Monday, 21 July 2014

I seem to have started a tiny furore !!!

Oh dearie dearie me  don't some chaps really hate laughing !
 My article in MW seems to have started a (very small) fire- which was perhaps its point as always better dead than bland  Oscar Wilde was right ...
 Now I've only seen one of the supposed discussions - the TMP one

 there but I'm told there  is at least one other but I don't have access .
 As it happens TMP is the only forum I can be bothered to visit and evn that not too often the others I have dipped in the past are not for me - usually too much fantasy at high volume - metphorically speaking -  and even more spats and rows than PMT often for less reason.. I was told by omne of that ilk  that the kind of anonymous nastiness I encounted  on a couple of these fora in the past was "socialising" - but of course none of the spineless nasty whiners there had the balls to "socialise" to my face they had to keep thier nastiness anonymous and  underhand as they thought it clever ... so that explains my prejudice against some of the forums out there.
Incoming!! Big Andy under fire ???? - well it's a larf ain't it !

 Now the current discussion isn't like that at all  heated yes at times somewhat misdirected - certainly amusing yes  pointless- well rather as one thing I've learned over the years is that its impossible to  use mere facts to outshine prejudice or  personal interest.
 However I'll say this until I'm blue in the face and have it put upon my bloody headstone in letters of fire.

 Having  actual knowledge is NEVER a bad idea.

Those who - for whatever reason- in our hobby usually financial - try to restrict and own  such knowledge can
  "garn ferk theresels"
 and that goes for you wargamer or more especially not ... 
Why is knowing HOW these bloke did what they did  more boring than pushing them about the table as mere gaming pieces- Pikemen from the collection of Jim Main.

The Resistance Lives On 

Now as it happens I  perpetrated the offending  article for several reason- Like Lord Reith to Infom to Educate and to Entertain  but not in any particlarly Reithian order but also to stir the mud at the bottom of our pond- to make chaps think about what we do and also just for the fun of it  after all not all of us think like accountants or office supplies executives or systems administators(and no I still don't know what one of those actually DOES) some of us like a bit of intellectual argy- bargy- it keeps the braincells in order. as of course hopefully out of debate and discussion will come new ideas ..... hopefully . .
 Believe it or not thinking is important even in our little world . and there used to be a lot of it about- much more than there is now . Okay some it of got silly- Anyone remember the "Great Rhomphia debate" or the "National Characteristic" furore over Bruce Quarries Airfix Napoleonic  rules? but surely better than than the bland exceptance of the  "Games designer dudes"  inflicting their views on us without our comment. for their profit..
 I did get more than  a bit narked by a dude  who opined with one breath that having books and knowledge was elitist and the  told us in the next that HE had 2 degrees  Hmmmmm???
 Equally the same dude thinks its OK for chaps on a limited income to buy rulebooks at £30 quid a pop but not OK for them to buy half a dozen books at a fiver each - Sod that ! now I'm not exactly skint (or flush either mind) but I'd rather have half a dozen useful books than one overpriced over glossy  overproduced rulebook any day of the week
 Equally  I was just a smidgin peeved with another chap who  said I should  not have refered to dude 1 as a patronising pillock- well maybe pillock was a bit harsh  so I apologised- needless to say this passed without remark by siad chap as did Dude one using similar terms(minus the pillock) toward me- double standard anyone- no thanks already got one.
Now the reason I'm carrying one here rather than there is simply one of convenience- I can go off and do a bit of work  whilst thinking about what to scribble next and blogger will save this for me  whilst TMP doesn't - or at lest I can't make it so .....
However having had a  right moan there were several useful posts a couple of which stated  more clearly than I the postion  I and they were in favour of so by no means a complete waste of time overall - there ARE thinking chaps out there.

Later .......
is it me or has the hobby become bland?
 Answers- wrapped in a £20 note to ....

 But somehow there simply isn't as much ... well flavour in it as there used to be. It all seems at times to be decending into games for children  usually unpleasant adolescent boys  but then thats the GW influence... apparently readin' is borin' if there no blood .. or torture or cannibalism...
 Nothing stays the same but does the  intellectual spiral always have to be downwards ?

A few days later

I've written 2 posts since this including one on Wargaming tedium and frankly I'm still at a loss as to why some chaps do this - after all  it can't all be about childrens games can it ? I've evn re- read my MW piece trying to grasp why some  self oncessed ninny on PMT called it "angry" - possibly because he didn't read past Henry's introduction. I'm not sure how something can be called "angry" when it argues a case - presenting evidence and alternatives for a little adult method and at no time do I opine that this is the only way to do stuff indeed  pointing out the difficulties of my method where I can .
 I know I shouldn't let these tossers get to me but  what is actually wrong wioth using your brain for a hobby that is suppoed to interst you .


  1. Go on then Andy, it seems a shame that no one has given you a decent argument.

    You can either go out and read the books, research your period and try to understand it or you can pay someone else to do it for you. Using an army list is no different to having your minor car repairs done at a garage, or paying a painter to decorate your house. Theoretically you could acquire those skills, but they are not things I enjoy doing very much.

    OK, I have just bought a WW1 set of rules that takes a page for each Battalion 'list' Essentially just four x 12 coys a HQ and a machine gun. Give me strength! FFS just write down the real life TOE and let me work it out. BUT maybe 50 years ago when I was starting I would have been over the moon to have it laid out so simply.

    Or take the old WRG Macedonian and Persian Army lists by Duncan Head, I am not going to browse a couple of books and come up with something to rival his work and insight. Not all lists are written by or for idiots

    I am not knocking your version of the hobby, it is much the same as mine, I even have a 96 man Lord generals Regt (well, how can you possibly get the feel right with anything less?) . But there are a lot of people who are playing a different hobby in which everything is a means to the end of the game.

    We are all playing with toys, in the last resort, which of us can claim to be right?

    PS I agree with the rest of it.

    1. John as ever you put your points well and as I siad in the piece Lists have thier uses and by no means all lists are written by idiots only some of them .I did my time as a list freak in the 70s and 80s and still have several- they do provide a useful "in" so I don't actually disagree with anything you say . But over reliance on them produces tunnel -vision and IMHO that is the main problem- obcession with bloody rules and their attendant lists to the exclusion -for some of all else. this has inturn led to overprice and over padded army lists merely as a way of tying players to a given set. Look at the difference- WERG lists one or 2 slim volumes giving you the info you needed - FOG I have a dozen of these and thats not all of them- loads of padding culled from the rest of the oprey stable to keep production costs down little or no orginal work- had I bought them new - well I wouldn't if you know what I mean
      One of my points which I expected to raise an argument- but didn't was how I opined non list armies were more versatile than those slaved to a given rule set but not a dickie bird.
      Aslo the idea that a set of rules MUST have army lists is just twaddle

    2. Andy,
      I shan't argue any more as I agree 100% with everything you have written.

      Thinking about it though, has made me realise that I believe if a youngster has saved up his money and bought a couple of boxes of figures and a set of rules, he should be able to play with them when he gets home. So put charts or lists or what ever in the basic book and make them as simple as you like. He doesn't want either a bibliography of sources or at the other extreme the need to buy extra list books, special dice or any other products.

      Both have their place but should not be essential in order to get started.

      By all means

  2. I'm not against Army lists per se, but there function is limited. They can give a quick start to any period where they're used. My "gripe" with them is that I think many folk think that they're the "be-all and end all" to whichever period they're aimed at. A brief note from the writers of such with maybe a 'real' TOE should suffice to get ayone really interested into some research, rather than a casual user who wants a quick game.

  3. Hi Andy:
    You do have a way of spicily seasoning your writings. Perhaps the strong flavours aren't to everyone's taste. I think I get your points, but maybe the wording leads to interpretations you don't quite intend.

    Let's just take the matter of Army Lists. Is it the use of Army Lists you find reprehensible, or uncritical over-reliance upon them? I infer the latter, but I can see how others, consciously using them 'faute de mieux', might feel a little put out.

    Part of the problem as I see it has arisen from the attitudes expressed by the authors of at least one Army List collection I know of. It went like this. 1. The lists aren't gospel, and are meant to be guidelines only. 2. But we have done a whole bunch of research into this, even unto primary sources in orl sortza ahkain langwidges, so we know a shedload more than you do, Trev. So you really should stick to our lists, matey. 3. Any departure from our lists is rightly to be given the old fashioned look and treated as an attempt to pull a fast one. So you really should stick to our lists, pal.

    And, of course, you trot along to the National Convention or whatever 'social' event takes your fancy, 'cos you really only go there to meet new games; taking with you your 11th Century Byzantine trapezitai, or your Roman auxilia, or your flaming pigs, and you know you have to conform to the army lists, 'cos no matter how much supporting documentation for any departures you want to make, they just ain't going to be accepted by the umpires, 'cos sure as eggses is eggses, if they did otherwise, some snirp will complain that you are trying to pull a fast one.

    I very rarely play in competitions, myself. And I have serious doubts that the Roman Auxiliaries were anything like the 'Auxilia' of the army lists anyway...

    Research findings are subject to interpretation. A certain amount of subjectivity will always influence this interpretation, however consciously objective the researcher tries to remain. And that cuts both ways: the original compiler of the Army Lists; and the brave new explorer following their footsteps or attempting to blaze new trails.

    I find Army lists useful to give an overall 'shape' to the sort of army I want to build. Given the paucity of accessible material in former times, these bridged otherwise unfordable gaps in available information. These days there is more material around. This makes the task easier and harder, both. The information you want is more likely to be out there; but so much larger is the volume of source material, and not all of it is useful or good quality. For that reason, to my mind Army Lists will remain a handy supplement to whatever other research materials you can garner.


    1. Ion - yes I do like a bit of spice and stingo- better dead than bland !
      I suppose I could have written the piece in the style of a hamster on valium but no get out there! If you get an answer at least it might be a laugh!
      When it comes to competitons army lists are a must- as I said in the piece- comptitions are a different animal not worse just different with their own rules and ways of doing thing. Nothing wrong with that.
      My objection is OUTSIDE that specialist arena when for instance some knob lambasts a set of rules for NOT having an Army list or a "sourcebook"/army list purporting to enable historical refights gives the forces for those refights in terms of point values per side rather than an attempt at an Historical orbat. Or again a magazine article invents troop types in his Army lists for a specific historical campaign and doesn't show any supporting evidence .
      Despite that as I said Lists have their uses I'd agree with your point about shape- I said that they give you an "in" to a given army and can be a reasonable starting point. but see my reply to Joh above for my caveats to that.
      My antagonist on TMP was actually much as I expected- tunnel vision and all my dissapointment was that he failed to produce any worthwhile arguments merely a load of shrill hystrionics