I recently posted some images from Marcus Ansell in which he shared with us the tables they are amassing at the Wargames Foundry for gaming sessions. They are typical of modern, contoured boards and certainly look impressive, especially when compared with my tables of yore - a few books with a grass paper mat rolled over the top, lumps of lichen for bushes or trees and cut up scouring pads for hedgerows.
Oldhammer has its roots in nostalgia, there is no argument there. Some sceptics may suggest a fresh rose tinted haze about fantasy gaming's past that cannot be compared to modern, CAD designed models and scenery, but that is missing the point, and also, as you will see, completely untrue.
One thing that 2000pt two player gaming and the growing commercialisation (particularly by GW) of scenery itself has created, are fairly unambitious wargaming boards. They're fit for purpose of course, but that purpose is to accommodate fairly small plastic armies fighting armylist influenced non-narrative games. These boards are often as soulless and ubiquitous as the miniatures, rules and armylists themselves
Sadly, this has even crept into historical gaming, though some wargaming groups and manufacturers buck the trend...
|Corunna at Salute 2012 by Essex Gamesters - a worthy show winner. Just look at the ambition and scale of this game!|
|The game came complete with a finely modelled town and dock.|
|The size and shape of the table blew me away when I saw it - as did the attention to detail, just look at this frigate!|
You can see that the Essex Gamesters worked together to create something incredibly impressive and ultimately show stopping.
This must be the future ambition of the Oldhammer Movement, surely? If Thantsants can create something as astonishing as his Orc's Drift set up on his own, what could we produce all working together as the Gamesters did? Perhaps a self developed scenario such as those under discussion here?
Thanks to Nico (he of the marvellous paint job) we now have some proper Oldhammer inspiration to draw upon, namely, old school tables produced in the '80s by gaming groups to play Second and Third Edition Warhammer on.
Check these out!
|The Player's Guild Games Table from Games Day '86|
|Another example of the Player's Guild and their '80s wargames tables. This one looks like its got space for the entire Warhammer Townscape building collection!|
|A colour photograph if the '86 table from the other direction.|
|A section of the famous WFB3 games table.|
The difference is simple. The larger boards have been created by larger groups of gamers who want a memorable experience and who are willing to put a great deal of time and effort into scenarios, miniatures and scenery. The smaller boards are for simplistic unambitious 'cleanse and burn' style gaming among two rather small (but shockingly expensive) armies where the emphasis is that everything is done for you and can be bought off the shelf. The battlefields would look much the same in gaming clubs from London, to Washington D.C to Sydney.
Highstreet gaming at its most banal!
Don't get me wrong, there are some outstanding and remarkable tables out there, many of which use the products described above, but these are, sadly, few and far between. If the Oldhammer Movement is going to one day do a show and start promoting the ethos publically, we must follow the lead of our WFB3 playing forebears and produce a table that does the fantastic miniatures that we spend so much time collecting and painting, total justice.