Help support TMP

"Wargaming: The Challenges of Preconceptions" Topic

10 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please be courteous toward your fellow TMP members.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Wargaming in General Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

The QuarterMaster Table Top

Need 16 square feet of gaming space, built to order?

Featured Profile Article

GenCon '96

The Editor is fresh back from GenCon, one of the largest gaming conventions in North America.

378 hits since 22 Nov 2022
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 8:06 p.m. PST

"Imagine that inevitable moment, usually with a mug or a glass in hand, that someone I've just met asks me what I do for a living. It used to be so simple. "Oh, I'm in the army", I'd say, listening out for any excuse to talk enthusiastically and at length about tanks in my interrogator's reply. Now, though, I have to think a bit harder, largely about how patient I'm feeling. Because when they hear I work in wargaming, everybody brings their bias. Whether they just can't see the value or are entertained by the notion of adults playing games at work (particularly with polyhedral dice), it's very rare to meet someone who accepts the idea at face value. And the reasons why are all about preconceptions…"

Main page



Fitzovich Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2022 2:23 a.m. PST

One wonders why it is important what others think? I have been in this hobby as an enthusiast, a game retailer and worked with the industry trade association over the last five decades. I assure you that the only opinions of others that matter are the ones that any of us allow to matter. It is not necessary for me to have the approval or understanding of anyone to justify or enjoy my hobbies.

Doug MSC23 Nov 2022 5:09 a.m. PST

Anyone who asks me, I tell them I play with toy soldiers. Let them think what they will. After they get over the shock, and ask me further questions, then I elaborate on the subject.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Nov 2022 5:48 a.m. PST

but I'm not quite cynical enough to believe that most managers are more interested in their own reputation than in the success of their organisation.

This flows quite naturally from the statement that the author doesn't have much experience in the business sphere. Unless you're a small business (in which case you're an entreprenuer or an owner) in business there is often not direct and simple correlation between performance of a manager and organizational success. The fact that we perpetuate this myth further entrenches the fear of being "shown" to be less than perfect.

[My organization] is successful, therefore, I am good at [my job]. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

This is part of the overall pathology of resistance to change (as opposed to the pathology of changing for change's sake). I'm not drowning right now so I don't need to learn to swim.

As with many "innovative" business solutions, there is often a perception that wargaming is something of a dark art, only to be practiced by an anointed few and within strict rules and limitations. Well, it's really not. Yes, there are some real Master Craftsmen (so far, the vast majority are men, but that's changing) out there with decades of expertise, but most businesses don't need an exquisitely crafted masterpiece

Back from worrying over words (are we afraid to say we will crush or even kill the competition?), I would love to talk to the author about upping the ante and wargaming cyber as one of the tools in your job.

In the cyber realm, you actually do need a "red team" with some exotic knowledge. But, in the spirit of looking the wrong way about things, it's not really the deep technical knowledge of IT; it's knowledge of criminal business processes. It's basically the same as the author discusses the need to understand a competitor's business process. Criminals are a type of competitor in your business space.

It's really the same in the military environment. The details of the specific technologies involved are not of no value, but it is of less value than understanding your adversary's intent to subvert your mission. Just like kinetic engagement, your enemy's weapons and munitions are important, but you should focus most of your time engaging their strategy and tactics.

Perris070723 Nov 2022 8:57 a.m. PST

What Doug MSC said made me think. Are the props that many of us use for gaming really "toy soldiers"? When I think of that term it calls to mind the plastic Marx sets that I used to get back in the 1960's when I was a kid (yes – dating myself I know). What I game with now are different somehow to my mind. I see them as highly detailed and researched historical models very distinct from the solid blue, brown, green, grey, etc toy soldiers that I used to play with. Then I decided to look up the official definition of "toy" and found this: "an object for a child to play with, typically a model or miniature replica of something." The key word seeming to me to be "child". Are we just old children?
Interested to hear what others think.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2022 3:05 p.m. PST



arthur181524 Nov 2022 8:02 a.m. PST

Your figures may be 'highly detailed and researched historical models' but when you wargame, you are playing a game with them and their role in the game is exactly the same as if they were plastic Army Men or the lead Britain's soldiers used by HG Wells – they show arm of service, strength, formation and which side they are on. So, IMHO, they are 'toys'.

Why does the dictionary think only children have 'toys'?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 1:46 p.m. PST

As the article points out, the game is about the decisions. It is not about the artifacts you use to track and display the state of the situation being modeled. Even if we are on the miniatures page.

The miniatures and terrain are a part of the experience of wargaming, just like the game is, the meta-game is, and the player interactions other than playing the game.

But, if you have simple decisions, you have a simple game. If you have complex decisions, you have a complex game. If you have insightful decisions you have an insightful game. If you have enjoyable decisions you have an enjoyable game. And so on.

Almost no game has only one type of decision by any aspect you want to assess. Many aspects have high subjectivity.

The concern the author talks about is no different than the surface evaluation of any other hobby. Bill Cosby's take on golf comes to mind (though that is intentionally satirical).

marmont1814 Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Nov 2022 3:16 p.m. PST

never had a problem with anyone when I tell them I play wargames( ussually dumbed down to TOY SOLDIERS), and work in the business, Ive ran a business for 40 years. The hobby served me well when I was younger I was shy, but I decided to do a talk at school on my hobby – wargaming, I discovered that girls are very interested, boosting my confidence and found lots of simlar interested minds. But in answer to the people trying to distance themselves from the term toy soldiers, thats what they are, highly detailed adult toys – stop trying to hide the truth

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Nov 2022 5:55 p.m. PST

stop trying to hide the truth

I reject the idea that there is "the" truth about wargaming.

That said, I call my hobby "My Dollies". I had a friend whose friend's boyfriend didn't like her playing Warhammer. So he packed up her Empire troops in a box and labeled it "WAR DOLLS" as a pejorative. She caved. Not the decision I would have suggested – fore relationship reasons before wargaming reasons. But the upshot is I know how the box was labelled because my friend gave me her dolls. For free. Thirty two of them painted at a better standard than I do.

So now I play with my dollies and buy new dollies, etc. The mini storage room upstairs is the "dolly room".

That said, sometimes I play games. Sometimes I engage in strategic contests with others. Sometimes I work through the dynamics of a situation of interest. Sometimes I drink.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.