If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register or login before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
Topic: Editorial: When Gaming Meets History #6: What Turns Me On
As human beings, we all have certain predilections. We have things that we like and those that we do not like. In life, as we grow from infancy, we begin to find out what we like and don't like. As we mature in life, these choices become even more definitive.
Take food as an example. I don't remember my first few years of life, but I do recollect something of my early years as a toddler. As long as I can remember, I haven't liked broccoli, eggplant,
English peas, or calf's liver. This list is not all-inclusive, but examples of the fact that I have my favorite foods and others that I detest. I had to eat them when I was small. I'm a big boy now, and those days are over!
Not only food, but I have other things that I prefer. That would cover movies, type of vehicle that I own, my clothing, the music that appeals most to me, the type of opposite sex partner that best suits my character, and every other aspect of my life.
Wild Bill gets an early start.
Does everyone else share my views? Of course not! That is what makes the world go round. What I dislike, another thoroughly enjoys. There is nothing wrong with that. Most of us know this fact. We accept it. "To each his own," "different strokes for different folks," "whatever floats your boat." All of these are common, well known sayings. They exemplify the fact that we are different human beings and have our own preferences.
This fact is evident in the hobbies we enjoy. Some folks collect stamps; others are memorabilia fanatics, avid history buffs, or a myriad of other things that they enjoy. There is nothing wrong with that. As a lad my interest, as many of you know, turned to things military in nature. That in time became more directed. At this point in my life, two of my personal favorites are the study of military history and then the representation of that history through the hobby of wargaming.
Gamers enjoying the moment.
Here again, one must sort through so many different possibilities. People collect, paint, and display miniatures. The crowd that is into board wargaming is still alive and well. Over the last decade there is a group in society that has grown greatly in number. These are those who have become involved to one degree or another in computer wargaming. I am one of those people.
Fighting your fights via computer wargames has pluses and minuses. One of the biggest plus marks for me is that fact that I don't have to do any bookkeeping or calculations. The computer does that for me. In so doing, this marvelous machine saves me a lot of time and argument. It also frees my mind. I can focus on the fight, keeping the intensity of the battle going.
Ever watch a sporting event, let's say football, when one team is energized, perfectly orchestrated in its march toward the opposing teams goal line? Suddenly, a penalty or an injury stops the play. Minutes pass with both teams restlessly waiting for the go-ahead. In such a moment the team with the advantage can easily lose some of the intensity of their play.
Bookwork in wargaming can do that very same thing when you are in the midst of a hot battle. By the time you have got the rules and the calculations figured out, you've lost your train of thought. Computers make those decisions for you, freeing you to stay in the battle. It keeps the "heat of the moment" sizzling for you.
Big men and big choices.
Even in this hobby, I am choosy. Not every product out there appeals to me. What kind of wargames do I like? I thrive on the ones that get down and dirty. These are the fights that put me in the trenches. Sometimes a wargame can be too abstract, too distant. I prefer one that gives me some personal responsibility in the action. To say it another way, I enjoy being a captain more than a two-star general. I have no visions of grandeur. Yes, I enjoy games like
Risk, or Axis and Allies. They have their own appeal. What they do not do is help me to really get into a fight. Units in a wargame that represent the larger more abstract forces, such as regiments or entire divisions, are far too distant from the smell of gunpowder.