The Pudding and the Proof

Sci-Fi writer, gamer and blogger Gary Mitchell has made the following comment on his blog:

GOSSIP AS OF 14/2/2013: The big buzz at the mo is the merging of ‘Miniature Wargames’ and ‘Battlegames’ under the aegis of Henry Hyde, Andrew Hubback no longer having a role at the mag. Difficult for me to comment as I know both chaps well. Official stuff best accessed via My email correspondents (not Henry or Andrew or anyone from Atlantic) express concern the new mag will go ‘old skool’ and once again the sci-fant end will be left ‘out of print’. Mm, most gamers do both. There is, of course ‘The Ancible still in virtual print. Maybe it’s time for a ‘kickstarter’ on a new sci-fant title. Anyways, good luck to all involved in the future – and to Pope Benedick XVI is his future as well.

So, here’s my reply:

Dear Gary,

The official press release — which I helped to write — states categorically:

Miniature Wargames will continue to be fiercely independent under Henry’s command. The publication will showcase the hobby in all its many and varied aspects, including historical, fantasy, sci-fi and ‘imagi-nations’, covering all scales from 3mm to 54mm, suiting all styles from Kriegsspiel counters to the most exquisite miniatures, from ‘old school’ to ‘new school’, and all age groups “from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty” as H G Wells famously wrote. In short, our intention is to ensure that Miniature Wargames is the flagship of the hobby, equipped to face the next 30 years.

Also, MW is going to see a substantial increase in page count, so there will be room for me to keep the promise I’ve made above.

If you actually look at the articles published in the last 33 issues of Battlegames, the number of ‘old school’ (and that’s “school” with a “ch”) articles is actually very few – but I refuse to apologise for publishing them, as ‘old school’ has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years and is a perfectly valid aspect of the hobby. I launched Battlegames because the hobby magazines at the time were ignoring this type of gaming completely, and I’m proud to have given it a voice.

Every month, I shall be putting together the magazine that I want to read – and my tastes are very wide indeed. It’s a HUGE mistake to think I only play Grantian/Featherstonian games; I don’t, as will be shown by my book coming out later this year; and it’s also erroneous to think that 18th century = ‘old school’. Is Black Powder ‘old school’? Or Maurice? Or General de Brigade/Kriegskunst? If, by ‘old school’, you mean “fun”, then sure, I’m guilty as charged. My only criterion is quality – if an article is of the right quality, regardless of the subject matter, it goes in. Didn’t you notice that I even wrote a fantasy article myself for BG33? Or that Ashley Pollard has started reviewing sci-fi for the mag?

What I will be insisting on is that the primary focus is on the game and the hobby, in all its many and varied forms, and I shall be communicating this to contributors.

What your own comments reveal is how important perception and prejudices are. Are you and your friends going to pre-judge the new Miniature Wargames before it has even seen the light of day? Or is it like Minority Report, and I’m being accused of something I haven’t done yet?

The proof, as I seem to be saying a lot in the last 24 hours, will be in the pudding.


  1. Like the new edition but then I’m old. It had the feeling of tizer and buns round at Donald Featherstones house and Newbury rules and Olde English Spangles. Not a complaint but I do wonder what the people who aren’t going to be dead in 15 years are going to think about it.

    • Olde English Spangles… Tizer… Sigh… Well, all I can say, Huw, is that our marketing people are telling us that quite a few people under retirement age are buying it! (Steady on old chap, I think you’re pushing your luck with Newbury rules. Mind you, I played them quite happily in the 70-somethings, along with Quarrie’s Napoleonic rules.)

  2. Your work up to this point gives me confidence that your skills are more than up to the task, and that you intend to handle it exactly as you describe. The trait of personal integrity (i.e., doing what you say you are going to do regardless of ensuing difficulties, which you have consistently displayed in the past) is so rare that the doubters may not recognize it when they see it, and may disbelieve it when they do.

    Congratulations, Henry; bravo, Atlantic.

  3. I am interested by the assertion that most gamers play both historical and sci/fant. Do we know that?

    What is certain is that selling sci/fant with that name is tough one!

    Rest assured that any reputation (deserved or otherwise) takes a long time to shift.

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