Historical Wargaming clubs and hobbying together.

Historical Wargaming clubs and hobbying together.

Greetings all.

This blog post is dedicated to an idea I have been musing on since I began Mcdougall Designs. Using wargaming and hobby products to promote the learning of history.

From a young age and throughout my adult life, the study of history has been a constant for me. From reading books, devouring digital media, and being lucky enough to travel a bit.

But for the most part, that learning has been done alone or in a classroom setting. I always wanted a way to share the interesting anecdotes and historical information I was discovering with others.

We are social creatures, and while group study is great it can be less than engaging. Wargaming and the hobby of building and painting miniatures changes that.

Gathering together and forming an informal club or group creates a reason to learn and a magnet for those that want to do so. This is also true for an after school club for younger gamers. 

A venue could be a members living room or lawn with a few cars tables set out. A group could reserve space at a community hall or library. There are free options before you have to spend money.

The benefits as many and varied:

1. Wargames can be social, multiplayer affairs. For example, a group of friends can gather around a table, take control of a unit or brigade of units, and truly feel like they had an impact when the game is done.

2. Skirmish games provide an easy entry point. You don't need many models, rules are typically streamlined for fast play, and you generally don't need large tables filled with terrain. As most boxed sets come with 24-30 miniatures, costs can be split to make starter forces between two or more gamers. You can always move up to massed army style games, and you shouldn't need to begin there.

3. Gaming promotes critical thinking skills. Most games are abstract, with unit sizes at a fraction of what historical real-world regiments would muster. However, moving units around the table gives a sense for strategy and rolling dice promotes some basic arithmetic. Thinking quickly and being decisive often helps win you a given game.

4. The options are limitless. There are so many historical miniatures currently available. My partners at Wargames Atlantic alone have 11 different ranges covering varied periods of history and there are countless more besides.

Point 4 also lends itself to learning about new periods of history in a scheduled format. Different periods on different weeks, structures campaigns to let gamers experience more of a given style of warfare or re-enact a particular moment in history.

You could also just learn by hobbying. For example, learning about the different ranks and warrior orders of the Aztecs while building and painting a boxed set together 

Even if you don't follow the colors used in historical examples, you are still learning about a historical period while interacting in a social group and learning to do something constructive with your hands (building or painting miniatures.)

With all these benefits, it's a wonder more clubs haven't opened in the US or even abroad. The main complaint I hear from historical gamers is the lack of players in a given area. That most people just play the latest sci Fi and fantasy games. Or that their local gamestore doesn't carry historical miniatures because they won't sell.

I want to change that.

McDougall Designs is in a position where I can order Miniatures from most of the major historical wargaming manufacturers (and some of the smaller ones as well.)

As such, one of the projects I will be working on going forwards is to promote a "League of Local Gaming Groups."

If you are tired of missing out on the historical games you want to try, and want to put in effort to help create a place to make new friends and learn about history, contact me at the email below. I will do my best to help handle the sourcing and sale of historical Wargames kits at discounted rates.


I will also be using my professional historical research skills and creating introductory pamphlets centered around various historical periods and current wargaming boxed sets and kits available to me through distribution channels. I will provide these in PDF form for no charge from my webstore beginning sometime later this year.

While every group is different and many will choose to focus on one historical period or wargame, my hope is that these informational pamphlets will help any groups created by this initiative learn about new periods or just have a fun night hobbying.

If I can help new players find their way into historical gaming proper, and potentially make new friends out of it, so much the better.


There will be more blog posts about this initiative going forwards.

In service to history and wargaming,

Max Mcdougall

McDougall Designs


Happy gaming everyone.