Why I play wargames and why I do it solo

This is a bit of an unashamedly self indulgent post. If you read on you will see the words “I” and “I’ve” quite a lot. The intended audience for this post is me. Its an attempt to get my thoughts and feelings out of my head and written down. Why make it public? It may be of interest or use to someone. If it isn’t for you then I won’t be offended.

As I’ve said before on this blog, I am returning to the hobby after a break of about ten years. I haven’t shut myself off totally to wargaming, it’s just that my interaction with it has been passive rather than active. I have been the owner of 2 yahoo groups for about ten years, I follow about 25 or 30 gaming blogs and I read The Miniatures Page pretty much daily. I have even bought quite a few rules sets and read them over.

However, in between my last game of Full Thrust back in 2002 and a desire to get active again last year I have been struggling to justify an interest in a hobby that simulates something which causes so much horror and suffering to people all over the world.

A lot has happened since 2002. I have become older and wiser and now have a family. There have been many events, both personal and in the wider world, that have changed the way I look at things.

Sometimes I have a moral struggle with my hobby as it makes a game out of something that involves people (innocent and otherwise) dying. Is it right to get enjoyment from simulating something that inflicts so much horror and suffering on people?

Then out of the blue it hit me. I am not actually simulating wars. I am simulating the books I read, the movies and TV shows I watch and the computer games I play. My earliest memory of this was recreating the opening scene from Star Wars using Arifix modern Germans as storm-troopers and modern British as rebel troopers. And all this happened less than a foot away from where I am as I type this post.

I actually feel embarrassed telling anyone I collect miniature soldiers let alone admit I play games with them. My hobby is a very personal and private thing for me. I have been a member of several clubs in the past and have met some great people, but I never felt truly comfortable. I was actually happier when I was painting and scratch-building on my own. I was more comfortable testing out rules, playing both sides myself than I was playing against an opponent. For me it is more about creating a story than playing a game.

So with that all finally cleared up it’s time to get on with the story.