Friday, February 24, 2012
Unfortunately, I am in a position to confirm that this is entirely true...
Except maybe the spouse part -- I am not sure I ever played war games whilst I had a spouse. We did, however, move several cartons of them from house to house, and I have them still. Anybody for Third Reich, Panzer Blitz, or Sniper?
Anytime! Victory in the Pacific, Panzer Leader, Battle of the Bulge, Midway, Kriegspiel and one of my favorite Avalon Hill games, The Stock Market Game. We just finished with our Winter Quarters convention.
I didn't know you were a gamer.
Last time I played Third Reich, the fucking Italians destroyed almost the entire British Royal Navy in two of the most epically awful series of dice rolls I've ever suffered...
My current crop includes Here I Stand, Twilight Struggle, The Forgotten War, The Republic of Rome, and some assorted Fantasy Flight titles, like Descent and Runebound. I've got Struggle of Nations, too, but I doubt I'll ever find anyone to play it.
You aren't going to be in Texas from about the 9th to the 15th are you?
Out here in LA two game stores ran a game of Harpoon against each other. The playing tables had model ships on a blue sea, and one table was at the Competitors Castle and the other was at the Last Grenadier. They figured the scale was about right.
There are still many hundreds of active ASL (Advanced Squad Leader) players nationwide.
I understand some of the criticism of wargamers, but from them I learned to think ahead, read and understand instructions, how to keep friends and to win with grace and lose with honor. I never wasted any time spent around the gaming table.
If you like SPI games, check out www.hexwar.com. They have 41 of them beautifully adapted for on-line play. Besides being able to play anyone around the world at your own pace, play goes much faster: setup is instantaneous, and there's no more counting hexes, you just click on any unit and all hexes within marching range will be highlighted. You get to spend your time thinking about strategy rather than mechanics.
You normally play games in pairs, doing the same game from both sides. I'm right now playing eight Borodinos against one opponent: we're playing 1st day, 2nd day, 3rd day, and campaign (3-day) scenarios from both sides. So far he's won both 1st days, I'm winning both 3rd days, we've split the 2nd day (Russians winning both), and it's too early to tell on the campaign version. It will only take probably 2-3 hours total, spread over a week or two, for all 8 games.
Seriously, if you're into wargames, check it out. If you join ($12.95 a month, I think), send a challenge or two to 'curculio' (that's me). No, I'm not a stockholder, just a happy customer. They have several hundred members, who seem to be 99% male and 97% over 50.
I was a wargamer as well.
AH games Stalingrad, Panzer Blitz, Panzer Leader, Waterloo, Blitzkrieg, Afrika Korps etc.
Also played Tractics(?) fast rules with Minitanks and Airfix soldiers back in HS.
As of late it has been Hearts of Iron, a WWII grand strategy/ resource management game played against the PC. I have wasted hundreds of hours playing it.
Started with Tactics II. Third Reich, Tobruk, Chancellorsville, 1776, Squad Leader, Starship Troopers...good times, good times. Favorite had to be Third Reich. Got an ass-whooping as Germany when I decided to save GNP points by not declaring war on the Low Countries and instead go through the Maginot Line. Yeh...didn't do that again.
I'm going to look to see if any of these are on-line. If anyone is aware of any, be good to hear about it.
www.hexwar.com (which I mentioned above) has two different Chancellorsville games, Hooker & Lee and Marye's Heights. They don't have a single Afrika Korps or Tobruk game, but they do have the SPI North Africa quad set, consisting of Crusader (British relief of Tobruk), Cauldron (Gazala), Supercharge (El Alamein), and Kasserine.
How many of you lads (and Old Lads) have actually served in the real Armed Forces? OK, I am a really old guy. We ran around playing war outside when I was UNDER 17. Then I joined the Marines and "did" real war. Between the wars, we studied war very closely in military histories and went to battlefields. Beyond the WW I and II, we studies Algeria, Cyprus, Malaya (as it was then called) and N. Ireland and ETA of Spain. War is very really and very awful. Why not put your minds (and bodies) into it and do those things to tamp down the world wide violence? Just asking.
USMC (Ret) 32 yrs active duty
To answer your questions: "How many of you lads (and Old Lads) have actually served in the real Armed Forces?"
I did. Many of the historical wargamers I've known did, too.
"Why not put your minds (and bodies) into it and do those things to tamp down the world wide violence?"
They're games. They're fantastical and played for fun. There is no reason why one could not be both an avid wargamer and a professional peacenik. That's a bit like asking we we don't all swear off chess and instead commit ourselves to stamping out feudalism.
But as for me, violent conflict is a natural human condition and you can no more 'stamp it out' than you could stamp out anger, love, and envy. So if you can't get rid of it, you can at least get really good at it so you always win.
My comments obviously were not aimed at you and those like you.
They're aimed at the far too many physically out of shape boys (and men[?])that play "war" but know nothing of it. War games have, as I am betting you know, been used by military forces to sharpen their mental skills without having to spend fortunes on real weapons, equipment and troops.
Like you, I hold out no hope for less violence in the world, however, I am very convinced that hightly disciplined, very well-trained and well-equipped forces can prevent some wars and hammer the bad guys when it doth occur. The evil leaning need to be deterred and those that cannot be, must be crushed.
Finally, thank you for serving your country.
I am one of those "Armchair Strategists". As a young lad I learned that both of grandfathers fought with the US Army against the Germans in WWI. My father fought the Germans in the US Navy During WWII. For a short while, until I wised up, I though this was the normal state of affairs. Young American men grew up, went overseas and fought the Germans, came home and got a job or went to college. I planned on a military career early on, and when my asthma flared up, I sat home and read the encyclopedia, National Geographic, the Ballentine books on military history ($.99 each!) and played wargames. Eventually, my father, the Navy doctor, sat me down and explained that with a lung capacity of 1/3 normal I wasn't going to be passing any military physicals in my lifetime. I never lost my interest in military history and I like the high veteran ratio in wargame groups. Some of my favorite memories were playing Squad Leader with my cousin, an Army medic and we would always let me know where the "rules' differed from "reality". Among my close friends who play wargames, 5 out of 8 are veterans.
The military historian, Sir John Keegan (and if you don't know of him, take a look....), desperately wanted to join HM Forces. He, like some others, had a physical malady that truly prevented him. Still, military was a passion for him. He studied (read books, and lots of them) and obtained degrees in military history. For some while he was a civilian instructor for the GCs (Gentlemen-Cadets) at the Royal Militry College - Sandhurst. He, despite his physical issues, has done great service for his country (and ours as well)in publishing very many books (non-fiction) on all aspects of war.
OK, so what? Those that legitimately cannont serve in uniform CAN serve in other ways and can do much for the defense of our nation.
My comments really were (six digit grid square) directed at lads that were (are) just slothful and generally non-productive.
I knew of a lad that was too fat to get into the Marines. He was rejected. He went on a diet and a running program. He went in again and again was rejected. Undeterred, he improved his diet even more and upped the running times and distance...and situps and pull ups. He was accepted.
After my 32 years of active duty in the Marines, I was a college instructor (one of the few that wasn't a Leftie). I did that for 14 yrs. Since 9/11, I would look at the boys in the class...they surely were not men....and wonder why they were not down at some military recruiting office. Note: My only child is married to a Marine whose done two tours in Iraq and is still on active duty.
So, if you've got a legit reason for not serving, this wasn't aimed at you. If you do not, why are you not serving? There is a war on and the Marines and Soldiers are in the thick of it....particulary some MOS'....and America is at the mall.
I would note there are hundreds and hundreds of very good books packed with real "lessons learned". Sadly, most Americans, including in our government have never read them and thus the blood soaked lessons have gone unlearned.
Anon wrote, "My comments really were (six digit grid square) directed at lads that were (are) just slothful and generally non-productive."
Ah, I know the type well. Among my wargaming club there are none of those.
Part of the fun of wargaming is the preservation of history. I remember when an bunch of 7-4 armored counters got wiped out near Bastogne and my friend and I read later those counters represented Patton's 4th Armored Division. We were just kid's we read some books and I would daresay we are now in the 1% in regards to knowledge on the subject. We use the hobby to help reinforce the study of military history.
I will have to look up hexwar, but I try to reserve some time every month to play with people in person.
I visited Bastogne, which is just over the border from Luxembourg. Beautiful (and huge) memorial to all the various U.S. Divisions that fought in and around that area in the Winter of 1944-5. The monument was paid for entirely by the Belgians shortly after the war's end. Europe, of course, is loaded with battlefield and military museums. The most UNDERwhelming is the French Army Museum at Les Invalides in Paris. The WW II portion would have the uninformed viewer believe The Resistance pretty much beat the Germans in France and that Charles de Gaulle was a major player in the war.
One of my buddies, a former Marine and an avid wargamer visited Bastogne years ago. He said it was amazing how well the people there treated him. It was like he was a long lost cousin. He has also walked the battlefields of Waterloo and Gettysburg. I know quite a few wargamers who are serious students of history.