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Subject: History and Geography Polls rss

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p55carroll
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I like to think I have a broad range of interests, but I have to admit that certain times and places appeal to me a lot more than others. When it comes to wargaming, reading, or whatever, how do you feel about various historical periods and geographical regions?

Poll
How do you generally feel about each time period?
  Cool! Meh Yuck
Prehistory
3000 BC - 500 BC
500 BC - AD 500
AD 500 - 1500
AD 1500 - 1700
AD 1700 - 1800
AD 1800 - 1900
AD 1900 - 2000
AD 2000 - Present
Near Future
Distant Future
      147 answers
Poll created by Patrick Carroll


Poll
How do you generally feel about each of these regions?
  Cool! Meh Yuck
Australia/Oceania
Southeast Asia
India
China/Japan/Korea
Former Soviet Union/Afghanistan/Mongolia
Middle East
Europe
North Africa
East Africa/Madagascar
South Africa
West Africa
South America
Central America
North America
Arctic + Arctic Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
Southern Ocean/Antarctica
Outer Space
      123 answers
Poll created by Patrick Carroll

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Lance Runolfsson
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You forgot to put a "Way Cool" or "Tubular" option which are needed to describe the Arctic and Antarctic!
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Jonathan Challis
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That 2nd vote is INCREDIBLY modern (shall we say 1700s onwards, and particularly 1900s+) centric.

You've lumped all the main options for players ancients, dark ages, medieval, etc into 2-3 areas (because they are all lumped together for most modern purposes) whereas an ancients player would split them into a 12-15 areas minimum...
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Jason Sadler
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I am usually Meh about a subject until I actually read about it and then I am astounded to discover that people do interesting things everywhere and have been for all time. Recent Meh->Cool conversions were Chandragupta, the Chinese War of Resistance Against Japan, and Reformation Europe.
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p55carroll
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Kelanen wrote:
That 2nd vote is INCREDIBLY modern (shall we say 1700s onwards, and particularly 1900s+) centric.

You've lumped all the main options for players ancients, dark ages, medieval, etc into 2-3 areas (because they are all lumped together for most modern purposes) whereas an ancients player would split them into a 12-15 areas minimum...

Actually, I prefer the way Don Featherstone organized history in one of his wargaming books: he divided it into three eras--Ancient, Horse and Musket, and Modern.

Good enough for me. I thought I'd give more options, though, for those who want them.

Info on pre-classical history is too scanty for anybody but scholars to divide up anyway.
 
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Greg S
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There isn't a single time period or region (except prehistory) that I'm uninterested in. Am I weird?
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Wendell
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essayons7 wrote:
There isn't a single time period or region (except prehistory) that I'm uninterested in. Am I weird?


No. I answered "cool" on all of them too.
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Jonathan Challis
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Patrick Carroll wrote:

Actually, I prefer the way Don Featherstone organized history in one of his wargaming books: he divided it into three eras--Ancient, Horse and Musket, and Modern.


Fair enough, but I have to greatly disagree. So everything pre-gunpowder is ancient? Despite about 1500 years where no ancient or medieval player would recognise the term.

Putting everything from the Franco-Prussian wars to Iraq strikes me as too oversimplified to be useful too, but since I have zero interest in anything with guns onwards I don't care much. Lumping ancient Assyrians, Mesopotamians, etc in with say Greeks, Romans, Dark Ages migrations of the tribes, through Age of Chivalry late medieval blurs entire genres.

The only grouping there I could agree with is Horse and Musket!
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p55carroll
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I'm still surprised at how much interest there is in the ancient/medieval periods. When I started out in wargaming, it was much, much less popular. SPI's tactical games (Phalanx and others) were about it. Most miniatures wargamers were into Napoleonics.

Today, even "Ancient Rome" is too broad a category; fans of the era want to break it down into half a dozen sub-periods.

The term "Modern" has taken on a different meaning too. In my day it usually meant post-WW2, but sometimes it referred to anything in the 20th century. Today, modern-warfare fans think of WW2 as "prototypical" and would probably divide the post-WW2 era into several sub-periods.

Three factors seem to be at play:

1. Time marches on; naturally today's perspective is different than it was forty years ago.

2. There are a lot more wargames around now, and formerly rare periods are now covered by board wargames and miniatures rules.

3. When you're interested in a particular period, you tend to "zoom in" and divide that period into several sub-periods. My main thing has been the American Civil War, and I certainly see a big difference between 1862 and 1863 (for example). But someone who's not interested in the ACW would probably not see much difference. (For example, I don't see much difference between the 1500s and 1600s. All lumped together in my mind.)
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Jonathan Challis
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It think a lot has to do with what part of the world you live in. In the US it's Napoleonics, ACW and modern. Outside of the US there's almost no interest in ACW or Vietnam (probably predictably - just like you aren't much interested in the English Civil War or French Revolution for example).

In Europe, Napoleonics was definitely 'the thing' 40 years ago, but not so much now, although it certainly has it's adherents. Modern varies around Europe - for example it's very unpopular somewhere like Germany or Austria where rulebooks and art have to be changed to even be legal, and WWII is decidely a sensitive subject in much of Europe but it's moderately popular in the UK.

Ancients, Dark Ages and Medieval are at least as popular, and probably more so judging by games at wargaming clubs and conventions. They are definitely not remotely rare or niche. The Zulu wars and Raj India show up not infrequently here too - I guess that would be 'Modern' by your definition.

Not sure if it's relevant to the subject, but I guess it could be - Wargaming over here is overwhelmingly with figures, be it anything from 6mm to 28mm, although 10mm, 15mm and 25mm seem the most popular. Counter & Hex type wargaming seems to be really rare over here (probably less so to a BGG audience), whereas I get the impression it's a very common form of wargaming in the US.
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Jonathan Challis
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Patrick Carroll wrote:

Today, even "Ancient Rome" is too broad a category; fans of the era want to break it down into half a dozen sub-periods.


Certainly Imperial and Republican Rome differ and pre/post Marian Reforms being a key distinction.

Patrick Carroll wrote:

3. When you're interested in a particular period, you tend to "zoom in" and divide that period into several sub-periods. My main thing has been the American Civil War, and I certainly see a big difference between 1862 and 1863 (for example). But someone who's not interested in the ACW would probably not see much difference. (For example, I don't see much difference between the 1500s and 1600s. All lumped together in my mind.)


Agreed. That was really my initial point - it was what looks like a reasonable list for someone that only played Guns onwards periods.
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Brian Morris
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A lot of these eras can be split different ways. For example in the US the end of the civil war to the beginning of WWI is considered by many to be an era. On the other hand the Chicago Worlds Fair to WWII is considered another era by others. Both of these eras overlap in time. The reason they are viewed this way is because people's specific interests within the time period vary.
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p55carroll
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Kelanen wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
Actually, I prefer the way Don Featherstone organized history in one of his wargaming books: he divided it into three eras--Ancient, Horse and Musket, and Modern.

Fair enough, but I have to greatly disagree. So everything pre-gunpowder is ancient?

Well, Featherstone was writing about miniatures wargaming; and at that time (and still, for the most part), miniatures wargames were all tactical.

So, if you were writing up simple wargame rules to cover everything, it'd be convenient to divide history up the way he did:

Ancient = mostly melee combat
Horse and Musket = balance of missile and melee combat
Modern = mostly missile combat

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p55carroll
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Kelanen wrote:
It think a lot has to do with what part of the world you live in. In the US it's Napoleonics, ACW and modern. Outside of the US there's almost no interest in ACW or Vietnam (probably predictably - just like you aren't much interested in the English Civil War or French Revolution for example).

When I made my first abortive venture into miniatures wargaming, in the early 1970s, the ACW seemed to be much more popular in the UK than in the USA. Then British Colonial Wars caught on here, while Brits were more interested in the Plains Indian Wars and American West.

Of course, I'm just remembering a bunch of articles and discussions from back then. Even if I'm not remembering wrong, my experience was limited. But that's how it seemed to me, FWIW.
 
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p55carroll
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I notice the poll results coincide, in one particular, with a feeling I've always had: I can get interested in the classical ancient and medieval periods, but then my interest drops off around AD 1500, and it doesn't pick up again until the 1800s. That whole era from 1500-1800 or so has always been kind of a turn-off to me. The poll, so far, shows a bit of a lull there too. So I guess I'm not the only one.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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'Cool' isn't cold enough for the arctic.
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Thom0909
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46% are "meh" about the Indian Ocean. I would have bet that number would have been a good 5-7 points higher.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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I love the whole world. I mean, where would we be without it?
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Lance Runolfsson
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Hungadunga wrote:
I love the whole world. I mean, where would we be without it?


Exploding in the vacuum of space.
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Brian Morris
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Kelanen wrote:
It think a lot has to do with what part of the world you live in. In the US it's Napoleonics, ACW and modern. Outside of the US there's almost no interest in ACW or Vietnam (probably predictably - just like you aren't much interested in the English Civil War or French Revolution for example).


Much agreed. I'm a huge civil war buff in part because of it's accessibility to me. I can visit the battlefields and read the books written by the combatants. On the other hand I have zero interest in the Napoleonic era in Europe.

One of the reasons I think WWII is such a popular subject is it involved pretty much everyone. Germany, Japan, USA, Britain, France, Australia, Italy and a host of other nations were involved.
 
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LanceRunolfsson wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
I love the whole world. I mean, where would we be without it?


Exploding in the vacuum of space.


Well you would be, earthling.

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Andreas Johansson
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Patrick Carroll wrote:

Well, Featherstone was writing about miniatures wargaming; and at that time (and still, for the most part), miniatures wargames were all tactical.

So, if you were writing up simple wargame rules to cover everything, it'd be convenient to divided history up the way he did:

Ancient = mostly melee combat
Horse and Musket = balance of missile and melee combat
Modern = mostly missile combat

Posssibly the commonest ancients weapon is the javelin ...

Many ancient and medieval armies also put a lot of emphasis on archery. Think late medieval English, or almost any steppe army after about 700 BC.
 
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Orcoteuthis wrote:

Posssibly the commonest ancients weapon is the javelin ...


Often used as a prelude to melee.

Balance seems right for the era though,
with significantly less melee in many periods of the
musket.

 
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p55carroll
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Orcoteuthis wrote:
Posssibly the commonest ancients weapon is the javelin ...

I doubt it. Spear, maybe. The javelin was more an auxiliary weapon; once you throw it, you'd better have a main weapon as a backup.

Slings required a lot of skill, so there were relatively few slinger units. Bows require skill too, and they're expensive to boot; so it was a wealthy, militaristic land that could field many archers.

Certainly there have always been some missile units. Even prehistoric man hunted with the atlatl. But with some notable exceptions (e.g., Parthians and Mongols), most armies are bulked out with foot soldiers armed with affordable weapons that require only a modest amount of skill to use.

In ancient and medieval times, those were mostly spearmen (sometimes swordsmen).

In the horse-and-musket era, they were musket-and-bayonet infantry.

In the modern era, they're soldiers with repeating, semiautomatic, or automatic rifles.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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In the big ancient battles, melee was important.

Most engagements likely didn't bring things to that level.
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