No, I don’t mean where do you stand at or around the tabletop battlefield, before we start. Rather I was thinking more about where you would position yourself and your approach to your hobby on the Simulation of (insert period of choice) Warfare——It’s a Game with Toy Soldiers continuum? I’ve tried to encapsulate the two ends of the spectrum with these two pictures I found on the Internet ~
For me this picture conveys, at least in my mind, those in our hobby who somehow identify with historical leaders of armies when they assemble around the tabletop battlefield. They are the wargamers who like to stage refights of historical actions above all other forms of game.
Whereas this second picture, again at least for me, captures the almost childlike joy, at the opposite end of the continuum, of those wargamers for whom the hobby is more a case of playing a game with their toys amongst a group of likeminded chums.
I've been unwell for the past week or so, laid low by an upper respiratory chest infection, so I've not felt like painting much. The figures I've featured in my last three blog updates are those I finished in the week before I was laid low. I have however been thinking about my hobby from time to time, simulated by a thread of discussions I found on a blog I follow from an American wargamer where this very topic I alude to was up for debate.
Firstly, I do not think 'Historical Wargaming' is an accurate description of my hobby, rather I'd choose 'Wargaming in a historical context'. The difference helps me to comprehend where the game diverges from the reality. Consider war for a moment: death, catastrophic injury, destruction, terror, bereavement, defeat and so on. Compare that for a moment with a wargame: no little lead corpses, casualties, widows, orphans; no destruction of property, no rape or pillage, no simmering resentment at defeat, and so on. For me there is no 'simulation' in wargaming, period.
Secondly, even staging games which start out from choices confronting the decision making of commanders in historic battle situations is faulty as it lacks any jeopardy, personal or national. Nothing of import rides on the outcome of a game at all. Wargaming for me is a game, rooted in history, as compared to rooted in fantasy or science fiction, but first and foremost a game. A quote from one of the respondents in the debate seems to me to be spot on:
"As far as whether it replicates history, let's be real: unless you are reaching across the table and maiming and/or killing a few of the fellows on the other side, and they are trying to do the same to you, and maybe setting your host's house on fire your way out just for good measure, then no, you aren't replicating a historical battle (and if you were, my guess is that you wouldn't be invited back to play). "
Of course I'm confident that many will not see it this way and I'm not looking for an argument or debate, just throwing in my thoughts. It will no doubt be interesting to read any responses to my thoughts, but all opinions are welcomed and equally valid here As I said, I'm not interested in debate, just curious as to where and why folks place themselves. Me, you might ask? Well, I can man up and say I play with toy soldiers alongside my friends. That's all I ask really from my hobby.