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Gaming Through History

In our first installment of “An Ogre-view”, we focus on the historical gaming genre. If you’ve never played a historical-based tabletop game, here’s a brief synopsis on what this type of wargaming is about. Learn what’s involved, and what you need to know so you can get started.

Why Play

Historical gaming adds an extra element compared to other genres of gaming — a mini history lesson! While it may be a game, you are simultaneously learning about history. You become better-equipped against your opponent through investing in research on a particular battle. Additionally, you have the opportunity to “correct” errors and mistakes that resulted in real battlefield losses.

For example, perhaps you’re playing the French side in the Battle of Waterloo. If you’ve done your research, you’d know that it was Napoleon’s final defeat against the British. In your game, as the Commander of the French army, you have the ability to make different choices from what Napoleon made that might bring about an alternate outcome.

What It Is

Historical gaming is a class of tabletop wargames. It uses miniatures representing specific armies from various wars and points in history. Gameplay involves recreating battles ranging from ancient times to modern-day warfare. The scale of minis vary from 6mm to 35mm in size, depending on the game system and the size of the battles you want to recreate.

Types of systems include infantry-based, naval-based, aeronautical-based, tank-based, rank and file, skirmish, and games where you can command an entire division.

What You Need

To get started, you’ll need a set of miniatures, a rule book, dice, a measuring device (such as a tape measure or ruler), and a field of battle (which typically includes terrain. Further, you may also need basic supplies to assemble and/or paint your miniatures.

General Gameplay

Each system runs differently. So generally, you need to read and understand the rules for each one separately. Most games are turn-based, which will either rely on a dice roll, a card draw, or dice draw to determine who goes first. Your faction’s movement on the “board” will follow some sort of convention involving the same means.

Helpful Tips

Learn your history! It is important to know the background and circumstances for the battles that you want to play out because it will affect your gaming choices — from the army you choose, to how to paint them, to the story setting itself, and what you may or may not be able to do during gameplay.

Research your army. This includes when it was formed, the battles it fought, and the differences in troop choices from the possible variety of theaters it was in. Know who you’re playing!

Historical accuracy plays a big part! Be true to the setting and circumstances that you’re recreating. In other words, if you’re running an early WWII battle in France, you’re not going to include a King Tiger tank in your game because it did not exist until mid-WWII.

Popular Games

Bolt Action, Across the Deadly Fields, Chain of Command, Black Powder, Hail Caesar, and Spectre Operations

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Wings of Glory, Blood Red Skies, Flames of War, Sails of Glory, and Tanks

See Historical Gaming in Action!

If you’re interested to see some live historical gaming, come by this Saturday 6/16 from 11am – 6pm for our Bolt Action D-Day Invasion Special Event. Watch as players battle on the beaches of Normandy on a 12’ x 4’ recreation. Other players will command Allied Airborne troops in combat with German artillery defenses that take place further inland.