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Subject: July 20, 1944 -- The plot to destroy the wargame hobby? rss

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Pete Belli
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OK, so I wasted two hours of my life watching the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie last week. This film about the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler on July 20. 1944 started a bizarre thought process deep inside my game-obsessed brain. What would have happened to the modern wargame hobby if this plot had been a success and Germany surrendered?

An entire generation of wargamers grew up with a focus on WWII simulations. The impact on The Avalon Hill Game Co could have been huge. D-Day would have ended after just a few turns, unless the Optional Hitler Survival Rules were used. Where would thousands of Baby Boomer grognards who became tangled in the wargame web after playing The Battle of the Bulge be today?

In fact, there would be ZERO games about the Ardennes since that campaign never occurred. That alone sweeps dozens of published titles into oblivion. No games about Arnhem and Operation Market-Garden. No games about the final phase of Operation Cobra or the breakout across France. No games about the push into the Reich. The classic SPI title Battle for Germany would not exist, since there wasn't one.

On the Eastern Front all of the games about the final attack on Berlin would be missing. No forlorn Panzer battles like Bitter End: Attack to Budapest, 1945 in Hungary. Most strategic level games about WWII in Europe would end with the Red Army in Poland, waiting for its logistics network to be established.

What would be the impact on the Pacific Theater? If the war effort was switched to the Pacific maybe everything published about campaigns after the invasion of Saipan would be different. No heroics at The Battle for Iwo Jima in 1945? Okinawa? Maybe. Would the modern legend of the Kamikaze just be a whisper of "what might have been" in naval wargames? The invasion of Manchuria by the Soviet Union might occur in the fall of 1944... now that would be interesting.

Grand strategic games like World in Flames would probably be shorter. The altered WWII endgame would change the narrative of Cold War titles like Twilight Struggle. The list of powerful changes to our hobby could go on and on.

So... the wargame business might survive if Hitler didn't, but things sure would be different.

Thanks for indulging my hypothetical meanderings.
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All I know is: If Tom Cruise had killed Hitler, the world would be a better place.
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Yani
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Arcology wrote:
All I know is: If Tom Cruise had killed Hitler, the world would be a better place.


I wish I could agree with this.. Being a fan of Chaos Theory, I can only surmise that the world would have been different. Just different..
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Andrew N
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I'm sure there would have just been different battles to make games about. There are so many what ifs! Even if the Stauffenberg plot had succeeded, who's to say there wouldn't have been a counter-coup or a civil war in Germany? Would the new leadership have been prepared to make an unconditional surrender to ALL of the Allies? Even if they were, what would an end to the fighting at this point meant for the Cold War?
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Jim F
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Arcology wrote:
All I know is: If Tom Cruise had killed Hitler, the world would be a better place.


Because he would be an even more popular movie star than he is now?
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Having dim expectations of this movie before watching it, I actually enjoyed it.
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Eddy Sterckx
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Few wargamers know that before and even during the war Germany actually published a number of board wargames - there's one on the air-campaign against Britain for instance - published during the war.

Germany always was a a big toy making centre in Europe and lots of boardgames were being made - after the war wargames became a no-no IRL, but in an alternate world with a non-devastated Germany I can see board wargames getting their start in Germany.

Charles Roberts then follows his true passion - trains - and publishes a number of railroad boardgames - which start the Amerigames revolution

Edit : a couple of links :

Stukas greifen an
Luftkampfspiel des Adler
Sturmpioniere

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David Janik-Jones
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coralsaw wrote:
Arcology wrote:
All I know is: If Tom Cruise had killed Hitler, the world would be a better place.

I wish I could agree with this.. Being a fan of Chaos Theory, I can only surmise that the world would have been different. Just different..

Tell me that's the different timeline where Agricola doesn't get published?
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scott Murray
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pete belli wrote:


OK, so I wasted two hours of my life watching the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie last week. This film about the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler on July 20. 1944 started a bizarre thought process deep inside my game-obsessed brain.


You should of watched the German original
[geekurl=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388437/][/geekurl]
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In Totaler Krieg - the assassination may succeed. If Soviet is strong enough, the US/British may join forces with the new German government to stop the red tide.

In 1962 the Soviet u boat captains ruined a great WWIII game by not firing nuclear torpedoes at US Navy.

http://cuba.blogspot.no/2012/10/cuban-missile-crisis-secret-...
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Sam Carroll
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It wouldn't change the main event, Pete. As another poster put it, "Wargame trends come and go, but Barbarossa is forever."
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Alan Sutton
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Nice idea as usual Pete.

I am not too bothered by the loss of all the later WWII battles.

Firstly, if we have a truncated WWII presumably all those geo political problems would then have been fought out in the fifties instead.

We would have had Fulda Gap in the 90s instead of the 80s.

More importantly, if the deluge of Bulge and D Day games were avoided, we may have achieved critical mass with games that are really cool.

Napoleonic



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Gerry Palmer
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Arcology wrote:
All I know is: If Tom Cruise had killed Hitler, the world would be a better place.


I would suggest that this statement would also be true if you just switched the names around.
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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I suggest that you simply assume the new regime would have continued the war. That way you can put your mind at ease.

If you want to imagine that a military regime would have replaced the Nazi's after the successful assassination of Hitler, then (according to the high level military leaders, after the fact) the Germans would have fought 'smarter'. A timely withdrawal from the doomed Normandy defenses. Evacuation of their forces from the Baltic States. A 'successful' counterattack on the eastern front, instead of the Ardennes Offensive (ok, so perhaps you're right about the Bulge games - little loss there IMHO ).
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p55carroll
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Maybe the Civil War would have enjoyed continued popularity. It was all the rage until overshadowed by the World Wars. And WWI was dispiriting (except for the "knights of the sky" ... oh, and the dreadnoughts, for those who like that sort of thing ... and Mata Hari).

Or maybe we would have just looked for American heroics in the Pacific instead of Europe. Guadalcanal might have been done right and attracted as many gamers as The Battle of the Bulge did.

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John New
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It is ever thus. If the Cadoudal/Saint-Regent bomb plot against the life of the First Consul had succeeded (it almost did) where would we Napoleonic wargamers be? No Austerlitz wargames? No Borodino? No Waterloo?

The mind shudders
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Kev.
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It was destined to fail... Look.
How many times did it take him to save the world in:
Edge of Tomorrow....


In the end he needs this wonderful actress to get it done in any case:
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That's an interesting point, because I think part of what makes playing a game based on a single battle satisfying is that it can be seen as a small but essential part of a bigger victory--but if that bunch had actually somehow managed to end the war by assassinating Hitler, maybe all those battles would be just seen in history as "Meh, whatever, didn't matter 'cause some German dude with a bomb won it." So even the war's earlier efforts wouldn't be as much fun to simulate.

Without the eventual hard-fought, well-earned glory of the WWII victory, maybe the U.S. would have wound up with many more games on the Revolutionary War, more dramatically embracing that one as the true "We won!" conflict in our history?

But I agree that killing Hitler may well not have ended things so neatly....
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Roger Hobden
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If Hitler had been accepted in Art School, then what ?
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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eker wrote:
In 1962 the Soviet u boat captains ruined a great WWIII game by not firing nuclear torpedoes at US Navy.

http://cuba.blogspot.no/2012/10/cuban-missile-crisis-secret-...

What the--"each sub carried a nuclear-tipped torpedo capable of vaporizing everything within a ten mile radius"--uhh... I haven't found a lot of information about this (this would be the T-5?) but how the heck do you fire the thing without sinking yourself too?

The other thing I'm not clear on--that article suggests that the locations of the four Foxtrot subs might have been the note Kennedy sent Khrushchev, but if "ASW forces converged on those bearings and dropped active sonar buoys and warning depth charges" "whenever [the subs] transmitted," wouldn't the subs have already reported that the Americans knew where they were? I don't see how Kennedy telling Khrushchev he knew the subs' locations would have told Khrushchev anything he didn't already know.
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Brian Morris
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The hobby would have adjusted. I'm sure had what has been speculated here come to pass that we would be playing My Little Pony wargames.





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p55carroll
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And then there was the other plot to destroy the wargaming hobby: when lead was banned in toy manufacture. Whatever would miniatures wargamers do?

Luckily, the hobby was saved by pewter and by a change of attitude toward plastic. (Oh, and of course by board wargames, which were never threatened in the first place.)

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Michael Sommers
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pete belli wrote:
What would have happened to the modern wargame hobby if this plot had been a success and Germany surrendered?

Would Germany have surrendered? Undoubtedly they would have tried, but would they have accepted unconditional surrender, which was by then the Allied policy? Would FDR have accepted anything less? Would Stalin have accepted a peace that did not leave him in control of eastern Germany and all of eastern Europe?

Quote:
Where would thousands of Baby Boomer grognards who became tangled in the wargame web after playing The Battle of the Bulge be today?

The birth of the wargaming hobby coincided with the centennial of the Civil War, which was a lot bigger (in the US) than the current centennial. You would probably have seen more games on that war.

Quote:
The invasion of Manchuria by the Soviet Union might occur in the fall of 1944... now that would be interesting.

That invasion would never have happened, assuming that peace came relatively quickly after the assassination. Stalin did not agree to attack the Japanese until Yalta, in February '45.

If Russia didn't go to war against Japan, then they would not have occupied half of Korea, so no Korean war. Possibly no Vietnam, either, on the premise that they would have had less interest in Asia, but that is by no means certain.

One thing is certain: if the war ended sooner, many fewer people would have died in it.
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Carl Fung
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pete belli wrote:


OK, so I wasted two hours of my life watching the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie last week. This film about the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler on July 20. 1944 started a bizarre thought process deep inside my game-obsessed brain. What would have happened to the modern wargame hobby if this plot had been a success and Germany surrendered?



You'd have more a "Battle for Germany" race that starts earlier with Western Allies vs. Soviets trying to grab Berlin. Germany may formally surrender but you never know if Germans would quickly ally themselves with the Western Allies against the Soviets. So this may have initiated WWIII sooner since both sides wouldn't have been bled white fighting the Germans to May 1945.

pete belli wrote:

What would be the impact on the Pacific Theater? If the war effort was switched to the Pacific maybe everything published about campaigns after the invasion of Saipan would be different. No heroics at The Battle for Iwo Jima in 1945? Okinawa? Maybe. Would the modern legend of the Kamikaze just be a whisper of "what might have been" in naval wargames? The invasion of Manchuria by the Soviet Union might occur in the fall of 1944... now that would be interesting.


If my speculation on the Western Front would have happened then less to no forces would've shifted over to the Pacific so its pretty much the same result there.
 
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Dave P
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Scottgun wrote:
Having dim expectations of this movie before watching it, I actually enjoyed it.


Same here - basically knowing how it ends and finding Tom Cruise to be more comical than apparently all of Hollywood, this movie was relegated to my "If I ever have time and its on Netflix" list.

Lo and behold, the planets aligned and I watched it the other night.

I have to admit, I kinda liked it as well...ugh, what's next a Twilight screening? cry

-Dave
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