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Getting Started in War Gaming

Don't Be Intimidated..

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  • This page is for anyone between the ages of 10 and 16 who are not yet involved in collecting and playing war games with miniatures.

  • You can collect miniatures and terrain very quickly and quite easily.  You don't need to go to a hobby store as long as you can buy online or have the materials acquired for you.

  • Your hobby can be as big or small as you want it to be or have the space for.

  • You do not need to paint miniatures like they're going to be seen in a museum; give the miniatures their due respect. Sometimes they look better NOT painted.

  • You models can be made from paper, cardboard or anything else you can afford.

  • Even if you can't afford them yourself, there ARE ways to get miniatures that cost nearly nothing.

Ah, the good old days of Lego Trees.  Now you can 3D print them.

Understand if you want a historical game -which is our focus and we believe most rewarding- the size of the game table depends on how much storage you have, and if you can leave the game table up most of the time; e.g. you have a dedicated space for it.

Game Table Size and Location

So the size of the game table determines the size of the figures you collect, and your ability to paint them also influences how many and how big a scale you want to play with.

If you don't or can't leave the game table up, your hobby needs to be mobile, meaning smaller miniatures and terrain is better.  And what's better.. if you can get a hex grid on fabric then you can play on just about any table, anywhere.

If you can leave the game table up then your hobby can flourish much easier and your figures can be up to 28mm scale (1/56 to 1/64).

The gaming surface can be a simple MDF board about 3-4ft long (sometimes its already cut that size at the hardware lumber store, or 3x3ft) you can place on top another -even folding- table.


Hex Grid is Best, Fastest

As you can imagine we recommend NOT using measure sticks or tape measures.. go with a hex grid and we recommend 2.5 inches from flat to flat on a light green fabric or background.  You can trace a pattern of hex grids onto your gaming surface just from cutting one out from cardstock (with a block glued on to handle it easier) or have companies like Litko see if they can make a spray template for you.



DO NOT USE LICHEN FOAM BIT TREES FROM LIFELIKE OR OTHER MANF.  TREES YOU PUT TOGETHER  ARE NO LONGER SUSTAINABLE. Learn about building terrain not just buying it, though today there's a lot of stuff out there. But also you can make MOST of your scenery yourself, and even 3D print trees, buildings, fences and bridge. Don’t skimp on good trees and how to base them to stand up on the game table.  Usually good thick cardstock like what is at the back of a drawing book is best. Fold up bridges and buildings are remarkably easy to make.

Scale of the Miniatures

If you need to have miniatures that have small storage needs and set up and take down quickly, go with "Epic" scales like 6mm (1/285), or the larger 10-15mm (1/160-1/100) scale figures.  Availability of terrain influences the decision too.. trees, fences, bridges, buildings and so on. Remember, the BUILDINGS don't have to be (and shouldn't be) in the same scale as the figures in fact, the buildings should be 25-35% smaller UNLESS you are playing a "Skirmish" game, where each figure represents a single soldier.

Generally, the best place to start wargaming is with 1/72 plastic figures. These are not the same as H.O. scale, which is 1/87 and slightly smaller. 1/72 plastic miniatures are BIG right now, as in the past, and probably for many years to come and will likely never go unsupported.


Axioms of this Hobby
  • When You Find A Bargain, Get Two. Whenever possible, never buy just one of something when the price is right.

  • Realize That You Don’t Need Hundreds Of Figures. Each box of 1/72 figures contains about 48 figures. If you paint 6 men and those six men represent a regiment, that means each box you buy is basically an entire brigade of troops.

  • Get Other Friends Involved And Before You Start. Find People In Reasonable Distance That Are Also Interested In The Hobby. If you don’t already have friends who are into gaming, take pride in creating a collection you’ll more than likely take to conventions.

  • Do not become reclusive and “into your own basement” way of doing things. It’s a hobby, not a life. Chances are if you are already reading military history books and magazines, you’re the best candidate for becoming a war gamer as long as you have PATIENCE and you already have some aptitude with X-acto blades, cutting or shaving, Dremel hand tools and so on, and/or you already know something about building plastic models. 

  • It also helps to be good with accepting failure, and realize you may be rebasing miniatures several times as you get new ideas. 

  • Do NOT flock (glue grass and such to) you miniature bases.  We use clear acrylic bases of all shapes and sizes and this is the best solution.

  • Remember, we mount all figures to a base as one unit: a single regiment does not consist of multiple small stands of figures as with Johnny Reb and other rules on the market.

  • Don’t have anyone close to war game with? We broadcast miniatures games over the internet. Join a live game from any computer. You don’t even need miniatures!

  • The board games BattleCry! and Memoir '44 are a good place to get ideas for a full-on miniature war game hobby but like many board games we recommend shopping used for the best prices.


We are here to help.

Plastic Storage Drawers

Whatever the size you choose, Sterilite Plastic Storage Drawers are the best option.  We recommend the medium size 3-drawer for both hobby equipment and figures, and the largest 3-drawer set for miniatures, but make sure to also get plastic storage bins that those drawer units can fit into.  Remember, if your troops have PIKES that stick up from the figure make sure they fit into the drawers; pikes don't have to be as tall (long) as you think. 

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