Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why the blog went on hiatus

There are two versions of what happened at the Counteroffensive event in August 2010.  Here’s Bryan’s writeup on the Jungle, which strikes me as pretty measured:

Here’s basically what I felt about 40K afterwards:

It’s been years since I had a real desire to crush my enemies, see them driven before me, etc, etc.  That’s one of the reasons I don’t really game much with the current crowd at the Warmonger Club anymore (that, and the whole Fantasy kick they’ve been on for a while now).  When it comes to hyper-competitive (albeit polite and well-mannered), these guys are pretty much the final word.  So it was a bit of a surprise, and depressing to boot, to be put in the same category.  Since I don’t game for seal-clubbing, pound-face reasons, I decided perhaps it would be best to put away the toy soldiers for a while, until I felt differently.

It’s been a few months since then, with only one small test-match between Cilician Armenians (me) and ancient Saxons (played by Ken P).


Why the blog stayed on hiatus

Although the Counteroffensive experience of my friends might have put my game on "pause" for a while, it wasn't why I basically stopped wargaming for a number of months.  For that, we need a bit more background.

See, there aren’t many things that upset me, but one thing that is pretty much guaranteed to do so is an arrogant, elitist, privileged self-entitlement.

Sociological and ethnographic surveys support the personal anecdotes of many scientists and sociologists – recent decades have seen an increasingly larger number of extremely talented, bright people choosing to move into arenas of expertise that pay significantly better than science.  As a result, you have a new generation (now nearly two) of very bright, talented professionals who are not only extremely aware of how bright they are, but are also convinced (due to their own successes, societal reinforcement, and social networks) that they are brighter than most people in the world.

Combine with unexamined privilege (to wit: not recognizing all the advantages and good fortune they benefit from), an unfailing belief in the ideology of American meritocracy (significantly flawed, and more so in the past 30 years than ever before), and unvarnished success in their personal lives, and I find myself meeting significant numbers of such cocksure young professionals in wargaming circles.

Their self-confidence and passionate belief in their (unexamined) ideologies is further reinforced by the fact that they make very, very good money.  Because that is the ultimate measure of social approval, isn’t it?  (Just ask Karl Marx.)

Here are some interesting (and terribly flawed) ideologies perpetuated (and loudly volunteered) by wargamers that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of engaging with in the past few years.  Note that the statistical and historical evidence doesn’t support any of the following ideologies or false beliefs – yet, they persist most mightily, apparently because a simple “feel-good” story, and gnostic predisposition toward feeling like you know some "special truth" always trumps tough, complicated facts.

(a) Labor unions are necessarily evil, especially teacher unions
(b) Scientists are idiots, and science is a vast conspiracy
(c) 9/11 was the design of a massive government conspiracy.
(d) Government is necessarily evil, and has no purpose, nor provides any benefit.
(e) Racism is anachronistic and outdated, and minorities take advantage of good upstanding folk.
(f) Religion is responsible for all the ills of the world
(g) Poverty exists because poor people are too lazy or selfish to work hard.
(h) It’s okay to objectify women because I don’t think that I am, and it’s a free country and what are you some kind of PC monster feminist witch pussy-whipped etc (add infinite ad hominems)

I suppose a simpler explanation for why I got tired of gaming (and blogging about games, accordingly) is that I got tired of hanging around cocksure, arrogant little puppies who liked to drape their personal (typically but not always conservative or libertarian) politics over everyone within earshot.

I found that I no longer got a thrill out of confronting stupidity and unexamined falsehoods.  I definitely no longer found the rhetorical game of “Making Smart People Feel Like Goddamn Idiots” terribly enjoyable.  Mostly, it just made me feel old and very, very tired.  And I no longer felt like going “cold” to tournaments, because I know that the demographic of gamers tends to skew heavily toward: white, male, upper-middle-class, conservative/libertarian, non-self-reflective.  The odds of running into loud, pushy, arrogant young fellows who looooove to share their social insights.... is extremely high.

See, the problem (for me) is that even when people aren’t being terribly political, the cocksure chaps that are full of themselves will still put their foolishness gratuitously and openly on display.  Then he (and it’s almost always a “he”) will glory in a rhetorical game I like to call “Show Other People That I’m Smarter/Better Than Them”.  And gosh do I get tired of such displays.

I’ll demonstrate by using a blog I read.  Keep in mind that I enjoy reading this blog, but it does a lot of the sort of thing I’m talking about –without cruel intent, but sometimes that’s worse, no?

And then there’s the webcast that I used to like…but I stopped listening to because they kept being homophobic, misogynistic asswipes:


Finally, I realized that I was tired of gaming against cheaters.  Apparently my tolerance for them is much lower than it is for other people, or maybe I’m just more willing to call people out when they’re being cheating asswipes.

(5) A very, very good cheater plays it ‘straight’ here…. but at the local tournament where he played against me, he cheated his ass off in order to win the free toys (and first prize).  BTW, if you’re confused about which one is the cheater in this batrep, it’s NOT the Stelek (the Space Wolf player)

(6) And here’s even more fun – this time, it’s not just cheating by other players.  It’s also straight-up shenanigans from a tournament organizer who wants to be an asswipe.  Possibly he was being cocksure at some point in the (distant) past and I made him look the fool, and he was trying to get back at me.  Maybe he’s just an asswipe regardless.


Why I’m posting again

  • Because I’m playing Warhammer Ancients again at a charity tournament at the end of January 2011.  Hopefully I’ll post results.
  • Because my 40K friends at the Gate (Pat and Bryan, named above at the top of the post, included) have continued to share their enjoyment with the game on-line.
  • Because I really do like painting and playing with toy soldiers.
  • But perhaps this is just another phase in my ongoing maturity and development.  Turns out that this truly is a ‘social’ activity for me, and at this point in my life, I prefer to spend my ‘social’ time in situations and circumstances that have a relatively high likelihood of being enjoyable – meaning I probably will focus on gaming more with just friends.  Like the 2011 Counteroffensive event, which is being planned as I write this.


  1. Glad to see you're back sir. There was a certain void in my blog reading that I couldn't quite fill. :(


  2. Would this be the same Fabulous Orcboy that used to post on the Millenium Gate forum, attended some events at Borderlands in Greenville SC? If so, welcome back to blogging although this is the first time I have ever came across it. Kind of cool to come across someone I used to know... kind of.