Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Wargamer Workout

Of late there has been a spate, for reasons I will not dwell on as everyone will know about them, of internet sensations concerning exercise and a workout. Internet exercise gurus have gritted their teeth and carried on through all the difficulties of late, including sprained wrists and cheesy smiles, to bring us fitness in the midst of gloom, doom and disaster.

Never being a blog to ignore the latest in cultural trends, I, therefore, present, in the hope of becoming an internet sensation and bagging my own YouTube channel and lucrative advertising deals, the Wargamer’s Workout.

Firstly, you have to look at your environment. You need enough space for your exercise. Many wargamers believe that about eight feet by four feet is enough, but you will have to make your own decisions depending on how much room you have. This, of course, can depend on factors beyond your control, such as spousal opinion, size of wargamer and other, less important factors such as availability of space in your dwelling. Think, as they say, big.

Next, you will need to get into some training. We will start with some weights. The idea here is to buy the biggest and heaviest wargame figures that you can find. An internet search , unfortunately, does not show any manufacturers who cast in iridium. I am sure there is a niche in the market there, and if anyone would like to start using these casting media, please let me know and I am sure I can let you have a licence on reasonable terms for using my idea.

Fifty-four-millimetre lead soldiers are probably the best you can manage for the moment, although of course you will have to refer to the quantity of space you have reserved for your exercise, above. If these are too big for you then you can use smaller figures, although of course, you will have to increase the quantity proportionally. Thus, for each fifty-four-millimetre figure you can lift (this is weight training, after all) you should have two twenty-eight millimetre figures, about three and a half fifteen-millimetre figures, five and a bit ten-millimetre figures and nine six-millimetre.

Once the figures are delivered, you will need to lift them, of course. A parcel of figures will, usually (depending on space allocation) need to be lifted up at least one flight of stairs. Taking a normal story of a house to be approximately three meters, and the weight of a parcel to be around a kilogram (say, one hundred figures) then lifting the parcel upstairs (from the ground where the postman has deposited the package) will burn a whacking three joules. Naturally, as more packages arrive you can keep increasing this activity. Spousal objection to the expenditure can be waved aside on the grounds that it is still cheaper than joining a gym.

For the really keen, the activity can be increased by lifting the package from the floor to a full stretch several times. This is often done in private by wargamers who take a ‘victory lap’ of their wargame space (see above) with new acquisitions anyway, before photographing the ‘loot’ and putting it on the internet to make other, less fit, wargamers jealous.

Next up is the activity of painting. Normally, we would not regard this as being exercise, but heck, if Tai Chi can get away with it because it calls for ‘muscle control’ then painting the boot buttons on the Imperial Guard must be in with a chance. Not only that but there is also the transport of assorted paints from the front door to the painting room, which counts as heavy lifting. After all, a bottle of Vajello acrylics is 17 ml, which equates roughly to 17 grams. Add a bit for the weight of the bottle (and because this is an exercise in exercise, not in mathematics) to make it 20 g, and you only need to order fifty to make up a kilogram and three more Joules in energy expended, which, by my calculations is about one eighty-thousandth of a chocolate bar.

Once all that energy has been expended on painting and basing your ‘weights’ (as you can come to call them for those cosy family chats about the credit card bill) you need to pay attention to using the figures on a table. The advice here is simple in theory, but a bit trickier to achieve in practice. Many wargamers are prone to a disease known, rather rudely, by others not so afflicted, as a “beer gut”. To counteract this, bending is often recommended, from the waist. Obviously, this is easily achievable over a wargame table, but being the fitness fanatic you now doubtless are, the further you bend the better. Therefore take a saw to the legs of your wargame table and make it lower, so you bend down further. This will increase the amount of bending, of course, but you do need to make sure that the legs of the table are, at least approximately, the same length.

You will, of course, have based your figures individually. This will lengthen the time you have to bend over and improve your suppleness as well as fine manipulation skills. The weight of the figures, of course, will also improve your muscles, particularly in the important bicep and triceps regions. Also, consider carefully your dice. Many are a bit lightweight but they can be improved by carefully boring out the centre and adding some lead. This will mean an increase in weight when rolling them and can be an important factor in the wargame workout, particularly in some sets of rules. Do not worry if your lead is slightly off centre, by the way: it is recommended that the insert is done via the one side of the die, so if you do not proceed too deeply, you will be able to proceed more quickly to the final exercise recommended in this workout.

The final exercise is the wargamer victory dance. This is done when the crucial die roll (see above) comes out as a six. The arms are raised in triumph, a cheer may be heard to emanate from the wargamer’s lips and a dancing movement is carried out, the vigour of which depends on the space available. This activity might be repeated several times during a particularly close game.

So there you have it. The wargamer’s workout and remember, you heard it here first.


  1. Excellent work.
    There is of course always the option of melting all the unpainted lead, and pouring it into a kettlebell mould...

    ...although that would make a lot of kettlebells.

    1. Putting all the unpainted lead in one place may also make the rotation of the planet unstable. I'm sure our house settled on its foundations when I stated transferring units downstairs.

      Anyway, aren't kettlebells a bit too much like exercise instruments of torture?