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Manoj E. Govindan

A note about the history of the club

India Wargamers is perhaps the only wargames club in the world which does not have a regular meeting place. The best the club can claim is the name of a city, Trivandrum in the beginning and now, Bangalore. Wargaming in India, and India Wargamers originated in Trivandrum far down in the south. The group had several wargames spread out through several years, the games becoming more frequent in the last two years.

The people responsible for wargames in India were at that time present en group in Trivandrum. Soon, they started moving out of Trivandrum for reasons of work, higher studies and the like. Soon, the group could claim its members in places as far apart as Texas, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Bombay.

Of ranks and rankers

When this site first went up on August 1, 2000, it featured mostly battle reports of games played in Trivandrum. A players rating was also present, made up by me based on my opinion. The whole affair of ranking was put up just for fun, but it now seems that the effects of such an action are more complicated and interesting to write about. After the list went up, a couple of players wrote to me wailing about their position in the list and asking me for some changes. Ego is an important motivation for many, and so I did not feel anything unusual about the request. In fact, I found it interesting to watch some of the players show a renewed desire to become active in wargames.

The requests were however not easily granted. Rank had to be earned, not purchased. And I do not count people just by the number of their victories, but the overall spirit they display while playing. One particular player(who plays Parthians regularly, but shall otherwise remain nameless :-)) was particularly interested in seeing his rank changed particularly with respect to that of his one time major opponent. I asked his erstwhile opponent about the prospects of a series of 'revenge matches', the winner of which would go up in the rank tally. As the three of us were(are) staying in three different cities, I suggested that we have a skirmish game, using the very elegant and easy to manage RPWF skirmish rules (Red Poppy White Feather) which could be played by e-mail with minor adjustments. We were suffering the effects of having the players spread out over the place, but on the bright side, we were attempting something novel. I volunteered to do the job of umpire and final adjudicator. Soon, I had sent mails to both the players with details. The opponent(who generally plays Spain) accepted and mailed me his acceptance. I mailed the challenger with the exact procedure, and waited for his response...

Now we take a fast forward and read the battle report:

Madrid, Spain: A huge Spanish force under Anandos assembled here for to meet the challenge from the Parthian invader Girasus who had earlier claimed the Spanish throne citing superior generalship. It was clear from the beginning that this would involve a struggle as the Spaniards were not going to give up without a fight. The Parthians under Girasus accepted the offer for a formal battle to decide the fate of the empire.

Madrid, one week later: The Parthian leader Girasus has pulled out of the battle citing indisposition after all the fierce claims earlier to the Spanish crown. His press corps is silent about the crown, only saying that 'Gen Girasus will not be making his esteemed presence felt in the land of Spain for the battle owing to indisposition'. The Spaniards have the scoffed at the decision, proclaiming loudly that they had been expecting the very excuse from the Parthians who they said 'were better at waging ego wars'.

Rewind to real life...

....and the two of us waited for the challenger to respond. The response finally came, and to be perfectly frank, I was disappointed when the challenger claimed an excuse and pulled out. I think all of us should have seen it coming. Interestingly, after this incident, there has been no more mails from the Challenger regarding ranking.

My intention here is not to point out individuals, but to portray my growing irritation at this trend. Is this prevalent here alone or is it a world wide trend? Seeing people covet trivia is not new. But when they expect things to happen without working for them one can only wonder what these gentlemen are going to do about really tough and serious goals. After all, a wargame match can be suspended indefinitely whereas not all events in life can be.

My lessons from the whole disappointing episode are:

I expect many of our members (and perhaps some visitors as well) to have opinions on this matter. Send me your thoughts by e-mail.

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