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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Enlightenment, or the penny drops... eventually.

I had already written this post once, several days ago, but somehow the scanned pages that I had done, would not transfer onto my post. So I have had to re write the whole thing.
 Its been a while since I posted on this, my main blog, but I have done some posts on my other blog.
 [ see my home page ]
 The post that I had to erase concerned an interview that MWAN had conducted with Paddy Griffith in 1988. Now Paddy Griffith [God rest his soul] was a bit like Marmite, you either loved him or hated him. Hate is a very strong word, but I certainly wasn't impressed when he wrote the article in Miniature Wargames about the case against toy soldiers.
 At that time I was mightily pissed off and I probably wrote a letter to the editor about his views.
 [That would have done the trick ]
 However with age comes some form of enlightenment, and I can now see that he had a relevant point.
 As I stated I couldn't scan the interview, but the synopsis was that Paddy Griffith who started wargaming in the early 1960's stopped gaming and then returned in the early 1970's to find that there had been no progress made in wargaming as regards the reality of depicting war and the battles fought by wargamers.
 His view was that because wargamers had an aerial and unobstructed view of the battlefield, an accurate depiction of a battle could never be achieved. Additionally because wargamers were tied to toy soldiers, in pristine outfits, and regiments depicted as in romantic paintings they effectively were just messing about with toys and could never depict accurately a battle.
  He did concede that when Miniature Figurines tried to introduce 5mm blocks that there was an opportunity to realistically fight a battle.
  [ Funnily enough I own a lot of 6mm Napoleonic blocks cast by Ian at Irregular Miniatures, and I can attest they look pretty good, but I digress. ]
 The upshot was Paddy Griffith going on to found Wargames Developments in an attempt to accurately depict war and battles by using other means to do so.
    Wargamers [ ie myself] however, continued buying and painting toy soldiers and moving them around tables, except now I think we don't attempt to pretend that the battle is an accurate depiction of an actual battle, because if we do we are only fooling ourselves.
 Once upon a time, that was used an explanation when we were challenged by our friends that we were still playing with toy soldiers, we could always counter by saying, no we are actually recreating an accurate depiction of a battle, yeah right.
    Its funny but rule writers rarely mention or attempt to deal with the fact that we can see right across a battlefield and know virtually everything an opponent has got. Yes I know we can use curtains, or tiles, or whatever, but once you get to grips, we can still see everything that is going on around the battlefield.
  Similarly weather is rarely a factor in wargames, although it was clearly a very important matter in a real battle.
 And dont even mention smoke from muskets and cannons, is vision ever obscured nowadays in a wargame, rarely I think.
  Ammunition to a lesser extent is dealt with in some rules, but how many ancient wargamers are concerned about running out of missiles [ arrows.] clearly the Parthians had given this some thought at the battle of Carrhae.
 The current crop of glossy rule books tends not to dwell on such mundane subjects, and gets around this by well, ignoring them.
  So what is my point. I'm not really that certain, to tell you the truth.
  But it tends to make a mockery of me religiously painting the correct facings, button colour and lace on my Napoleonic and SYW figures, none of which could be seen by a real life opponent unless they were quickly bearing down on them. It also tends to run counter to religiously researching a period and reading every damn history book about a certain campaign.
 Except that if one doesn't do such research or accurate painting then you might as well do what Paddy Griffith did in the television programme Game of War, and cut to the quick and  push pieces of red and blue plastic around a model battlefield which still doesn't get over the problem of seeing everything on the field, and more importantly to me anyways,  it looks a pretty crap game.







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

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating