Sunday, September 08, 2013

Why I'll Always Be An Aesthetic Snob

I've posted before on the aesthetic appeal of miniatures games being one of the primary draws of the hobby for me. So you can imagine how gratified I was to read a post over at The League of Ausburg stating the very same. Best quote of the post:
If this is wargames porn then I am a pornographer without shame. Enjoy my dark secret and damn the eyes of wargaming's Mary Whitehouse Brigade. Mediocrity breeds the same.
I couldn't agree more.

Games featuring unpainted figures or, worse, proxies are the sort of affairs best conducted behind drawn curtains, with many a backwards glance over the shoulder. "I'm just testing out the new rules for this unit I haven't ordered yet, honest!" Games featuring unpainted or proxy figures run in public?

For me, the work I put into building the aesthetic appeal of miniatures games is sort of the point of the hobby itself. Otherwise I might as well be playing hex-and-chit wargames or their computer equivalents. To my mind, it's worth gaming less if it means each individual game looks better. (And, honestly, my [in]frequent gaming is due more to the fact that minis aren't my primary hobby; insistence on high-quality tabletop presentation need not be a barrier to frequent gameplay if minis are your main concern.)

We live in a world of instant gratification. I see no problem with taking my time on this one thing, and of experiencing the payoff of my hard work; of seeing my painting and terrain-building efforts get better and better over time, and of reveling in the uniquely thrilling beauty of a fully-realized tabletop layout.


  1. I agree. For me the only real difference between a token/counter and a miniature is the aesthetics. So if my lead or plastic is unpainted, I don't see much point. Which is why, given my limited painting time, I tend to stick to skirmish games with low figure counts. For larger battles I go with hex and counter games.

    1. Chris, I may be moving in this direction myself.

  2. Valid point, one which doesn't exist in the divide between counter games and video games.

  3. I agree to a point. I am at the moment painting up an army (actually two of the three armies) that won't be finished till May 2015 even though I am painting 3-6 battalions a month plus the cavalry and guns.

    The game is not even for a display game at a show but in a mates massive shed. It's going to look excellent as we are making the 16 by 6 foot boards specific for the battle (Waterloo) and we have been painting for over a year so far but every Battalion that was at the battle will be on board and will be the correct unit.

    I do not have a problem though with using misplaced units representing another unit as long as it's equipped with the correct weapons and is the right base frontage etc. so you have no incorrect idea what they are.

    Total immersion? I get that from ASL a hex and chit game but I really get into the battles



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