In line with the popular blog post template making the rounds, here are some of my favorite things as related to the wargaming hobby. And since this is my 100th post, it seems a fitting occasion!
Period: Like most, I've dabbled in more than I should. It actually all started with Minifigs 15mm WW1, so that still holds a place on the list. I've always had an interest in ACW and WW2, so gaming those was a natural extension. But if push came to shove, I'd probably say AWI. Colorful armies, great storylines, interesting personalites, source material readily available - and you don't need hundreds and hundreds of minis for a good game.
Scale: Going to have to go with 25/28 here. More costly, but easier on the eyes, and easier to paint. Even my ACW stuff is 25.
Rules: Many years ago (more than I like to think now), I took a chance and orderd a set of AWI rules called The British Are Coming! by Christopher Bell. It gave us good games right off the bat, and it continues to do so to this day. It's simple, yet really gives a good flavor for the period. It relies heavily on leader activation, which makes things tough for the Americans, but the British always seem to have a hard time moving through the woods! I've tinkered with it from time to time to adapt it to ACW, and really need to finish that project some day. But I would be remiss here if I did not mention Check Your Six!, which in the past year has grabbed me with its elegant simplicity, yet plausible results.
Boardgame: I played several back in the day, from Risk to Squad Leader. I'd say the one that made me think the most - and from which I learned the most - was probably Avalon Hill's Bismarck. Particularly the advanced game, which is essentially a miniatures game, though I may not have realized it at the time. Still on my agenda is to do 1/4800 WW2 naval based on Bismarck one of these days.
Figure manufacturers: Wow. Tough call. Different per period and per scale. Overall, it's mighty tough to find anything better than Perry, and probably any AWI purchases in the future will be Perry (and possibly Eureka). But for ACW, believe it or not, I've always had a soft spot for Dixon. Princess Leia ears asice, the breadth cannot be beat. In 15mm, I've heard Xyston described as "someone figured out how to shrink Perrys down." I'd say that's fair, though I don't have many of them. Yet. I'd also like to give a shout out to Grenadier Productions, whose line of 15/18mm wars of South American Independence is truly remarkable. (Sculpted by Mike Broadbent.)
Opponent: Hmmm. Whoever is willing? Seriously though, as rare as it is, I would probably NEVER game AWI without Jon C and his British to oppose my Americans. So a shout out to Big Jon, aka "miniature pusher."
Book: So many, but I'll mention two from my childhood that had a lasting influence in gaming terms. One was Battles and Battlefields by David Scott Daniell. This young-reader-oriented gem focuses on several of the key battles fought on British soil over the centuries, from Stamford Bridge to Cullodden. As basic as that may sound, when my mother first presented me with this book, it was all as alien and exciting to me as Tattooine or Alderran. Bannockburn? Bosworth? Naseby? It opened up a new world to me. The other would be the American Heritage Civil War book. I must have spent hours studying those maps with the miniature soldiers advancing this way and that, and dreamed about recreating that somehow. Oh, one more. I probably should mention The Lord of the Rings as being heavily influential on my imagination as a young reader. I can still read that one over and over.
Art: Three to mention. First one maybe a little odd, but I always did like those simplistic drawing in the Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules. I though they really captured the flavor of what a fantasy game should be, and I still like them for nostalgiac value of a simpler time, if nothing else. In terms of historical gaming, Angus McBride and Don Troiani are masters. Nuff said.
Websites: Of course TMP, but all of these blogs have really been fascinating. The eye candy is almost endless!
Movies - Star Wars. Zulu. Casablanca.
Tanks - Sherman. T-34.
Aircraft - P-40. Without doubt. Since first building a Monogram kit as a kid, I've always though "this is what a fighter should look like." And in Flying Tigers colors? Classic.
Car - '65 Mustang. Had to get that in.
Colors - Green and white. Had to get that in, too.
General - George Washington. Sure, he didn't win many battles, but he won enough and kept things together masterfully. And to willingly cede command at the end speaks volumes about the man's character. If only more could do that, we'd probably have fewer wars. And fewer gaming periods to choose from. Which I wouldn't mind.