These are the four basic categories of wargamer. More exist, like the Power Gamer, Rules Lawyer, and the General. These will be covered later on in The Art of Wargaming.
Newbies are the lifeblood of the hobby. Treat them well.
You’ll recognize them by their excitement and their penchant for wanting to paint up lots of armies fast. Some have been lured in by the spectacle of the tabletop battle, but might not grasp the basics of tactics (“Look, charging your cavalry into that formed infantry with bayonets is probably not a good idea).
If you are Newbie, expect a steep learning curve at first.
Start small; don’t buy more miniatures than you can possibly paint in the next three months. Finish your initial project before moving to the next one. In fact, finish your first army as fast as you can.
The Miniature Pusher
Miniature Pushers are the backbone of the wargaming hobby. They are the casual gamers, getting to play maybe once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less–depending all that “real life” stuff.
The majority of wargamers, at one time or another, fall into this catagory. If a Miniature Pusher has figures on the tabletop, he or she is happy.
They have at least one or two armies ready to play.
Expect a Miniature Pusher to have a reasonable level of competence when it comes to tactics, strategy, and painting figures to a tabletop standard. A Miniature Pusher, however, may be out of practice when it comes to a given set of rules.
Because of this, Miniatures Pushers are often leery of power gamers and rules lawyers. And rightfully so.
Veterans are worthy opponents. They have mastered their favorite set of rules, so beware playing against them in that system. They probably have also been exposed to a handful of other systems, and play at least a couple of times a month to keep their skills honed. Some play once a week.
They probably have at least two or three armies ready to play (with more projects in the works).
A veteran can be helpful ally to a newbie player, having mastered some of the initial pitfalls of the hobby.
A veteran has also developed his own style of play. Some veterans are good at attacking a particular way, others know how to defend. If you repeatedly play against a veteran and remain observant, you’ll see his patterns.
The Grand Master
The Grand Master has transcended the Miniature Pusher, the Veteran, and most other categories of wargamer. How often a Grand Master plays can vary. Most seem to get to play at least once a week.
Others mysteriously vanish for weeks at a time, and when they return they have a whole new army painted: which they then use to trounce you.
The strange thing about the Grand Master: it doesn’t seem to matter what rule set you’re using, he just knows how to win.
In fact, the Grand Master might not own that many armies, he just knows how to win.
Like the Veteran, the Grand Master probably has a signature style of play. Or so it seems. Learning this style might give you an advantage. But the Grand Master will know how to adapt.
Do not look for a single way to the beat the Grand Master. You will need multiple methods to bring about his downfall.
If you’re a Newbie, face the Grand Master at your own risk.
Next on The Art of Wargaming: Wargaming: Matter of Life and Death?