A blog post worth sharing- ethics and the skirmish game.

As my friends will not doubt attest I’ve got intellectual pretensions (I’ve been reading Leviathan recently and “a Pete film” is my friends shorthand for anything that is subtitled, black and white or deeply depressing), this extends to gaming too. I’ve always been fascinated by other peoples attitudes to ethics in Wargaming, we are all in the final analysis making entertainment out of the deeply unpleasant. Some people have firmly held views that some events and units are simply too disagreeably to be gamed, I’ll give them the right to hold their own opinions but I rarely agree with all of them. Others like to explore the moral dilemmas that a close study of conflict brings up in so called ‘black wargames’, I’ll admit that I do fall into this camp, but bear in mind if you decide to follow to keep a sense of objectivity and the Nietzschian quote “And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you” close.

Anyway I could write a long winded self indulgent piece on my own views but instead I’ve decided to deffer to a recent blog post that managed to encapsulate all of the issues into a Spanish Civil War scenario in a manner far more elegant than I could mange.

In this case I urge you to look at the following blog post by Curt of Analogue Hobbies:


And since we are on the subject here is a rather good piece by David Mitchell:

Not that he needs any further exposure, being that he is on the telly rather a lot.



10 comments on “A blog post worth sharing- ethics and the skirmish game.

  1. Curt says:

    Thanks for the nod Pete. It’s nice to know there are others out there who waste time thinking about toy soldiers and morality. Where would the world be without us? ;P

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      Even though they are figures of metal and plastic they still represent someone, more so in the case of historicals. This hit me with surprising force when playing a WW1 game recently at a convention this year.



  2. Richard says:

    A very interesting blog entry. A very murky subject that requires a huge amount of time, tact and sensitivty to get right, as well as to understand and appreciate the various factors and influences.
    I play WW2 – Late war. Canadians vs Hitler Jugend for instance, or just another WW2 20mm skirmish game. The bombardment of Caen, for example, where sheets soaked in blood were laid out in a cross to show where the hospital was, to stop the air raids and artillery. Taking SS troops to get the extra dice rolls etc.
    Sometimes you have to stop playing the game and step back a pace or two.

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      Agree 100%, though I do believe that ignoring units like the Waffen SS because you (rightly) dislike their politics in a historical scenario does a great dis-service to the men who were their and actually fought them. They were there at some many pivotal actions especially in NWE post 1944+ and for better or worse it should be acknowledged, we may all be interested in history but that doesn’t mean we have like all of it; rewriting the bits that disagree with us is a rocky road to go down.

      As for getting the extra dice – that is not my style of play at all. Each to their own but mega competitive games are really not my thing….



  3. Richard says:

    You are correct. Not quite tired and emotional when I replyed, but very happy to see someone thinking beyond the game itself. I checked out the link given in the article as well – thought provoking.

  4. Azazel says:

    Haven’t we all done this though? Completely disregarding pushing little models around the table for a moment – From a young age – enjoy these transriptions of historical events in a lighter way for entertainment, all our lives? Depending on your age, you might have played “WW2” or “Cowboys and Indians”, or more recently “Call of Duty” or Medal of Honor”. As an adult, did you enjoy “The Big Red One” or “Black Hawk Down” or “Saving Private Ryan” or “Inglouruis Basterds”, or even… Vikings?
    When as a society, we find the depiction of any wars to be entertainment in the mainstream and it stops happening entirely, then I’ll perhaps care about the morality of gaming with my historical miniatures. or perhaps not. I don’t think I’ll need to worry about it, frankly.

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      I agree for ‘home’ games but after recent events and the ways that society is examining itself and its relationship with the past I know of one public event that has been cancelled.



      • Azazel says:

        ACW at a guess? I mean, obviously the Axis in WWII is pretty vile, but as WWII is so engrained as part of our entertainment, I’d guess it’s still acceptable.

      • Pete S/ SP says:

        Post war colonial disengagement/ War of National Liberation themed. Colonial past and its implications is getting a lot of column inches in the newspapers over here at the mom,ent.



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