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GameTalk - OPFOR

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bayonetbrant:
The next installment of GameTalk is out there.  This one discusses playing the OPFOR

Rex Brynen:
I have often reflected on how idiosyncratic my own comfort with playing "the bad guys" is. I'll happily field a 15mm Ghaznavid ancient army on a tabletop, regardless of their historically predatory raids into India. I'll play WWII Germans, but have none of the fascination for the Wehrmacht or SS that some gamers have (SS-fascination always being something of an indicator of the sort of gamer I don't like to play with). I enjoy gaming modern conflicts, including those characterized by mass atrocities and human rights abuses, but some do make me feel a little uncomfortable or guilty, largely due to personal and professional interaction with their real-world victims.

I wrote a little on this a few years back at PAXsims: http://paxsims.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/on-being-the-bad-guys/

Research suggests that while wargamers come from across the ideological spectrum in fairly equal measure, historical gamers tend to have a somewhat higher Social Dominance Orientation—a psychological measure "shown to be related to group-relevant social ideologies (such as nationalism, sexism, militarism, etc.) and a powerful predictor of prejudice against a wide range of social groups."

http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2013/07/academic-study-of-tabletop-wargamers_14.html

Perhaps that means that, on average, wargamers are a little less sympathetic to suffering than others? It's an interesting question.

Ubercat:

--- Quote from: Rex Brynen on September 22, 2014, 08:44:49 AM --- (SS-fascination always being something of an indicator of the sort of gamer I don't like to play with). I enjoy gaming modern conflicts, including those characterized by mass atrocities and human rights abuses, but some do make me feel a little uncomfortable or guilty, largely due to personal and professional interaction with their real-world victims.

--- End quote ---

Interesting. Do you believe that anyone fascinated by the SS is a closet (or not so closeted) Nazi?

I'm somewhat fascinated by the SS, and can't seem to get enough of WW2 gaming in general despite the market saturation, but I have zero approval of what they stood for. I also despise PC, and want my games to have authentic period flags for the sake of immersion. I'm just as happy destroying the evil Nazi's and making swastikas disappear all over a map as I am in spreading them.

I guess it's the roleplayer in me. I suspect that if I'd lived through WW2 I might feel differently. I like the COIN series of games but have never played A Distant Plain or Labyrinth. If I did, I know I'd feel much more comfortable exterminating the terrorist vermin than playing them.

Jack Nastyface:
I have come to realize that, for whatever reason, I like playing "the underdog".  In many cases, that often ends up being the bad-guy OPFOR.  In games that take place in the distant past (anything older than WWII), I find that I can play either side in a conflict with little emotional or intellectual pause.  In modern-era games (Vietnam and later), I do occasionally experience moments of guilty conscience.  Sometime ago, I was playing a game of Force on Force where I was the Taliban, fighting (fellow) Canadians.  I felt a mixture of displeasure and ease when I lost (p*ssed that I made some really bad roles that cost me the game, but glad that at least the good guys won).

I think my interest in playing the underdog stems mostly from my interest in tactics and strategy:  can a losing or desperate situation be turned around (or at least mitigated) by using alternate tactics?  Ultimately, I think this is what draws me to wargaming in the first place.

Having said that, I also notice that in playing on-line FPS shooters (like Red Orchestra) I willingly play whatever team is available.  Although I _like_ playing Allies (variously: US, Brit or Russia), I am okay playing the Germans, etc...

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