Miniature Wargaming the Movie (2020) Poster

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Superb Documentary on a Fascinating Pasttime
rossboyask-117 January 2022
I have a passing interest in gaming but found the documentary hugely informative and entertaining to the point where I have actually taken up painting miniatures again some 25 years after I stopped. The human stories here are truly compelling, and we get terrific insight into the history of the hobby.
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Disappointed + Needs to be Edited Down to An Hour
tom-5631513 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I backed this movie with great hopes it would provide something interests and a good overview of miniature wargaming that I could show to others. I would recommend the director/producer cuts 40-50% of this very slow moving documentary down. It lacks basic editing and far too much time is in playing with drone footage, footage of children, people who aren't relevant and dismally slow music. Interview eight people who have made reasonable livings out of wargaming. This shouldn't be a surveying of so many people. I don't think anyone who isn't a backer of this film would sit through the first ten minutes and quite frankly even as a backer of this film I couldn't sit through it. It was too boring. As the film has taken more than two years to come out, a lot of it feels dated too. If the director/producer had given early screenings to his backers he might have been able to get this feedback a lot earlier.
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Half of a documentary about wargaming...
legatushedlius14 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with others that at least a third of this professionally made film could have been edited out or, better still, more actual wargaming content included. I nearly gave up on it after the meaningless opening featuring a group of modern re-enactors in a wood. Then we had the first of what seemed like endless aerial drone shots of market towns placing each of the chosen people, who were to be the principal subjects, in their environment. I soon came across the second problem that I had. There were a number of onscreen captions which popped up from time to time offering further snippets of information. However, some of these disappeared before I could read them and all of them were really difficult to read as the font used a very fine line and it was too small.

The director decided that to give the film wider appeal (or appeal to his target audience of film festivals) it needed some personal interest stories; people whose wargaming projects we could follow during the programme, although of these only two were really just wargamers. The others were really manufacturers and I think the main fundamental issue I have with the film is that it was much more about manufacturers not players. Although we were offered glimpses of bigger industry organisations, the focus, perhaps accurately, was on garage style one man (or one man and a long suffering partner) operations. These threads, like much of the film, proved to be rather downbeat and told you more about the trials and tribulations of running a small business rather than wargaming itself. With these chosen protagonists I did have another problem in that I couldn't hear much of what they were saying.

Thank goodness, then, for Henry Hyde, whose section on the history of wargaming was excellent and was more like what I was expecting the whole film to be like. I have to say that I liked the animated graphics too; it should be said that there was nothing about the production that looked low budget. My real issue with the film was the focus on an ex-soldier, not surprisingly traumatised by his experiences in Kosovo, who had used wargaming as a way to fight depression. This is a good story but, obviously recognising documentary gold, the director dwelt for far too long on it and it unbalances the film, particularly the last third. A lot of stock footage was included, mainly to justify its price, I suspect, without it adding significantly to the story and adding nothing to a documentary about wargaming. It's as if the director thought, oh damn, I am stuck with Kickstarter funding for this silly wargames film but I really want to make a BBC2 documentary about fighting depression. While wargaming was obviously pivotal to this man's recovery, the war story and his subsequent breakdown elements were given too much time and unbalanced the message somewhat.

In conclusion, I really appreciated the professional standard of the film with its excellent animation and good photography, although we could have done with less drone shots, better sound and readable captions. I enjoyed the wargames industry interviews and behind the scenes looks at some of the bigger companies and personalities in the hobby but didn't warm to any of the chosen 'characters' involved.

There were some things I expected but weren't really covered; such as a little on the mechanics of wargaming. No-one watching this would have any idea of how wargames work. This finally, begs the question: who is this film aimed at? Not much for the committed wargamer but equally a little baffling for the complete newcomer.

A valiant effort, very professionally realised with a few interesting things I didn't know. The whole atmosphere was rather downbeat, because of the particular personalities featured and how much time was devote to their stories. The subliminal message almost came across that if you are a socially inept, sad loser you might enjoy wargaming; which probably just confirms to the rest of the world what they thought about it anyway.
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Well produced film on a very big subject ... but a few negatives IMHO
mikeallen-904244 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
As a backer I wanted to give this 10 but to be fair I couldn't do that. Very well shot and with good sound etc it is a credit to those who worked so hard on it. I felt there was a bit too much non relevant content which seemed to me the director was indulging their "artistic" side a bit too much - drone shots for instance. First half good but second half disappointing and ending on a quite negative feeling. Two people with very negative outcomes for their small business, which was sad but should have been balanced by a positive story. The two gamers going to the tourney was good, but again turned out to be a trip to a very small and obscure tournament in the wilderness! Surely there were bigger tourneys to go to where other "veteran" gamers could have been interviewed. Very good interviews with some of the major movers and shakers of the wargaming world was for me a highlight. So a good try, worth watching, but left me feeling it could have been so much better.
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Excellent and fresh approach
matches-8680717 October 2018
A beautifully shot movie, with real human stories revolving around the world of miniature wargaming. A great blend of the history, development, manufacturing and game playing involved with the hobby, interspersed with the every day life (and very real struggles) of four ordinary people involved in different ways with Wargaming. Very moving and engaging - I watched the movie with non-hobbiest friends and they were hooked virtually from the start. A different approach, yes, but still a fantastic effort for a first time Director.
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Solid documentary about the hobby...
jibbajabba-4083210 October 2018
I would sum it up as being a good solid documentary about the hobby. It gives you the basic historical background and industry development in the first third. It probably has quite a few more interviews with important figures than I recall, who each highlight a certain aspect of the development of the hobby or give a brief overview of their role and involvement.

The documentary then moves on to the personal stories and lives of the handful of protagonists that make up the stories of this documentary. Roughly two thirds of the documentary deals with their struggles and exploits around the hobby or industry, and it is this part that remains at the forefront of my mind. Perhaps because by the time you've watched the last two thirds the first third has sort of faded to the back of your mind.

I agree with the filmmaker that a good documentary needs an emotional hook, a story around a character or set of characters. Good documentaries manage to combine the facts and the bigger picture with a personal, relatable story. It is a positive point that the documentary doesn't shy away from addressing the struggles with depression that a few of the protagonists have had. In fact, in a way, in parts it actually becomes a mini documentary about depression and how a hobby can be a source of support. A part of me feels that this aspect overshadows the rest of the documentary a bit, but I may change my mind on that.

The focus on certain characters also serves to highlight the struggles of the independent, one/two-man companies that make-up so much of this industry. It at least left me feeling a bit sad that it had to be such a struggle for them to bring their works to market. To indeed simply survive. You're certainly left with a greater sense of appreciation for the struggles of all the little guys out there.

A criticism I have is that the documentary didn't focus more on actual players. As I recall the focus is essentially on two friends, I would have liked at least another group/pair to give a rounder picture. I would have also liked a little more from some of the big names, a little more in depth about the design process perhaps. Although I'm not sure that is a fair criticism, and at 1:45 there probably wasn't enough room to include more, certainly not more of both without breaking the 2 hour mark.

I think the issue may be that the documentary sort off ends on a downer or doesn't exactly leave you excited about the hobby. It's not quite a celebration of the hobby that leaves you wanting to run down to the next gaming store to buy miniatures. This somewhat downbeat ending is at odds with the upbeat beginning that documents the rise of the wargaming hobby.

Nonetheless, a solid documentary that covers all the basics and gives an insight into the hobby and industry. It will definitely achieve its aim of informing the uninitiated, will probably have the odd unknown info for the casual gamer or newbie, but probably won't hold any surprises for the veterans. One has to remember that it's a documentary about the hobby as a whole. You could probably spend a whole 45 minutes on Games Workshop alone. As a first time piece of work it's certainly a job very well done.

PS: The filmmaker may have benefited from watching the Netflix series "The Toys That Made Us", although that format is probably better suited for a review of a single company, say GW.
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Unusual approach
keithmassey12 October 2018
I agree entirely with the views expressed by jibbahabba-40832 which I think is a fair and accurate review.

I didn't have any preconceptions about the film, but was surprised by what I saw. I found it quite moving in parts and thoroughly absorbing.

I feel the way the individual stories were handled agains the backdrop of the big hitters in the hobby was handled with skill and sensitivity.

In my humble opinion it was a very professional job and well worth the wait. It also opened my eyes to all the hard work Joe and the team put in to bring it to fruition.

I would have preferred more "eye candy", with perhaps a little more coverage of the gaming aspect of the hobby, but I agree the film would have probably been a lot longer as a consequence.

It was in my view an unusual approach, but well done.
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Not a movie about wargaming
johnamichael14 October 2018
This is a professionally done film but really has very little to do with wargaming. A viewer unaquainted with tabletop wargaming would watch this movie and have no idea what the hobby is about.

I was a backer and although the amount of money was small, I am quite disappointed in the end result.

To be quite honest I am not really sure who would find this film interesting!
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Thank God it's not a Battle Report
tj_stephens18 October 2018
If you're a wargamer looking for another battle report this movie isn't for you. This movie is directed towards a much broader audience and is not intended to be a battle report or an advert for Games Workshop, which I have heard rumours that it almost was.

I would place this movie on par with any documentary that you would see on Netflix and reminded me of the Dwarvenaught. I found the people in the movie to be engaging and it held my interest for the entire viewing.

I didn't mind the use of stock footage, especially to illustrate Andy's story. The animations were great to watch too. I found the score to be fairly average ranging between sad walking away music to 80's synth in other parts. I felt there may need to be more of a clear direction needed in this area. Other reviewers have taken issue with the drone footage, being from Australia I didn't have this problem and found it quite picturesque. It serves to help place the protagonists, something that can be hard for foreigners to picture.

I would have liked to have seen some more behinds the scenes production footage. Eg. From conception to shop floor. However I understand that this would involve giving away potential trade secrets in an already tight knit industry.

I felt this movie was worth the £10 I paid to back the project, giving a good overview of the history of the hobby, interviews with key developers of the modern hobby and a look into the lives of those trying to make a living in the industry or those enjoying the hobby. I am very glad this movie wasn't simply a glorified battle report.
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A great documentary considering the small core production team.
thegaffer8721 October 2018
I backed this film on Kickstarter and was very excited to find the Blu ray in my mail box yesterday. I received the digital download code about a week ago, but wanted to watch it on Blu-ray to take full advantage of my home cinema.

The focus of this documentary is very much the individuals working in this niche creative industry and their personal stories, rather than the nuts and bolts of miniature wargaming. Those who enjoyed Indie Game: The Movie. may well enjoy this film. I think the film conveys the emotions of the individuals involved in a great fly on the wall style.

A brief timeline of the history of wargaming is given and i certainly learned a few things I didn't know and found this interesting. With regards to the individual stories they engaged me and would liked to have learned more. I understand Joe is going to release a web series to expand on these stories and I look forward to those.
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Interesting introduction to wargaming for a newcomer.
itbqwecg11 November 2018
Watched the documentary without any knowledge about, or interest in the subject, and by the end had me interested. A good overview and look into the world of war-gaming for a new newcomer.
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Well done and very personal view of miniature wargaming.
bshrode-659414 December 2018
I was excited to back this on the first go round. I've also been able to message and talk to the director several times throughout the process through email. This movie is very well done. I was expecting interviews that would be important to me and gamers, but little for "regulars". Instead we got a very nice personal, human story that was his view all along. I was very pleased with the film. Great insights. My only complaint was not being able to see the full interviews.....but that will hopefully be added soon! (Wargaming Stories...cannot wait). I have been privileged to make money from gaming during my life, for over 15 years. Many of those interviewed I have met, worked with or just know from conventions, etc. I know how passionate they and wargames can be on this topic, and this film helps bring that out.
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Very well done, different and engaging
dltbgyd5 December 2018
I was pleasantly surprised, a documentary that didn't bore me to tears! A different approach that has some lovely visuals. It's a "warts and all" movie that follows the story of four individuals and their different experiences - up and down - all linked with the wargaming hobby/Industry. I enjoyed it, and I'm a little bemused by some of the negative reviews as I found the movie to be informative without going down the route of being a "rivet counters" manual. Overall a great effort.
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Loved the movie and the history.
vikkisbrown5 December 2018
I really enjoyed this movie, the only thing I knew about miniature war gaming before watching this, was that my son plays it and enjoys painting the figures. It was nice to learn abit about the history as I did not realise it went back so far, I enjoyed watching the movie and found the stories of the main characters very interesting and moving, I also thought the camera work was great and really kept me interested, as a whole I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to other parents who have no clue about miniature war gaming and there kids/young adults play the game, so that they too can gain some insider information to talk about with there kids.
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A film for everyone!
gingerpickle11 December 2018
I thought Minature War gaming the Movie was really interesting ,as someone who doesn't know a lot about the hobby I thought it gave a concise history and explanation of minature wargaming .The production and direction was really clever as you felt so connected to the subjects of the film, which helped you understand why so many people invest such time and money in to minature wargaming. For me it felt like a socially insightful film based around miniature wargaming which I thought was fantastic, after all it is a movie!
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An entertaining watch.
rrushtontaylor14 December 2018
An excellent documentary. Very well done.

The stories are compelling and the historical section is very informative. I loved the use of animation in the film. Watching as someone who doesn't know a lot about wargaming I really enjoyed the film.
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Great documentary!
niruntreejackson26 January 2019
Didn't really know what to expect but found the documentary interesting, entertaining and quite captivating. Great job!
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