Books are not the only source of inspiration, the most obvious other diversion made of paper has to be the wargames magazine. My first experience of this was whilst in sixth form bought from the newsagents in the local town and being.....
Yes issue ten, and whilst I still have this issue it's not in the best of shape with the cover being detached and dog eared. Looking at it these days and you have to think it's not that polished but back in the day it was EXACTLY what a new gamer needed. I do wonder if the modern editors could do well to revisit such early publications and try to emulate some of the feel that these old mags produced at the time. I subbed to this magazine well into the 100+ though by this time I was also getting Illustrated Wargames. Anyone remember the days of MW for the articles and WI for the eye candy?
Eventually I found that I was reading less and less till I was often doing little more than flick through them. Finally I cancelled both and have never had a full time professional mag since, unless you count Arquebus or English Civil War Notes and Queries in the same category as wargame mags. Still these magazines introduced me to many more periods scales and ideas. I was like a sponge in those early years and I think a lot of my preferences remain fixed due to those mags and it seemed that anything was possible though I think all the images of those beautiful 28mm Napoleonic's actually put me off trying Napoleonic's in that scale. Indeed it was quite a while before I actually tried Napoleonic's at all.
Of course the other big influence has to be ones mates. Andy who was my first wargame opponent and the one to get me into the hobby in the first place also had the Avalon Hill WWI boardgame The Guns of August and the idea that this type of game actually existed was a revelation to me and we played it a few times and whilst it's not the best game in the world (yes it replicated WWI fairly well) it was the game that got me into war boardgames and for a time I had quite a collection though one game was to take the centre stage and it's grown up brother is still with me to this day.
Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader deserve a post all to themselves which will be the following Blast but it's a fitting place to end tonight's post. If on discovering this game I had found an opponent who was as into it as I was I am fairly sure I would have dropped out of figure gaming many years before I did. I sure am glad this did not happen as I would not have developed my painting to a point I would have come back to the hobby and when all is said and done ASL is one hell of a jealous girl when it comes to sharing you with the rest of the hobby.