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 .