Jesse’s BBS was big into expanding the mind and what better way to do this than in the field of gaming. My favorite in the past has been military historical wargames but also games in the sport realm.
Why gaming you might ask? Why can’t I just read about it in a book. Of course you can read about things in a book. In fact there are many good books written about various military campaigns from the foot soldier level all the way to the general/commander in chief. Autobiographies, military campaigns, battle books, etc. they are all there and do provide an insight into what it is like. The same applies for sports. There are tons of books out there about sports too. Famous athletes, legendary coaches, etc. However, books only provide a limited insight into what it is like. The one thing that games allow that you can’t get in books is the “You are there” feeling. You can be thrust into the situation of the soldier, or platoon sergeant or Captain of the team then see what you would have done. Sure it is easy to say we have historical hindsight but on the other hand the situations may change based on what you decide (or decide not to do).
For example, say you are in the shoes of General Lee in the American Civil War heading into Pennsylvania. Do you send your faithful calvary commander Jeb Stewart out to reconnoiter to locate General Meade and his Union forces. Hindsight tells you that Lee sent Stewart out with all his calvary to look for Meade and lost contact with him for several days. Which led him to march blind into a small town by the name of Gettysburg (actually Lee’s lead elements were looking for shoes when they bumped into the vanguard of Meade’s army). The rest is history.
How about Napoleon Bonaparte in the battle of Waterloo? He choose to deploy his elite French “Guards” to try and break through the center line of the Duke of Wellington’s English forces who (unbeknownst to Napoleon and his generals) were lying (literally) in wait in reverse slope position to engage the French. The rest is history. The Guards attack was repulsed and they were broken. Napoleon was defeated and the monarchies prevailed.
The sports world is full of “What ifs?” Super Bowl ILIX – the clock is at 1:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks’ Jermaine Kearse had just made a miraculous, bobbling reception, giving Pats fans flashbacks to the David Tyree helmet catch. Seattle called its second timeout with the play clock running down amid the chaos that followed, setting up first and goal at the five-yard line. Now they had four downs and just over a minute left to punch it into the end zone. The Pats had two timeouts—enough to preserve the clock for a last-ditch drive of their own, should the Seahawks score quickly.
On first down, Seattle ran Marshawn Lynch off left tackle for four yards, down to the one. Carroll said after the game he expected Belichick to call his second timeout here, daring Seattle to score quickly and give Tom Brady the ball back. But Belichick didn’t do that. The clock kept running—50 seconds, 40 seconds—and suddenly time no longer seemed to be on Seattle’s side. Now Bevell and Carroll faced second-and-goal from the one, which is normally an invitation to slam Lynch into the line again and see if he can push it through. With a single timeout left and the game clock wasting away, however, Seattle no longer had time enough for three Lynch runs. If it was going to get off three more plays, one of them would need to be a pass.
You can make a strong argument that another Lynch run should have come first—save the pass for third down in case he doesn’t get in. You can also make a strong argument that, when they did pass, the Seahawks should have run play action, faking to Lynch to keep the defense off balance. You can argue that they should have run a fade pattern, or some other goal-line route that carries less risk of an interception. You can make all kinds of arguments about what Bevell and Carroll should have done. What if you had the opportunity to do that?
I will be posting different games that put you into that situation in military history or sports history. What would you do. Gaming allows you that vicarious opportunity.
Click on the red links below to see what gaming worlds I am involved in and demonstrations of the simulations.