Friday, May 29, 2015

Ted Haskell's Wargamer's Profile Worksheet (The Courier, 1971)

    I have been thinking about the spectrum of our Hobby, which is to say specifically (mostly) Historical Miniature Wargaming. One of the great (and sometimes frustrating) things about it is that it has so many potential facets to it. I plan to ramble on some more about this, but as I was contemplating the subject, I recalled a one page article on the subject by Ted Haskell, titled as above, from the original NEWA Courier. So I decided to check out the basement files (yep, I still have ALL of those great issues , and rather easily found it in Volume III, No 5. I perhaps remembered it so well because that was just my second issue, and I devoured it, cover to cover - the whole offset printed, spine stapled 30 pages of it.

Teds article was almost more of a drawing - all handwritten! It was in tabular form, as seen below. In the original, each box contained a description of that level,. I tried, but I couldn't reproduce it in a legible fashion, so I'll present it in list form. The idea was that you would then take the grid and place a mark in one box for each of the 5 categories (thus allowing for a 4.5, say)







5: Well versed in 5+ Armies, 5+ periods, 5+ battles, or combination;
     Large Private Library, files
     Some original sources
     Loves History!
     Professional Historian

4: Well versed in 4+ Armies, 4+ periods, 4+ battles, or combination;
    Small Private Library
    Public Library
    Secondary Sources
    Personal Files
    Semi-Pro Historian

3: Well versed in 3+ Armies, 3+ periods, 3+ battles, or combination;
    Public Library
    Personal Files
    Professional Magazines
    Amateur Historian

2: Well versed in 2+ Armies, 2+ periods, 2+ battles, or combination;
    Public Library

1: Well versed in 1+ Armies, 1+ periods, `1+ battles, or combination;
    Reading only


5: Troops - Original Designs, Casts, Converts, Paints very well
     Terrain - Original Designs, Builds, Paints very well

4: Troops - Casts, Converts, Paints with shading
     Terrain - Builds, Paints with shading

3: Troops - Converts, Paints details "finished"
     Terrain - 3-D Topography with purchased materials

2: Troops - Paints with many colors; "semi-finished"
     Terrain - Maps as game boards (re; Shambattle); Avalon Hill

1: Troops - Spray Paint; "rough detail"
     Terrain - Chalk, Blocks, books in piles


5: Troops in 5+ Periods, 5+ scales, or combination
    Accurate and artistic pieces
     Made to Order
    Superlative Painting
    1000+ figures

4: Troops in 4+ Periods, 4+ scales, or combination
    Accurate castings
    Excellent painting

3: Troops in 3+ Periods, 3+ scales, or combination
    Good castings
    Good painting

2: Troops in 2+ Periods, 2+ scales, or combination
    Production castings
    Average painting
    Cardboard stands

1: Troops in 1+ Periods, 1+ scales, or combination
    Toy style castings
    Passable painting
    Production painting
    1 to 100 figures


5: Complex: books
    Games 8 hrs +
    High Skill %
    Low Chance %
    Multi-level, large team play

4: Complex: book
    Games 6-8 hrs
    Medium Skill %
    Medium Chance %
    Multi-level, small team play

3: Complex: Pamphlet
    Games 3-6 hrs
    Medium Skill %
    Medium Chance %
    Multi-level, 2-4 players
2: Simple: 2-5 pages
    Games 3-6 hrs
    Medium Skill %
    High Chance %
    Two-level, 2-4 players
1: Simple: "Back of a Postcard"
    Games 1-3 hrs
    Low Skill %
    High Chance %
    Single level, 2 player


5: Plays Often
    2 games/week+
    Legalistic and Statistical
    Plays for blood@!
    Loves Math  ?@#!

4: Plays Often    
    1 game/week
    Plays for fun... with sharp weapons
    Slide rules, logarithmic tables, etc.

3: Plays Regularly
    1 game/month
    Plays for fun with buttoned foils

2: Plays Infrequently
    2-3 games/year
    Plays for fun with slapsticks

3: Plays Seldom
    1 game/year
    Plays for fun

Ted further elaborated:

54mm Rounds
40mm Rounds
30mm Rounds and Flats
25mm Rounds
20mm Rounds and Flats
Avalon Hill et al.


Pike and Shot
18th Century
America Civil War
Kaiser's War
Hitler and Tojo's War
Modern and beyond

Grand Tactical

    Of course Ted was writing more than a little bit tongue in cheek, and a rating of "5" might be less than desirable in  some areas. I don't think this is exactly how I'd look at our involvement in our hobby (more on that another time), but it's a fun exercise to at least try some self rating a la Haskell... although he proposed it be used for others to rate us!

So if I was to rate myself in High School I'd have been

Historian 2
Craftsman 2
Collector 2
Rulesmith 5
Gamesman 4

In my 20's I'd have been
Historian 3
Crafstman 3
Collector 3
Rulesmith 3
Gamesman 3

And the last 10 years I'd be
Historian 4
Craftsman 3
Collector 5
Rulesmith 3
Gamesman 2.5

Ted's article, read 45 years later, is also interesting from a historical standpoint: no 15/18mm. 10mm, N Gauge, 6mm, or God forbid, 2 mm troops existed, and both 54mm and Flats are included. Now days we'd have to include paper armies, too!  Note also the heavy emphasis on design and casting of your own troops - common up to that time, but fast becoming very much the exception rather than the rule even by the early 1970's. Ted also pretty much assumes that EVERYONE writes at least some of their own rules. Finally, the omission of Science fiction and Fantasy genres is striking. 



  1. Interesting. I would say I have been a 4 for history since college, 4 for modeling occasionally climbing to 5 for original for figures, 5 for number of period's, and a mix of numbers for rules and games manship averaging a 3 (he said hopefully). Certainly there have been length periods of a game a week without the side attributes as well as droughts. And I have at times enjoyed lengthy, complex games but never slide rules and math!
    As for the extras I see he does mention space and moderns and beyond, surely that is SciFi?

    And just to reinforce my lack of nitpicking :) he may not have mentioned them but there were indeed 15mm, and 6mm by 1971.I believe n gauge came out in '72.
    Great post.

  2. IIRC, Ted was one of the original subscribers to Jack's Wargames Digest (Yep, checked ) in 1957. The Courier in its early years reprinted quite a few articles (with Jack's permission, of course) from WGD and TTT, and it's entirely possible that Ted actually wrote this piece well before 1970, although Dick usually clear;y iodentifioed such reprinted materuilas (many of which were gems).

    Morschauser (1962) doesn't mention any scale smaller than 20mm. When I first met Charlie Sweet in 1974, he had no figures smaller than 20mm - he was very happy with his legions of Alymers,,, not to mention the many armies he had designed and cast himself.

    The same timeline cites Peter Laing as the originator of 15mm scale figures... in 1972, That is also indeed when N gauge (9mm) was introduced by Jack as well. Aside from Microarmor or similar, I think 6mm was quite a few years after that.

    1. I'm sorry, I meant no disrespect to Ted or yourself, I was actually thinking mostly of his gamesmanship Level 5 and intended the comment as tongue in cheek. I apologise.

      I tend to think of microarmour and 6mm as the same scale but for the other 6mm, 15mm and n gauge, whether they came out in 1971 or 72 is really a moot point they would have been new and not been common or even accepted as more than a daft experiemnt.

      I'll confess though that I was surprised this morning when I tried to find out when they first appeared that my google foo proved insufficient to find a date. In my 1973 Minifigs catalog both 15mm and 6mm appear as existing items not as new releases but I don't know when they first appeared. I only know that when I ordered samples I wasn't impressed and was surprised a few years later to find the 6mm in common use in Halifax and found opponents for the 15mm ECW figures I had started painting as being more conducive to going to sea with limited room.

      . .

    2. Ross, no offense taken whatsoever - I took your comments exactly as you meant them - no problem! Thanks for your input and comments!

  3. Interesting observations and I was thinking only the other day how the things I derive the most enjoyment from in the hobby have changed since my late teens, when all I was concerned about was getting enough figures painted to field an army with a few limited options, and the most important aspect was the weekly club game on a Saturday afternoon.

    I personally find that now I enjoy the actual painting and research as much as the gaming, but which I suspect the seventeen-year-old me may have found a little stuffy, if not slightly pretentious. As tongue-in-cheek as the article is obviously meant to be, I do wonder what a wargamer who scores five in every category might be like, and whether any of us would manage to associate with him or her for more than five minutes.

    1. I agree, the aspects of our hobby that we enjoy most definitely evolve over times. Likewise at 17, my main thrust was playing games (back then, I had tons of spare time, so that wasn't an issue at all, and I often played twice a week, on the big table in my parent's attic) and painting troops as fast as I could to use in said games.
      I think my 17 year old self would have gotten along fine with my current persona First he would have been happy just to have another gamer/opponent, and the experience wouldn't have intimidated him all - indeed, it would have been pretty analogous to meeting and playing with Charlie Sweet, which happened when I was just short of age 19. I think I have more troops than even Charlie did at the same age, and my collection is almost as diverse (I lack the tricorne armies... so far!) At 17, I generally preferred the company of adults to the majority of my peers!

      I don;t think it would be possible to ever score a 5 in all five of Ted's categories (unless it was your full time job, perhaps), and I agree, that someone who did might not be an individual you wanted to associate with on a regular basis!

      At present, I probably derive the most enjoyment from running games, although there isn't really an aspect of the hobby I don't like. Well, OK, I find basing a major chore!

  4. It was great to see an article from The (old) Courier getting such play. It is obviously dated and it might make sense to rework for today's gamers. When we started The Courier we asked Jack Scruby for a copy of his mailing list so as to send all interested parties a free copy so that they might subscribe (it was the only list of known Historical Miniature wargamers that we could think of) there were 61 people on that list! How far we have come!

    1. Thanks for the visit and comment, DIck! As I said, this article has stuck in my mind over the years, perhaps in part because it was only my second issue of any wargames magazine. However, there are plenty of others from the old and new Courier that have done so as well!

      I ma actually evolving some thoughts about updating Ted's concepts, perhaps not as an actual "rating" system. I'll work on that as time and other commitments allow.

  5. Interesting peek into the Way-Back machine. To me, the classifications and bucketing don't quite work but I will put together my thoughts once I return from South America and have keyboard and good wi-fi connection.

    1. I'll look forward to it, Jon. I have ideas percolating about it myself, and I'd agree that an update/reworking would be in order.

  6. There must be an entry for the new gamer of today. He buys painted figures, he buys commercial terrain and he buys a professionally built wargame table! Suprised that he doesn't hire a club to play the games for him.

    1. LOL, Dick. He must be a stockbroker to afford all that! :-)

      There are some guys who don't enjoy painting, or don't enjoy it in the volume needed to field an army. Indeed, my freind and veteran wargamer, Bob Jones is in that category. Others are excellent painters but still use one of the Sri Lanka (or other painting) services to field armies in a reasonable period of time - my freind Thomas comes to mind - he can paint better than I do, and has painted plenty of figures himself, but still farms out some figures/armies. So that's another thing that is largely new form "back in the day" to consider!