Budget Wargaming

This hobby can be very expensive to say the least. Especially if you play GW Games. How can we keep costs down for both table top miniatures Games and board wargames?

Self made model of Mount Fuji, total cost: $3.00

A good friend pointed out that by buying figures at eBay or other auctions, the figs are only cheap if they ship from your country.

The gentleman at the Budgethammer Blog recommended a search like this for GW figures in order to get the best deals:

warhammer -bowl -rings -white -epic

He says:

“Firstly, it cancels out a number of words that tend to clog up Warhammer searches that I’m not personally interested in. “-bowl” gets rid of any Blood Bowl minis (I love Blood Bowl, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like the old GW models and there’s a surprising amount of it on eBay), without hiding any Blood Angels stuff. “-rings” hide Lord of the Rings stuff, again of which there is a lot of. “-white” hides the Warhammer magazine, White Dwarf, and “-epic” hides all the Epic 40,000 stuff.
The search is set to ignore all Auctions and only display Buy It Now options. It hides all Business accounts/shops, only displaying Private sellers. Lastly, it orders it by Most Recently Listed.”

Ian Dickie in his book, “Wargaming on a Budget,” discusses things like:

“He offers sound practical advice on buying and building your armies (should you opt for metal, plastic, or even card, and in which scale?), gaming tables, terrain, buildings and even storage solutions. As well as purely financial constraints, Iain Dickie also recognizes the fact that available space is another major restriction for many gamers and tackles this issue too. Now you’ve got no excuse not to get wargaming!”

Photo: I played Captain Morgan in a promotion in Canada.

Indeed choosing plastic over metal, or a smaller scale such as 2mm over 28mm, both of these will save you money.

Irregular Miniatures is one of the cheapest if not the cheapest producer of metal miniatures. GW is perhaps the most expensive. Going for 20 mm soft plastic miniatures makes our hobby very cheap indeed.

The Wargamer online magazine has more ideas on keeping wargame costs down.


There`s a plethora of free rules available for miniatures play from all periods.  Just do a web search for “free wargame rules,”  or “free table top miniatures rules,” something like that.  Many rule sets have been a labour of love by their author, and have been play tested over many years with friends and relatives.  Some of the free rules are actually better than the rules which are rushed out to make publishing deadlines by the major companies.  And frankly, the rules are what make or break the game.

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AI for Solo War games

AI for Solo War games

I have often espoused the opinion to much scoffing, that all table top war-games be they with figures or board war games, should include a solitaire system with good AI.   Most in the industry or simply people like me who love to play games usually disagreed.

Thankfully, these days, there are game designers, who share my feeling – Dan Versen and others feel the same way and back that up by including solo rules and challenging solo opponents.


I have often thought: Would it be possible to make a solo AI for board war gamers, that was not only generic enough that it could be used with most games, but would be challenging too.

Do any of you know of such a system?

I would love to hear from you in the comments section  below.  Is there some kind of computer software that we could use?


Years and years ago, I used to convert many of my board war games to the computer using the scenario editor of various computer war games I had.  Tanks was one of them,and Empire Deluxe was another.  The AI of the latter was not very good, so unless you played the vastly weaker side, it made for a boring game.

I would love to hear your comments below!

Visiting Japan? Check out the guests houses that are loaded with games!

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Old Soldiers Magazine News

Howdy Gents,

I’m hoping to get the next issue out on the 15th of April. I’m in need of articles, it would indeed be helpful if I could receive 3 or 4 more articles for the coming issue. Personally I’m working on articles on “The Battle of Ctesiphon”, “Pavia 1525”, “The Sikh Wars”, and the next installment of my article on the Boer War. I haven’t had time to do any indepth studies of wargames in the last months.

My mother’s surgery was successful, but her convalescence is very slow, so I’m still doing things like helping her out of chairs and making sure that even though she walks (or in fact shuffles) through the house under her own steam, I’m there to catch her when she stumbles, and stumble she does. It is time intensive, and I thank everyone who has written for their support and well wishes. It seems there are many of us soldiering on under similar circumstances taking care of elderly parents. And, one day not too long from now, we will be in the same condition, much as we all hope to the contrary.

SO, please, if you all can, article contributions over the next 20 days or so would be helpful.

Take Care,
Old Soldiers Magazine (publisher)
White Dog Games (graphic designer)
tdcgunslinger @ copper.net
tdcgsl @ yahoo.com
(two for technical redundancy, remove space before and after the @ – done to confound spam bots)
Friends of Ernie Pyle Museum Foundation (member of the Board of Directors)

The Toy Soldier Company

Toy Soldiers, Plastic Toy Soldiers,
Metal Toy Soldiers and Playsets from
The Toy Soldier Company

The Toy Soldier Company offers for sale plastic toy soldiers, metal toy soldiers and toy soldier playsets for collectors and for those who just want to play on the living room rug. Our huge inventory of plastic toy soldiers includes figures and accessories from just about every major company which has ever existed. The figures, available in 54mm and HO, as well as other scales, come from such manufacturers as Playsets – See Them All!Accurate, Airfix, Marx, Read More

Lego War

Lego War


Read More

We all buy at the Yellow Submarine

Quotes from Boardgamegeek.com

I like Yellow Submarine and enjoy browsing at the store in South Shinjuku. I will say one thing though,
at the store in Akihabara I had a store clerk basicly follow me around the store like he thought I was going to steal something.
I felt he was racist. Maybe they have some non-Japanese shop lift at times, but Japanese must do so too. Does he
stay close to all the Japanese customers too? I doubt it. So the last time I was at the store in Akihabara that sells a lot
of games and has the game tables (for playing games) in the back, it wasn`t the nicest shopping experience.

It`s too bad they do that sometimes. I have had similar experiences at Toys r` Us in Hadano and another shop in Odawara.

It certainly highlights what it feels like to be a visible minority at times and makes me sympathize more with non-caucasian people
in Canada and how they are treated at times.

Where to buy & Play Games in Tokyo?

If you have spare time in Wednesday, there is a weekly boardgame meeting in Yellow Submarine in Akihabara between 1:00PM to 8:30PM. This is not English meeting but no charge. Free. You can join if you are interested in Japanese gamers. Some of guys can speak English and I think I can help you if I were there (usually 6:00PM to 8:30PM). If you want to make sure if I was there, just mail me. We played with some western guys before and there are only few problems to play games even if you can’t understand Japanese. Gaming itself is a language. I hope you will have great time in my country.

What`s the difference between the different
Yellow Sub Stores?

What’s the difference (aside from location, of course) between these two branches of yellow submarine?
Both sell boardgames and other types of games. Which of the two would be the best place to look for Japanese wargames and other non-Euro and non-TCG/CCG stuff?

Or would Shosen be a better place for that?

Joe Yamasaki

Lajos, I asked a couple of guys about the topic. People said there is not big difference between two yellow submarine stores. Sounds like about same. And if you are interested in Japanese wargames, yellow submarine has better lineup than Shosen. On the other hand, if you are looking for US games, Shosen might be better choice. I recommend yellow submarine Akihabara. Even you can’t find good game at the store, Shosen is near. You also can try Yodobashi Camera Akihabara for monopoly, life game, go, shogi and other non-gamers games for better price.

Gideon Marcus

Lajos wrote:
What’s the difference (aside from location, of course) between these two branches of yellow submarine?

Both sell boardgames and other types of games.

Which of the two would be the best place to look for Japanese wargames and other non-Euro and non-TCG/CCG stuff?
Or would Shosen be a better place for that?


I haven’t seen the Shinjuku store since 2003. I went to the Akihabara store just four months ago.

The Akihabara store is in a tower and has a decent sized role-playing/tabletop/miniature gaming room with a few tables. The people there have always looked friendly. I know some wargamers go in there too. I chatted with a couple of them.

Drake Coldwinter

I went to the Shinjuku store last week, the basement is more for cards, there is another yellow submarine in the same building, second floor with plenty of boardgames, nice collection, not as big as the akihabara yellow submarine, but for sure it doesn’t pale away.

Andy Kitkowski
United States

Hey all: I’m a huge tabletop RPGer ( http://www.j-rpg.com/talk), and buy all my Japanese RPGs from the Akihabara Yellow Sub. The Shinjuku yellow sub is great if you’re looking for US/International RPGs, but Akihabara has the best local collection of regular and indie J-RPGs.

For boardgames, though, I’ve found it very surprising that the TOKKYU HANDS in Shinjuku (right outside the station, next to Kinokuniya) is a great place to pick up both traditional and modern Japanese board games (the first floor), both in regular and travel sizes. They have all sorts of hanafuda, shogi, go, etc sets next to copies of contemporary Japanese board games. Plus, it’s really easy to spot and make time for, since it’s not too out of the way.


I just came back from a visit to (among others) the Shinjuku Yellow Submarine. They have a nice collection of Euro games and some imported wargames as well. All in all a fine shop, but I couldn’t find anything to suit my obscure interests however. Maybe I’ll try Akihabara next week, although that neighborhood gives me a headache just thinking about it…
(I didn’t check out Tokyu Hands, but I’m sure that I will soon since Shinjuku is right on the way between central Tokyo and home.) .