I watched it when it first came out and found no dullness there but then that was the late 70s a time when dullness was part of everyday life and for many the world only woke up at weekends or after inhaling certain substances. Dullness was part of life and for many still is. After all if you don't have some dullness how do you know when you are enjoying yourself- what do you compare against?.
However back to "Battleground". The show of course emphasised the historical and studious approach to wargaming. You know that style of wargaming where you had to actually KNOW stuff...
What? Never heard of it?
No the dice did NOT have skullz on them and no the figures are not plastic and you can't get them from Games Workshop. Indeed fantasy is never mentioned- even though it did exist and indeed had existed though for a bit less than a decade when the show was made.
But yes the show was a bit earnest by today's standards and being television did emphasise the look of the thing with those complicated-to film- "montages" showing lots of very pretty toy soldiers a few of which I now own(Yippee -show off git !).
|One of the "Battleground" units- the fact thsat the Lifeguard of Foot never looked like this in - in this case- entirely beside the point;|
That was how wargaming was perceived by many at the time and indeed for some years before and after. A hobby that needed a bit of knowledge and a bit of skill perhaps and gave satisfactions in that knowledge and skill.
Of course how much it was really like that is another matter but as I was there then I can say that often it actually WAS like that despite the odd row over the rhomphia and a good bit of sometimes vicious competition.
Fantasy had not yet seeped into every pore of "the hobby"- with unforeseen side effects like some over marketed drug by an unscrupulous pharmaceutical combine. Yes the drug had some uses and was successful but the side effects? A massive dumbing down is only the most obvious and least harmful. The lumping together of all the multitudinous facets of the various genres as "gaming" is something I'm not personally convinced of either though I don't think it is actually harmful merely sometimes inconvenient. Until you have been droned at by a games bore about his bloody space marines or his sodding dark elfs or whatever other meaningless drivel posing as conversation then you don't know what true darkness can lurk in the human soul .... (This has happened to me several times but the worst was in a bar in Essen. One is polite but Dark Thoughts cross the mind(I wonder what would happen if I rammed his beer up his nose???) )
The urge to shout "I don't give a flying **** about bloody elfs !! " is almost uncontrollable..Yes gentle reader I had- by this time given up Fantasy for reasons explained in earlier posts !. Yes living in Wargames World as I do you can't actually avoid it and try as I might I can't see its attraction any more. Mainly because you can't reproduce the atmosphere of "otherness" that a successful fantasy or horror film or book demands. I do read fantasy and sci -fi and even the odd bit of steampunk but I've never found a way to reproduce the atmosphere of those books. I've seen some very good looking attempts but most fantasy is too "sub-GW" for my taste. Sci-Fi does a good bit better but still seems a bit samey- gamey on the whole. So Fantasy etc is simply gaming and therfore- to me a bit on the tedious side. Especially when there are no jokes.
So where does that leave us? What is today's perception of the hobby. Certainly less scholarly than formerly. More lightweight. Possibly more childish but then adults acting like children is far more acceptable now in many arenas than it was in the 70s and 80s and I'm not only talking wargaming here. The desire to hang on to your childhood is quite common though I don't understand why. There is- and I kid you not -even a cafe which ONLY serves breakfast cereals and is successful because adults go there to eat those things they ate for breakfast as children. When I saw this my flabber had never been so gasted ! Grow Up .- Though you can't blame the owners saw a niche.... filled it.
I don't want a second childhood- had enough bother the first time around so I really don't understand the urge to revert to a teenager probably something to do with a lack of responsibility and having ahem "fun" (fun with acne wasn't it great !!!). Badly painted cheapjack crap on the wargames table (because that was all you could afford) wasn't in great.
All I can recall about those childhood days- in wargaming terms -was thinking- when I grow up I'm having an army like THIS-at the time I was looking at stuff by old stalwarts of the Manchester group (I think) John Leigh and Chris Tofalos in the Pendlebury Library.
Much NewWargaming now seems to be dominated by these childish themes. - See the new Airfix based game by Modiphius and more especially their publicised reasons for doing it- though of course the real reason is implicit- they think they can make a few quid, Nothing wrong with that.
So I ask the question is Battleground now dull BECAUSE it appears a bit earnest and scholarly? .
Is it now de rigeur to reain a child?