Tuesday 2 December 2008

Toy Soldiers: The ethics of "War Toys"!

I have just read a very well written piece by the Dane of War over on his blog:-
Where have all the army men gone: Read it Here
It basically bemoans the modern lack of toy soldiers in Denmark (Dane of War's home) and the modern "PC" attitude towards war toys and games.

Personally, as a wargamer, and someone who (like Dane) grew up in the 70's playing with Airfix toy soldiers, I have spent a fair time thinking this subject through. Now, being a father of two boys, the oldest of which is 4 1/2 and starting to reach an age where toy soldiers may have some appeal, I have to decide where to go!
My wife and I have been extremely reluctant to allow the boys to have toy guns (my eldest son has a Buzz Lightyear ray gun, but that is as close as we will go). So how is that different to toy soldiers?
Also, being a Buddhist, I have had to think hard about the ethics of playing wargames myself.
I suppose my general conclusion is, that most wargamers do not promote war or aggression in any way, they generally know a lot more about the hardships and horrors of war than the average person would (although clearly not as much as anyone who has actually fought ). Also they tend to honour and respect those that have fought for their countries.
I tend to think that wargames are always going to have some controversy around them when it comes to moral issues. Even down to things like what kind of casualty markers are used on the wargames table. Certainly some are valid, and I suppose I am not totally convinced that my position is the right one. However, at the moment I am happy to promote wargames to my sons and have taken my eldest to several Wargames show (although he has not shown any particular interest in that direction yet).
I think the best thing is to admit that this subject needs continuous review and that I will always be looking at the subject and thinking it through. I tend to lean towards science fiction and fantasy games most of the time, which are clearly removed from reality and so I suppose I am avoiding the true horrors of war most of the time anyway.
A difficult subject that is never going to be truly resolved. Dane of War makes some good points, and it is well worth a read.
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to the site. Your response was equally as well-written, as it is always interesting to hear from someone who - for one reason or another - walks the line between gaming and their personal beliefs.


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