From Magic To Muskets

I’ve been a Wargamer for around 9-10 years and most of that has been attached to the lovable oaf that is Games Workshop and his respective systems in both fantasy and sci-fi. That was my game and that was it…..more or less. I knew of other systems but always looked towards more fantasy and sci-fi ever missing out on the third in the triumvirate, that of history. “Historicals ?” I’d say to myself, “Those are for dusty old guys and those with paunches”. Well now ladies and gentlemen it’s time for me to eat some humble pie because well… I’m starting Historicals.

A good example of what my lead mountain looks like


It all started with a song.


That song is called ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’, and no before you ask it’s not the (rather excellent) Led Zeppelin song but a enjoyable song by John Tams. It’s about duty, patriotism and joining His Most Excellent Majesty King George III in kicking some French backside (no offence to any French readers). I liked the song and listened to it quite frequently, I also knew of its connection to the ‘Sharpe’ franchise but like most out of the loop I merely knew of that as the series that the (ever-dying) Sean Bean began his career in before advising many that a certain Orc filled wasteland would require alternative means of travel then walking. Looking more into it recently thanks to my completion of most of my Black Library books I decided to buy the first in the Sharpe novel series ‘Sharpes Tiger’.


Here starts the endless quoting of ‘Bastard’


Now I’m Hooked

I read each book in anticipation of the next, what will Richard Sharpe do in this one ? Will he punch out an officer ? Steal a kings fortune in jewels ? Or merely be the lovable rouge that he is and show us that you don’t need to be related to the Earl of Lancashire to command a group of men competently. Needless to say this has lead to me looking over Napoleonics in a new light. No longer the boring stuffy system of old but a vibrant powerful game with men clashing on horseback with musket and cannon. It’s thrilling ! It’s also quite expensive but we can get to that in another article.

Need to eat ?  Need model soldiers.

Now all of history is starting to open up to me. Why have power armoured Vikings when you can have real ones ? Why form ranks of dwarfs eager to spill the blood of an elf when you can have ranks of Unioners ready to spill the blood of Johnny Reb ? It all feels more real, more vibrant and that my friends is why we game, because we want to FEEL battle in the best way we can.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Fantasy and Sci Fi games, far from it. Some of my most enjoyable games have been in those genres, merely that you give Historicals a chance after all, we all have history behind us so why not use it to your advantage and enjoy it ?

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