby journey takes different twists and turns from one era to another from one modeling project to another and the challenges that are overcome or not which is all part of the fun.

I have done a lot of things and met a lot of people who I might not have done because of JJ's Wargames and it has allowed me an opportunity to put something back into a hobby that, as the banner at the top boldly states is a 'Passion' and thus merits a contribution from me for all the fun I have had, and the people, whose company I have enjoyed, deserve.

So, if you are thinking of having a go, there has never been a better time to start blogging. Just work out what you want to say, how often and in what form you intend to say it and make it a point to share, share and keep on sharing to get more folks who read your blog involved in our hobby.



  1. Jonathan, thank you for your support and encouragement, it's greatly appreciated mate. Cheers Greg

    1. Hi Greg,
      My pleasure, I look forward to reading more.


  2. A good post and I hope Blogging continues and hopefully grows. Sadly more stuff seems to have moved to Facebook, but give me a good Blog any day of the week!

    1. Hi Steve,
      Thank you. My thoughts entirely, and from your comment I think you clearly highlight that Facebook is not a popular platform with everybody which, despite its recent popularity, is likely to prevent it from becoming too dominant over other platforms able to provide possibly better and complimentary forums for hobby discussion and conversation.

  3. I have never understood the appeal of Facebook. It works for sharing but give me a good blog or, especially, a forum where ideas can be discussed and shared and searched through if you want to return to a particular post. It won't be Facebook that turns up with an 8 year old post on Vistula uniform colours ((Blunders on the Danube - thank you!) when all else has failed!

    1. Hi Bill,
      I have to agree. JJ's Wargames has a profile on Facebook and it was set up to facilitate informing a wider audience about the Talavera project and has gone on to do the same in linking other Facebook groups on other eras and rule sets who might be interested to posts I have created here on the blog and where I spend most of my time fielding responses rather than in Facebook itself.

      Your point is well made, and another reason why I direct traffic here, because painting guides and other related topics to any given subject I have posted about can be found in the archives or from a simple inquiry to me via the contact form, and as you say, the same often goes for hobby related forums.

  4. Good start for Delta Coy, duly followed.
    Interesting read JJ, I would be interested to hear more, you were just warming up I feel? I wrote something along these lines a while ago too, it's a fascinating subject or possibly I'm overthinking it!!!
    Stay safe, best wishes,

    1. Hi Jeremy,
      Thanks for the comment.
      Yes, I did consider exploring the whole idea of blogging a little further. It is a really interesting pursuit in its own right and it's fun looking at various blogs to see what it is they are about, because I think most of them, that appear regularly, touch on one or more of the reasons I listed, save for the commercial sites that are there principally to drive traffic to their shop window, but some, perhaps most, also ticking additional benefits from the list.

      It strikes me that blogging can easily fall into a slightly narcissistic pursuit with a vanity serving opportunity to simply show off ones ability in one aspect of the hobby or another and that could easily be off putting to the slightly interested or just getting started wargamer.

      When visitors to my blog, or another forum that links back here, comment on a project it is usually complimentary, which is very nice and I always respond appropriately, but I get more of a buzz when the work motivates others to have a go at something similar and comment about the work in that respect, or it prompts an inquiry about how a particular aspect of a project was achieved if I have not already provided that level of detail or information.

      I don't mind seeing blogs showing great work, or games played, but I prefer and spend more time reading those that explain how I might be able to imitate that rather than simply showing me what a great job has been done and I try to add that flavour here and on the Devon Club blog.

      The good thing is that I think the majority of blogs that are regularly posted to 'do share the love' so to speak and that is all to the good as the hobby, in my humble opinion, needs to welcome everyone no matter what their knowledge or ability is at any stage, but to provide as much information and encouragement for those that want to imitate something they have seen others achieving, but perhaps they are not quite able to just yet. By approaching the hobby in that way I think we can attract more people into wargaming on the basis that you can play games in whatever way you and your friends want to, but if you feel inclined to produce nicer looking games with the terrain and figures to match there are plenty of folks willing to help in that process and that miniature wargames is not simply about moving a token around, as in a boardgame, but that it is an aesthetic hobby as well, at its best when it captures the look of the history it portrays.

      Oh dear it looks like you provoked me into writing the other halve of this post in a reply!