During a recent evening of drinks with friends, the subject of hobbies came up. This sparked not a little leg pulling about yours truly's past times. So, to expand a little on the first post, I thought it would be a good time to explain why I have the hobbies I do.
Firstly, video games. This is an easy one. They're games, so present a mental challenge. Then there is the story telling aspect, from the modern day military gung ho of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (but the less said about MW 2's hodge podge the better - that may be a future post), to the frankly brilliant Uncharted series (Among Thieves the pinnacle of the series so far - roll on March 2016!!!). That's basically that for video gaming. There is some crossover with the military history interest, especially the time sink that is Harpoon.
Military history. Hmmm, that one started off as "Look at the shiny jets and big guns", and to be honest, my preferred period remains post 1945. I have the start of a decent modern day micro armour collection that time and space conspire to prevent me from expanding. However, there is a fondness for Victorian military history, where "with one final leap, our heroes were free" type of daring do, whilst kind of stereotypical, adds a certain panache to the period.
This brings me to wargaming. Now, you may think that it is a combination of the above hobbies, and you may be right, although it is not as clear cut as you may think.
Firstly, I do not subscribe to what seems to be the current vogue of "It's the game, innit". If I wanted to play a dice rolling game with small counters and a resource management system, I would play Monopoly. Dice rolling per se is pretty boring. Nope, the gaming side of wargaming is about representing what actually happened, with as near as dammit accurate orders of battle, tactics, strategy and outcomes. This is important. The current popularity of boutique games - the best example of the style was a two by two foot boardgame of the Western Front seen at the recent Derby World Wargames show, which struck me a both pointless and a tad tasteless - doesn't capture the period or historical fact. Similarly, army lists are not something I really have time for. I re-call reading a set of army lists (another topic to be covered in depth later) that couldn't give 2 Para their correct OOB at Goose Green. By sticking to that list, we are pretty much completely in games territory. Some people like that, but it's not for me.
Secondly, it's about the people you partake in the gaming with. The TWATS is a small scale club that meets semi-regularly in a local pub where beer is drunk, beef butties are eaten and occasionally, just occasionally, a game is played. These are umpire ran, rule sets can be amended as per the umpire's twisted mind, and good fun is had. That makes it a social event as well as part of the hobby. And that does for me.