Friday, October 24, 2014

Once I played A Victory Denied while reading Rise & Fall of the Third Reich and had a moment.

The title really says it all, but if you're still reading, you want more detail.

So ever since I played my first historical wargame I've been reading history.  A lot.  So immediately after I finished reading A World Undone I launched myself into Rise & Fall of the Third Reich.  After all, in the story of WW1, probably one of the most compelling character is Germany, and WW1 ends on such a cliff hanger.

To go with my history books, I like a good solo friendly history game.  So I'm playing A Victory Denied and I'm reading Rise & Fall of the Third Reich.  Suddenly something clicks.  Because I'm reading about the concentration camps.  I'm reading about all the horror of them.  Probably the most vivid and repulsive part was describing the Nazis gassing people with interesting tattoos so they could make lampshades out of their skin.

So I have these images floating around in my head, and I'm trying to play A Victory Denied, and suddenly I just can't do it anymore.  I can't play the Nazis.  Somewhere, off to the west of the map, there are concentration camps I'm fighting to send people to.

That was probably the first "bleeding heart" moment I've ever had.  It was interesting.

But naturally, I finish reading my book, and I finish playing my game, and the vividness of the experience passes.  I have no problem playing a solid WW2 game.  It was a moment.  A very fascinating moment to experience.  I feel like it was an educational moment as well.  Like I somehow scooped up a handful of the feelings of the time.  The feelings that are so often lost when the books are written.

But it was a teaching moment in other ways too.  I began to ask myself, how insipidly narcissistic would I have to be to assume that everyone would have that sort of reaction?  To assume that it was a reaction that people should be protected from?  To think these sorts of things should be censored or banned.  To think that those sorts of things contribute to some sort of anti-Semitic or pro-Nazi culture.  That it normalizes atrocity?

I think I learned a lot from that moment.

1 comment: