Sunday 9 June 2024

Does being a Tabletop Wargamer make you a natural optimist?

Does being a Tabletop Wargamer make you a natural optimist? Or do you need to be an optimist to be a wargamer?



  1. I think I can guess what game Ray will put on, I willlook forward to hearing how it goes.

  2. Lee, what were your sources for the wargaming psychological studies you reference?

  3. Thank you Lee for this video, and for some ammunition the next time I get into a friendly argument with my wife about my wargaming hobby - lol, she is quite supportive. Thanks also for the White Ship book recommendation. Cheers and thanks for what you do to promote our hobby!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Where's my comment gone? I don't remember deleting it? Can't remember what I wrote either?

    1. Ehh? Weird. Sometimes Blogger moves comments to the moderators folder for no reason, but it doesn't delete comments. I'm sure your missing comment was erudite and witty. A comment for the ages, up there with the wit of Churchill or Oscar Wilde. I guess we will never know 😒

  6. Cheers Big Lee,

    My initial response to your latest video post about the relationship between historical wargamers and optimism was just over 400 words. On review, it was kind of a mess, as I was all over the place with remarks and questions and then more remarks. Anyway, I will try to salvage some of that “disaster” for possible use in this second attempt at a response. Anyway, copying and pasting, and typing, and so on . . .

    Quite a thought-provoking video post . . .
    I have watched it twice and scribbled some notes during each viewing.

    First, thanks for the book review. Though not a “medievalist,” I do enjoy a well written and well researched book. THE WHITE SHIP sounds like a cracking good read. I shall make a note and make a point of being on the look out for it.

    Second, I wonder about the construction of the question. Does optimism or having a sense of optimism make us into wargamers, or do we need an optimistic outlook to become a wargamer?

    It seems to me that an interest in history or certain historical topics is probably a leading cause of “turning” folks into wargamers. I wonder if the GWS (Great Wargaming Survey) contains any questions that would help you or others further define this idea or question? I wonder if the GWS asks about occupation, gender, race, and or political leanings as well.

    Yes, the hobby is certainly social. How then, do you explain a fairly large population of solo wargamers? Are some of us introverts or do some of have a fear of large crowds?

    I do not disagree with you regarding the many positive aspects of the hobby, but as you also note, there are contrary positions. It seems safe to say that this hobby is fairly sedentary, sitting and painting, standing around a tabletop for a few if not more hours, grabbing a quick and perhaps fast food lunch between games at a competition . . . I have no degree in public health, but it seems, based on my attendance at a number of wargame conventions or shows, that some hobby enthusiasts are fairly unhealthy or might be assessed as such if their were a good health practices clinic set up in a booth at one of these shows.

    At the risk of being cast in the role of contrarian, I would flip your suggestion and say that real life experiences and scenarios have more of an impact on our gaming abilities, as the vast majority of us spend more time at the office or being a parent, etc., then we do playing a general from this or that time period.

    Like the prolific Jon Freitag, I am also curious about the studies you mentioned. What agencies or universities supported these? How current are they? What were the sample sizes and so on.

    Thinking back on your video post and looking over my scribbling, it seems that the description of qualities could also be applied to:

    Medical professionals (doctors, nurses, first responders, etc.)
    Government officials and workers
    Military members (obviously - but let’s not forget the time and money invested in their training)
    Athletes and coaches

    Your video post also got me to thinking about that age old question of nature vs nurture.

    Again, I don’t have the studies or evidence in front of me, but anecdotal experience and more than a few blog posts talk about persona histories with regard to wargaming. NOt everyone comes into the hobby at the same age or for the same reason. Some thrive and succeed, some just sort of exist, and some stay for a few years and then move on. I am not trying to simplify it. I guess I am trying to make a general point about historical wargaming being a kind of microcosm.

    I am not sure, however, how valid the suggestion is.

    Oh my, I see that I’ve typed over 600 words for this reply, so I will stop now.

    Thanks again for posting the video. Thanks, too, for all the work you put in to promoting the hobby.

    Good health and good gaming,



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