Home Forums General General In Defence of Our Hobby

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  • #11668
    willz
    Participant

    There seems to be a bit of negative feeling around the hobby which appears to be coming from within, are we all so self critical or do we think we are better than somebody else.  What period do you do historical, fantasy, sci/fi, pulp fiction, board games or whatever I consider them all the same.

    You could argue that all war-gaming is fantasy as different sets of rules are used for the same period, we don’t actually kill things when we game, all you loose is the battle each time not the army you were gaming with (now that’s an extreme thought, play a war-game and if you lose you hand over your army to the winner).  That idea would require a central body to control war-gaming, now that would worry me.

    When asked what your hobby is do you mumble something incoherent or do you state it loud and proud.  Normally starts with “it’s like warhammer  isn’t it playing with those toys” or “I used to do this when I was a kid wow! you can still buy them”.  I see comments like I do main stream war-gaming, sorry just how main stream is this hobby, it’s not on television regularly, we do not have a central governing body and is it small compared to railway modeling.   Now I personally think this hobby is big but it splits it’s self into smaller factions because that’s the way it is.

    How about this for a thought, in the late 70’s there was a powerful lobby group who for their own reasons wanted to ban all war toys, sadly war-gaming became a target for these ill informed people.  I remember they stuck cancelled stickers of posters for some shows, thankfully it all fizzled out.  Now what would happen if the government of the day wanted to ban war-gaming, how would you defend your hobby to the wider population.

    #11673
    Cameronian
    Participant

    If I’m asked I tell people plainly, I play with toy soldiers.  If they have a problem with it, it’s their problem.

    In a similar vein to the last para, some time back there was a move to have angling banned throughout the UK.  It was pointed out to the politicians that it’s a multi-million pound industry and about 5 million voters participated regularly (not to mention the ones employed by it).  Needless to say, it came to nowt.

    I have no need to defend anything.

    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    #11676
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    If I’m asked I tell people plainly, I play with toy soldiers. If they have a problem with it, it’s their problem.

     

    Me too. Quite

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #11684
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Yeah, ‘toy soldiers, like Games Workshop but smaller.’
    Most people get that.

    Now what would happen if the government of the day wanted to ban war-gaming, how would you defend your hobby to the wider population.

    I would ask them to show some proof that is was a negative influence and caused harm, as opposed to encouraging saving, reading, writing, maths, painting, research, social gathering, learning, problem solving, etc…

    #11686
    willz
    Participant

    I do not disagree with you George and Not Conrad Sage, I can only think of 3 or 4 times I have had to defend this hobby to people over the years and two of them were closet war-gamers in the end.

    Maybe I should have said sell our hobby to the wider public?

    Mike love the reply.

    #11688
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Mike love the reply.

    Thanks, cheque is in the post!

    😛

    #11692
    willz
    Participant

    DON’T FOGET 6 0’s MIKE.

    #11693
    Earther
    Participant

    What, as in ‘oooooo look it’s a cheque’? 

    #11698
    willz
    Participant

    Earther your are far to happy to be a war-gamer.  Stop it now.

    #11709
    Cameronian
    Participant

    I do not disagree with you George and Not Conrad Sage, I can only think of 3 or 4 times I have had to defend this hobby to people over the years and two of them were closet war-gamers in the end. Maybe I should have said sell our hobby to the wider public? Mike love the reply.

    That’s an extremely good point William.  I know my son has become a passionate devotee of history, simply through hearing me ramble on about it in a wargaming context.  History these days seems to entirely consist of the Tudors, 1066, Imperial Rome and Egypt.  So to me it’s not so much selling the hobby as selling other people’s history. Or summat like that

     

    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    #11712
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    “Board games with painted models”. Sums it up far enough.

     

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #11719
    Eli Arndt
    Participant

    I tell them what I do. If they get it, I’ll pull out my phone or tablet and show them vivid pictures of people having fun on amazing tables.

    -Eli

    #11723
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I help with our local gaming Con Twistercon in the OKC area for Oklahoma . So that and being nice to newbies is what I do to give back to the hobby.

    #11724
    Patrice
    Participant

    I think it is much better accepted than it was 30 years ago.

    Or perhaps it is because many players now don’t look as young as they were, and people hesitate to criticize them openly.

    Also most of us are now familiar with such discussions and know how to handle it and how to explain what we are doing.

    In France we still meet people who have never heard of miniatures wargames – last summer I ran a game in a harvest festival in my village and some people there had never seen a wargame or heard of it; and there was an old man who I had once heard saying timidly that he owned some Napoleonic miniatures in a shelf and he was obviously ashamed to talk about them (and he had certainly never thought of any gaming with them) and then he came to this festival and he saw us doing it in public with all our miniatures, you should have seen his face.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #11734
    Sparker
    Participant

    Lead soldiers don’t bleed would be painted on my placard…

    I don’t think the government would ever step in Australia – there are far more, from their perspective, worrying pastimes to contend with; bikers, rock fishermen (forever getting swept out to sea and needing major SAR ops to be rescued, bushwalkers getting lost, etc.

    But in the UK, I definitely got the feeling that the government would be happier if everyone spent their free time, when not earning them taxes, in front of the ”one eyed brain eater’ watching East Enders, taking in regular doses of the background BBC chattering classes’ agenda about smoking, drinking, sexual equality, multiracialism, Tories are all baby-eaters, etc…

    I can definitely see wargamers on the hit list eventually, now that they’ve dealt with the hunters and shooters, and smokers have been marginalised; I think their priority order will go something like this: drinkers, petrol heads, radio hams, then pretty much anyone who spends their time doing something non-mainstream, including wargamers. The only way it might survive in the UK, in some form, like smoking, is if it was even more highly taxed than any activity already is…And no advertising of course….

    (I should add, in the unlikely event that anyone takes anything I say seriously and I come across as a swivel eyed foam lipped tub thumber that I am not particularly supportive of smoking, sexual inequality or racism, and I hold all political parties in equal contempt, I just resented being forced to pay the BBC license fee for not particularly subtle mind control!)

    http://sparkerswargames.blogspot.com.au/
    'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
    Matthew 5:9

    #11737
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I may be wildly optimistic or just pain out of touch but I see no evidence, anywhere in the UK, of the hobby of wargaming being in any need of ‘defence’ at all.
    I have felt a bit odd about it at times. I am convinced there is a moral element to making a game that revolves around death but I am pretty sure I am reconciled my pursuit of it. I’m not always sure about everyone else.

    The main reaction if it ever comes up in general conversation is usually quiet surprise that someone of my age should be playing games like that, and then usually from the men at any rate (caveat – non gender stereotyping comment, just my very non-scientific sample experience, sorry) an even quieter enquiry about what its like.

    I don’t see any Peace People, Greenham Common types or any of the general anti-war movement people at shows or events I attend. Times have moved on. The one issue non-party politicals have other issues to worry them – climate change, Europe, immigration etc. I’d actually prefer some flak from peaceniks to some of the other stuff myself but that’s just me.

    I can’t see us having to man the barricades or be banned from playing within half a mile of a school or anything like that.

    Relax folks and enjoy. There is a heck of a lot more wargaming about then when I started in the early 70s, and less general or moral opprobrium attached. The worst you get is a blanket description of ‘nerd’. I can live with that.

    #11776
    willz
    Participant

    Cheers for all your comments.

    That’s my main point we seem to bash our own hobby from within, than we are bashed from outside.

    This hobby is to be enjoyed no mater what period, area, time frame you do.

    #11781
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Bad form to quote yourself  – but I love the ‘just PAIN out of touch’  – subliminal honesty I guess!

    Obviously meant to be plain(?) but so much more appropriate as it came out!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Guy Farrish.
    #11815
    Luddite
    Participant

    I play with toy soldiers.

    Justifying it ?  Studying the history of war makes us less likely to repeat the mistakes.

    #11820

    I play toy soldiers.  When people ask I just say its like playing chess but on a bigger board but I get to make the board and the pieces.

    #11865
    Howard Whitehouse
    Participant

    It’s interesting that so many of us are willing to say, “We are grown men who play with toy soldiers.”  Thirty years ago we didn’t seem able to admit this. We had to tell people we were engaged in serious historical simulations (etc etc). We felt obliged to use complex rules in a legalistic way, and generally went to a lot of trouble to show we were adults involved in a serious pastime.

    Nowadays we’ve loosened up a lot!

    I do all my own stunts.

    #11871
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I now have no problem telling people that I am a grow man who plays with army men.

    #11873
    repiqueone
    Participant

    I think the French term, ” Jeu de Histoire” is an approach.  They are games capturing history, albeit military history.  Given the role of military actions in world history it is not remarkable that they would dominate.

    As for fun vs simulation, I think Howard is correct, nobody takes many current games seriously, except, of course, those who play them.

    I think some discussion might be in order about the distinction, if any, between the admirable “looseness” ( as Howard put it) of SF and fantasy and the progressive degrees of unreconstructed legalistic simulators in historical gaming.  At one end are the “old school” gamers, at the other those counting the stations of the musket on the ascent of the Pratzen.

    The hobby is fairly easy to defend, some of the people in it more difficult.  This is exacerbated by the fact that, except to some extent on the Internet, the hobby is pretty insular, and those discrete groups are highly self-selecting.  Like any such small group everyone in the group is generally in agreement on rules, people, and culture.  It is only when they are confronted with “the others” on the Internet, that following some surprise and shock, arguments ensue.  And, of course, some individual’s “groups” are effectively themselves, and their only chance at demonstrating their great knowledge is on some forums’s thread.

    The  Internet  has the unfortunate effect of reminding us that there are a lot of impossible people in the world.  Those other people, of course!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by repiqueone.
    #11874
    Rick Inhoff
    Participant

    I am lucky in living in an area with quite a large gaming population. So there are a lot of like minded individuals who share our particular geek iness. I have never been bothered by what others think of my pursuits. If they don’t like toy soldiers they don’t have to play with them.

    #11881
    Mishima
    Participant

    I play toy soldiers. When people ask I just say its like playing chess but on a bigger board but I get to make the board and the pieces.

    This pretty well encapsulates my own usual response. I sometimes add about the research and craft skills.

    I used to be firmly in the closet (I think mostly out of embarrassment) but since I passed 40 I no longer give a hoot what anyone thinks.

    It helps that the first few people I mentioned it to were really interested and one was a closet gamer too.

     

    Tim from Gomi Designs. 15mm Vietnam riverine. www.gomidesigns.co.uk

    #11891
    repiqueone
    Participant

    There is that, Mishima, age does provide  perspective, a thicker skin, and less dependence on the approval of others.  All fine traits for independent thought.

     

    Perhaps “defense” of war-games is as simple and putting the accent on “games”.  Stressing game over war, fun over too earnest competition, and a bow to history as the core.  I’ve often described it as a less abtracted form of Chess.  Making it quite clear that it is not a celebration of violence is very important.

     

    However, At $1.50 each for an infantry figure, either an hour of work,or another $5.00 a figure to get them painted and mounted, and a dozen or more needed to make a unit, I prefer to call mine military miniatures rather than toy soldiers! 🙂

     

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by repiqueone.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by repiqueone.
    #11894
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Making it quite clear that it is not a celebration of violence is very important.

    Indeed.

    #11933
    McLaddie
    Participant

    I play chess with toy soldiers, [Below is an example] but I don’t say I’m ‘playing with toy soldiers’ when asked what I’m doing…  They are just the counters, and could be substituted with any kind of marker.  I’m playing chess.  I love my toy soldiers and put a lot of effort in to them, but I am playing wargame rules with them… that is what I am doing, no matter how fancy the toys or how simple or ‘Hollywood’ the rules may be.  Even H. G. Wells agreed with that notion…  And our wargames are no more violent than chess and far less than Sunday night football or the current movie Fury.  As far as violence as entertainment and celebration… the latter examples are far more representative of those things than playing wargames and chess.

    Culloden Chess pieces

    The game designers are the ones who state what the rules are designed to do playing them visa vie history and the toy soldiers. Wargame rules run the gambit from little toy cannons  shooting toy soldiers on children’s blocks to “convincing representations of real combat” and “accurate history.”  More power to them all.

    However, when players are asked what they are doing… not surprisingly, I have heard answers at conventions, demonstrations and in the game room run the same gambit.   For me, my answer would really depend on which set of wargame rules I am playing at the time… with those very same toy soldiers every time.

    #11939
    Sparker
    Participant

    You know I thought about this thread when strolling along the beach on Sunday morning (that’s a Southern Pacific beach btw, I still have to pinch myself sometimes) and saw lots of blokes out flying RC Helicopters (which requires a fair amount of skill, judging by the crashes).

    Nobody gives them a seconds thought, and I bet they don’t blush and fart when asked what they do at the weekend. Yes lets just come straight out with it – I’m proud to play with toy soldiers! Proud of the research, craft and organisation that goes into it, proud of the mates I play it with…

    http://sparkerswargames.blogspot.com.au/
    'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
    Matthew 5:9

    #11949
    willz
    Participant

    Cheers for all you interesting and informative comments.

    (Sparker nothing like name dropping, looks like a jolly where your living you lucky sod).

    As an aside from this post, what do you think about putting on war-game shows / events at non war-gaming venues.  I have started to put on a war-gaming demo at my local Military modeling show.  I tried over the last 3 years to get local clubs shops to try and put demo’s on at non war-gaming event but without any takers.  I remember seeing some clubs in the UK putting on shows / demos in shopping malls /areas to show the wider public what we achieve.

    #11958
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I have never felt obliged to defend the hobby and I make a point of justifying nothing to anyone.  On the rare occasions it comes up I tell people that I paint toy soldiers and play games with them; I guess that this is not the oddest thing about me.

    I think that were a government to make the manufacture and sale of wargames figures illegal, I would print them on paper.  Were they to ban wargaming, I would set up games in public places; were they to jail me I would protest the absence of paper and a pen, and then use said paper and pen to play wargames.

    It is important to remind governments who their masters really are.

    As for demo games, I am all in favour of them, but I sometimes think that it is nice for people to see that, in addition to 5 layer painted 28mm s on a model railway terrain, wargames can be played and enjoyed with block painted plastics on a very basic terrain.  Ever since the Australian government rejected my proposal that wargaming should be adopted as an olympic sport, I have given up proselytising myself.

     

    Oh, and as for making it quite clear that I am not celebrating violence.  I think that if that is necessary it is probably pointless.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by grizzlymc.
    #12283
    AmerInd
    Participant

    I have seldom run into conflict with people who do not practice this hobby. I have found that there is a lot of military types who use the hobby as stress relief and that includes the modelers who do not game. The biggest issue is modern where a few friends who do game it do so in a very imagi-nation  way.

    I have seen and heard more snide remarks among hobbyists of all stripes to where x is better than y and z isn’t deserving of being called a “proper” game.

    I myself was sorely tempted by wings of war/wings of glory but felt inclined to source model kits because it was cheaper and I would have to build it. My wife gifted me the X-wing game before I could begin the project. My kids and I have had so much fun with it that I doubt I will purchase any planes for either world war. Not because I don’t like them, but because we want larger rebel and imperial squadrons!

    My kids really enjoy heroscape, WHFB, and Skylanders. I have also purchased the Napoleonic Waulkerloo files and they have assembled and fought with them.

    Dice, miniatures/counters, some time to waste with good company is all that is needed. But watching my kids play skylanders….how cool would that be if we could incorporate that into our hobby!

    #13736
    willz
    Participant

    Cheers for your comments Grizzlymc and AmerInd I don’t disagree with any of you points.

    I bought X-wing the other week it’s brill.

    #15611
    Nick Turner
    Participant

    Late to this, but in discussion with some character the subject that wargames must make people psycho killers came up. So Bosnia, how many of the folks involved in the killing were wargamers – Probably none, not the most widespread of hobbies in the FRY. How many played soccer – probably most of them, should we ban soccer!!!!

    #15641
    Norm S
    Participant

    The  masses associate figures with two things 1) the Airfix Generation, where every kid had boxes and boxes of toy soldiers to ‘play’ with. 2) the Games Workshop generation, where every parent (many of whom had been of the Airfix Generation) associates figures with their kids passion and so widely there has been a society view that figures are a teenage thing.

    All that really means is that what we do is not readily understood by ‘the masses’ a matter made worse by the fact that increasingly modelling shops have been disappearing off the high street.

    The masses do understand Call of Duty etc on the Xbox as dads and lads quite happily play for hours in what is essentially a wargame, but they do not consider themselves to be wargamers as such.

    I wouldn’t even start to try and defend the ‘wargame’ against the charge of being a warmonger. I love wargaming, history, modelling, tactics etc, but I despise war, injury, hurt, rape, bullies etc. I don’t even enjoy war films because of the portrayal of misery, so I struggle to see any correlation between the two, though I accept that some might and that is just how it is.

    When my wife dies, my daughter will want her jewellery items. When I die, my son will look at my collection of wargame stuff and firstly panic and then calm down once he remembers he has an e-bay account 🙂 either that or a black bin bag will come to the rescue ….. and so it is.

    I’m off now to fly my radio controlled quad heli around the house – which of course is a bigger boys toy than soldiers, but only by a question of degree  ……. hooray for good fun.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Norm S.
    #15672

    Here’s a link to the essay I opened my  blog with. It is about this very topic:

    http://leadnobleed.blogspot.com.br/2009/11/10-introductory-rant-ethics-of.html

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #15727
    willz
    Participant

    Cheers for all your comments folks.

    #15737
    TwoGunBob
    Participant

    People think it’s weird and probably a bit immature that I do play with toy soldiers. I honestly don’t care, though. My peer group is mostly gamers these days and the people that don’t get it are co-workers that I don’t have anything in common with anyways. Gaming-wise I haven’t seen backlash since the 80’s when Pat Pulling was getting airtime on the 700 Club with the Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons thing. I’m thankful my parents saw through all the hype and found that roleplaying games and wargames were niche but harmless hobbies.

    #15747

    The only shocked commentary I have gotten lately is from a feminist colleague who couldn’t believe I paint little toy soldiers and game with them. How militarist and immature!

    I pointed out to her that her social circle was chock full of friends, many of them women, who were rabid football fans and that said crowd is hardly mature or sedate in their enthusiasm.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #15748
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    The only shocked commentary I have gotten lately is from a feminist colleague who couldn’t believe I paint little toy soldiers and game with them. How militarist and immature!
    <p data-wr_replaced=”true”>I pointed out to her that her social circle was chock full of friends, many of them women, who were rabid football fans and that said crowd is hardly mature or sedate in their enthusiasm.

    </p>
    <p data-wr_replaced=”true”></p>
    <p data-wr_replaced=”true”>If it’s any consolation, you can assure her that I am a pacifist card carrying hyperliberal feminist ally and I have absolutely no problems studying military history and sending my little metal-alloy men (and women!) to die horribly for ill-defined causes :-)</p>

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

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