First, before the howls of derision, let me say I did check to see if anyone had posted a similar blog here. I couldn't find one, so hence this blog. That doesn't mean to say there isn't one, just that perhaps I missed it...

Yesterday, I was waiting for a relative’s plane to arrive at an airport. As usual, her plane was delayed. So, looking to ‘kill some time’, I sauntered over to a nearby retailers, ignoring the drinks and chocolates, heading towards the book section. Half-heartedly, I began to browse the books, not expecting to find anything that I'd like to read. I didn’t, of course. Most retailers at airports have a limited range of books that fall outside my interest in history. But while I looked, two thoughts occurred to me. The first was “don’t buy it unless you reckon you’ll actually have the time to read it.” The second was “why don’t I read so much these days?”

This led into a kind inner conversation – without voices, you understand – in which I found myself answering back: well you don’t read so much these days as you’re playing too many games! Ok, so that’s a solid reason, but why do I do that? And then the answer emerged as I stared at the books: why buy a book on fiction, even a good book on fiction, even with some semblance of a historical background, when it has a fixed narrative? You know that the narrative will never change, that you can only read it once without knowing what’s going to happen. And it's a solo-experience. In this answer, there emerged another thought.

It was this. The flip side of a fixed narrative is a dynamic one. And this is what I often find in a good boardgame. A well designed boardgame, with some historical flavour, should help create a dynamic narrative, one that changes each time you play. And one that you a part in yourself. There are other reasons too, of course. So why do you like to play a boardgame or wargame?       

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Comment by Roger Morley on March 18, 2014 at 2:47pm

Interesting thought Brendan.

One of the obvious reasons for playing a war game is to see if it is possible to change history. This does depend on the accuracy of the designed game, which, you have to assume the designer(s) have researched well and have got the game as historically correct as possible.

Plus I like to read about what ever battle I am about to play. This alone helps me to learn and understand the situation of a particular battle, and gives me the chance to study the battle when playing, looking into all the different tactics that are available.

Another reason is the fact that they are all replayable, to lesser or greater degrees, as there are enough variables with dice rolling and varied tactics to make any game replayable.

Plus they are jolly good fun to play!

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