Just has to be World War II as a period in history. I mean it has everything and it was recent enough to almost still touch us. The Eastern Front draws me the most, such scale and brutality. I have more books on this period than any other though the English Civil War runs it close.
As for figure gaming this has to be Ancients, simply in time spent painting and fighting battles I imagine I have spent 80% of my time on this period. Napoleonics though is catching up and I am looking forward to painting up more of the figures for this period and getting the blocks of colour marching across the table.
Just for simple nostalgia I will go with WRG 6th Edition. Would I go back to them? I really hope I don't have to. The bookwork and the confusion, but with rose tinted glasses I can look back and smile. I just hope that whatever rules we finally settle on will get as much play.
Roleplaying, nothing touched MERP rules for an easy to play and gamemaster campaign with the right balance of ease of play and depth of system. Well I say that but I always used the Rolemaster system for the attack tables etc. As Merp was a watered down version of Rolemaster this worked very well. I miss playing and more importantly GM'ing this game and all the books are in the loft waiting for the opportunity to get them out and play again.
As it says in Highlander, their can only be one and this beats out every other game I have ever played. Advanced Squad Leader is what I spend most of my gaming time playing, it's what I have spent the most money on as well. It's the most complex wargame ever! But here is the truth, most of the rules just don't get used in a normal game, sure they are there and yes they do get used but most of the time it's about 1/3rd of the rules and they are the easier ones to learn. No it's not easy but with the Starter Kits and wealth of players (when you know which stones to turn over), it's fairly easy to get the basics down.
But I have to mention the evil one. Yep Eurogames, or as they were called when I first got into them, German Games. These are simply fantastic. Fairly basic rules fitted to a nice Chrome called the theme of the game and away you go. Indeed I did. More than anything else a good part of the reason I disappeared from figure gaming all those years ago was the Euro Game. My girlfriend happened to like games and fell for Euro's as well. We spent a huge time playing Magic The Gathering and went to boardgame cons for the weekends. Suddenly I could get my fix sitting round the dinner table with 3 friends. Well since then the Girlfriend became the wife and yes the Passion for the games still remains and play we do but gone are the conventions (kids) and friends move on. These games will feature in our future more as the kids grow up but Settlers of Catan remains the top game in this group.
I was told playing with myself would send me blind but I still bought or borrowed a whole load of solo wargames. You know what? I don't even wear glasses!!! I never seemed to get enough fun to bookkeeping from all the solo games except this one. The Peloponnesian War is a great game that if you play it as it's designed, rather than trying to 'win' the system is really great fun. Highly recommended.
I really don't have a favourite scale as such. I just don't get 25/8mm, the size of table you need to play a game just makes me laugh. Yes they look stunning but when I see 12 figures that are supposed to be a French Column marching on a British line I just want to shake my head. Now at the various Wargames Holiday Centres where you have a great big table with 1000's of figures or that kickass display game taking up half a hall that I can appreciate and see the point. Now my mate Lee he owns 1000's of the buggers and he loves them but take your average club setting and it's just wrong. 15mm gives the best (for me) detail to playability and this is the scale I defer to for most periods. 6mm though is what Napoleonics is all about to me. My best game in memory has to be against the guy who introduced me to wargaming and we played it over two days at his flat. Well over 100 units per side and you really got the feel for a massed army. It was Leipzig and in fact was just the one flank. Now all I need is rules that will get that feeling back.
Chariot Miniatures was always my favorite. The guy who owned them was so into it and at the time I started my Ancient Army he was happy to talk to me about it, he asked good questions and worked out what would suit me and most of all treated me on equal footing, not a bad place to be given I was 16 at the time. But then again he did recommend the Persians to me. So I was rather sad he sold up to Magister who I knew nothing of (all this happened when I was away). Well my first dealings with them was pre-Derby last year. I ordered a stash to collect at the con and picked the figures up and was happy enough. Not much to go on, pleasant service etc. but on unpacking to clean up ready to paint I find I am one pike short of my block (wifes been saying that for years) so a quick e-mail explaining it is missing but also I had not counted them before the prep work, could they send me a replacement in the post and if so could they also supply a slinger that I had lost. Just let me know the total cost and I would send it off. Figures arrive and no cost, even though one was my fault. Of course since then I have spent £70 finishing off that army and I can't wait to see them FtF to thank them.
Honorable mention goes to Ian Key of Irregular Miniatures as he was the first guy I ever bought figures from and he was very kind to a young boy and gave me nearly as many figures free as I bought. I have bought much fromhim since and only wish he could have continued to improve his 6mm Naps to keep up with Baccus.
Talking of which Baccus are now my number 1 supplier of Naps and I look forward to building up my French 10 fold on what I already have. I have just finished two Hussar regiments, they even have ponytails!!!!
Saw this film for the first time at Heroes (ASL tournament in Blackpool) March 2009. It's in Chinese and is about the Chinese Civil War. It has a great story and is well worth the effort of reading as well as watching the film. Like many films it claims to be as realistic and gory as Shaving Ryans Privates but unlike most of these films it manages it. I can fully recommend it and you know what it's about £5 on Amazon (well it was when I bought it).
Band of Brothers though is also an epic well produced series that I keep coming back to. In fact I am about to watch it again. I liked The Pacific but it's to damn dark, the characters look to much the same and whilst it sticks to the books very well (I've read them) and the characters are well played I just felt it lacked that special thing BoB's has.
Lord of the Rings is great and should have top spot but even though Robert Jorden really pissed me off with his out right ripping off of Tolkien, he did it rather well and once I stopped huffing every time I read Trollorcs and just got on with the books it really was a great read. The sheer depth and story line. Shame he is a rip off merchant to get there but so much of it is his own. Last book comes out in November, a number of years after his death, I guess that what happens when you rip off the master.
But nothing I own comes close bookwise to this. Anglia Rediviva (England's Recovery) a book written about the last phase of the First ECW by Fairfax's Chaplain Joshua Sprigg. My version is a copy limited to 200 numbered issues and each page is a photo reprint of the original so it's in old english and an absolute joy to read. It's been 10+ years since I last read it and well past time I read it again.
Just before I left the hobby I had bought my first Vallejo paints, I was really impressed in their coverage and colour. After the mass break these colours were still in good order (as was a few of the other paints) and since coming back I have bought a good many bottles. Other paints are good and I will continue to buy from other suppliers but for me these hit the price to quality right on the head.
Grepolis is a free to play internet game that is based in Germany (now have UK serveres as well) that is set in Greek Mythology. Unlike most of the Facebook games this game pits you against other humans directly. It's neither fair nor is it balanced. You start with a little village and you are required to build it up using the resources on the island you are on. You start on an island with other new players but you may well be surrounded by players who have been there some time and could crush you with ease. You have a week to grow before they can attack you and it is your very weakness that stops most of them doing so. Now I say it's free but if you wish you can spend real money and get all sorts of advantages. I go free and still have done well in the game. Lots of interaction between players, you can join alliances etc. My only real gripe is that kids just love to play this and they tend to be pains in the ass when wars start. If you can cope with this I think it may well be the best free wargame on the web. At the moment I am in a war against anther alliance that attacked a member of mine. I have smashed his fleets in a series of battles and then sacked his second city whilst his attack against my Main City (I have 3) was wiped out for almost no loss. Great fun.
At last I am done, hope any of you to get to the bottom enjoyed what you read. In honesty I think that post was really for my own benefit and as such I thank anyone who found it the slightest bit interesting and to the person who started the ball rolling, whoever you are!!!!