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Thursday 16 August 2012

Why be a wargamer ..

A good few years ago Just after the OGUK website was started up I wrote this article Which you might find a bit of a laugh to read... Now some of the facts and figures are out of date - 3000 items on the website its now nearer 5000 and still growing- but all in all the opinions have stayed the same. Mainly because I've seen no evidence to cause me to change my mind. Indeed rather the opposite if anything. That article is almost 8 years old or thereabouts. However I would add a codicil to those opinions and not in my own words but rasther those of one Dave Nilsen as they appeared in Issue6 of Command Post Quarterly -published around 1993-4. In context Dave is replying to a letter from a US army Colonel who congratulates him on his work on the Organisations and Data for Command Decision for the Gulf War of 1991 part of Dave's reply reads "It is my firm belief that if all we do in this hobby is play games without respecting the reality beneath the miniaturesstands we are merely killing time until we die.. These units relect real flesh and blood people who gave up their comfort ,safety and sometimes their lives for reasons which bear at least examination and respectt if not always admiration.If these games are not tributes in some fashion to their humanity and call us to think about them and the meaning of what they did then this is a vain enterprise indeed." Now Dave signs himself "Romantic Wacko " which IMHO does himself a disservice as while he may perhaps be coming on a tad strong I can't think of a better way to explain why I do my hobby the way I do. When I add those excelent words to my own poor article it just about explains the whole nine yards. Whilst Dave's word pertain to more modern warfare I'd say that they are equally relevant further back in history.. Its possibly one of the major reasons why I tend to concentrate on campaigns where the source material is in English- while I can blunder about in Frenchand just about mange menus in other Western European Languages most other tongues completly elude me. So in order to understans and therefore respect I need to read their wordsas they wrote them. This feeling if anything become more the point as I get older the games themselves are merely the tiny tip of a huge iceberg. Frankly if pushing a few(or many) toy soldiers about was all there is to our hobby I'd have knocked it on the head years ago.


  1. Good analogy Andy. For me it's military history first, modelling the figures, terrain, buildings etc. second, and then solo wargaming them third.The beauty of the passtime is that it can go on for years .... soldier on Mate!

  2. If someone believes that their interest in history and respect for what's behind the game makes the world a better place, ok fine, people believe all sorts of things, and if they believe that meaningless games whether pseudo-historical wargames, fantasy games, chess, backgammon, cricket, football or what have you are "wasting time until you die", well probably true. Probably true of 98% of what 98% of the world's population does though, including meaningless jobs most of the work as well as what they do with leisure time.

    1. Ross I don't think its about making the world a better place at all but simply respecting the reality behind our games.Merely ignoring or at worst belittling pays scant respect to our ancestors. Don't get me wrong I'm far from suggesting all we do is full of value and also I was only speaking personally .If I thought of myself as merely a player of games I'd pack it in. My order of priorities is similar to Jeffs- except I tend not to solo
      After all the world is going to hell on a handcart anyhow The cynic in me say that we light these kinds of candles because its better than screaming in the dark but I'll still continue to carry my matches.