Thursday, 2 March 2017

Rule of Cool

I only heard the above phrase recently but I am guessing it has been around as long as wargaming, it may be our very own version of 'anything goes'.

If you don't know what it is it is being able to paint your miniatures any way you like as you bought them and stuff the rest, it probably also applies to rule sets and many other facets of our hobby but it is primarily the painting that interests me.

I have noticed on the Bolt Action Facebook page especially, and just the other day a guy asked if he should have his Kriegsmarine NCO in a white cap or a dark blue cap, I am unsure of the point of the exercise because he had already painted it white. Right away it was pointed out he was wrong because only Captains and above were allowed white, to which he countered with several excuses as to why the guy would be wearing white, he might even be a Captain fallen on hard times etc. then why did he ask when he knew it was wrong. The upshot of course was several replies along the lines of 'they are your troops paint them how you like', and anyone who disagreed was an historical fascist.

I have seen this kind of thing on many an occasion, for instance someone will showcase a German tank, like a Tiger painted in real tiger stripes and then they ask the question, what do you guys think? Well I think that is stupid is the first thing that comes to mind, next is why on earth would you do that with all the evidence to the contrary. Another wanted to do his entire German army in black and then tried to persuade the rest of us that Hitlers bodyguard, from the propaganda films before the war, actually went to war like that, or could have, prove they didn't. And of course he was told go ahead!

There are whole swathes of history where we don't really have much of a clue, no one can be sure if Romans wore red or had different shields for different cohorts, but we do know they were not baby pink, it is fairly easy with the internet to make an educated guess.

I don't get Imagi-Nations but I have no problem with someone building up their army the way they want and having fun mustering their own regiments, I also don't care that my opponents troops might look as though they were painted with a two inch brush, but don't put the Black Watch in yellow kilts or Union troops in turquoise, it is just wrong.

I have never in all my years of wargaming bumped in to one of these guys, would I refuse to play against someone who turns up with a tiger Tiger, just maybe.


  1. If you're gonna paint it....paint it properly! End of story!

  2. The hobby abounds with button and rivet counters, most of whom seem to stalk the interweb like a praying mantis, but gamers still insist in pursuing odd ideas as regards uniforms, formations etc.. Wargame boards are traversed by more Tiger tanks than were ever produced by the Germans and Napoleon's Old Garde than ever existed. I guess it's part lack of integrity, part lack of knowledge and part whimsy. Whatever the case, I'd not be over keen about playing against someone with who fielded a glaringly unrepresentative force, though still would, but I'm not particularly worried about their turn out. I have a mate who has two C18th 'Imagination' armies, but which look strikingly similar to the Austrians and Prussians of the Seven Years' War and they're quite pretty, so who cares? I know some do, but I (and lots of people I know) am quite relaxed about it.

    However, there's a down side to this 'accuracy' thing. Years ago, between the ages of about twelve to fourteen or so, my son used to head into town to the Saturday/Sunday Games Workshop games. He was a pretty decent painter and had the relevant codexes and all that rubbish and all seemed well. Historical gamer on the slips, thinks I. Wrong. One Saturday, he rolled up early from his GW visit, slung his bag in the corner of his bedroom and that was the limit of his venture into gaming. Why? he'd been lectured at by a couple of button counters all afternoon (no staff intervened, apparently) and decided enough was enough. How can fantasy/sci-fi troops wear the wrong colours (well one unit anyway)? He's stuck to that argument and I agree with him. That was about eighteen years ago; my God, I feel old :O(

    Obviously the Rule of Cool hadn't penetrated too far into the hobby by then.

    1. Make believe rivet counters, yes, I have listened incredulously to them.