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"The Civil Wars of Wargaming- the cost " Topic


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480 hits since 10 Jul 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 10:19 p.m. PST

"Having established the fact that many of the early wargamers were at war with each other in a loud, aggressive and often abusive manner, what were the consequences? When wargaming emerged in the 1970's as a new hobby, it was considered by some a potential educational tool. One to transform the study of history, politics and international relations. If you played a committee game in French, it could be used in language classes. However, this was not to be. From my random sample of correspondence in the History of Wargaming Project archive, I found that teachers, academics, several clergy and historians had unfortunate encounters with the hobby during the 1970's.


They went along to their local club and were soundly thrashed by competition gamers who were interested in the rules and winning, and with scant regard for history. Perhaps they even took pleasure in shredding an interested academic just to demonstrate that the academic clearly knew nothing about history (and therefore did not deserve their job). These professionals, who could have been champions of the hobby, became the reverse and the hobby suffered. Even RMAS got rid of its wargaming club due its treatment of visiting senior officers and academics…."
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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2018 9:49 a.m. PST

Perhaps worth remembering just how wacky the 70's were in other respects. An era in which ROTC students dared not wear uniforms on campus--in those universities which had not banned ROTC altogether--was never likely to have promoted wargaming as an educational tool in any event. And the article to the contrary, wargaming is seldom used as an educational tool today.

For that matter, what would you be teaching, and who would you use to teach it? I left Kansas State University ABD in 1979 as a military history major. No white male in that class--or a number of classes to either side--ever secured an academic position. Nor did any military history major. There were at that time only three civilian universities in the United States offering post-graduate studies in military history. It's somewhat worse today. (KSU still nominally has a program for instance. But they only ever had two military professors, and they retired one. The survivor is primarily a sports historian, and he was already on staff in 1975.) Check out ethnic or gender studies for comparison.

Not that we didn't and don't have our share of louts. But that period was by no means some great missed opportunity.

Russ Lockwood11 Jul 2018 10:51 a.m. PST

Guess I missed it, as I didn't know any clubs around -- back in early-mid 1970s, found board wargamers in the back of the Avalon Hill General, mostly folks competitive enough to try to win, but not so much as to be jerks.

AICUSV16 Jul 2018 12:53 p.m. PST

The fiction I recall from then was between gamers and the figure collectors.

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