Saturday 5 September 2015

Even the Hero...

As some of you might have surmised from some of the recent posts, I am struggling a bit to find topics of interest to post about. For most wargame blogs, I suppose, this is not an issue. They simply put up a few more pictures of finely painted model soldiers and away they go. However, this blog, if it has a claim to fame at all, has rarely put pictures up and then only to show off my massive amount of painting, not the quality thereof.

Perhaps the trick is to try to see what the blog has become. The overall theme, as it developed, was ‘what are we doing when we are wargaming?’ As such, I suppose the subject matter could be touching upon the philosophy of wargaming. If we construe philosophy as ‘thinking about thinking’, then the philosophy of wargaming is thinking about thinking about wargaming. As a second order undertaking, I suppose there is a limit to what one person can really obtain from doing it.

Of course, practically, over the five years of the blog, I have covered a bewildering array of topics. At least, they often bewilder me. I have discussed the ethics of wargaming, and why people sometimes look at us as if we have just grown horns and a tail when we admit to being wargamers. I have discussed the mechanics and models of wargame rules and how they function. I have tried to suggest that wargames, their rules and the history that they represent might be part of modern culture, might reflect that culture and be shaped by it. I have also tried to discuss how our understanding of history and its meaning is taken up by wargaming and transposed into a different set of meanings.

I have not done this alone. There has been a community of readers and commenters out there, who have given their time and attention to the issues I raise, corrected me when I have made a too sweeping generalisation, mistake, error or misjudgement. I have, I think, only ever had to remove two posts, neither of which were of any relevance to the subject in hand and which were simply, I think, trying to be rude or practising the author’s ability to write a ‘bot program.

A blog is nothing but an individual’s attempt to talk to themselves. Any audience that the blog receives is a bonus, and any comments are even more of a bonus, if not an actual boost to the writer’s ego. Unless the writer has something to say, however, which chimes in with that of an audience (even if that audience is only the writer themselves) then the result is silence. Over the summer my ability to interest myself in my posts has been limited. Perhaps there is such a thing as writer’s block, or burn out, even in terms of a blog about wargaming.

I do, however, find myself at this point with nothing much left to be said. I could, I suppose, spin things out until I thought of something more substantive, but I would fear that the blog then would simply peter out. I set the blog up with the idea in mind of it being sustainable, and reckoned that I could manage to write one thousand words a week, or so, of coherent thought about wargaming. That has proved to be the case in the past, but I can find in myself that I have no guarantee that it will be so in the future. If the writing of the blog has become a burden, then it is time to stop, for something that is a burden for the writer will surely be a burden to the readers.

And so, with something of a heavy heart and decidedly mixed feelings, I have come to the conclusion that, at least for the moment, I shall cease publication. I would like to thank you all, followers, commenters, readers for your attention over the years. I hope that, even if occasionally, the blog has indicated that there might be things to think about in wargaming other than plonking soldiers on the table and pushing them around. If it has done that, then it will have served its purpose well.

I am painfully aware of the shortcomings in my thinking, in the vision of wargaming that I have tried to set out. After all, that vision can only be a personal view and, as such, will always change anyway. My ideas about wargaming are not those of the me of five years ago, and that evolution has been, in part, determined by the writing of the blog. But my perceived inability to think of anything particularly new or innovative seems to indicate that my ideas need some freshening up, some period of reflection before further laying out.

I am not wholly abandoning the blogging idea. This blog will remain here so long as Google / Blogger / whoever allows it to be. I might pick it up again at some point in the future, when the idea of writing a piece about wargaming no longer fills me with an ill-formed sense of dread and anxiety. Not that I am at the edge of a nervous breakdown or anything; it is just that the thought ‘what am I going to write about this week?’ has started to become hard to answer, to even conceive that there might be an answer.

And so, rather than allow the blog to peter out, I declare this blog to be over. It has been a lot of fun, interesting and engaging, for me, at least. In the words of Sellars and Yeatman, this blog, like history, has come to a .


  1. It has been an engaging and thought-provoking regular read. I await your return whenever you feel like it. Vale.

  2. Always found your posts interesting - have a break for now , Tony

  3. You have broadened the horizons of wargame blogging with your posts and they have been (and are still) an absolute pleasure to read. Hope you will come back to it as and when you feel like it, with batteries recharged and a mind refreshed. It's been great to have you here.


  4. While I have not commented on your posts, I have found them to be both insightful and enjoyable. Thank you for creating this blog, as it has been a valuable resource for my musing on wargaming.
    Good luck and happy gaming!

  5. I have watched this blog for some time now. I have made a couple of posts, but quite often when I feel that I want to say something I end up arguing with myself about my true feelings/opinions on the subject. I'd say that was a reasonable definition of thought provoking.
    I think it will be a while before I stop checking the blog on a Saturday morning 'just in case'... Hopefully there will be something new to read before I reach that point.

  6. I started reading the blog soon after you set it up. The posts were always intriguing and thought provoking; they looked at gaming from a different perspective to what I had ever thought. I have enjoyed the 5 years of posts you have done and believe I have read every one of your missives. Here's to a great future for your gaming and rules development!

    If you do decide to return, the one piece of advice is to go with an ad hoc posting schedule - not weekly (unless you just cannot help yourself!) as therein lies madness with the pressure to produce every week.

  7. As others have mentioned, your posts were thought-provoking and educational. I often learned a bit from each of your postings. I may not have always agreed or understood but I always looked forward to the Saturday morning post.

    Saturday mornings will be a little interesting in your absence.

  8. I added this blog this spring to the list of feeds, on our site, because I regard your blogs as one if the better. Not just another pics blog, but some deeper thoughts. I just hope you continue to publish a nice article now and then.

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  10. Sorry to see that you have run out of steam. I have enjoyed following this blog and reading the discussions. In some respects it has been the highlight of my Saturdays! Yes, I know what that says about my life!! Still, I have looked forward to your posts each week and I have added a number of books to my reading pile as a result of them. I hope you will find inspiration somewhere for more discussion and I shall look forward to that day.

  11. I came late to your blog but am another who looks forward to the often thought stimulating Saturday morning posts (+4 time zones) but I can easily see how a personal challenge such as this can eventually transmutate into a chore. Hopefully after a break you will get the occasional urge to poke our minds again now and then.

  12. Sorry to see this insightful blog come to an end (or hopefully a temporary halt). It's been one of the first things I do on a Saturday morning for a few years now. I'll miss being taken into avenues of thought about wargaming I wouldn't otherwise contemplate.

    Like Ruaridh, I've had a few books added to my reading list as a result, so the ripples continue to radiate out from the pebbles you threw in the pond.

  13. Well, thank you for all the appreciation and kind thoughts; I am glad that the blog has tickled some other brain cells out there.

    Actually, I find I am not quite finished; there are a couple of loose end bits to tidy up in the next few weeks, so there will be the odd post (some would say that most of the posts have been odd, of course...). These are not particular thinking posts, and might even include some pictures.

    I have usually written the posts two or three weeks in advance, and even the short break so far entailed has helped my thought process and lifted the burden. The other side of the problem is that if I don't write something, I get grumpy, and the estimable Mrs P sends me off to do something creative (which is write, paint toys or make bread, at the moment).

    So I suspect that I will be back sometime, probably in the not too distant future. But I am still trying to think of a format and schedule that I can cope with. If anyone has any suggestions about what is reasonable, do say; I know most blogs have an ad hoc schedule, so that is one option, or perhaps monthly. I'm not sure; it probably is a bit too soon to say.

  14. You will be missed, as I always found your comments to be stimulating, even if I didn't always have anything worthwhile to say in response. In a hobby that is not always known for erudition or profundity, you were a beacon of, well, erudition and profundity.
    I hope you will be back at some point, but for now, letting it go seems wise if you feel the need for a rest.