Sunday, 16 August 2020

MESBG?

 Again may I apologise for the slow turnaround in posts and comments, but has anyone else noticed how lethargy and ennui have become the norm as we crawl through this crisis. It isn't good for anyone and certainly isn't good for me. Normally I've got all sorts of ridiculous ideas flying through my bonce, but now? 

Anyway I received my copy of the latest Miniature Wargames magazine and managed to make it last for a new record of 32 minutes. To be fair it must be difficult to produce a wargames magazine when there is so little happening in the wargames firmament, but dwarves and the like have never floated my wargames boat. In fact Im not certain we can call them dwarves anymore, but I will come on to that later. 

 One thing did catch my eye and it was the regular feature concerning Wargames clubs. Before I start, this isn't about the club featured who seemed a canny bunch of people who probably enjoy their club get- togethers. 

Wargaming as a hobby has been around for over sixty years or so, ignoring the Prussian army game and other similar attempts to train officers. The wargaming I'm talking about is the one with painted soldiers representing historical ones. The club featured in the MW played various games and used the name wargaming club, but none of the periods mentioned were for me 'real' wargames. In fact most weren't even wargames in the loosest description.

 I know Im a pedant, but my image of wargaming is clearly not the one that younger players define as wargaming. The group played various games such as Warhammer 40K? Apocalypse?? Kill Team??? the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, written as MESBG naturally Gaslands Refueled ???? Kings of War or KOW as its known and finally the nearest to a historical game, Bolt Action.

 I think you can see a theme here. What exactly is a wargame? What is a definitive definition of a wargame? Why and when did military history become removed from the basis of my hobby? The common factor in all the above games are that they bear no resemblance to what I know as wargaming, well apart from Bolt Action which is still just a skirmish game.

 Before anyone points out the obvious that I am old and way behind the trends that now are becoming the mainstream in my wonderful hobby can I say I naively hoped that young people who were playing with Games Workshop GW figures would somehow move on to playing with real wargames figures ie soldiers. 

But no.... 

Its very clear if one observes the frequent release of  wonderful figures by numerous new companies that are linked to alternative history, new worlds etc that wargaming is morphing into a new type of hobby. Obviously this wont stop me playing with my toys and neither should it, but I do see issues developing in the very near future. Many years ago I remember some controversy in the USA [surprise, surprise] when a range of paper figures was awarded 'best wargames figures' at some large show. The upshot was a split in the then organisations that our cousins love so much and the formation of a 'true' wargaming movement. The movement towards such games as Kill Team etc is clearly becoming popular with a lot of people who may call themselves wargamers but in reality are for me 'gamers' or even boardgamers. 

It doesnt make them bad people but Im sorry they are not wargamers in the truest definition, well not for me anyway.

Sadly if the last few months of insanity is anything to go by wargaming as I know it will disappear from the scene simply because military history has become problematical and due a cleansing. Its very clear that history as was taught in the UK will be adjusted making certain that anything dealing with battles, military leaders etc will be consigned to the ether to 'protect' students and of course that is before the syllabus is re written to create an alternative history. But what has this to do with wargaming?

Already its very obvious that newcomers to the hobby don't have any depth to their knowledge of the periods they want to indulge in, but if and when the history is also re written then their knowledge will become non existent and therefore historical wargaming will inevitably disappear to be replaced by MESBG or whatever letters that will describe a non historical game. Its far easier to sell non historical figures and play non historical games than refight battles from the American Civil War or their ilk. 

I dont think Im being alarmist by writing these words especially as these people espousing these views are treated as learned and principled people whilst everyone else is howled down or simply ostracized. I now see the appropriately named Tristam Hunt, ex shadow Educational Secretary? is re educating all the staff of the Victoria and Albert museum and also appraising the exhibits on display, so expect the bed pan belonging to Ghandi to be given pride of place and dont think poor Victoria wont be cancelled sometime in the near future.In fact Im awaiting the first demands for our hobby to be scrutinised and no doubt 'cancelled.'

On a lighter note I finally was awarded my first victory of 2020 when my Gauls overcame John's Cesarean army. It was quite a feeling and made even more unbelievable when I managed to roll a handful of sixes twice during the Sword and Spear game. 

    






  

27 comments:

  1. Think large collection historic gaming is a thing of the past , most of these games you mention have a very quick/low investment entry point - which youngster is going to want to paint 200 + Napoleonic figures for a game (double that if you need both sides) , then you have to sort the rules out . Think the young gamer wants to be playing a popular easy access low cost quick down the club game . As an aside I think modern housing has played it's part in the demise of the big table game , was looking around a local show home on a development (just being nosey) and the rooms are very small even the biggest bedroom would struggle with a 6x4 and storage so something that can come out of a box onto the kitchen table and pack away again has it's attraction - I'm lucky to have a dedicated wargaming room - but think the next generation won't

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true. I actually thought the same, especially where so called new houses are concerned, hence the introduction of dinky furniture and the like. I played my first wargames on my sisters bed.[They were in university by then] and eventually moved into John's loft space where we precariously stood on the joists. Space was always an issue but we wanted to wargame so did what we could. But as for so called 'armies' well I see that most days on E Bay and on Facebook, armies may reach 100 figures if one is lucky. I am currently painting up two forces for Sword and Spear, both have more units than I will ever use but I wanted alternatives. Somehow Games Workshop mentality has made certain that new wargamers look at a points based force providing the best chance of winning.

      Delete
  2. Good point on the restrictive space in the modern family home. I suppose wargaming is now quite old at 60+ years, so perhaps we should not be surprised that fashions and trends happen.

    Glad to see that another Sword & Spear game hit your table, I am quite taken by them and of course it is interesting to wonder where they sit in the cycle of fashion, as they still sell, but few blogs refer to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Re housing Norm, it should be in a developers contract that they and their families have to live in these boxes for a minimum of a year instead of inflicting these aberrations on the people.As for Sword and Spear. I think the rules have been around a few years now so dont think they are on trend as it were. What is clear is that ancient wargaming has become the period of the moment, which is nice.

      Delete
  3. I agree with your points.
    History has become banal and unpopular; at least the history that we know and love.
    It's become more fashionable to knock history, thereby casting a nod to the fact that 'well, doesn;t that mean that the opinions and attitudes of the 50+ generation must be wrong?'.
    I think this is the anger with teh 'yoof' of today. In the 70s and 80s, we thought that the anti-establishment punk movement was dangerous. It's like a nun's picnic compared to the views of today's younger generation.
    If history teaches us anything, it's surely that this sort of society breaking style of thinking has happened before, and it can be quite dangerous if we choose to rewrite our past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The question is, "Is history being taught in such a way that lessons may be learned from the past?"

      Delete
    2. To be honest I look on the youth and see a group of frightened sheep, coddled by their over controlling parent or parents who insist on sharing their lives as if they too can experience the thrill of being young.Yes there a few who cry rebellion but frankly what they are seeking is merely attention and nothing like the change we all sought when young. To rebel one should at least understand the system and how it evolved before demanding change, unfortunately and its not young peoples fault they are simply educated by a system which believes that teaching entails passing an exam and ticking a box. To see the product of our educational system simply watch Taskmaster.

      Delete
  4. Good rant, Robbie. For now, I will only add that I seem to be witnessing the makings of an alt-hist Orwellian nightmare unfolding before my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Johnathan. What did it for me was from an article in the USA and concerned a species of small bird discovered by a scientist who became a Confederate General. The bird was named after him in honour of his scientific endevours but now the bird is being renamed and this man cancelled.There is something very Orwellian about the mindset of this movement and yet if anyone should mention this they too are attacked and tagged as fascist or worse, old..

      Delete
  5. Unfortunately we have a society that demands instant gratification for the most part. If it's not in the box or in the rulebook it's not worth their (the players) time looking for it. Add in the growing sentiment that if the reality doesn't suit their (add in any number of groups here) beliefs and views then it needs to be changed or ignored. The resulting mix is a situation where those of us who know and understand are given labels and tags by those who don't know and don't care to understand because that would mean them being in the wrong (or at least not as much as in the right as they think they are). For wargaming it is more of the same move away from where we started. Less evolution and more revolution. I've left several online groups recently because of some of the banal questions being asked. Questions in the most part that a bit of reading of a history book would have answered but clearly would have meant putting in some effort from the person. When we don't instill a need to do more from our children in school and give them rewards for not doing more is it any wonder that we reap a generation where expectation of achievement is greater than the effort expanded?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evening Paul, I observe young people [oh dear] and could scream at the crass stupidity of their pointless lives.Music concerts [remember them] are a case in point, I attend for the music, the atmosphere and the experience, meanwhile standing close by will be some youth taking endless images on their telephone and tapping away on the thing. The experience is not what they want its the fact they can tick a box and show their friends how cool they are. Effectively they are observing life but are too scared to actually take part. Wargaming for them seems to be similar.

      Delete
  6. marinergrim, I have noted on some of the forums that I visit, that the same repeat questions are asked, which tends to suggest that the poster has not even done a basic search within the forum archive to pull up some answers. That alone probably typifies a move away from an ethos of 'personal responsibility' to 'research' and suggests a move towards the 'instant' answer produced of course by somebody else.

    Accepting that it is what it is and that it is pretty endemic, the answer as to how as a global society we changed from becoming less self reliant over the last 40 years, is probably as complicated as it it interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you may know my views on these people and their questions.We all have to start somewhere but its very clear that even a basic desire to know isnt a pre-requisite for this new generation of wargamers. What is worrying is that if these people hold down responsible jobs and dont know the answer to a tough question, do they go on the net and ask some clown like me who just might fill them with a pile of guff. I know in the modern Police service the new breed are provided with a terminal which they carry which informs them of their powers. The only issue with this is one needs to be able to make a split second decision. Once it was we had the law drilled into our heads, now knowledge isnt really that important.

      Delete
  7. Pretty much spot on with my views on Historical Wargaming and its dwindling (?) place in history !
    Mind you having read some old Battle magazines recently (from 1975-1978) its correspondence pages were replete with 'wargaming is doomed' especially with regard to influx of D&D type games.
    Strangely enough board Wargaming is in a bit of a boom with lots purely historical titles available and appearing endlessly (the big USA market at work ?).
    I know my son (27 now) was always happy to play a historical game but never caught the 'bug' to research, collect or paint anything. The draw of pixels was hard to counter. Hopefully when my Will dumps all my stuff on him he will feel obliged :-)
    As to how any history never mind military history is taught (ha ha ha) and perceived nowadays, I decline to comment as hard to remain calm or civil..............

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every generation rails about how bad things have become. Its just one of those things, but wargaming is well personal for me, and I see the trends and cringe as to where its heading. One thing is certain that all wargamers of a certain age who possess really large collections that they hope to see sold for their families can kiss their plans goodbye. As for education, well Ive worked as a volunteer in a senior school for four years now and its difficult to not speak out at the teaching in some of the lessons that are compulsory in schools.

      Delete
  8. I agree with you completely but hopefully things aren't as bad as they seem. I remember reading a spoof in Mad Magazine in the late 60s or early 70s that was making fun of the way war films were increasingly showing the enemy in better light. It suggested that future films would show the Americans apologizing to the Japanese for the deafening noise suffered to their pilots by anti-aircraft fire during the attack on Pearl Harbour - that was 50 years ago! I guess we have to be careful not to tar all millennials with the same brush (would they even know what that means?) and hope that there is still some common sense about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately its not the millennials with commonsense one has to worry about but the vocal minority that shout until they get their way. Its very clear that no one in authority has the courage to tell them to shut up and go away.I noticed for part of VJ day, the BBC did a piece on the two atom bombs and the terrible devastation they wrought. They omitted to state how horrific the causalities had been inflicted in taking Iwa Jima and how terrible the war crimes that were still being committed even though it was obvious to the Japanese they had lost the war. There is no balance anymore and unfortunately its the same in our educational system.

      Delete
  9. Matt and I have had this conversation several times. While I'm inclined to agree with you by gut feeling, Matt's arguments that we sit 50+ years along the line and have big collections built up. But, most importantly, when we started what were the alternatives to building up an army ourselves? Join a club of course and play along as you built your own force. Of course, advance 50+ years and there are a myriad of options to joining our hobby. It may be about instant gratification for some, but surely time/space/funds/ friends etc also influence choices and routes chosen? While I'm irritated by the same things you highlight Robbie I think it takes a longer perspective to be sure it's revolution not evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I understand what you are saying David, but one should look at the bigger picture here as regards how the next generation behave. Most of us started from a position of very limited funds and probably no dedicated wargaming space.There was a local club when I started but to be very honest I was never a club joiner and on top of that it was a closed shop of University types and too cerebral for my rough tastes.I was lucky that a wargamer advertised for other wargamers and when I turned up at his house the man had a fantastic set up, a ten foot square table and loads of patience. So as I slowly built up my collection using my paper round money I was able to use hundreds of figures. It was only later due to research that I realised that the Nassau Regiments weren't elite, the 95th rifles weren't the equivalent of the SAS and the Spartans possessed only a very small army. If one is going to invest time in a hobby one should really understand what it entails. Im not certain that its evolution and definitely not revolution that is taking place and I certainly dont think its wargaming either.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hiya Robbie, hope your keeping well.

    Dont agree with the line in here on history being rewritten or wheres it all gone wrong with the youth in general. History has always been rewritten and re assessed, the lessons often forgotten and refound. There is no current shortage of new and interesting military history books rolling off the presses. That is how it should be, as its an area where new information and interpretations come out and old ideas questioned.

    Older people have almost always been moaning about the behaviour of the youth. If you enjoy having a good moan, thats fine.

    Is there not some element of this, we are all dying out and the hobby is aging been with the hobby for well like rather a long time? Lots of people drift in when young, back out when they discover girls / boys and going out, back in when life gets more driven by work and family and you have more money. The modern founders of wargaming as a mass hobby were all fully grown men when they started?

    Likewise similar but wrong games with orcs, elves etc etc have also coexisted with wargaming at least since the late 70s. If they are playing with toy soldiers of some description there is always hope they will find their way to real wargaming in whatever form that might be.


    cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to hear from you John and interesting to get a different point of view. You will notice I haven't cancelled you by the way.I will however discuss your views if I may.
      Re history being re written;Our history that is humankind is filled with personalities who have influenced us mere mortals. Most were men so I will give them that title. Most of these men were larger than life. Their good points were great, their weaknesses and bad points were invariably bad. Such is the nature of leadership, I think only Jesus Christ can be viewed as solely good but then no doubt some follower of Allah would disagree. Unfortunately in the current climate, mainly from young people, these flaws cannot be accepted for what they were and therefore we witnessed the demand for statues to be torn down, and street names erased. Thus we see Kipling described as an imperialist and his poems viewed as apologies for the empire, ignoring the fact that he wrote a lot about the common man and clearly loved his native India, which is conveniently forgotten. God offend that Kipling be described as Indian. We see a demand for the removal of the Rhodes statue and a demand for the street named after his uncle to be torn down even though his uncle had died prior to Rhodes reaching adulthood. Guilt by association, a very fascistic point of view dont you think. Additionally I noticed that the man driving the Rhodes Must Fall campaign was himself a Rhodes Scholar so was happy with the bursary but didnt feel the moral need to hand the cash back. Hypocritical perhaps? The people pushing the BLM narrative use simplistic arguments, ie four legs good, two legs bad, and we all know how that ended.
      As for military books, you lost me with that one Im afraid. Although I will say that it is inevitable that purchasing such tomes as the new biography of Nelson could become difficult if certain loons have their way.
      Im sorry you feel that older people are always viewed as moaning, especially as the most recent research identified that older people had a more positive outlook re life than younger people. I would also remind you that the youth would view you as one of those dreaded 'oldies.'
      I dont enjoy having a good moan, in fact it depresses me. But what depresses me more is what is happening to my hobby and the next generation's stewardship of it.
      Wargaming has effectively been my life and a large chunk of who I am.
      My gripe was with the specifics of what was becoming viewed as an actual wargame. Six badly painted figures used in a historical context could be described as such. 10 beautifully painted six armed figures for me doesnt. I think you missed the point of my post which was that wargaming is becoming problematical and as witnessed briefly in the 1970s is becoming viewed as morally debatable, hence the numerous non historical easy to accept games, figures etc now being promoted. Its difficult to cancel some nerd playing with plastic made up figures with no real backstory, but God help the wargamer using say the dreaded Texas Brigade from the American Civil War.
      For many years anyone who wargamed rarely spoke of their hobby, I think its inevitable that once again liking military history etc. will be driven into the shadows simply because of the naivety and crass stupidity of youth who haven't the wit to see they are being led by some dangerous people intent on trouble for troubles sake.
      I think that covers most of your views which again I thank you for.
      A final point though, there are now demands that Ghandi become the face of our currency. Ghandi that great pacifist was also a eugenicist, made plain his views that black people weren't very nice [paraphrased] and was also an early supporter of Hitler. Luckily he wasnt white and male otherwise he would also have been consigned to a bonfire.

      Delete
  12. Interesting debate you've kicked off Robbie, and a lot of good points made throughout. The levels of general knowledge, let alone knowledge of history, is disturbingly low among younger generations these days and they're not even using easy to access online information to learn a bit. I'm speaking as a proud uncle of 2 recent recipients of Firsts for their Honours Degrees, neither of whom can identify a country on a map, tell you when WW2 happened, or much of anything else that isn't on Whatsapp or Instagram.

    Anyway, if we ever get back to Wargames Show season, that'll perk your spirits up with all the historical goodness on show! Stay well.
    Cheers
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you Dave.
      I wasted my education at school, I was too busy acting the class fool and chasing women. I do remember that my teachers predicted that I would receive two A's and a B for my A levels. Not surprisingly I actually obtained two F's and a U which means I couldnt spell my name correctly. Just think if Id been a teenager now, I would be a f@@king genius. I feel for young people because they are effectively being conned re their capabilities and supposed education which hasnt prepared them for the realities of life.

      Delete
  13. Nice thoughts to ponder; personally, I got into "wargaming" late in the game, so to speak. I had painted miniatures for many years and only stumbled onto gaming by change about 15 years ago. Wow, 15 years, is pretty long though. Anyway, good to hear of your recent victory over the Romans!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fifteen years! Amazing. You came into the hobby at a wonderful time. Books, advice and great figures.

      Delete
  14. Thank you for this very thoughtful debate Robbie. I've found that at 68 I am actually one of the older kind who still love the big battles and history we share but that there is a significant cadre in their 50s who keep the flag not just flying but thriving. So, yes you are right, but I think classic style wargaming still has many years to run. I hope the "younger" generation can still encourage their offspring to carry it forward despite the changes in the world that you describe. Great to see your lack of A levels did not impact on your erudite writing style and historical knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  15. IP is an agreement or protocol by which data is transferred via the Internet between two different devices (computer, mobile, laptops, etc). Each device has a unique IP address on the Internet. It is through these IPs that a device or computer is recognized on the Internet. 192.168.o.1 the IP address usually ranges from 192.168.0.0 to 198.168.255.255. Often, users encounter various problems and issues related to IPs. The most common problem which users face is IP conflict. It’s a condition where two devices have the same IP address and one of the devices won’t be able to get any connection. So without waiting, let’s learn the issues which users face when it comes to IPs and how to solve or troubleshoot them.

    ReplyDelete

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