Must have wargaming accessories - what should you have?
Wargaming accessories are another subject of our vast hobby that might cover many pages of text but is usually overlooked. After all, wargaming accessories are only an addition, and we can generally play our favorite tabletop systems without them. Nonetheless, a wide range of different accessories shows that there are many handy things to use during the games. Of course, some are just beautifiers and don’t do much besides looking good. But there are many more that make a lot of processes much easier during a game - it might even happen that playing without them will be very difficult. Which are they? Which do you rather not need to think of? Let’s get a closer look together!
What are some necessary wargaming accessories?
When browsing our official Kromlech webstore, you probably notice the gaming accessories category. Although this category itself might look pretty straightforward, and the products there aren’t random - they’re precisely selected - it doesn’t close the subject of accessories for wargaming. Why? Well, that’s because the examples of such additions are far more numerous than even the vast cafeteria in our offer.
Moreover, we still don’t know which are “must have” and which aren’t necessarily. And that’s the typical case - in webstores, shops, and similar, wargaming accessories will be divided into different categories, but not based on “necessity.” They’ll be separated by types, material, or - eventually - the systems to which they’re dedicated.
No seller will tell you which wargaming accessories are essential and which aren’t. That’s because the buyers are different, and they have various needs. The first one can play this particular wargame, and the second one, the other wargame. Similarly, one player can find a specific accessory handy, while the other wants to make another aspect of the game easier for himself.
That being said, there are no necessary wargaming accessories. Of course, if we don’t count the ones stated in the particular game’s rulebook, such as measurement sticks or battle dice. These standard tools are usually available in starter sets for the wargames, which obviously means that they in fact - are necessary. Moreover, it also means they aren’t treated like the wargaming accessories we’re discussing here, so let’s skip this part.
What are the most popular wargaming accessories?
The most popular wargaming accessories are a completely different subject than the necessary ones. Although no such additions are required for any known wargame, there are some that most players find helpful. Which are they?
Tokens, markers, and templates - the more of them, the better
Let’s begin with tokens, markers, templates, and similar stuff. All of these often come - exactly as measurement sticks or battle dice - in starter sets for particular wargames. Especially if we’re talking about the new ones, but it isn’t always the case. It surely wasn’t typical practice in the issues of the older, classic wargames. That’s why the need for various tokens, coins, or similar arose throughout the years.
Of course, even if this type of wargaming accessory wasn’t available to buy in starter sets or even separately next to figures dedicated to specific systems, it doesn’t mean that the wargaming producers didn’t address this situation. The common solution was to add to the rulebook sentence like: “you can use any type of coins to mark that.” That was - obviously - a way, but (honestly) not everyone was keen on using anything that could ruin immersion during the game. What’s more, there were some instances that all the players were short on such things (especially, if tokens were needed in high quantities, which happened occasionally).
All of these lead to the production of tokens dedicated to wargames by some firms. Some tokens were suitable for most systems, while others were made specifically for one particular game. All these accessories came in different shapes and sizes throughout the years, varying even in the materials used to make them - from HDF ones, through plastic ones, to acrylic ones.
Another popular wargaming accessory is the battle ruler (such as the ones produced by Tabletop Scenics). Its story is both similar and different from the one of the tokens. Measurement tools always stood next to wargames. Most systems (especially the older ones) were designed to operate based on the inches or centimeters. Even though the solid ruler or measurer was an accessory available to buy in many places besides hobby stores, that case wasn’t exactly the same as the one with tokens. Such tools were often added to starter sets for games - usually in the form of measurement sticks.
So why such a considerable usage rate of battle rulers? It looks like there are numerous other ways of getting something to measure distances in games - especially if we have in mind that standard measurer is quite universal, as most wargames are still operating on metric systems.
The popularity of battle rulers happened because of their one crucial characteristic. They not only measure the distances on your wargaming table, but they’re also handy. That’s something we can’t say about - for example - a long and unwieldy measurement stick. Battle rulers are made to measure precisely the distance most frequently used in a game they’re designed for. In the wargaming world - when you play with small, highly detailed, and painted miniatures - possessing a handy tool can be highly significant.
What are the least popular wargaming accessories?
If something is a less popular wargaming accessory or even the least popular one, it doesn’t mean it’s terrible or impractical. The reasons behind such a case can vary, but sometimes the clue may lay in the popularity (or rather its lack) of the system they’re dedicated to. Typically, when a tool finds its usefulness in different games, it’s hard to say that it’s less or the least popular - especially when the wargames in which it can be used are popular as well.
Another reason for short interest in particular accessories (like tokens designed for specific - even significantly popular - games) can be a wide choice of alternatives. It’s like with some stuff from - for example - a modeling and basing category. There are many ways of finishing bases. There are many types of bases as well. Sometimes one choice - older, recommended by the local hobby community - can step in front of others, leading to its popularity skyrocket. But does it mean that the other solutions are worse? Not entirely. If clear acrylic bases aren’t as popular as standard plastic ones, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good solution. After all, it all depends on the personal preferences of players and modelers. So remember - don’t be shy, and go with some less popular wargaming accessories if you feel that they suit you!
What are some rare wargaming accessories that might be useful?
The case with the rare wargaming accessories is highly connected with what we stated in the paragraphs above - that the least popular tools to use during your games aren’t impractical or terrible. You never know when the new game will be invented, where the usefulness of a particular wargaming accessory will be noticeable. Such an issue can lead to the somewhat resurrection of once not-so-highly-demanded stuff.
Battle rulers - perfect, if you want to “rule” on the battlefield
Look at another excellent example from the vast and various wargaming reality. There was a time (not so long ago) when 3D-printed models were rare, or even very rare. And now - several years later - thanks to the technological advance, some people can deploy whole wargaming armies made thanks to the 3D printer. It’s just an example of a solution that wasn’t popular (because of its imperfection, because of the space left for improvements), and thanks to little changes, now - in a matter of years - can become even the most popular one, with the highest rate of usefulness.
That being said, don’t sleep on such things as our Kromlech 3D Workshop category. It’s true that, for now, it might look like just a small addition to our webstore. But remember that it could be only a matter of time before 3D printing files become our (and other manufacturers’) flagship product.
To sum up, there are numerous wargaming accessories, most of which are recognized as practical, universal, and recommended to use by many hobby enthusiasts. On the other hand, some other accessories might happen to be more specific - for example, because they were designed with a highly restricted purpose, designed for a particular game. That - unfortunately - might result in a drastically low degree of their popularity. Nonetheless, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t use them at all.
As we already discussed that case earlier, one accessory may be just rare - it means that it isn’t commonly used. But if you’re a target of such an accessory (if you play the wargame in which it finds its usefulness), don’t hesitate to give it a try. It still may brighten up and elevate your game even if others don’t highly regard it.