I'm not a wargamer and have never claimed to be otherwise. I've known many wargamers throughout my life and some, like my friend's father and brother, were among those who first introduced me to the hobby of roleplaying. I've played wargames, of course, and even enjoyed the experience from time to time, but, on the whole, I don't have the patience or attention to detail necessary to be a proper wargamer. Likewise, while I have an interest in military history, my interest is insufficiently obsessive to want to recreate famous battles on my dining room table.
I like the idea of wargaming and I often feel like I ought to be kicked out of the old school clubhouse for not having played a lot of ASL or Third Reich back in the day. This applies equally to miniatures wargaming, which I find even more attractive than hex and chit wargaming, but, despite my best efforts to muster some enthusiasm for these foundations of our hobby, I just can't do it. Something about the reality of wargaming is at odds with my expectations about it, which is why I've never managed to get into anything more wargame-like than Axis & Allies and even that pushed the limits of my mental endurance.
On the other hand, I was a huge fan of the mini-games produced by a number of companies in the early 80s. Not all of these little games could be described as wargames, but some of them were and I found them to be just the right level of complexity for my feeble mind to grasp. TSR published a number of these and I devoured them as a kid. My favorite was Revolt on Antares, which was a science fiction game designed by Tom Moldvay. Two to four players took on the roles of various factions to take control of the planet Imhirrhos in the Antares system. It was a very simple game but not so simple that it didn't provide plenty of replay value and replay it I did. Other games in the series included Vampyre, a horror survival game based on Dracula, Saga, based on Norse mythology, and They've Invaded Pleasantville, about an alien invasion of Middle America.
What I most enjoyed about all these games was that their rules were short and easy to learn and thus easy to modify through house rules. I remember that my friends and I created additional chits for use in some of the games, as well as expansions to the tables of random events. These games weren't intimidating to us the way that "real" wargames were and so we allowed our imaginations free rein when it came to altering them. They were great "time filler" games for when we were waiting to start roleplaying or when we didn't have enough time to run an RPG adventure, since most of the games lasted 45 minutes to an hour, which is about the right length for me then and now.
I think I gave away my copies of these games long ago and I regret that now. I'd love to re-acquire them without spending ridiculous amounts of money, especially Revolt on Antares. These may not have been classics of game design, but I enjoyed playing them. In my book, that's the true measure of a game's goodness and these were some good games indeed.