When did wargaming become “professional”?

I am both flattered and puzzled by talk of a professional wargame journal. Flattered, because as a wargamer since age 12, my hobby has been deemed worthy of a professional journal.

But I’m also puzzled. A professional journal must necessarily mean that wargaming is a profession. That is, a vocation with specialized training as well as accepted standards of who belongs to the profession. Thus we see professional journals for doctors and engineers,  which require academic credentials as well as licensing. But we don’t see professional journals for writers, which is more of a craft than a profession, and a craft which any idiot can join (the author of this post being a prime example).

So if we have a peer-reviewed professional journal, who is qualified to do the reviewing? Who is not? Does one need to have designed defense simulations, or will hobby wargames do? Does Operations Research count? What about writers who flunked math and break out in hives at the thought of statistics?

This will be particularly interesting given the origins of this journal in Connections, which brought defense professionals into contact with hobby wargamer designers, almost all of whom have to work day jobs other than wargaming. Applying the word “professional” will require elastic and creative definitions.

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8 Responses to When did wargaming become “professional”?

  1. Rex Brynen says:

    The next thing we know, Michael, you’ll be accusing us of being dodos… 😉

  2. Michael Peck says:

    Naah, I like Advanced Squad Leader players.

  3. Brant says:

    Michael has no idea of the anthill he’s just kicked over…


    Wargaming got professional when people started to get paid to do it. After that, we’re just coloring in different boxes

  4. pvebber says:

    (Kicking at the ants now all akilter) At times our “professionalism” brings to mind the apcryphal quote by Churchill to a dowager socialite, supposedly after a discussion of the realitve social standing of government officials and “high society insiders”:

    Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?”

    Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…”

    Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”

    Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!”

    Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.”

  5. Michael Peck says:

    My favorite quote on professionals is from Truman: “An expert is a fellow who is afraid to learn anything new because then he wouldn’t be an expert anymore.”

  6. Jon Compton says:

    “In the morning I will be sober. But you, madam, will still be ugly.”

    I think the “refereed” part of journal is something we can safely dispense with. But I do believe a professional publication within which we can point to a serious body of published work on the topic of wargaming (not “hobby” unless specifically applicable) is badly needed.

  7. Brant says:

    Cross-posted from CSW
    Peck: When did wargaming become “professional”? Still waiting to hear a good answer.

    Y’know, it’s not like we’re going to celebrate some anniversary of “Happy Professional Wargaming Day!” or something 😉

    Quite honestly, I think the answer is going to depend on who you talk to. On one hand, some folks might look at it as the establishment of the FA57 career field in the US Army. Others might argue that the start of Connections – bringing together the professionals into a recognizable group – was when it started. I suspect that for those outside our community, that day has not yet come.

  8. Swen says:

    Even writers use techniques and tools they have learned and developed. Perhaps not formal ones and even highly personal ones, but techniques nonetheless. Bacic techniques that can be taught at Art Schools, which also offers a space for fostering and developing skills.

    And guy’s… your interplay at this and like forums is fun and “educational”, not in the traditional sense, still there it is. 😉


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