SOLO WARGAMING AND THE SOLO WARGAMERS ASSOCIATION
The Solo Wargamer's Association (SWA), founded in March 1976, exists to promote those parts of the wargaming hobby which most serve the lone player.
Solo wargaming is an activity which many, if not most, wargamers find themselves participating in at some time or another. Perhaps they do not live near a suitable club, perhaps they are trying out a scenario prior to using it at a club night. Maybe the solo gamer wishes to fight an historical campaign in great detail, or alternatively wants to set up a fictional campaign world in which to fight battles over many years. The SWA caters for all varieties of solo gaming.
The central focus of the SWA is the quarterly journal Lone Warrior (LW). This is an A5 size publication which typically runs to 60 pages. It concentrates on anything and everything to do with Solo Wargaming - pre-programmed scenarios, campaign weather systems, self contained games and rule sets as well as regular columns devoted to boardgames, role playing games, play by mail games, computer games and reviews of hobby products. LW is also the "club house" for the SWA, giving details on the SWA library, the advisors service, and the campaign ADCs, as well as details of "club" activities such as the SWA tournament. The great strength of LW is the membership's willingness to write for it - anything from a short review to a detailed campaign system - in any one year there will be several dozen different "by-lines" on LW articles. Of course members aren't forced to submit their thoughts to the editor, but the willingness of so many to do so is an indication of the health of the society. There are two editions of LW - the World edition, and the North American edition which was started to support the growing North American membership. Whilst both editions are similar in content, they feature items of more local interest alongside the common content.
The advisors service is another example of the membership participating actively in the association. Advisors are members who have volunteered to help other members find the answer to wargaming related questions in a particular period of interest. They also act as a contact point for members with similar interests. A wide variety of subjects are covered by the advisors, from the ACW to Celtic History and Mythology. And all for the price of a stamp (or, increasingly, an e-mail).
Similarly, the ADCs are members who will, again for only the price of a stamp, act as "outside agents of change" in a campaign. A campaign problem can be outlined to one or more ADCs who will then offer a choice of possibilities based on the information they have been provided with. Suddenly that rash general starts acting in the truly rash manner he's always wanted to - or that cowardly Prince shows his real colours once and for all !
The SWA library is described as "(probably) the largest wargaming lending library in the world". Rules, boardgames, books, magazines are all available to borrow - as usual for the cost of postage alone. Annual lists of what's available are published in LW, with regular updates when new items are donated to the scheme.
Other "fringe benefits" of the SWA are a range of discounts with well known wargaming traders, and the opportunity to take part in the SWA tournament. This is a postal game in which the players deploy their troops on a map provided by the gamemaster without seeing the enemy dispositions, but knowing who the enemy is, and what their own objectives against them are. The maps are returned to the players with the positions of visible enemy formations, orders are then issued and battle commences. This has been run so far with Ancients, Napoleonic period and Renaissance forces as large army games, and as a medieval large skirmish game and is great fun - as well as being an easy way to "get another game in", needing only a few evening's thought from each of the individual participants.
The SWA maintains a web presence at : http://www.lonewarrior.com with access to example Lone Warrior articles, downloads, and a members forum (it is not necessary to be a SWA member to join the forum however certain areas of the site are SWA members only).
Like all the wargame societies, the SWA is dependant on members fees - the current rates are given below. If looked at as only the cost for 4 issues of Lone Warrior a year, then £3 an issue represents great value, but hopefully new members will also wish to participate in the other SWA activities making membership even better value.
The SWA membership secretary, David Elrick, can be contacted at :
14 Atkinson Street, Peterborough, Cambs., PE1 5HW
Subscriptions for one year run currently :£12 UK & BFPO, £15 Europe/Eire, £17 worldwide
Cheques should be made out to "The Solo Wargamers' Association".
Please remember to mention Wargames Forum when contacting traders!
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