This is a bit of a deviation from some of my normal topics, but as a public school teacher, it is worth it to me to share some of these ideas.

Many of the kids I work with on a regular basis are in desperate need of a multifaceted, lesson filled hobby. It has always astounded me at how many kids list their hobbies and interests as “talking to my friends” and “hanging out.” Well, sure, everyone does that. But is it really a hobby? Not in my mind. Tabletop Wargaming, however, provides a lot of good life lessons and some useful skills to boot!

Here are some important lessons I learned from my time in tabletop wargaming.

1. Hobby Skills

Without a doubt, painting has been one of the greatest struggles for me as a hobbyist. I do not have any real training or talent as a painter. This has been one of the walls for some to join the hobby. They feel like they “could never paint as well as that.” For me, though, I had wanted to give it a shot. I bought some How To Paint books, looked for tutorials, and practiced some techniques. Now I am a decent painter who can apply some easy skills to finish up an army! I know colors, drybrushing, and other artistic skills that have helped me in other areas of my life. The same is true for the modeling aspect. Practicing these skills has helped me use tools effectively, create cool looking models, and other little skills I have put to use fixing my computer and phone.

2. Math

While many of the math skills apply to probability primarily, it still engages that logic and number patterns. Statistics and probability were a breeze when I could apply the formulas and concepts to a game of Warhammer. In addition to that, practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in my list building was sometimes the only bit of math I did in a day. Despite its status as the “hated subject,” proficiency in basic math is an important skill.

3. Reading Comprehension

No doubt, even adults can struggle with reading the rules of a Games Workshop publication. That being said practicing those skills as a young adult is important. Reading comprehension, even for rules that are quite clearly stated, is a struggle for some gamers. It has amazed me how confused people can become by misreading a simple rule. Reading is an important part of Tabletop Wagames; how else can someone learn the rules of the game?

4. The Value of a Dollar

Without a doubt, any of the Tabletop Wargames require quite a lot of cash to sustain even just one army. For me, it took the better part of an entire summer working just to get my first complete army off the ground. It taught me what that money took to earn. It showed me how to save and budget. It taught me how to generate a spending plan. This is a very important skill to learn, even if the parents may buy some kits as gifts. Suddenly, that box of Terminators meant an entire day of work.

5. Social Skills and Leadership

This is, in my mind, the most important lesson to be learned from Tabletop Wargames. Internet gaming is rampant with trolls, hateful language, and other inappropriate behaviors that can make or break the enjoyment of a game. With Tabletop Wargames, however, a person can't call their opponent some hurtful name without some serious repercussions. Suddenly, both opponents have to be very aware of the other's feelings and behaviors. It also helps to temper a very boastful player or a sore loser. It forces them to reconsider their behaviors.
In addition to these social skills, I have personally learned leadership skills from my time as a tournament organizer. Suddenly, I not only had to consider my behaviors, but I had to help guide others in creating a structure that we were all happy with. I had to make decisions for the good of everyone, and I had to navigate the sometimes stormy nature of a tournament aftermath. All of these skills helped me to become a better leader. It helped me to become better and working with larger groups of people and motivating individual members. All of the lessons I can solidly attribute to my time as a Tabletop Wargamer from a young age. I hope that for some of you who may have kids or those younger players consider these lessons. I would fully encourage young people to join our wargaming communities and join in on the fun! Some of these lessons I have talked about on my blog at, check them out! Be sure to check out a poll I posted where YOU can help me select an army to play in an Escalation League!

What lessons have you learned from Tabletop Gaming?

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