No Shame In It

There is a really weird concept percolating through the miniature wargame substrate right now, and it’s probably a reflection of a trend in the wider culture.  It goes a little something like this:

Man, there is so much to unpack here.

Let’s begin with the fact that every man has limits on his time and attention.  With a finite amount of resources, it only makes sense to focus those resources on the matters that matter most to him.  There is nothing shameful in dedicating your time to those historical matters that shapes his world.  And not the global world, but the world that a man sees outside of his window every day, the world that impacts him on a daily basis.  That means focussing on the conflicts that gave rise to his nation, that shaped his nation, and that continue to direct his nation.

This is also, and perhaps much more importantly, a way for a man to honor his ancestors – and to honor the men his ancestors fought.  We are called to honor our mother and father, and engaging with the stories of their time and the great conflicts of their day – acknowledging the debt we owe and remembering their sacrifices – is an important way we do so.  Once again, there is no shame in that.

Now here is where things get complicated.  Miniature wargaming is largely a product of the Anglosphere, for reasons too complicated to go into here (and woah, there is that limitation again).  As a result, the miniature wargame hobby is dominated by conflicts that directly touch the Anglosphere.

It should go without saying that the men in other language-spheres also wargame and that their output largely mirrors the dominant trend – it should go without saying, but this is a hobby for completist nerds so we have to say it anyway.  As just one example, the miniature company Zvezda is a Russian company, and they focus primarily on World War Two models with an emphasis on the Eastern Front.  The magazine Vae Victus is a French language magazine and it leans heavily into the wars of the Francophones.  Again, not exclusively, but largely so.

This is not a bad thing.

So let’s turn our eye towards the king of guy who attempts to sell others on a conflict outside of the others’ normal bailiwick, and whose first turn is towards shame as a sales tactic.

For starters, if your conflict is as cool as you say it is, then you should be able to sell it based on its own merits.  Fans of Asian conflicts, samurais and the Shogunate and Nobunaga and the Yammamoto and the Golden Horde, don’t engage in this sort of sneering one-upsmanship.  They just dive in and enjoy what they enjoy and others get caught up in the infectious excitement.  Look at all the weebs we’ve got in this hobby.  You can get figures for all sorts of Asian conflicts going way back.  It’s great, it’s natural, it’s honest, and it’s healthy.

Second of all, men in the miniature wargaming hobby really like learning all the new and fascinating ways that foreign cultures go about the business of killing each other.  If you’re slagging on miniature wargamers for not being well-read enough and open-minded enough, brother are you barking up the wrong tree!  You can find figures on every conflict on every continent and in every era going all the way back to grug on grug clubbings for the right to drag grugina back to the home cave.  Ironically, it’s precisely this universal interest in the human condition and the conflicts that arisen thereof that makes this demographic so vulnerable to these sorts of social bullying.

So why do they do this?

Because they are insecure midwits.  It’s the sign of a man who knows that he is operating well outside of his intellectual weight class, and rather than build a case based on its merits he resorts to the arbitrary declaration that he is King Swinging Richard of Hobby Mountain, and we should all follow his lead because he is so much better read and open-minded than the rest of us.  Scratch the surface and you’ll find a weak-kneed wannabe that latches onto obscure subjects specifically becuase he can’t stand the thought of playing second fiddle to more knowledgeable men who operate in better-known and more popular realms of the hobby.  It’s a womanish sort of bullying, and it works on all too many hobbyists.

Don’t be that guy.

And don’t listen to that guy.

He’s not in this hobby for its own sake, but to flatter his own ego.

You know, a dork.

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