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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Miniature Wargames September 2013.

  I must confess that I have always enjoyed the column written by Mike Siggens in the wargames popular press. Love him or dislike him, he always brought up some topic that piqued my interest.      Additionally being a bit of an anorak like him, his tips on paint and brushes were always of great interest to me. Hence the hundreds of jars of paint that I own.
 Anyway and here is the but,....in his latest 'Thoughts from an Armchair'  Miniature Wargames September 2013, he mentions that he is recovering from an operation, and this has led him to re appraise his wargaming.
 I don't know Mike Siggens personally, but I would suspect that he is of mature years, ie, over 50.
 Add to that having just had an operation, I would think he now realises that he is mortal, hence his look at life.
 That seems fair enough, in fact, I have gradually been rationalising my wargaming, and selling off things I don't really require anymore. Mind I seem to be replacing them with bigger and heavier toy soldiers.
 Anyway the crux of this post is where Mike Siggens states that, ''he now has some ethical concerns about what he is doing.''
 I assume he means collecting and playing with toy soldiers. [ I assume he thinks this is glorifying war]

For me ethical concerns are for things like , starting an unjust war, telling lies in parliament, and cheating generally, ie Tony Blair.

 This ethical concern about wargaming raised its head many years ago, when CND and the other loons saw wargamers as an easy target, hence the banners outside of some wargames shows and the change of name for the Reading show. Then of course we had the brief arguments about colonial/imperialist wars where the native population got a hammering by those terrible Europeans.
 In some ways its a bit like the fracking protests, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Research something thoroughly before you become appalled and protest.

   So I am going to generalise here, but most wargamers are not warmongers, are usually non violent,
[ unless someone picks up their figures by the pikes, ] and are all round decent people.
 A bit strange sometimes, but there should never be any doubt about the ethics of collecting toy soldiers. It is a hobby that encompasses, reading, painting, learning to lose, model making and numerous other skills.  I know some wargamers who won't wargame modern conflicts, and up until a few years ago, I wouldn't wargame past 1870.
 I think that was more to do with the advent of khaki than any moral reason.
I also remember the brouhaha about the Waffen SS reenactors being at Salute, in bad taste probably, but ethically wrong, I dont think so.

 So is wargaming ethically wrong? For me, no.
 I would have been lost without the hobby.
 Have I ever felt I was glorifying war? Never. Trying to understand it perhaps.
 So for me, carry on playing with toy soldiers, and be proud of what wargamers do.
Here endeth the lesson........................



    

10 comments:

  1. great post, I started gaming on a military camp so for me wargames has its link with the military. It does not glorify war but opens my eyes to the real face of combat and not the Hollywood version we see. I love the reading and research into the conflicts I play
    Peace James

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  2. An all-encompassing educational hobby - covering history, English (and other languages should you be inclined), mathematics, geography, art and craft, (I can't, offhand, work out where the sciences would go) - perhaps it should be part of the National Curriculum!

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  3. I know Mike, but not well enough for him to attend my funeral. He's a very intelligent chap, but I've always said he thinks too much! ;O)

    I'm not naturally contrary (alright, maybe I am) but I have to be bloody awkward for now. I do think wargaming glorifies war - we're surely not going to pursue a hobby that denigrates it?. If it didn't we'd all settle for Chess or Go. If we were solely interested in the history side, we'd only read about it. If we were only interested in the painting and modelling aspects then why would we amass armies and play wargames?

    So, is wargaming ethical? Yes, why not? It's only a game and certainly not a proper simulation. Nobody dies and, as one great man said, there are no lead widows or orphans. However, I think there are limits. The Salute 'Nazis' were way beyond the pale for me, but we set our own boundaries. Are suicide bombers now acceptable in games? Every so often this debate resurfaces at whatever level and there's usually a fair bit of agonising and hand wringing, but, if Mike does throw in the towel, he'll be the only one I've heard of who has. However, given the number of off pat responses this issue generates when it's raised on sites like PMT, I'd hazard a guess and say that a fairly high percentage of wargamers are aware that their hobby has a potentially unpalatable nature.

    And this is a great excuse to upset somebody via my blog!

    ;O)

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  4. For me, it is simply a life-long love of brightly painted toy soldiers and a secondary interest in military history (or perhaps herstory).

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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  5. As usual you have a great way of summing up the thoughts of a lot of people. (Knew they should have promoted you).
    Two points really like you a degree of rationalisation creeps in when you realise we aren't going to last forever. The ethical debate, personally I can not bring myself to game conflicts of the here and now, Afghanistan etc. it's a personal thing but where sensitivities are raised I feel it's around these sorts of conflicts.

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  6. Gary, I think you're right - some wrgamers do get carried away and occasionally forget the horror of real warfare. But I agree with the original post in almost all respects, except to say that Waffen SS re-enactors at a wargames show are unacceptable.

    As for Mike Siggins, his column always gave me the impression of someone who was trying to do too much in his hobby. Too many projects, too much the butterfly. If he has decided to tone it down and concentrate on a core number of activities, this is only common sense. And best wishes to him for a full recovery and many more years of gaming and painting.

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  7. And James, don't get me started on Hollywood. A whole industry devoted to glorifying violence.

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  8. Here we go again , I know Mike slightly and would not have though he was 50 just yet. and remeber he needs to fill his column every month... Have had various peacniks have a go at me- much good it did 'em and always at these times remeber the remarks of my late stepson- Sgt Nick Chambers Grenadier Guards when telling me about the Greenham Common camp of the 80s
    I paraphrase- "All these middle class tarts would turn up in range rovers for the weekend have a rant at us and don't doubt that some came for some illicit Rumpy- pumpy (nuff said) But the one that manned the camp all week were laregly a bunch of ugly misinformed lesbians....
    Now leaving aside the rumpy - pumpy .....
    Its the misinformed part that is important and it happens on both sides of the Wargaming fence.
    I'm ALWAYS stunned by the lack of basic knowledge of military matters of some of our bretheren. Its just as bad as the lack of knowledge exhibited by some peaceniks. The "Its the gamin' innit" lobby have no respect for the history or traditions - in their own way they are as bad as the peaceniks.
    Most Military chaps I know are pretty peacful dudes- especially those that have "seen the elephant" they fortunately have the skills so that they don't have to take any shyte from anyone if they choose not to.
    Soldiers don't make wars. Politicians make wars - Soldiers just have to clean up the politicians messes.
    I'll have respect for the military and what they do until sdome bugger screws the lid on .
    In a very small way thats why I wargame the way I do.

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  9. PS- Robbie See you Saturday???

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  10. I'm probably 100% behind you in everything you've said, but I do dislike seeing current engagements gamed in miniature (Iraq and Afghanistan)and there are a couple of other games I would also find distasteful, but they're few and far between. There are also a lot of people out there who haven't a clue about what wargamers actually do.

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

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