Welcome to Darker Horizons - this special sci-fant gamingthemed edition of Miniature Wargames. As this is something of a milestone in wargames publishing, let’s cast our mind back to the history of the genre’s coverage in the UK hobby press.
In the beginning, there was White Dwarf – until it became a shop window for Games Workshop (not that there’s anything wrong with that) – and a few years ago saw the launch of The Ancible – so a tip of the editorial homburg to Kenny Robb for blazing the trail – but that title has now gone to free-to-download-pdf (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Miniature Wargames came on the scene way back in 1983 and – blowing the dust off the archives – I can see that a hex map for space campaigns appeared in the very first issue. However, it wasn’t until 10 years later that my predecessor, Iain Dickie, launched a dedicated Fantasy section in the magazine and sci-fi was added to the mix a few issues later. MW has covered sci-fi and fantasy faithfully since then, and was even responsible for getting the Hammer’s Slammers rules into print in the early years of this century. In 2009, I took another step forward by giving Gary Mitchell his own monthly column in the magazine and I long dreamed that one day it would grow up into a standalone title.
So, we are boldly going into new territory here. I hope that whether you are a passionate sci-fant gamer or just have a passing interest you will find something to fire your imagination here. If you like this issue, tell us, and, you never know, we might take the concept further.
FOREWORD By Dave Clubmember
Welcome to this Darker Horizons special. Since this section of MW began in 2009, the concept of making sci-fant gaming more mainstream and accessible has gone from strength to strength. Credit should go to editor Andrew Hubback for boldly initiating what they said could not be done, and to Gary Mitchell for tirelessly penning the column. It seems like only yesterday my wife Gloria and I had to fantasy game covertly for fear of social ostracism; the bad old days when to use Celts as Martians was considered ‘unhistoric’. Then came the original White Dwarf in the 1980s and growing respectability; nowadays one can freely play with elves and space orcs without antagonising most gamers. There are RPG, computer simulation, alternative history, spy-fi and WWII extended into weird science and Nazi zombies on ice. No sooner has a film or TV series come to our screens than its being gamed by someone, somewhere. The internet has revolutionised our choice of, and access to, miniatures and web fora allow likeminded individuals to keep in touch without the neighbours ever suspecting. Indeed, my own children can disappear for days to our local branch of Games Workshop on the campus of Felphersham University and come back happy for food and fresh laundry. So, let’s not forget this valuable childcare service or their contribution to the growth of the hobby. Let’s also thank Atlantic Publishers for backing this premier expansion, for their belief that gamers of all strands - both historical and sci-fant - can co-exist in peace and harmony like the black and white keys on a piano, to meet and exchange top tips and ideas, to metaphorically embrace each other as brothers in the broad church of miniature gaming. Long live Darker Horizons! K’Pla!
Dave Clubmember is Chairman of The Borchester Irregulars and in the 1970s helped raise the profile of sci-fant gaming by organising a series of protest all-night gaming sessions across the Midlands of England.
Futuristic warrior from Tomorrow’s War, the new sci-fi rules by Osprey Publishing and Ambush Alley Games. Full review elsewhere in this issue.