Where do Wargamers stand on this topic?

Well where do wargamers stand in this type of discussion?

Acquisitions & Consumption – You’re Welcome in this Hobby


Certainly it is hard to disagree with some of the ‘acquisitiveness’ dysfunction we all exhibit from time to time.

Though clearly the Euro Gamer/Ameritrash set appear to have many more people who own 100 games or more [59,000 plus according to BGG], a staggering 6000 plus own 500 games or more [ I’m assuming unique titles here too people, the multi copy hoarders are a topic for another day]. I’ve never heard of or seen any one ever say they were intimidated by their opponent or the hobbyist gamer having a lot of games, in effect driving a budding wargamer away from the hobby. More often than note we are in awe and happiness!

Huge, conspicuous collections are about more than simply showing off.  They create comparators for credibility whether we want them to or not.   They create barriers that people must overcome in order to feel like they matter in a hobbyist space.  They create benchmarks against which people will measure themselves, and usually find themselves wanting.   They have a chilling effect on discussion and debate – they make people question whether their opinions are actually worth expressing.   After all if you don’t have a collection to match what could you possibly offer to a discussion?  Huge collections imply that you have a presence in this hobby only as long as you can keep up with the acquisition that drives the rest of us.  You can’t have anything new to say if you can tell, just from our shelfies, that we’ve been at this longer and more diligently than you have. ”

Does size of collection matter in terms of your validity as a gamer, a comment maker, a measure of your self worth? It would seem if the size of someones….game collection…. bothered you, and made you ‘feel’ worthless..hmm maybe you have a bigger problem to resolve first. My games owned started out at 2 or 3, its grown now to encompass many periods of history, scales, and series of games. Nor owning a 1,000 games does not make you right every time. Nor does our community use these false measures as a whipping boy..[ well at least not where I hang out, there are dark nasty corners of CSW and Reddit I avoid, for just such reasons.] in the community. Rather gamers are brought together by a love of history, of ‘what it’, technical details, game mechanics, art work and fraternity. On the whole we are a jolly congenial lot in the main.

So..a bit crazy are we?…probably but, the next part of the article talking about another Euro gamer dysfunction bothers me.

This idea that ‘consuming’ games is some how an exclusionary concept annoys me, it befuddles me. The word consumption is so derogatory in today’s parlance. When one consumes it is the ingestion of something or perhaps the purchasing of something. It can also imply that we ‘use up something’. Few if any of us use up a game to the point it is deemed consumed, gone, finished, done. If you ahve not played a lot of a given genre you are still welcome to share your thoughts. But more importantly I don’t think wargamers consume like these Euro gamers do according to the author.

Rather we play it, we explore it, we test it limits and decide if we want to keep it to be played again or keep it due to its individually assessed worthiness as keepsake for ever and ever amen!

In some ways I take exception to the word ‘consumption’ driving ability to render opinion. For example, if you have only played 2 Bulge games and you deem 1 of the two the best. Good for you. No one should ‘judge’ you on this, or dismiss you because you have not played the 197X version of the Bulge game from  “SPI”.. the holy grail of pulp games! No rather we as a community should embrace the new player, show him or her, some other titles, and discuss relative merits and encourage them to keep playing! I think wargamers in general EXPLORE games….we dont consume them.

There is no point at which you have met the entry requirements to the hobby – the door is wide open and you are welcome here.  Those people acting as gatekeepers, formally or otherwise?  Just pay them no mind.” Well said. Does it need to be said?

Do we have gatekeepers? Who are they? What do they do to drive transitional wargamers away?

7 years ago when I was re entering the hobby, it was the community [ once I understood the communication patterns] which help kindle my desire for more games, new experiences and different experiences withing a given scale or theme. They encouraged my exploration of gaming, writing, image capture and narrative.

one of the 1st shots I posted online in August 2010.

In fact to me its more about experience. We are experiencing games, versus consuming them, and those experiences can be high volume repetitions of play , low number of plays etc. These “EXPERIENCES” shape our view on game systems, art, publishers, designers, rule mechanics and finally historicity. Those reps of play build experiences for us which shape our view of games we like and dislike. It shapes our ideas about history, about mechanics we like, designers we want more of and art we crave.

I for one seek out guys & gals who like similar things, and ask what they think of a certain title. That sways my buying. Far too often I’ve embraced a 3rd party opinion who is popular in our small niche only to be sorely disappointed with the end experience. Folks with like experiences are want to have similar views about a given title. They provide a good sounding board. Don’t be afraid of wargamers, or wargamers. Many of us, will help, tutor, and some even do amazing tutorials online for free.

“In any geek sphere, credibility is a constant element of the conversation and credibility is a function of how you fit in to the dominant mores of the larger community.   Do you have an opinion on Dominion?  Keep it to yourself unless you’ve played five hundred games with at least five expansions.   Do you think Netrunner is a bummer?  Shut up, you don’t even have acrylic tokens.   Bro, do you even sleeve?   Do you think Great Western Trail is a Great Western Fail?  You’re obviously too stupid to understand it – your opinion is wrong because you didn’t play all these other games that show its brilliance.  Do you like Catan?  That’s adorable – casuals say the cutest things.” 

All in all quiet snarky. I dont see much argument with folks in the Wargamers group on facebook [7k strong now] over the credibility of a player to have an opinion. I think that is a strong trait, we all seem to get a long fine at least until someone hijacks a thread. Maybe wargamers play out that conflict on the game board instead of in the above manner experienced by the writer!?  Who knows. Come on over.. I promise we wont bite.

There are some who believe that a certain minimum # of plays is required before you can have an opinion. That I can live with even if I take exception to it. Most wargames do take a bit more thought to come up with an opinion on than the game play of say Catan. I dont know that I could have written an article like this chap did, but it is a nice foil to bounce around in our heads, in order to understand what we as wargamers do, and how we treat budding new gamers coming to the hobby.

Find a history topic you like or are curious about. Grab a game. Roll some dice. Its rewarding fun.


8 thoughts on “Where do Wargamers stand on this topic?

  1. What? I don’t even know how to respond to this (“Meeples Like Us”)…. Yes, I have a lot of games (probably more than 300 if I included magazine games), but I’ve been in this hobby since the 70’s. I play them, I enjoy them, they provide entertainment and a bit of an escape from the madness of this world, not unlike a favorite old book. They provide opportunities to gather and share time with old friends. They bring me happiness, and that’s enough.

    “Children worship their toys. They ask of them what men have always asked of Gods: joy and forgetfulness.” Anatole France, “On Life and Letters”

  2. “Does size of collection matter in terms of your validity as a gamer, a comment maker, a measure of your self worth?”

    No. I admit to having over 2,300 games with around 500 expansions/add-ons/variants. But I never look at my collection that way.

    If anything, I envy those with smaller collections (say, less than 25) who are masters of the games they play. If only I had that kind of single-minded dedication to just a few titles!

  3. I have no problem with large game collections, provided the games are good and not just there to make up the numbers. A good game should be played and not just admired, so anyone with several hundred games must have a lot of free time.

  4. The research and prices of buying is a pleasure that I enjoy. However, as I’ve been trying to simplify and lessen the clutter in my life, I shed down to about 15 wargamers + ASL. Even at that, I’m not taking the time to play those.

    if you get satisfaction from simply owning games, then enjoy. If the buykngbis simply impulse driven then I think there will be a lot of regret. I’ve found myself in this boat a few times. Even now, I will be tempted to get a game based on something I hear on AAC, but then I really think about the reality of what will happen after I get it and decide ultimately not to buy. As my depression era great uncle would say, “Rately will you regret not buying something and having the money in your pocket.”

    I envy the guys who seem to be able to commit to learning all the rules and just dive into playing. I have some kind of mental hurdle here that I need to overcome. (Side note: I know what it is and just have to overcome it by action.)

    Good post Kev.

  5. I have been playing games for 48 years. I have a large collection. I have introduced many people to gaming in both board games and miniatures. I have never seen one person go away and not want to get into the hobby because of the size of my collection. If they have fun playing the game they will start with a game they like. I would love to know where he got this barrier Idea.

    Has he done some sort of poll? Does he have a large number of friends who are intimidated by your game room. I frankly feel the whole notion is hogwash. Their are many hobbies that are focused on collecting. Stamps, Coins even reading. I have seen people start and love these hobbies when introduced to them by people with amazing collections. In fact I think sometimes the better the collection the more interesting it can be. I know when people ask me if I have games that do xyz or are about the XXTH century if I can find one it is a great selling point.

    Most miniature Gamers I know are more collector than gamer. They have Hundreds of rule sets and literally tons of unpainted miniatures. Does this make them horrible consumers. Oh my God we consume. Please stop trying to monitor my leisure activity behavior. Also many small cottage businesses are in business because of us CONSUMERS. That guy really needs to go back to his Gender studies class.

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