Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When Gaming Went to War...

OK, so I was ambushed.  Only it wasn't my first time...

In April, 2003, I was deployed to Iraq as OIC of a small combat weather team embedded in the 159th AVN BDE of the 101st ABN DIV (sorry, the contractions stick with you).  We were part of a ground assault convoy headed towards An Najaf, and we were ambushed after a solid 18 hours driving.  First on good hardball in the south and, later, back roads covered with an incredibly fine powder we called moon dust.  And this is where it happened...

And sure as shit, part of our convoy came under attack.  And I thought it might.  We were on this narrow back road flanked by berms.  Perfect ambush conditions.

We felt like the Clampets going
north in this thing (our IMETS weather van)...
  
But it wasn't my first ambush.  Nope, that was 22 years earlier.  It was also late at night, and our party was travelling through a narrow mountain pass flanked by rocks.  It was also an excellent ambush point.  But by 12-year-old self hadn't learned that yet (hell, none of us were prepared for the goblin ambush that followed).  But I remembered it two decades later. 

No big story here.  No dissertation.  I was injured, but rode out the deployment, seeing a few more skirmishes and surviving an airstrike on a nearby enemy position that came close to taking our convoy with it (hours later, the fireball still glowed faintly like a setting sun on the horizon as we set up camp miles away).  But what I am saying here is that tabletop gaming prepared me for this sort of thing in its own small way, and probably saved me.

Yes, we spent the last two weeks explaining how Wesely and friends had to detour away from wargaming to create RPGs.  But I fully recognize that role-playing has a strong tactical element and owes much to the wargaming tradition.  Add that to math, grammar, and good problem-solving and communication skills; all the vital life lessons I owe to role-playing...

3 comments:

  1. I could not agree more on the value of gaming for real life situations. Glad you had a good cleric on the team!

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