Wargaming Recon #100: 100 Wargaming Tips

100 Wargaming Tips

The year is 2006 and the place is the state of Massachusetts in the United States of America. A young man tentatively speaks these first, tentative words:

“Today is Thursday August 17, 2006. This is the first podcast of the CWF Game Discussions blog….now we’re gonna cue our intro music.”

More than six years and tens of thousands of hours later the CWF Game Discussions blog podcast morphed into Wargaming Recon.

The 100th episode is our chance to say thank you to everyone for all of the support. Without the encouragement, feedback, and kindness from each of you through the years we know that Wargaming Recon could not exist.

We hope you will enjoy this list of 100 wargaming tips. It was generated by gamers like Y-O-U with a some tips by your host Jonathan J. Reinhart.

Thank you to Christopher Tarwater for redesigning the blog, Jeremy Kostiew for creating the 100th episode logo (and the show’s logo that appears everywhere), every person who submitted a tip, to every listener, to every guest, and everyone that has been supportive over the years. A huge thank you to our sponsor 12-7-Games.com.

The 100th episode features special recurring guest Aaron Bostian. Aaron previously appeared on Episode 91: Aaron Bostian and How Wargamers Can Give Back

This episode discussed:

  1. Read the rules and review them frequently – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  2. Plan to attend Huzzah! each year for three days of terrific historical wargaming in New England – Dean Emmerson from HuzzahCon.com
  3. Don’t take war games too seriously. When you’re done, shake hands with your opponents, tell them “good game”, whether you won or lost, and leave as friends – Phil Hatfield
  4. Don’t take unnecessary risks – Casey Harmon
  5. Always organize your projects from the heart, not the head, wargaming is all about enjoying yourself – Jon Sutherland from WargameHolidays.com
  6. Sharing the hobby can be its own reward – Mike Paine
  7. Playtest any game you are presenting as much as you can and try to playtest it with some people who don’t already know the rules you are using – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  8. Pay equal attention and time to your tabletop and terrain as you do to your soldiers – Jon Sutherland from WargameHolidays.com
  9. Advantages are built slowly – Casey Harmon
  10. The game should come to a logical or agreed on end – Scott Monteith
  11. Have fun, don’t be the reason someone gave up the hobby – Mike Paine
  12. Gaming is a social thing, please don’t forget proper hygiene – Gordon Adler from AdlerHobby.com
  13. Get someone else to paint your stuff if you don’t like how you paint – Steve Riley
  14. If you have to choose between offense and defensive resources, then all other things being equal, offense is better because dead things cannot hurt you – Steve G
  15. For historical and especially Napoleonic era wargames ClashofArms.com is the best in the business; the owner Ed Wimble is a true storehouse of Napoleonic knowledge – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  16. Instead of throwing out those caps on your soda bottles, save them and mount your figs on them for painting – Cort N.
  17. Static grass is the best base flocking material – Bill Greenwald
  18. Understand the victory conditions – Peter Lowitt
  19. Build your terrain pieces to fit the boxes you have available – Richard Crowley from The Land of Counterpane
  20. Use JuniorGeneral.org to print out top down images for rules testing – Pat G.
  21. Use a clear vinyl shower curtain over a brown surface to create rippling water – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  22. Use 1 mini dice besides each unit to track units on a table – Tidal Timmerman
  23. Certain types of packing peanuts can be repurposed as sandbags – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  24. Never underestimate the charm and appropriateness of your own painting, do not get overwhelmed by the efforts of so-called professional painters – Jon Sutherland from WargameHolidays.com
  25. Remember it is just a game, your men are not dying out there – Mike Paine
  26. Play your enemy. Find strategies he favors and then find ways to turn them into a detriment to him – Gene Parish
  27. Understand the terrain – Peter Lowitt
  28. Wargaming is more about socializing with your friend(s)/opponent(s) than about winning – Allan Wright
  29. ArmchairGeneral.com is a great review site geared towards all gaming including computer gaming – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  30. Have fun – Gregg Symco
  31. Games Workshop battlemats crease too easily. Smooth them out with an iron on the cool setting, on the back and then roll them up for storage – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  32. Read Liddell Hart – Peter Lowitt
  33. Find out if you can easily get the models you want before committing to a project – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  34. Life’s too short to paint anything in enamels – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  35. Cardboard is your best friend when it comes to wargaming on the cheap – Tidal Timmerman
  36. Strike a balance on terrain that looks good and what is practical for gameplay – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  37. Find a local game store that sells the products you want, supports the gaming community, and gives incredible customer service – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  38. Tea leaves make good fallen leaves to scatter about for jungle terrain pieces – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  39. Be clear about your goals. If you only want a friendly game, say so before you start – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  40. Model railroading is a great source of inspiration for terrain and terrain making products – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  41. If rules aren’t working, change them – Jon Sutherland from WargameHolidays.com
  42. Paper clips are great for short lengths of wire to pin transplanted heads onto plastic figures – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  43. If a game isn’t going as planned, shrug it off and play again swapping sides – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  44. Don’t let wives and girlfriends suffer. Include them in your gaming – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  45. Know at least the bare bones basics of Warhammer. Odds are someone will ask you to compare your game to that – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  46. The Triple Crown of historical gaming cons = Historicon, Fall In, and Cold Wars – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  47. Support your GOOD local game stores, but don’t hesitate shopping elsewhere if needed – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  48. When spray priming new minis, always spray outdoors or in a well-ventilated area – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  49. Know what is at Home Depot. Stop signs and for sale signs are excellent for rivers, roads, and bases. They’re cheap too – Cort N.
  50. Make sure everyone has a chance to play – Scott Monteith
  51. Google Plus is a great choice for an online community of friendly wargamers – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  52. Always cut away from yourself when using a craft knife or other sharp cutting implement – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  53. Buy multiple colors of static grass. Use patches of different colors for a more natural look – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  54. Narrow the field by understanding the likely approaches – Peter Lowitt
  55. There are three major components to wargaming: playing, buying/painting the figures, and researching the history. You are truly blessed if you can love all three. But, you can have a great time enjoying just one of them – Allan Wright
  56. Immerse yourself in the wargaming community. Read magazines, listen to podcasts, participate in a club – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  57. Don’t be afraid to experiment with paints on a figure you can always strip it and start all over – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  58. When painting a new army paint the elites/your favorites last, not first. Your painting technique will improve with practice and you may need the appeal of painting your favorites to carry you through a project – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  59. If someone tells you that something is painted or organized incorrectly, it is probably time to find a new opponent – Jon Sutherland from WargameHolidays.com
  60. Have fun! Wargaming is really about the gaming, after all – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  61. Read the wargaming classics by H.G. Wells, Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant and his son C.S. Grant – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  62. Get into a game where you create a player base or that already has some folks playing. There is nothing worse than getting drawn into a gaming system or line of models and have no one to play with – Michael Salzman from WargamingClub.com
  63. Multi Man Publishing kept Advanced Squad Leader alive. Get ASL at MultiManPublishing.com – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  64. Straight lines attract the eye, it is better to store your felt terrain cloth scrunched up instead of folded – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  65. Don’t be afraid of research. Your library, the internet and fellow wargamers are wonderful resources – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  66. Invite kids to ask questions. Its ok if you don’t want them handling your minis, but explain what you’re doing. Perhaps you’ll find a new recruit to wargaming – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  67. Do you have sufficient in game time to deploy the indirect approach? – Peter Lowitt
  68. Try to build one new piece of terrain for every game you play. Soon you’ll have a flexible collection – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  69. If you wargame regularly and your normal opponents are equally competent as you, you’ll lose half of your games. If you can’t enjoy those games then you need another hobby – Allan Wright
  70. Don’t feel discouraged from painting, building a game board, or designing a game. The sooner you get it done the faster you can play – Tidal Timmerman
  71. Reach out to other gamers to build a network of like-minded people to support one another, game, and have fun – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  72. Try a new game; sometimes a sci-fi or fantasy game, or a historical game set in an unfamiliar period, may feature some system mechanics you may want to adapt to your favorite system – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  73. A 2.5 litre container of textured masonry paint lasts forever. Use it to apply a render-line texture to home made building – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  74. Want games on eBay? Search for: SPI, Yaquinty, Avalon Hill, TSR, OSG, and Victory Games – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  75. Know your opponent – Peter Lowitt
  76. Try a different game from time to time. You may be surprised by how much you like the unexpected – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  77. Wear goggles when using solvents to avoid splashing caustic chemicals in your eye – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  78. Use dark green cloth with a few trees to represent a larger wooded area – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  79. PlasticSoldierReview.com is an excellent resource for previewing plastic models. They cover everything and everyone – Peter Fitzpatrick
  80. Games Workshop’s sculpting tool is great for applying gunk to unit bases, sculpting Green Stuff, and scratching your back – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  81. Want to game in 54mm? Try ArmiesInPlastic.com for affordable models – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  82. A permanent gaming table is nice but a permanent painting workbench is far more useful – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  83. When writing your own rules, playtest with A LOT of people. Don’t be afraid to scrap and rewrite sections as needed – Tidal Timmerman
  84. Try running an event at a game day or convention. It is a lot of fun and a great learning experience – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  85. Set up a good defense if you don’t have at least 25% more troops than your opponent – Allan Wright
  86. A white ceramic tile is a great palette for mixing paint and for using acrylics. It cleans off with hot water and elbow grease – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  87. Play the games you love with the people you like. If you don’t like the rules or the people, then change them – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  88. Always ask before touching someone’s models. Don’t be offended if they prefer that you don’t – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  89. There’s a lot of great free wargame rules at Pete Jones’ site FreeWargamesRules.co.uk. Use them to introduce a new person to the hobby, then give them a free copy of the rules – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  90. Avalanche Press is best known for the endlessly expandable Panzer Grenadier series – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  91. When hosting people for some wargaming be sure to have plenty of snacks and beverages on hand – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  92. Consider a larger scale when gaming with children – David Reinke from Nurakami’s Thunderbolts
  93. To texture model bases use this recipe for Gunk #1. Using a jam jar (or something with a sealable lid) add: PVA glue, sand, and brown acrylic paint. Mix. Add more sand if too wet or more paint/PVA if too dry. Apply with a sculpting tool/paintbrush – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  94. 28mm models are great for painting individuals. 15mm models are good for painting rank and file troops – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  95. Wargaming magazine Quick Hits: Read Wargames Illustrated, Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, and Miniature Wargames now with Battlegames – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon
  96. Introduce yourself. If someone is standing by your table they may just need a nudge. Tell them about the game you’re playing and invite them to join you – Aaron Bostian from Fancy Wars
  97. Pay someone to assemble buildings if you don’t have the time or skill – Adrian Benson from New England Grognard
  98. To texture terrain bases create Gunk #2. Buy ready mixed combined tile grout and adhesive. Get it brown if possible otherwise add brown poster paint. Apply with a sculpting tool – Richard Crawley from The Land of Counterpane
  99. Make a point to learn about the force you are painting. Someone will ask you about them some time. The basics will usually do – Adam C. from Fencing Frog
  100. Use wargaming to give back to your community and those in need – Jonathan J. Reinhart from Wargaming Recon

Some Reminders:


Troll in the Corner Podcast Network

Wargaming Recon belongs to the Troll in the Corner Podcast Network (TCPN). You may like some of the other shows on the network.

Indie Talks – bi-monthly on Wednesdays covering independent games, film, television. Includes many interviews. Hosted by Trollitc owner Ben Gerber.

Geeks Explicitly – weekly on Thursdays covering geek life, movies, gaming, and more. Hosted by Jonathan J. Reinhart.

Monsters of the Shattered World – monthly on the last Saturday. Story of a young scholar encountering strange animals on another world.

Growing Geeks Logo – monthly on the 2nd Monday. A podcast that discusses parenting as geeks and using those skills to raise the next generation of awesome people.

Promos for the TCPN podcasts appear at the end of the show. Many thanks to Jeremy Kostiew, Troll ITC’s logo designer, for the amazing logos. Check out his portfolio at MightyNightGaunt.com


12-7-Games.com Proudly Sponsors Wargaming Recon

Need gaming supplies? Please consider our sponsor, 12-7-Games.com.


BlueHost Affiliate Signup

I want to send out a special word of thanks to the folks behind the following domains that were used to create a new hosting account with BlueHost with my Blue Host affiliate link recently. As you know, I earn a commission each time someone clicks through my link to sign up with Blue Host. So thank you!

Accounts that were created recently:
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Penny for Your Thoughts

We hope you enjoy this episode of Wargaming Recon and welcome your feedback. Send it all to:

Our intro song is “Downtown” by Matthew Ebel. Please give his other music a listen at www.matthewebel.com.

This recording is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.


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