Battlechat Podcast Episode 4

Henry's Battlegames BattlechatHot off the microphones, here’s the podcast recorded with my old friend Guy Hancock this morning. Guy is well known in the local wargaming community as the owner of the (sadly short-lived) Wargames Heaven shop and has been gaming almost as long as I have (think early 1970s). But of course, the highlight of his career was being featured on the front cover of Battlegames issue 1 back in 2006!
In this episode, we discuss the question of whether historically accurate tactics are necessary for historical wargames, to what extent they should be enforced by rulesets or left to the ability of the players to reach historically plausible outcomes, the role of command and control systems in the process, the effects of simultaneous as opposed to IGO-UGO moves, the historicity of competition gaming, the situation in multi-player games and the danger of imposing mechanisms that potentially detract from the enjoyment of the game.
So, put your feet up with a cuppa, or pick up that paintbrush and prepare to paint a new unit and enjoy another Battlegames Battlechat.
This episode is free to everyone, but if you’d like to hear previous episodes or discover the other exclusive content that patrons are enjoying, you can sign up on the Battlegames Patreon website.


  1. Very interesting listen.

    I think the historical frustration in Command and Colors is because it is not historical, but ludic. The ludic response is often to wait for line advances cards. It could be historicallly reasoned as you say. The problem is that it occurs too frequently for that.

    This observation does not explain why you still bought a shelf of C&C boxes…!

    Sounds like you have some similar personal interaction issues – not wishing to spoil a weekend – as we do in boardgames. Happy to discuss.

  2. Three thoughts regarding this really interesting discussion about tactics.

    1) The teacher in me loves games that reward playing in a way that’s historically accurate. For example, as I learn to play Chain of Command I find that studying history and tactics improves my outcomes in my CoC games. Very cool!

    2) Large event or one off games – like your Chancellorsville at the WHC – are tricky because rules like Black Powder will steer you in a historical direction but there are lots of opportunities to play otherwise because there’s greater advantage in doing so. Because it’s a one off you never get the the chance to learn which historical tactics reward you unless you study up in advance.

    3) Tournament games can be very exciting as long as you realize that rule sets watertight enough to stand up to tournament play (i.e. Bolt Action, Warhammer etc.) reward maximizing your strengths and picking on opponents weaknesses, regardless of historical precedent.

    If you distill things, issues arise in these competition games because you’re playing a very complex board game on a surface that has ill defined movement areas. Sortof like playing chess without the squares. Bishop moves diagonally 6 inches?!? You’re going to get little nudges here and there and that’s when you can enter the unpleasant area where competitiveness breeds cheating, or at least overly predatory play.

    I like competitive play for games that are truly watertight – chess online or just about any CCG or LCG you can name for example – but playing measuring tape miniature games competitively is a recipe for ambiguity and hard feelings.

    Enjoyed this episode.

    • Thanks for stopping by and giving such comprehensive feedback, Sean. All good points. Grid-based games certainly eliminate many of the causes of arguments in games, and in recent years, there has been a lot of effort put into combining the aesthetics of ‘pure’ miniatures games with boardgame-type certainty. I can think of “Commands & Colors” or “Squad Leader” played on Hexon terrain, for example, or Simon Miller’s “To the Strongest” on squared terrain, and of course Bob Cordery’s “Portable Wargame”. I intend to explore more about these in due course.

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