No this isn't going to be a post about what it was like to game when I was younger while H G Wells was writing his set of rules for playing with toy soldiers - true fact - but is instead about how the hobby often takes you on circular journeys.
Many moons ago GW set up a subsidiary to produce historical games using the familiar warhammer ruleset. Warhammer Ancient Battles as it was know was a pretty big hit, with many warhammer players branching into historical's for the first time - myself included. In fact I got so involved that my name appears in some of the early supplements in that infamous 'thanks to' section, and unlike Conrad, my name was spelt correctly :) However WAB was not without its issues, not least the slow release of supplements for periods that I wanted to game in, and when I moved to America my interest in it died. I ended up selling my Early Imperial Roman army (never sell figures if you can avoid it) and thought that my flirtation with that type of gaming was done.
However I still read a lot of historical fiction (Bernard Cornwall et al.) and when Saga was released I dallied with the idea of picking up a warband, though a lack of opponents meant that it remained just an idea. Still it was a good one, get some historical gaming in, in a period that I am particularly interested in - the Dark Ages - and not have to many figures to paint up, maybe 30 all in all.
As always in life things change and I now find myself in a place with lots of historical opponents, many of them who are already playing Saga, so I took the plunge and picked up the rules and a warband. Still as I said, not that big a painting commitment - and to be fair, they are still all unpainted at the moment.
Written by Rob Broom, founder of the Warhammer Players Society (so basically creator of the independant tournament scene in the UK) ex GW Historical Head Honcho, this is a set of ancients rules that whilst owing a lot to the ground work set by WAB, ploughs its own furrow to create a really fun set of rules. And that fun set of rules, coupled with the fact that a few of my really good friends are playing it, has dragged me back into the world of large battle historical gaming. All I need now is an army.
So last night I spent far to much time going around the historical miniature companies websites looking at ancients figures and thinking, mmm I really wouldn't mind painting a roman / greek / viking / crusader army.
Its the mid 90's once again :)