Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

Canoeing in the Historical Archipelago

Historical Wargaming has always appeared to me to be a bunch of small islands separated by blue water. On each island is a dominant tribe that dictates what the tribe rules will be. They seldom mix, because only a few have a canoe that allows them to cross from island to island. Certain beliefs about what are the best rules, or what kind of totems should be used are generally agreed upon by each tribe. In the past, these tribes were so scattered and small that they knew little about what the other tribes were doing, or even if there were other tribes.

That all changed when the inter-island drum signals were created. The drum beats that echoed over the waters began to tie the various tribes together in some of their rituals, but it also was strangely impersonal as you could seldom see the drummer, and often led to strife and contention about what the drum beats meant. Even worse, there were many tribes that had no drum, and others that were determined to stop the evil influences of random canoers that brought new rules to the island. Some tribes, because they were bigger and more powerful, would hold large tribal councils but made very sure that any canoers that arrived were never allowed to lead the tribe. They never listened to the canoers ideas, and always said that their council was ONLY for that tribe-even though they allowed others to attend.

There were many islands that wanted nothing to do with whatever was occurring on the other islands, and wanted both the canoes and the drums banned from their tribe. They were particularly suspicious of some new canoes with sails and funny hull shapes, often used by people that also had very different tribal rules.

This all became a crisis when the huge cruise liner, USS Syfie Fantasy, came to the islands with tons of very oddly dressed tourists who thought the islanders very quaint, and after buying a few totems began to change the islands. Some islanders even began to mimic the tourists and dress like them. Now the tribes are much smaller, and have become even more intent upon stopping anyone visiting their islands. They hide the councils on small islands that no one wants to visit-often far from civilization, and they become even more fixed in their rituals and rules. Anthropologists are concerned for their survival unless the tribes become more open to change and different rules. In the meantime, many of the young islanders have moved away and only come back as tourists on the cruise ship.