Friday, March 20, 2009

Possibilities Marching On

I learned quite a lot in a very short time period as a young lad of 13 years and while associating with the adult males of the LGTSA (Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association) and IFW (International Federation of Wargamers); then too the Midwest Military Simulation Association members whom I grew to know as they associated with the LGTSA, and by helping maintain the Castle & Crusade Society, where more friendships made only expanded my travels upon the roads of comradeship and perception.

New vistas were opened for me by association and friendship shared with intellects whose wide-ranging imaginative stance on life were impressed upon my own; and this exposed to me its many possibilities, not only in the games we played and designed, but thus in thought in general. I had become a student of life in "high gear" and I soaked up things, as Jeff Perren once said of me, "as a sponge does water." Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and GENCON grew out of this, for sure; and this is where people today seem to tread in studying this part of history that is for the most part clouded by the very fact that it was hobbyist in nature.

The rise of anything great does not stand upon just a single set of shoulders, or even multiple sets thereof, but upon many so grouped to maintain the weight and thus the direction of such greatness. Within that shared experience is where I found the continued march of possibilities amongst its members' mindsets; and this too was forwarded on with me through my youthful days at TSR and thus in the continued and expanding growth of the hobby.

Thus the continuance of our many-faceted hobby of games today is not forwarded by any one single person (nor by a single concept), who in sudden realization exclaims, "By Jove, I have it!" Indeed, this wellspring has fed us all, and originates chapter by chapter, verse by verse, person by person, and stretches all the way back in times as far removed from us now as it was in thought then. It is through the distillation of philosophical treatment given over to the historical wherein truth is discovered for the wagon of the mind to continue its progress along the road of possibilities and so as not to become wrested from its ancient course by one of its spinning wheels.

It is a great pleasure for me to announce that I have invited several people well known to me from those days and times to participate in our expanding discussions here: game designers, historians, educators, and others who all have in common a single point of view as I do: to share in the wellspring of thought and to continue exposing in different ways the roads of possibilities inherent to our singular and grouped experiences as gamers. I hope you find their thoughts as enlightening as I found them in my youth.


Benoist said...

This is an honor to be in such company.

I cannot claim any expertise as it relates to the origins of the hobby. I'm merely a follower in this regard.

I can just hope to be able to share my own insights here and, in the process, be of some use to the work at hand. Maybe asking the right question, maybe evoking a memory or thought that would prove valuable down the road.

I am on my own personal quest to the roots of our hobby, and through it, what it means to me and my craft as a gamer. The resources available on these pages already are invaluable to me, so you will understand that the propect of many more inputs, and thus added value to the blog, is more than a little exciting to me!

Rob Kuntz said...

Well this is part history and part history in the making, really, as none of us are dead yet. The idea is to share and share alike, to bring into perspective and then move. Call it the movement of the mind. Questions will arise and personal ideas will come to fore. That is all part of it and then some. Whatever level it inspires, then within such exchanges are the proofs to continue and build upon them. The movement never ceases. If it did, there would be no reason to create, only to spin the same wheel over and over, and that is not at all what is involved here nor will ever be.

Benoist said...

I agree. Thankfully, the origins of the game seem to benefit from renewed scrutiny and interest these days.

I wonder if previous edition changes created that sort of reaction on the part of gamers. I guess they did to some extent, though gamers did not benefit from the instant capacity to each connect and organize with one another the way the internet provides nowadays.

Sure, you had local game stores and associations, but these do not come even close to the feedback capabilities of the internet. I guess the downside is that sometimes, it can be a little eye-straining to separate the wheat from the shaff.

Rob Kuntz said...

The internet has sure sped up the sharing of information and has allowed the meeting of minds at a more rapid pace, which is always good. The connection values are high, but rather altogether different than when these didn't exist by today's standards. No word processors, all information derived from your library, a local one, a university's, etc. Hand made maps, not ready-made. Weeks instead of days waiting for miniatures to arrive to be painted (pre-painted minis there were: elastolins from Walter Luc Haas, but not many folks outside of the LGTSA members collected these and it was along wait for them mailed to us from overseas); but what we lacked we made for in numbers and with an indomitable spirit, voluminous correspondence, many convention meets, regular gaming, regular phone calls. There was always a new scenario, a new project to be play-tested, a new variant, a new visitor or visitors, a new place to go and new people and places to see. Things seemed more active in that regard, and because of that there was this feeling that you were accomplishing more, or maybe it was the illusion that we did, but a lot got done and without much afterthought. Oh, and mimeographs and manual typewriters-carbon paper anyone?