Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

Boomers and Post-Millennials Unite!

I was just reading over on the Piquet site that Eric Burgess, one of the early Piqueteers, and the long time leader of the Charlotte Garrison wargames group was disbanding the group due to lack of attendance at many of the scheduled games. Now Eric organizes and produces games and campaigns of the highest order. Each game has plentiful figures, spectacular terrain, and a well thought out scenario. He has been doing this for may years and recently commented that he has hosted over 600 games in the last 20 years!

But, it appears that family obligations and work are taking their toll on regular participation in his games by many of the Charlotte Garrison’s players and he is going to concentrate on one on one gaming and small games in the immediate future. A sad coda to a wonderful group of gamers.

But in thinking about this event it came to me that there is something positive to be garnered from it.

All of us remember our early years in wargaming, usually starting in the high school and college, when we would play games for an entire weekend, and campaigns would be played that stretched over months with games every week, some extending until midnight or later! We were either not married, or only had very young children. Our jobs were at the beginning of careers, the demands of the work were narrower, and less demanding of our time “away from the job.” All of this was to change, of course, as children grew up, the job became more rewarding, and required far more than just eight hours of our time.

The mid-life pressures on a person make his “free” time diminish and, in some cases, disappear. Priorities must be set and who can fault those that choose their families and their livelihood over other uses of their time?

But life moves on, and those children grow up and leave to lead their own lives and create their own families, and the day comes when you hang up the spikes on the career you spend 40 or more years pursuing. There you are, still vital, still full of creativity, and with wide ranging interests and experiences. You have more time than you have had in years to do what you want to do, not what the corporation needs done. You generally have a few rooms in the house that are suddenly available as the kids leave for their own adventures. You, hopefully, have the time and money for hobbies and great tech gear. You remember the fun of those early wargame years, and now you have nothing to stop you from getting going again! The good news is that many of your former wargame opponents are in the same place in life.

Now there will be fewer games lasting until midnight, but there’s nothing to stop you from playing any day of the week-all day on the weekends, and if you want to do some travel based on your historical interests-there is nothing but your own planning to stop you!

We have heard for years about the graying of the hobby as if it were some doom, but, in a very real sense, it may be the wargame hobby’s salvation!

It also sets up a strange alliance of the High School/College players and the Retirement Players as the core of the hobby. The young can bring their energy and enthusiasm-and a lot of tech savvy to the hobby and the gray hairs bring their extensive reading, experience, and a life-time of skills to the gaming table. They BOTH have the time to devote that the 30-60 crowd finds in short supply. It is a funny sense is the mirroring of the social relationships that occur in many families, especially in Europe, where the grandparents and the young find a lot of mutual rewards in time spent together.

So, Eric, you and your Charlotte Gamers group are really only taking a break in your wargaming pursuits, and are actually moving toward a return to the golden days you remember so well of your younger days. Keep the figures dusted, mull occasionally the grandiose plans for the big campaign, or that new set of rules you always wanted to write, and know that a few years from now the group will be ready to assemble again!