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Robert's Historical Miniatures and Musings (Slow Grow League)

Robert's Historical Miniatures and Musings (Slow Grow League)

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Monday Musing - 1st July, The Somme and my Moral Compass

Tutoring 5
Skill 4
Idea 7

This project is probably going to included the odd thought I have as I go through this Flames of War journey.  I won’t be offended if you don’t read it or think I am talking crap, but I find it useful for organising and processing my thoughts if I write them down.

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme and as this is considered one of the bloodiest battles in human history it has me thinking how well playing toy soldiers concerning real world events sits within my own moral compass.

It is days like today I have my doubts.  I’m not a huge gamer anyway – I’m more a collector, builder, sometime painter and hoarder – but I do plan on making a real effort to play some games of FoW.  Over a million men died or were wounded over the course of the Somme Offensive, and last night and this morning I have been contemplating whether me gaining utility and having fun playing games somehow devalues the sacrifice these men made for their respective countries.  This is a often debated topic and I don’t feel I really have anything new to add to it.

Last week when I bought the Hit the Beach boxed set it wasn’t an issue but it is just days like today a few small doubts creep in.  It also feels strange that I feel fine to play D-Day games, and took great enjoyment from the OTT coverage of their FoW Bootcamp and FOW Open Day but my gut feeling was I didn’t believe it was appropriate for some gaming companies to run D-Day sales.  The contradiction is that I feel fine for me to gain from playing D-Day games, but it isn’t appropriate for companies to run a celebration sale.  This doesn’t seem to sit right within my moral compass especially as I am very pro-capitalism, free-trade and laissez faire in my economic thinking.

As I write this down, the more I feel that my gut reaction was wrong, but I don’t know.  It is just a small contradiction that I don’t understand.  This isn’t a judgement on anyone, just my own personal thoughts about historical gaming and how I think about it.

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You’ll always have this issue with remembering the cost of peoples lives, yet we make a “game” out of it all. At our club we had a rule we wouldn’t put on a demo game for the public or at a wargams show that “was in living memory” (or those affected are still about). Within our club we had a vetran who was happy to play ww2 games, but felt unease if players fielded SS units (but that came from his personal experiences).

The only other way to not have to cross this bridge is to strictly play sci-fi or fantasy games. But I feel the “living memory” rule is best at public occasions, and to work out if a “game” is in ill taste with members of your club playing at the club meets.

On “sales” for D-Day, again it’s a nutty issue. Does gaming this period give us an insight to what happened on the day far beyond what we can get from 15 mins on the news, or does it indeed trivialise the sacrifice made. I dunno, I suppose it all up to the individual.

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