CMON Feature Friday: Miniature Battles and the Modern Board Game

Board games have come a long way from their initial iterations. Archeologists have found evidence of games over 5000 years old. These ancient relics are often little more than carved stone pieces, but they fulfill a similar function to the components in modern board games. Think back to the first time you formed an association with a game piece. It might have been a certain houseguest in CLUE, the desire to always be the same colored pawns in Sorry, or something from the myriad other games out there. That connection we have with the pieces on the board is innate.   

“Think of how many times as kids we played rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to be the dog in Monopoly… and whether that would be the case if everyone was just a little pawn or chit,” says Bryan Steele, Brand Manager for the Dark Age line from CMON. He also works on development for Wrath of Kings.     

Today, the art of creating figures to represent the players in a game has evolved dramatically. Intricate, detailed miniatures made of plastic or resin become players’ avatars in the game. We no longer need to use simple tokens to keep track of our movements. Now we have fully fleshed out characters that will do our bidding for us.   

“I started a long time ago as a roleplaying gamer using the occasional miniature on a map, but I didn’t actually get into miniatures war gaming until around ’91 when I first saw Warhammer 40,000. I found that I loved every aspect of miniatures games: the models, the hobby, the narrative stories, the game itself, etc. I jumped in with both feet and never looked back,” remembers Steele.  

Historians have tracked the use of miniatures in games back to around the turn of the 20th century when people started playing war games with tin soldiers. Books, such as the 1913 publication, Little Wars by H.G. Wells, detailed rules on how to play games with miniature figures. Other titles, like Shambattle: How to Play with Toy Soldiers by Harry Dowdall and Joseph Gleason, would follow with their own rule sets.  

For a long time, the hobby of miniatures gaming focused largely on war games. Players would duke it out over specific Civil War or World War I battles, taking painstaking efforts to ensure the scenarios were historically accurate.   

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