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"something that glorifies violence and killing?" Topic

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656 hits since 25 Nov 2016
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Personal logo IronMike Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 11:06 p.m. PST

Many moons ago when I fancied the idea of putting out my own wargames magazine (before reality set in, of course) I postulated that one of the regular columns was 'ask a wargamer.' In this regular column various famous wargamers would answer questions asked by non-wargamers such as 'concerned citizens' and parents. To see what type of questions would be floated, I opened to floor to the great unwashed.

Aside from the usual questions about price and safety of children (and that one cheese-wanker who used his question to engage on some obvious axe-grinding against a certain game) one question really hit me, and has stuck with me for years, mostly because I couldn't come up with a decent answer.

As you may guess, the question is this: "Why should I let my child get involved with something that glorifies violence and killing?"

As I've said, I can't come up with a coherent answer to this question. Can anyone else?

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 11:11 p.m. PST

"Why should I let my child get involved with something that glorifies violence and killing?"

But it doesn't. At least my wargaming ( & I think the overwhelming mass of everyone else's) is so highly stylised as to be almost sanitised.

Does chess glorify killing & violence? I guess a certain mindset would think that it does but any normal person wouldn't. Ditto wargaming.

Glengarry526 Nov 2016 12:54 a.m. PST

If they take their wargaming seriously they will soon realise that violence and killing are more serious, tragic and less fun than in a video game shoot'em up.

Personal logo John Treadaway Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 12:55 a.m. PST

"Glorifies" is an interesting word. I always ask concerned parents if they are ever worried that their child playing monopoly will affect them by encouraging the kiddie to become heartless capitalists, forcing others into bankruptcy and destitution?

Or if they are concerned that playing Cluedo fosters a poor attitude to murdering people (especially in country houses).

My view is wargaming like many games is effectively a kind of litmus test (or, perhaps more accurately, a Rorschach test) and tells me a awful lot about the moral makeup maybe even the sanity of the person playing by simply observing the style of play and the choices they make.

I'd ask any concerned parent if their child had a few hidden 'issues' wouldn't they rather find out now?

John T

KTravlos Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 3:11 a.m. PST

I never got that point, war-gaming has very little relationship to actual war. It is like saying that playing Monopoly is the same as actually being a real-estate mogul.

That is my answer. Apples to Oranges. Anyway war gaming, especially historical, might lead to an interest in history, and that in turn might lead to reading on actual wars and understanding what a stupid expending of human energy they are, and the deep immorality of the whole exercise.

raylev326 Nov 2016 4:04 a.m. PST

I've never seen anything that "glorifies" violence in a wargame. Wargaming is an abstraction of time, space, and units; it cannot even begin to capture the violence, noise, smells, pain, and fear of real war (I was in El Sal during the civil war, and Iraq).

If anything, wargames stimulate thinking, logic, understanding, and abstract concepts even if the players don't realize it.

bsrlee26 Nov 2016 4:17 a.m. PST

If anything, Wargaming teaches that in any sort of conflict, with or without weapons, there are winners and loosers, and that you are just as likely to be the looser as anything. Someone who has played wargames will soon realise how futile it all is for the average person to be involved in wars.

The actual important part is for parents to be involved with their children and help the children through the process of reasoning it all out, rather than just abandoning them to the narcotic of modern media.

I had a similar question to this asked of me many years ago now while I was walking past a GW shop wearing a Police uniform and I basically told the parent just that – its a game, there are winners and loosers, there are fantasy elements in GW games but the main thing is to be involved with your kids and help them examine what they are doing and point out the nasty untrue stuff. Result – happy parent and kid possibly getting into gaming.

Dynaman878926 Nov 2016 5:43 a.m. PST

There is no answer to that question, the way it is framed the person doing the asking has already made up their mind. The only "response" is to stop the question before it even starts which requires ignoring the parents and working with the kids after they become young adults.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 6:19 a.m. PST

Dynaman makes a very good point:


I don't believe I need to justify my hobby: it's harmless.
And I'm not all that interested in proselytizing anyway.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 7:55 a.m. PST

A good quote from a friend:

"Wargamers are not warmongers. We just have an intense sense of history."

Toaster26 Nov 2016 12:27 p.m. PST

My son wanted to join me in wargaming from age 4, by his third game he tried to hide all his figures because he understood that they could get killed by incoming fire, it took a few more game for him to realise that you couldn't win without taking risks. It definitely cured him of any desire to be a warmonger because he knew at a gut level war was dangerous. But he still enjoys wargames, and it was great father and son time.

And he's getting married in February for those wondering if he's done enough growing up since age 4 for it to be an accurate assessment.

Personal logo BrianW Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 4:02 p.m. PST

Back in the '90s, when we were playing a lot of ACW (JR2), we had a campaign going. Well, we decided to put down a casualty figure every time we took a stand off the board during our battles. I think looking at all those dead guys and smashed guns scattered around cured everyone there of ANY warmonger tendencies.

Less personal answer: Once you realize what those little toy soldiers represent, you're a lot less enthusiastic about sending the real ones into harm's way.

Yellow Admiral26 Nov 2016 4:39 p.m. PST

The real danger of wargaming is that it glorifies inactivity. You never "go outside and play" a wargame.

- Ix

Paint it Pink27 Nov 2016 7:15 a.m. PST

"Why should I let my child get involved with something that glorifies violence and killing?"

This sort of question is what I would consider troll bait.

I would answer in a paradoxical manner and start by asking how it glorifies violence and killing? Make the person be specific and then ask how many times have they seen me glorifying violence and killing according to their definition?

If they can show that I have glorified violence and killing then I would ask, "Given I'm such an awful person why on Earth do you associate with me?"

If on the other hand they can't show that I glorify violence and killing from playing wargames then I guess that playing wargames does no such thing.

Clays Russians09 Dec 2016 9:25 a.m. PST

I would answer that question thusly- I will not justify that statement with neither my time nor my efforts….

Baconheimer Inactive Member01 Jan 2017 4:20 p.m. PST

I don't believe that wargaming glorifies violence. I feel that having your forces killed and imagining that each one is a person actually gives a sense of how bad war is.

Early morning writer01 Jan 2017 7:42 p.m. PST

I've found my interest in military history has lead me away from hawkishness and towards pacifism. I still enjoy wargames because they are not war. But reading about real war and its impact on the soldiers and the civilians it touches – and it always touches civilians – is pretty sobering. We have to be human to be inhumane – and, damn, we sure can be that. The "war is hell" quote is extraordinary appropriate.

My most telling moment? Describing, at the site, what happened at the wheatfiled of Antietam to my wife – and seeing the tears streaming down her face as I did.

Wargaming is playing with toys. Has nothing at all to do with war. History inspires our scenarios but it is still playing with toys.

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