Why wargaming? Part One
Okay, so I have just killed my thousandth human in Witcher 3. Why does the internet applaud
this act, but not if I managed to destroy Meade's army at Gettysburg. In that scenario, I am a
warmongering nut case.
Most of the poor bastards I killed in the Witcher 3 were really only to test out some new sword
or a different type of weapon for the hell of it. The limbs flying off at odd angles and the tortured
scream of the computer animated victim were just icing on the cake. How many times have you
reloaded that save " just once more" to kill everyone in the room just that much quicker? These
acts are considered fine for healthy humans, but set out a map and counters and you have gone
over the line.
If you really think about it, our culture sees more blood and gore in one Freddy/Jason film than
any Roman would have seen in the cheap seats of the Coliseum. Before binoculars and
eyeglasses, it would play out like a Monty Python sketch "Sit down big nose, you can't see anything
I used to love George Carlin; until he ranted and raved about wargaming, that is. To him, the
idea of us "running up the casualties” higher than they had been originally was disgusting.
Did he rant and rave about Arma or Halflife? No, just our hobby.
Is there anything really different in trying to throw, catch or kick a ball like (insert your favorite
sports figure). Why can’t this be compared to trying to do better, or as well as, Hannibal or
Where, if anywhere, should we draw the line? To many of us a Dresden is acceptable, but we
draw the line at committing a Hiroshima on our computer or cardboard enemies.
Wargaming to me is about trying to put myself as close to the situation as each game, or as I
prefer to call it ‘simulation’, can.. Am I as smart as I think I am? Could I have taken Leningrad or
defended Plevna better than what actually occurred in the actual battles?
I remember Battlecry. I also remember Tactics II, but the day I first saw PanzerBlitz in all its
glory is etched into my mind: the store, the counter, and the look, feel and heft of the box. To this
day, a board wargame does not pass inspection if it does not feel weighty enough.
The actual games have helped me immensely with the dry tomes we all know and love. Is
putting a map in a book a crime in some countries? I can only draw stick figures, but it isn't that
difficult to draw a map. I cannot understand why some authors avoid them like the plague.
So, is our hobby just another vicarious escape hatch from reality like all others, or is it the
seriously demented vision that others have of us?
I'll leave it up to you to decide. Meanwhile I will put on my Pickelhaube and fire up Fallout 4 and
teach some supermutants manners with my minigun.
This diatribe was brought to you by the US pharmacology bloc and was edited by the only
person in the house that has command of the King's English.