Why I am a wargame grognard--reposted (and expanded)--from Board Game Geek here.
For starters, it's because I'm old enough to be one. Born in 1959 (you do the math). Started wargaming seriously in 1974 (you do the math again). A lot of grognards--at least those who proudly wear the label--are 50 or older. There certainly can be younger grognards. What makes a grognard is something that we can cover in another discussion.
Secondly, it was the games I started with. A lot of old Avalon Hill games. First came MIDWAY. Then there was AFRIKA KORPS. STALINGRAD. D-DAY. BATTLE OF THE BULGE '65. WATERLOO. PANZERBLITZ, PANZERLEADER, RICHTHOFEN'S WAR, THIRD REICH were in there too.
Third, I got a subscription to STRATEGY AND TACTICS in 1976, a seminal year. CONQUISTADOR. PANZERGRUPPE GUDERIAN. Got MOSCOW CAMPAIGN, FAST CARRIERS, WAR IN EUROPE for Christmas. How cool was that? I also got a subscription to THE GENERAL in 1976 as well...
We played DIPLOMACY every week, incessantly, at the high school Strategic Games Club meetings. We also ran, outside of these meetings, massive 50+ player home-grown games of NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION and a home grown multi-player strategic game (13 player) called PRETZEL WARS two years in a row. It took all year to play it, with weekly turns.
For the gamers who think only Napoleonics players can be called Grognards, we did our fair share of NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO, BORODINO, AUSTERLITZ, NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES, if not WELLINGTON'S VICTORY--all by SPI.
And since "Grognard" means "old grumbler," we grumbled plenty. About what games should be like. Wishing for revisions and changes to WOODEN SHIPS AND IRON MEN. To SNIPER! And more. House rules and variants aplenty to "fix" things. Like we, as high schoolers, could really fix anything.
Getting wargames every Christmas and birthday since 1974 means you eventually acquire a pretty sizable collection. The games in STRATEGY AND TACTICS--and then 3W's WARGAMER--and then other games in a magazine--helped.
But what defines me as a Grognard is that I tend to hang around and play with other Grognards...and talk about wargaming with them. I am defined by the company I keep--
At my retirement, my guest speaker, Don Hanle (who co-designed GMT's PENSACOLA), described my grognard tendencies that I kept displaying even when we first met in 1994. As a fellow grognard, then an Air Force lieutenant colonel, he knew a fellow traveler/kindred spirit as soon as he met me.
Why are you a wargaming grognard?