|What does this have to do with war-gaming comfort zones? Nothing at all.|
Saturday was a damn good gaming day for me, probably the best fun I've had around a gaming table in years. Not only did I FINALLY get to meet up with fellow bloggers Fran, Ray, Clint and Big Lee, I got to join the (in)famous Postie's Rejects for a Napoleonic Spectacular! I know that all four of the bloggers I just mentioned plan on talking about the day's wargaming with Bat Rep's of day, so I won't steal their thunder or say anything more about it here except to say:
THANKS GUYS!!! I HAD A BLAST!!!
After the game finished and Clint and I were presented with lovely "Honorary Reject Awards", I had a great chat with some of the guys in the grand surroundings of Postie's MASSIVE miniatures collection, during which the conversation turned to war-gaming comfort zones. I can't quite remember how we got onto the topic, (perhaps it was someone mentioning the Battle of the Boyne) but I do remember Smiffy talking about how much trouble he had getting into sci-fi type games as he couldn't take them seriously. This eventually led me to mention that I couldn't get really into ultra-modern gaming for the opposite reason - I take ultra-modern gaming very seriously. Between my brother-in-law being a serving soldier and being ex-military myself (and having lost friends in some of the battles now featuring as scenarios in several ultra-modern campaign settings) I just don't feel comfortable war-gaming any period in recent living memory. I think that the Vietnam War is about as recent as I could manage.
That ended not long before I was born, which leads me to wonder if my actual cut-off point migh tsimply be conflicts that have occurred in my lifetime?
My attitude strikes me as a little odd really, given that I know of gamers who actually served in places like the Falklands or Iraq and Afghanistan who are altogether happy to wargame those periods. Whereas I, who never got anywhere near any proper combat while in the forces (unless you count a few bar fights in Germany), get a bit unsettled even at the thought of war-gaming any of those conflicts.
Perhaps I simply feel that they have a right to war-game the conflicts they took part in whereas I, (given my lack of participation in those events) do not? Possibly this is simply a reflection of how self-conscious I feel in any gathering of my peers who have seen actual combat. After all, it's not as though I'm uncomfortable or offended by anyone who wargames these conflicts, whether or not they've ever worn a uniform!
|What's that? You want me to war-game the Road to Baghdad? Good Heavens No!|
If anything, it's my own attitude that I find bewildering and perplexing, rather than anyone elses.
Clint from Anything But a One was present at this conversation and, being very aware of the controversy around ultra-modern games, was a little concerned that I might have been unsettled by some of his recent blog content, but I was able to (truthfully) assure him that it didn't. As I've already said, I might not be comfortable gaming the period myself, but I have no problem with other people doing it. In fact, I quite enjoy reading about ultra modern games and battle reports. I just don't feel comfortable actively participating myself.
Strangely enough, I actively enjoy ultra-modern gaming so long as we change the damn names! I don't care if the miniatures are obviously British, Israeli, Iraqi or whatever so long as we call them Franonians or Alcovians or Bongolians instead. We can even re-fight actual engagements, so long as they're re-fought in a fictional context. I actively enjoy gaming in alternate modern histories, such as "Cold War Gone Hot" scenarios. At one point, I even kept a blog called Untied Kingdom, where I worked on an ultra-modern British civil war setting. But, that skirted way too close to the edge of what I considered acceptable, however unlikely the scenario, because it still explicitly involved regiments and corps to which some of my real-world friends and family still belong. In the end, the project died a slow, languishing death. Every now and then I go back to the blog and take a look at it. I still think the concept had the potential to be some of my best work, but it really did skirt too close to the edge of my comfort zone to live.
I think my willingness to bring down the shutters and game in fictional nations stems from the days when I war-gamed modern day battles as part of my profession. Our exercises and TEWTs (Tactical Exercises without Troops) always involved countries with names that bore little to no resemblance to any real nations or cities. Although we were practicing for a very real war, we could comfortably joke about errors that cost our forces entire fictional battalions at a time -even though those self-same battalions had identical equipment and levels of training to real life formations either in our own army or some other thinly disguised nations'. But as soon as anyone present began taking things a little too lightly, there would be a quiet, yet somewhat pointed, cough followed by the even more quietly voiced question from the Colonel or RSM:
"but what if it had been some of our boys, eh?"
What about you folks out there? Are there any periods or scenario's you in particular feel uncomfortable with?