Voros

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"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- Santayana


Here's a great blog post exploring the tribal warfare between trad wargamers (a.k.a self declared grognards), fantasy wargamers and D&D players (a.k.a those damn kids!) displayed in the 1970s Battle Magazine.

The mighty Tony Bath and Steve Jackson (UK edition) make appearances defending fantasy and the kids these days.

Apparently Jackson was responding to this:


Someone also found this one.


For those who won't deign to click on Twitter links to read the letters in full.

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But remember y'all today's tribalism is serious business. Amazing that somehow those DoingItWrong and BadWrongFun back then didn't destroy the hobby like they are so sure to do these days. :clown:
 

The Butcher

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TBF, historical wargaming is a lot smaller now so his fears were borne out.
Yes, but — speaking as someone who’s still bitter about CCGs displacing RPGs at the game tables of the NSFLG in the 90s — how much of wargaming’s decline is owed to fantasy wargaming/D&D/RPGs?

Because, IME, CCGs kept the stores afloat for a few years, which was better than the current situation — no game stores to speak of.
 

TristramEvans

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“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
- C.S. Lewis
 

David Johansen

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Of course, in the early eighties there was a lot of similar rhetoric in Dragon Magazine about the inferiority of wargaming to roleplaying.

I wonder if historicals are a smaller market than they were in the seventies. When I look at the range of models and companies and rulesets available now, I really suspect historical gaming is quite a bit bigger than it was then though proportionally much smaller than fantasy gaming. Hex and counter games, well, I know there are companies out there but I'm guessing their production runs are pretty small.
 

Arminius

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Back in the ‘70s, in the US, I was aware that there were historical wargamers who wanted to exclude fantasy & SF from the hobby, but it wasn't something I saw in person, even when I ventured beyond my circle of friends into wargaming conventions such Origins.

I do remember encountering people who got into hobby gaming through D&D and who had no knowledge or interest in wargames. They were a different type.
 

Magister

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Cons had similar conflicts; SF fans lamenting the popularity of fantasy, literary fans hating on media fans, and so on. Where a new thing quickly rises to greater popularity than a similar established predecessor, bitterness will arise among the purists. And the RPG hobby has similar conflicts: the Butcher mentions CCGs vs RPGs.

The narcissism of small differences is compounded by Sayre's law.
 

David Johansen

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Can you dig up any examples? I don’t remember seeing that.
Sadly, it's been a long time since I had any issues of Dragon Magazine. My bet would be they were in the letter column rather than anything official out of TSR who were still publishing wargames. But do I recall seeing some of that attitude there. I only had a scattering of issues between 50 and 120. But I read them many times.
 

Magister

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Given how many ads were from companies making a lot of historical miniatures, it seems unlikely that Dragon Magazine would give much prominence to complaints about the inferiority of historical wargaming. I do recall various April Fools articles describing gaming types in uncomplimentary terms, and the grognards probably took some fire.

You can find scanned copies of Dragon Magazine on the internetz; I looked at several #50 and later, and found reviews of historical wargames and no particular criticism of the hobby.
 

Dumarest

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To sum up: "Anyone who doesn't play the games I enjoy, in the way that I enjoy them, for the reasons that I enjoy them, even if I have never met him or played with him and will never meet or play with him, is ruining this serious adult hobby with his childishness."
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Plus ça change.

It's those same sons of bitches who don't put on their Sunday finery before boarding an airplane, I tell ya!
 
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Arminius

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@Dumarest I think it’s worth a little more examination than that. On my the internet, specifically Usenet, the CCG craze hit rec.games.board (not rec.games.frp) hard, and later German games/Euros came in. Where previously wargames were the center of gravity now the fans had to wade through a flood of topics and deal with posters whose approach/interest was fundamentally different. It’s a real problem because you constantly have to rehash principles and framing of discussion.
 

Voros

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Belittling and denying people’s opinions only serves to further inflame disputes.
Usually true but some people take stances so extreme there is really no talking to them, they will not consider any view other than their own.
 

Gronan of Simmerya

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English wargamers in the 70s had sticks so far up their butts they could hang their hats on them. Really, they make any Yank grognard look like a complete and total amateur. Tony Bath would happily name a commander "Sir Hugh Jarce," while Don Featherstone hated stuff like that. Which I strongly suspect made Tony redouble his efforts...


Also, I'm not really convinced that historical miniatures wargaming is a smaller hobby than it used to be, considered as a percentage of the entire population. What IS true is that it is a smaller percentage of the gaming market, and a much smaller percentage of the buying market. We're still playing with miniatures and rules bought in the 1980s.

Just like I still use the first HO scale boxcar that I put together from a kit in 1970.
 

Gronan of Simmerya

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The irony is that those complaining weren't even real wargamers, just miniatures gamers. :wink: (Briefly had a subscription to Strategy & Tactics in the late 70s.)
I used to have a copy of an early issue of S&T from 1968 or 69, where there was a letter from a reader complaining that there "hex and chit Avalon Hill games are ruining REAL wargaming," which the writer then explains is done with miniatures.

For that matter I have a model railroad magazine from April 1947 with a letter complaining that nobody is a real model railroader any more because they can't drill and tap holes in metal.

Le plus ca change, le plus c'est la meme chose, which is French for "Oh bugger, this again."
 

Gronan of Simmerya

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The funny thing is Dave and Gary were both avid wargamers, and damn good at it too.

Dave Arneson, the nicest, quietest, gentlest man I ever met, would, once on the other side of the battlefield from you, rip out your heart, show it to you while laughing maniacally, and eat it in front of you.
 

Arminius

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Usually true but some people take stances so extreme there is really no talking to them, they will not consider any view other than their own.
No doubt. However, there’s seeing the silly, and then there’s just bad faith characterization.

I can dig up some old arguments about realism in miniatures wargames—again among the British hobbyists. They’re silly because they’re so vehement and are—to my recollection—utterly absent any sentiment of live and let live. They reflect real differences in tastes, though, and it would be insulting to claim otherwise.

Dumarest’s response to what I wrote is of the same ilk. He trotted out the old “one true wayism” canard and doubled down on it without engaging the discussion at all. Is my representation of how things played out on Usenet unbelievable on the face of it? I suggest, first, you had to be there.
 

Shemek hiTankolel

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I never understood this attitude of looking down on someone else's hobby. I am both a wargamer and RPGer. I love playing my hex and chit wargames as much as I love moving my toy soldiers on the table, or running dungeons. I don't play 40k, but if someone wanted to play a game, and provided an army to use, I would be all in for it. At heart I am a gamer, and I don't much care what other gamers play. If I like it I'll play it as well. If I don't then I won't. Simple as that. No need to slag anybody and what they enjoy.
As an aside, if you really want to get some historical gamers nuts in a knot, mention "Imagi-Nations" to them. They probably hate these types of games more than fantasy wargames.
 

Arminius

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Had no idea about the Imagi-Nations hobby drama. I found this which is largely people reacting to the controversy, but I’d love to see some actual slagging on the activity.

(I seem to recall that both Tony Bath and Donald Featherstone described what were, effectively, that type of game, in their books on ancient campaigns and naval battles, respectively.)
 

CRKrueger

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Something new comes along, there will always be disruption of the old.

Is the new thing different? Of course it is, that’s why it’s new.

Being different then, is voicing dislike based on those differences a valid point? Of course it is.

Being different then, is voicing like based on those differences a valid point? Of course it is.

Will some people who prefer the old thing, treat those who like the new thing as childish, less intelligent, less committed, obsessed with the new shiny, chasing fads like the shallow trend-followers they are? Sure, humans are tribal.

Will some people who prefer the new thing, treat those who like the old thing as crusty, old, nostalgic, cliqueish, grognards wearing rose-colored glasses,, yelling at others to get off their lawn like the conservative, luddite, hidebound dinosaurs they are? Sure, humans are tribal.

Will some people try to discuss the old and the new logically, comparing and contrasting in an attempt to define and categorize those differences? Sure, humans also have a brain.

Will the vast majority of people just use the old, the new, or both and not care one way or the other? Sure, because humans pick different things to be tribal about, especially hobbies.
 
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Arminius

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“(Dis)approval” in the sense of “(dis)like”, is valid. In the sense of moral judgment, or feeling the new thing should be discouraged, is rarely valid.

(Yes, sometimes it’s valid. Like, it’s reasonable to be annoyed at rental scooters cluttering public walkways.)

(I’m sure you meant this, but misunderstanding comes so easily on the Internet.)
 

Shemek hiTankolel

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Had no idea about the Imagi-Nations hobby drama. I found this which is largely people reacting to the controversy, but I’d love to see some actual slagging on the activity.

(I seem to recall that both Tony Bath and Donald Featherstone described what were, effectively, that type of game, in their books on ancient campaigns and naval battles, respectively.)
You are right about Tony Bath and Donald Featherstone, but don't forget CS Grant who, if memory serves, coined the term. Anyway, maybe we should start an Imagi-Nations thread? I would be in for that.
 
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CRKrueger

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“(Dis)approval” in the sense of “(dis)like”, is valid. In the sense of moral judgment, or feeling the new thing should be discouraged, is rarely valid.

(Yes, sometimes it’s valid. Like, it’s reasonable to be annoyed at rental scooters cluttering public walkways.)

(I’m sure you meant this, but misunderstanding comes so easily on the Internet.)
Heh, that’s funny. I originally went with dislike, but then ”voicing like” sounded weird so I changed it, but you’re right, disapproval isn’t the same thing. I changed it back.
 

Atelerix

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Real wargamers, of course, sellotape themselves inside cardboard boxes , cut a view slit and crawl around the garden to simulate the limited visibility of tank warfare.

One True Wayers - fuck 'em. My wife calls my gaming hobby "Sylvanian Families", and I would game with those in a heartbeat!
 
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TristramEvans

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Despite being a wargamer, I'm not previously familiar with the term. Is it referring to any fantasy wargaming such as Warhammer, something more specific like Tony Baths "How to Run a Wargames Campaign" that advocates making up your own maps and worlds, or something more specific?
 

CRKrueger

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Imaginations originally were fake little 18th Century European nations riffing on the myriad elector states and small countries in the Holy Roman Empire. It's taking the imaginary battles that never happened in History of real European Powers and taking it one step further. There's a couple of seminal books about wargaming that talked about Imaginations specifically as a way of getting more fun out of wargaming rather than play the same historical battles again and again, many of which have been endlessly explored.
 

Shemek hiTankolel

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Despite being a wargamer, I'm not previously familiar with the term. Is it referring to any fantasy wargaming such as Warhammer, something more specific like Tony Baths "How to Run a Wargames Campaign" that advocates making up your own maps and worlds, or something more specific?
"Imagi-Nations" is a term used to denote a fictitious nation that never existed, but could have given the right circumstances. Coined in the 1960's by the historical wargamer Charles S. Grant it was, initially, used exclusively to refer to some type of imaginary 18th Century Duchy, Principality, Electorate, Kingdom, or other various political entity located in what is now Germany and Central Europe. Nowadays you can find "Imagi-Nations" set in the Ancient World, 19th and 20th Centuries, in Europe, America, Africa, Australia, and anywhere else you can think of. One of the most famous "Imagi-Nations'" campaigns was Tony Bath's Hyborean Campaign set on REH's Hyborian continent.

I have been wargaming with "Imagi-Nation" armies for some time now, and there are tonnes of blogs and Facebook pages that deal with this interesting sub set of historical wargames.
 

David Johansen

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You mean her short stories?
I guess it's more of a themed collection of short stories than a novel. It's all set in the imaginary Balkan country of Osrinia and ranges from the middle ages to the dying days of communism.
 
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