To me at least it is pretty obvious that the "Broad Church" idea is if not actually dead is no longer quite apt as a metaphor.
" In my fathers House there are many mansions" - perhaps devil a doubt, but the idea of "wargaming" being one hobby - no I think not and it probably never really was. The potential scope is simply too vast- despite what the Games Designer Dudes tell you.
There are common threads and doubtless some fella will come up with that clever circle-cum triangular diagram whose name I've forgotten to tell me that yes really all this is nice and happy and mutually inclusive and that we should all have a group hug. Well no thanks- Happy it may be and indeed is but all inclusive Not really except insofar as we all enjoy what we do - which is the main point.
According to Norm's defintion I'm not a "True Wargamer" and according to mine he is mostly a "Boardgamer" or simply a "Gamer" Neither of us is actually wrong. Now as it happens I don't define myself as a Wargamer - not usually anyway . It's a useful shorthand but does not go the whole hog Compleat Wargamer - for me comes closer- including the waltonian spelling of complete. But really I'm a historian who plays games sometimes- the history part being more to the point than the games part- hence my loathing of DBA
Steve makes the point that playing DBA does not stop you researching the history and of course he's absolutly right but if you know your history what the hell use is DBA other than as a dice rolling contest and a game with more akin to snakes and ladders than to Ancient warfare. of course if you simply want a game with a funny name and some silly jargon it fits the bill perfectly (Yes I know I have a major Blank where the DB's are concerned I've played 'em and they all seem the same to me. I really can't see the point and in 25 years. No-One has been able to enlighten me as to what actually is the point. Especially as this is one of those times when boardgames could do it better . Indeed I'd actually class dba and DBR as mediore to poor Baordgames. DBR still has my vote asWorst Crap Ever Produced in the Hobby (section 2 Rules) )
Equally from the perspective of a toy soldiers first type of "wargamer" DBA and its ilk are not toy soldier friendly- thus neatly removing one of the reasons for being a "Wargamer " in the first place- at least if you are British...
Yes I'll expand on that- my perception over many years is that in the USA a Wargamer was a chap who played war based boardgames- Avalon Hill SPI etc and figure based games were if not exactly second -fiddle were not exactly first port of call either. In the UK - thanks to Featherstone et al the Figure based games were to the fore much more- Featherstones books barely mention Boardgames and Wise devotes only a short chapter. A recently acquired copy of Tunstill "Discovering Wargames" - from 1971 does not mention Boardgames at all. Indeed there are separate books on Boardgames and Board- Wargaming. This side of the Pond they have a perceived separate genisis. Most of the major Boardgame publishers were (still are???) American SPI, AH Yaquinto The Wargamers etc. Panzerfaust, an early US magazine was boardgmes orientated - its offshoot Campaign became history and later miniatures.
My point being in this instance simply that it is hardly surprising that Norms perceptions and preferences should be different to mine.
The Classic British books are figure centric- this is not always the case in the US- Look at Morchauser and his squared board. Many of today's games- see Robbie Roddis "Blucher" games- as an example(Mustapha being American I believe.) have the toy soldiers as mere counter decoration whereas I still want those pesky little men to the fore. I don't - at least not all the time want pretty counters but models of actual regiments.
So this is beginning to look like a mere catalogue of my personal likes and dislikes- not really the point- see my piece in MW391 for more on THAT
No I think what I'm driving at is to get some kind of picture of "today's wargamers" if that mammoth task is remotely possible. For many the accent seems to be on the actual play - like junkies they have to have a fix- of dice rolling NOW
Now that kind of thing may be the case in many households but not in all by any means. What I see is a much more fragmented hobby, simply because there is so much stuff about you can't be intrested in ALL of it- even assuming you were well heeled enough to afford it- most recently another massive wallet catcher from the Stars Wars X- wing con- job 80 quid for a plastic spaceship ! Garnferkyersel!
"But I can put it straight onto the table and play with it immediately"
Assuming you've already spent the 90 quid of so on the basic core set - Its Geordie lawyer time again
Hadaway and Shyteman!
Obviously being time poor our "Modern Family Wargamers" have money to burn!
So we have the new situation comedy show
"Modern Wargamer Family "!!! Episode 1
|"Joe thought wistfully of the Imperial Guard he finished painting last night"|
Joe Wargamer is in the kitchen opening some microwaved hummus...it steams in a particularly nauseating fashion.
..."But Darling I want to re-fight Waterloo tonight with Murgatroyd and the lads at the club.. told you about it- its on the calender....
Ms Fleur Smith- Brown - Wargamer shrieks from upstairs.
"Waterloo- no chance that will take at least 3 whole hours.
You have to get Jocasta to her Mud Wrestling and Pole Dancing seminar by half -past then pick pick up Tarquin from his Larceny and Financial Management Class- you do want him to be a Merchant Bsanker don't you !! "...
And YOU PROMISED Tarquin a game of ZOMBIE BLOOD MASSACRE 27 so he can have the red dice with skullz on - it will be fun won't it- she adds menacingly as she enters the kitchen.."And did you finish painting his EFFINDEAR Miniatures Plastic Zombies or were you reading books again and fiddling about with" - she glared testily-"historical stuff!!" She sniffed audibly in marked disapproval -
Joe stares at the dull khaki of his cooling Hummus and swallows hard. Thinking wistfully of the Imperial Guard he finished painting last night. .
But Sweetness ...." started staring fondly at the top of her purple hair.
"No Buts" she continues as she laces up her red leather 14 hole Doc Martins "When I get back from my "Personal Self- Defence attack dog training class" with Fluffy here (at this a sleeping Rottweiler in the dog basket opens a lazy eye) we can all have a game of "Overpriced Spaceship Battle" and all have "fun" together rolling lots of dice ....
More canned laughter........whether we like it or not .....may the fun never start .....
|Is this more stuff that Joe Wargamer will never get to use ......|
But that is their choice of course - and again that's the point. The choices do exist.and it works both ways- which is the part some really hate. Some of us are wise enough to eschew this weeks fashion and do the stuff we actually like doing- whether it be "Traditional Wargaming" or something else.