Friday, 6 November 2009

Wargaming, Gaming and The Press

I had that occasionally odd experience this week of opening the paper and seeing a photo of someoneI know.

What made it odder was that it wasn't a picture of an old school chum in the crime section either.

The Independent ran a big piece in its lifestyle supplement about the Essen game fair, and there, large as life, was fellow WD member Martin Wallace of Treefrog games. Here's the link:

Now, it is a good article, well written and very fair in its coverage of the boardgaming arm of our great hobby. Martin gets a good press too, as the article is mainly hung around his presence and how he has muscled his way to the game designer's top table.

But, alas, the media can't help but play with us. For those who know him, Martin designs cleverly structured games that require real thought and careful strategy from the players (he's rubbish at playing matrix games tho' but that's a story for another time). However, under Martin's picture, showing him standing proudly in front of piles of his games is the large, pullout quote saying

"There's a game that involves one player trying to build a Jenga-like structure from wooden blocks, while their opponent bashes them over the head with an inflatable club. It's called Argh!Tect"

You will not be surprised to hear that isn't one of Martin's, but I can't wait to ask him for a copy when I see him at CoW next year.

I am reminded of my one and only encounter with the local paper when the club I was then with was trying to promote a local wargaming open day. The photographer arrived, and his opening gambit was "Okay then, who want's to wear the dragon suit?" (Yes that is DRAGON as it the fire breathing flying thing, not DRAGOON as in the mounted infantry man)

This took us back a bit, but sure enough he had called in at a fancy dress hire shop on the way and hired a stuffed dragon costume. We all refused to wear it, but it ended up propped at the side of the table in the photo looking as miserable as only an un-worn fancy dress costume can do.

I still wait to be convinced that it made anyone extra turn up to the show.

I mean grown ups playing with toy soldiers is daft enough as it is. We don't need any help to look foolish.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes the perrenial media wargame debate. Likeable loonies versus crazed sociopaths. I can remember a time when gun enthusiasts were seen as boring old farts in cardigans, smoking pipes and arguing over how many grains per reloaded cartridge were needed for the optimum trajectory. After a bit of media sexing up we now have guns make you evil baby killers.

    In some way I'd be thankful that wargamers are seen as odd people with no social skills. The alternative is that we will be seen as sociopaths, because that will sell newspapers and make headline news.