Sunday 8 January 2012

How to wargame on the cheap {Wargaming}

Wargaming can be a hugely expensive hobby, especially if you're creating a huge army one soldier at a time. From paints and flock to the miniatures themselves, wargaming is a hobby that can quickly leave you out of pocket. But worry not, fair armchair general, because it doesn't have to be like that. You can enjoy wargaming without worrying about your bank balance with this handy guide.

Use paper minis
Believe it or not, you can build an entire army for free. Well, as long as you have a printer with ink in it. There are a few sites that offer free paper minis like One Monk, and you can even get 3D terrain pieces for free too! While this is the cheapest way to get an army together, the spectacle of a huge miniature army is diminished by the fact that all your soldiers can easily fall over with a breeze. If you want a quick army for free, then use paper minis, but if you want something a bit meatier then there are other ways to save money and get great armies.

Shop around
We all know that Games Workshop has the monopoly on fantasy and science fiction wargaming and it's often the first place a beginner will go for their first army. While the miniatures are of good quality (though definitely not the best) they are getting increasingly pricey, especially if you're buying your paints and terrain from their stores. Instead of going straight for the mainstream minis, shop around online. There are loads of sites selling quality minis at much lower prices, even as little as £7 for 50 men and there are various art outlets that will sell the appropriate paints for half as much as Games Workshop.

Scale your game
Arguably the most popular model size is 28mm because of how easy they are to paint and how awesome an entire 28mm army looks on the tabletop. Of course, the bigger they are, the harder you'll pay so scaling your models to 15mm or even 6mm will save you a lot of money and still look impressive on the battlefield. Hell, my preferred mass war size is a mere 2mm, which actually looks great and costs next to nothing. The only problem is that small minis are more difficult to paint, so you'll need a steady hand.

Change your format from mass combat to skirmish
Wargaming isn't all about huge battles, and although they might look cool, you can have just as much fun (or more!) with skirmish games. These types of games give the players control of small warbands of typically 5-15 minis with a focus on personalities and special abilities. Obviously buying a handful of miniatures costs far less than forking out for 100 and it also means you can afford the high quality ranges. Personally I think Song of Blades and Heroes is one of the best fantasy skirmish games out there and well worth a buy.


  1. Totally agree with you about Song of Blades and Heores - it is brilliant! Easy, quick, fun, but still plenty of depth.

  2. @Mats Too right, and I love Songs of Drums and Shakos too, being a bit of a history nerd.