The Wargamer’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

We grogs may sometimes be simple beings – all we need is a good game and strong drink – but depending on who you are and what you enjoy playing, there’s always room for gadgets & accessories. Whether it’s a decent head-set for voice-ops in ArmA 3,  a robust flight stick for flight simulators, or a good book to accompany your favourite war game, there’s always something you can get for yourself or another grog as a gift.

We haven’t really done one of these before, so let us know what you think, but let us present our take on the best holidays gifts for grogs in 2018. We’ll be updating and tweaking this list as the week goes on, and of course feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments below.

Please note, we’ve only got links to Amazon store pages – if you’re going to place an order, you have until Friday 21st if you want your items to arrive before Christmas Day.

Headsets

You may not need a decent aural experience for something like The Operational Art of War 4, but for the flight simmers and military shooters amongst us, here is a selection of head gear that might just float your boat. Saying that, the sound design of Armored Brigade is pretty bitching as well…

Corded: Thrustmaster T-Flight Air Force (Amazon Link)

Plus: Great sound and build qualityPlus: 3.5mm jack, allowing it to be used on PC, Xbox, and PS4, as well as tablets, mobiles, and laptops

Minus: Microphone looks generic and lacks side-tone capabilities

Amazing sound quality, comfy padding, and the looks of a flight crew headset, officially licensed by the US Air Force. For wargamers, it doesn’t get better than this. The T-Flight U.S. Air Force Edition is the latest gaming headset by American company Thrustmaster, aimed at military fans who want just a bit more authenticity when playing their strategy and shooter games.

A charming piece of gear, the T-Flight boasts amazing sound balance from its 2″ speakers, consistently reproducing high and low pitched sounds without cracking or popping. At max volume, anything from the sharp whizz of a silenced gun to the huge crescendo of a rolling explosion will fill your ears without getting uncomfortable, presenting an ideal platform for gamers who like their war theatres and military operations; wet, black, or not.

The microphone works rather well, with a crisp and clear transmission right out of the box. A metal spine allows it to be flexible enough to be bent for optimum positioning while being sturdy enough to keep it in place, but the microphone shaft is completely removable, allowing the gear to be easily used as a headphone. Unfortunately, the mic is the only part of the ensemble that doesn’t resemble actual flight crew gear, and it lacks any sort of sidetone capability — a must in any capable communication device nowadays.

In general, the T-Flight screams premium, from the pretty packaging and smell to the headset’s finish and preposterously comfortable ear cups and head rests. The buttons and knobs all slide and click with satisfying smoothness, and built-in controls for sound volume, mic volume, and muting functions round up a stylish and capable headset.

Wireless: Logitech G533 (Amazon Link)

Plus: Great sound and technologyPlus: Battery lasts long and charges fast

Minus: USB transmitter and USB charging cable means it can’t be used outside a PC

Logitech has put out quite a number of good wireless headsets over the years, fitting to a myriad of tastes and budgets. Some are spartan to the point of being bad, while others have RGB lights and trinkets that add a bit much unnecessary costs. The perfect balance came in the form of the G533 — a high-end wireless headset with a fantastic sound, functionality, and zero useless bloating.

With a sexy black finish and back ear-cup buttons, the G533 is a straightforward yet attractive piece of auditory gear. The ear cups are large and soft enough to comfortably fit any ears for long periods at a time, while the sound quality perfectly captures treble and bass notes with great clarity. The free Logitech Gaming software allows users to fully adjust the DTS 7.1 surround sound, allowing the creation of specific profiles for each application and equaliser setting.

The microphone is a work of genius, muting automatically when raised and possessing a red LED light that indicates when it is not capturing sound. Like the best headsets, it features a fully functional sidetone function, which is also fully adjustable among other settings (such as noise cancellation and custom buttons) in the Logitech Gaming software.

As its common nowadays, latency is virtually non-existent, allowing reliable two-way communication with no noticeable delay. The battery life is also remarkably good, lasting around 8 hours of intense use, but you can keep using the headset as it charges — a boon that ensures the G533 is the only sound device you’ll need.

Flight Sticks

Purely one for the flight simmers amongst you, although there are plenty of vehicles in ArmA 3 that could support a decent stick.

Best all around: Logitech X-52 (Amazon Link)

Plus: Premium quality and functionalityPlus: Light up buttons and customizations options make it quite versatile

Minus: It’s rather big

The X-52 is famously known as the best all-around flight stick in the business, and with good reason. Originally launched in 2004 by Saitek, this HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) flight stick combines excellent build quality and multiple buttons to deliver one of the most cost-effective pieces of hardware on the market.

With a non-contact magnetic sensors, robust metal build quality, and over 40 customisable buttons that allow you to have up to 282 commands at your fingertips, the X-52 offers pretty much everything a gamer needs in a single affordable package. The non-contact sensor and spring means the joystick rarely loses its calibration, and customisation dials on the throttle, triggers, and rudder locks allow players to tailor the setup to their exact liking. For its price, the X-52 is a better bet than any other stick on the market and should be the gear of choice for anyone looking to enter the world of simulation or upgrade their setup.

If you are put off by the sci-fi silver and blue colour scheme, a black and slightly more expensive (but functionally identical version) called the X-52 Pro is also available.

Books

One of the main defining aspects of any wargaming fan is the dedication to the subject as a whole — we don’t like to just lead people, or fire guns, or watch an artillery barrage glass an entire valley; no, we love every bit of it, and we can’t get enough of it.

As such, books can be an excellent (and sometimes the only) source of info, offering wisdom and perspective that people of all ages can enjoy. So with some help from our regular bookworm Charles Ellis, here’s Wargamer’s book suggestions to get you through Christmas and the New Year with some sweet, motherlovin’ warfare.

The Book of Five Rings (Amazon Link)

A suggestion from Charles, The Book of Five Rings is an interesting alternative to the well-known Art of War by Sun Tzu. Written by the Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi around 1645 CE, the book is focused on martial arts but contains principles that can be applied to life in general.

From the advice to focus on essence before style to the pointed comment that every single technique and strategy is nothing but a means to end an enemy, The Book of Five Rings not only tries to teach those that read it but urges them to try it out themselves instead of learning merely from its pages. Just like Sun Tzu, the teachings of Musashi are relevant to everything from warfare to business, and it should be a dedicated read to anyone with some time on their hands.

We’ve gone for the 2005 Paperback version by Thomas Cleary, which is considered an excellent translation, although there’s a more recent version from 2012 available in Hardback by William Scott Wilson if you want something with a bit of weight to it.

The Naval War of 1812 (Amazon Link)

A classic from the 26th American President and full-time badass Theodore Roosevelt, The Naval War of 1812 is a deep dive into the seafaring aspect and battles of the War of 1812. From the technology and terminology to the strategy and engagements that defined the conflict, the book is considered a seminal work in its field, even if it reads a bit too scholarly.

Like a proper historian, Teddy strived to be as unbiased and neutral as possible, looking at the facts as presented by the British, Americans, and other European bystanders equally. What’s most impressive, however, is that Roosevelt wrote this book not out of love with the Naval service or the conflict itself (he was an army man) but chose this topic because it challenged him technically and historically. The result, surprisingly, was one of the best books about naval warfare in history, written by a cavalry officer.

Winged Victory (Amazon Link)

Another suggestion by Charles, this novel was written by an actual fighter pilot and is “a classic WWI novel of the air war” according to Charles.

Indeed, the book offer one of the most comprehensive and accurate images of real air engagements during the Great War, from the description of battlefields and atmospheric conditions during duels to the actual feelings of pilots about their planes and the war in general. More importantly, it consistently paints the picture that real pilots tended to prefer height and attacking from above unseen, which is a very important distinction to make in an age where every depiction of air combat involves complicated dogfights.

The book’s plot may be fictional, but the sentiments and knowledge within are as accurate as they come — if you’re an Air Force fan, this title is a must read.

Wargamer.com’s Gift to You

Julius Caesar’s memoirs are known to any true fan of Roman times. The legendary general was not only a master strategist, brave warrior, and dedicated politician — he was also such a good writer and orator that even Cicero spoke highly of his style.

Throughout his life, Caesar wrote a few books, but only his war commentaries survive. Commentarii de Bello Gallico, usually known in English as ‘The Gallic Wars’, cover his seven years of campaigns to conquer Gaul and southern Britain in the 50s BC, while Commentarii de Bello Civili (The Civil War), chronicles events of the Civil War from Caesar’s perspective right until after Pompey’s death in Egypt.

Both books have free versions available, so if you like Roman times and want a first-hand account of its wars, this should be on your read list ASAP.

If you really want to spoil someone, though, there is this super fancy hardback edition of both books that comes with maps and charts and everything. A real collector’s item, and one hell of a conversation starter.

See anything else you think would make a great Grog gift? Let us know in the comments! Wargamer is part of Amazon’s Affiliate program.

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