Grognard Wargamer Thread!

Yes, well…that’s because he is applying a flawed, and mainly discounted methodology to the study of Military History and the conduct of Military Operations…

Yeah, not quite so insidious…I fully expected to see a link to a Vice article there, or maybe Polygon. :)

He’s just dancing down well-worn (and very flawed) Qualitative Judgement Method path as applied to conflict and then apply it to the study of a Campaign. It’s been tried before and always found wanting. Some people still try to sell that snake oil. It has its place, but is a poor predictor of hypothetical outcomes for conflicts, and is just as flawed in terms of explaining them.

It leads to a Grigsby place.

Heh, back in the eighties I visited Dupuy’s operation in Virginia, as I lived nearby. Bought a couple of books I still have, mostly out of curiosity. Never bought into the voodoo, but I understand the appeal–it’s a nice data-driven and “clean” way to think about very complex and messy stuff. Sadly, like most such attempts, it is about as useful as you might expect…not much.

Its intellectual comfort food. May taste great, may make you feel better on a rainy winter evening, but it’ll make you fat and clog your arteries.

It’s strange how people take some personal partisan identity from any of this. The Wehraboos always seemed to be most noticeable, but now we have the “Tankies”, whom I have also encountered. I guess there will always be some subset who are fascinated by and identify with extremists.

I specifically remember four people from my youth.

Two would not play the Nazis. One lost family in Concentration Camps. One’s father was German forced labor from France.

Two would not play Communists (one, who I knew as a weeeee lad also wouldn’t play Chekhov when we played Star Trek). One’s dad was in a Communist reeducation camp before successfully defecting from Hungary. The other’s dad was a political prisoner in Cuba for ten years.

I get that. Completely.

Today though, IMO, it is usually some sort of SM-esque partisan signaling from one tribal affiliation or another. Usually involving preemptively claiming moral high ground before shaming the other tribal affiliation for playing one “side” or another. Or having black counters in a game or something.

Absolutely. In another forum, there is a thread in the gaming forum that is literally dedicated to “finding fascists in gaming.” These people go on and on about finding any sort of perceived fascism in gaming materials, and then call for witch hunt attacks on the developers, etc.

Now some of that may be called for. Certain game developers seem to have a love of, um, putting swastikas everywhere possible. But in a lot of situations, it’s just like, “What the fuck are you talking about? Because someone has a ‘race’ of evil creatures in a roleplaying game, he’s suddenly a fascist because a ‘race’ of evil is somehow a purely fascist concept?”

It’s utterly bizarre that people seem to devote their time and identity to hating the other side of something. Like, why would you pick something like this to go nuts over, and spend hours and hours in your head on? Or maybe it isn’t bizarre, as it just resembles the standard religious purity nuts, and, dare I say it, actual fascists and communists we’ve seen in the past, each obsessed with finding any evidence of ideological impurity with anyone else. When I listen to these people, I can almost imagine the Spanish inquisitors obsessing over whether someone is engaged in witch craft because they baked a loaf of bread in accordance with non-Christian ethics or something.

Yeah, its getting stupid out there. Though a lot of the quoted part above, IMO is because bad guyz make great marketing, and the more juvenile and simplistic you can make the bad guyz the better the marketing.

The Spanish Inquisition did not give too many fucks about witchcraft (compared with pretty much every other inquisition/religious tribunals in Europe).

It’s heresy they focused most of their energies on (witchcraft and superstition accounted for less than 8% of the cases).


I mean, upper estimates for Inquisition executions are at 5.000 (less than 10% related to witchcraft, so about 500 witch executions) while upper estimates for witchcraft executions in Europe are at 60.000. That’s a 100x difference. Concerns with witchcraft were mostly a Protestant issue.

Witches were fine in Spain. They are actually accepted as non-evil agents in several of our superstitious traditions.

I’ll stop now

I dunno. I’ve never heard about those extreme fascist hunters, and that sounds pretty counterproductive. But I get not wanting to play the bad guys. I don’t know that I’ve ever played as the Germans in a WWII computer game where you have a choice. (Similarly I rarely play the bad guys in fantasy games.)

On the other hand, if you’re a serious wargamer (I’m not) in a regular group (I’m not), then switching it up seems like common courtesy.

There’s a big difference between avoiding stuff to which you have a strong adverse relationship–family history, for instance, or personal experience–and simply being a wannabe tool. I’ve played with people who glorified both the Nazis and those who were apologists for Stalin, and I liked neither group very much. In general, my interest in historical wargaming has always been about the tactical and strategic conundrums that come up, and the ability to sort of see a version of what happened, or at least the challenges that were faced, play out before me. If the subject matter of a game was too close for comfort, I just wouldn’t play it.

Of course, there were also the folks who were just weird, like the former armored cav guy who believed in aliens and kept predicting the end of the world…

What a show…

Here we go…

Seriously, my favorite part of that awesome movie.

Yeah, its actually fairly deep on the history in the lyrics too…while being freaking hilarious. Great film. Kinda gets lost sometimes among all his other great works.

Whenever the age old “Nazis and Commies in wargaming” horse gets exhumed to be ceremonially rebeaten again before being reburied I always have this pop into my head:

I think it gets exhumed, as you put it, because it never really died. Since the beginning of board wargaming the hobby has wrestled with its image. Sometimes the obloquy hurled at wargamers was unjustified, and the product of utter ignorance. Sometimes, there was fire to go with the smoke. I think one of the issues with WWII games, for example, is that the seemingly logical approach that most wargamers take, which is to separate the politics from the military history stuff, really is an attempt to what really can’t be done. Yes, you can carve off specific areas to focus on and leave other areas out, as long as the focus is narrow and the time frame is short. But ultimately, it all is of a piece, and you can’t fundamentally understand the battlefield performance of armies without considering the social, military, economic, and political context within which they operate. Unfortunately, for WWII, this brings people into areas where too many folks simply aren’t willing to do the heavy lifting necessary to compartmentalize when necessary without losing sight of the big picture. Too many want to oversimplify things one way or the other, and in my experience, the Nazi fanbois are by far the most numerous of these offenders.

I think it gets exhumed because people wanna make the same points they did the last time. :). And the time before that. Recursion!

Not sure if this is mentioned above somewhere but Compass Games is having their holiday sale until the end of the month. Use the code HOLIDAY19 to get 25-30% off. Not sure they have anything I can’t live without. Decisions, decisions…

Until they get an errata-free, unbroken design out the door, beware my friend.