It is quite ironic to realize that the miniatures wargaming hobby began with H. G. Wells’ Little Wars (London: Frank Palmer, 1913). Wells, a pacifist, socialist, and science fiction author, hoped that future wars would be fought with these types of soldiers, rather than human ones. (Interested parties can view a section from his book here. Wells’ vision never quite caught on (e.g. World War I began in 1914, a classic case of bad timing for a prophet), but his concept of recreating battles with model soldiers has endured. Even the most diehard board, role, or card gamer cannot help but be struck by the visual impact of a large battle recreated with miniature soldiers, nor fail to be impressed by the amount of research and work that went into assembling these armies.
The miniatures hobby has always been receptive to magazines, probably because it is so visually oriented. In addition, miniatures fans have an insatiable appetite for rule changes, new scenarios, and technical (especially painting and construction) advice. As with other gaming publications, many have migrated to the Web, especially as Internet graphics have became more sophisticated.
The best of these zines is the monthly The Miniatures Page. This publication is a comprehensive guide to the field with much information, including news, message boards, a comprehensive hobby directory, reference sections, and reviews, all of it nicely indexed. Another general publication is Battlegames from Britain. Its departments are oriented towards that country, but much of its content applies elsewhere. The magazine includes a section for novices. Whitemetal offers armies, rules, scenarios, and variants. It also has Whistling Dixie, a set of American Civil War rules, as a free download. Lastly, from New Zealand comes World Wide Wargaming.
Some webzines are more specialized. A good example of this is By Jingo!. This monthly is devoted to gaming the Victorian and Edwardian eras (1837-1910), very popular periods for miniatures enthusiasts. The graphics convey a superb period feel, and the ezine even includes a Ballads section. Also found on the Web is Savage And Soldier Online, a version of the legendary print journal which started in 1965. The site owners are reprinting articles from back issues, but are not doing them in any particular order. Should they finish, this would be a valuable contribution to miniatures history.
Ral Partha does The Eye of the Storm, offering comprehensive online support for their Battlestorm gaming system. Besides the usual techniques and battle report sections, the zine includes fiction and poetry based on the game, and a free set of basic rules onsite. Other science fiction zines include Dark Resonance and The Felixian, both with gaming and literary content.
Other web sites exist to support print magazines. The Society of Ancients has sample articles from, and an index to Slingshot. Likewise, medieval gamers should check Saga's site. The Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers offers an index and articles from The Journal. It also has a good set of links to related sites. General interest magazines with sites also include Gauntlet and Military Miniatures Magazine.
Finally, anyone even slightly interested in miniatures should look at The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society’s massive site. This is the major umbrella organization for the hobby and is the best place to start. Researchers can also check MagWeb. Most of its sixty magazines have either a miniatures bias, or present historical information which is directly applicable for enthusiasts.
Peter L. de Rosa
Note: The original version of this review appeared in Strategist 29 (March 1999):1, 5. The Strategist is the newsletter of the Strategy Gaming Society.
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