In doing so he can claim - being properly portentous, that his leasure is filled with strong element of the historical the aesthetic and the competitive. All 3 are implicit in the wargame, and a player, if he is worthy of his salt must be sufficiently enthusiastic to study the historical background of his period.....Now this seems to me to be a no brainer - but needed stating in 1974 when the book was published and now it seems is worth re-stating in an age where actually knowing stuff is seen as "anorak" or"nerd" - bollocks- since when was thick seen as cool except by thick gits. It seem that now there is a considerable body of poorly informed- or perhaps wrongly informed- opinion which states that - depending upon who is speaking - that Wargaming is a stand alone subject which need no mere history. Once again Bollocks Even the fansty genre has its sources- Tolkien , Howard and Dunsany and Morris Prat, Sprague de Camp etc etc etc all leant upon history for their ideas and inspiration. Pratt of course even wargamed. In more modern times- GW leans upon history- Warhammer has a bucketful of history in it- mixed and matched , mashed and pulped to be sure but still there mnalformed as it is. Its the same with the fictional nation dudes- they need a history to steal their ideas from. In the "survey results" in Miniature Wargame no 359 78% of the respondent opined that they were "very interested" in "Historicsal descriptions of battles/Campaigns - a mere 8% responded as 2Not at all interested". This 78% represented the highest single result in the survey by around 20 points over the other questions. Now gentle reader where is all this leading- to be honest AI'm not sure - except to try to redress the balance a little in favour of the history and perhaps to illustrate in some small way that wargaming without the history would appear to be a pretty thin subject- after all you can only write so much on how to roll a dice .
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
History and Wargaming.
The recent mini furore ove the magazine merge has caused me seriously - not to say furiously to think . Are our wargames always merely amusing passtime games or can they sometime rise to be something else. In the past I would have answered an unequivical "yes they can - if you put enough effort in " and personally I feel that is still the case. However it appears that this is no longer the case in the mainstream- if it ever was. In the Golden age - days of yore when soldiers were two bob a gross(thats never chaps) there were lots of home grown rules based on reading the smallish number of available books Rules were simplish to fiendishly complex depending upon the writers but most if not all purported to be "historical" more or less. In the Earliest days of the recreational wargame (rather than Kriegspiel) there was no thought of history- Wells game and indeed Captain Sachs were both more or less contemporary to them Of the "Grandees" - Grant Featherstone Young and a little later Wise and Wesencraft (I omit the Americans simply because I have none of them barring a couple of copies of Table Top Talk from the 60s and apoogise for that omission) All used historical prototypes to a greater or lesser extent to illustrate their points. Grant even appended a 30 plus book bibliography to "The War Game" of which a bare 3 could be called "wargaming titles" the rest being historical titles of one sort or another. Further in the preface to Napoleonic Wargaming Grant says the following