Riccardo Masini on LudoStoria and their Second Front panel on history in games

This post is from Riccardo Masini from Italian Facebook group LudoStoria, and covers their upcoming I want to tell you a story… let’s play it! panel (3 p.m. ET/noon PT) at our online convention SDHistCon Second Front this Saturday, June 8. Convention badges are still available for $10, getting you access to 20 hours of historical gaming demos, presentations, and more!

“Is this a wargame or not?”

That’s one of the most commonly heard questions at the tables of your average boardgaming event. Be it a private gaming evening, a local shop gathering or even a large national convention, sooner or later you will catch someone saying those fateful words. And if you have the fortune of attending a wargaming session or are a member of a dedicated FB group, you will see that question pop up with astonishing regularity… sometimes almost obsessive regularity.

Now, asking yourself questions is never a bad thing. But sometimes this question is focused more on determining what a wargame is not, rather than what it really is.

In situations like these, rather than trying to obtain useful answers, it is usually better to change the question: “Is this a historical simulation or not?”. That’s where our story starts, that of the Italian FB group LudoStoria.

Riccardo Masini (R) and some of the LudoStoria group.

Riccardo Masini (R) and some of the LudoStoria group.

Born in January 2023, and now standing at more than 1600 members, the group is dedicated to historical gaming in all its forms, be they wargames (or conflict simulations, or whatever you want to call them…), role-playing games, historically-oriented eurogames, book games… if it’s a game and it deals with history – all history: military, political, economic and a mix of all above and even more – it fits the bill.

A poster for LudoStoriCon 2024.LudoStoria has been present at many historical gaming and general boardgaming events, both of local as well as national extension, has created regular connections with prestigious academic and educational realities and prominent individuals, has even held an online convention – Virtual LudoStoriCon – on its proprietary Discord server in January 2024 with more than 300 participants and 8 hours of conferences and organized gaming (most of which are visible on its YouTube channel).

Thanks to its peculiar approach, by putting history first and the approach chosen to simulate it second, new fields of inquiry and discovery immediately open up. Specialized games are better defined and equally confronted with other dedicated domains, hybrid games are fairly evaluated without bothering too much with alleged “canons of tradition” to defend, previously unforeseen intersections between historical gaming subdomains are explored.

Such as the one we will be presenting during our panel and demo session for the SDHistCon Online Second Front: the “crossing” of many storytelling aspects typical of roleplaying in hybrid as well as traditional wargaming.

Different types of wargames will be explored, from traditional hex and counter titles to more hybrid proposals in search for their many narrative dynamics innate to the actual gaming experience typical of simulations. The self-relating to the high commanders involved in epic scale mass action, the sense of immediate action of skirmish games and the amazingly engaging feeling given by some of the latest and most innovative titles all lead up to one simple conclusion: following Johann Huzinga’s footsteps, games are one of the most efficient tools of narration and human history is possibly the greatest tale of them all… by combining those elements, historical simulation games in all their diverse forms constitute one of the highest forms of storytelling ever devised.

The panel will be held by Riccardo Masini (renowned content creator with his WLOG YouTube channel, game studies essayist, as well as published military historian), Fabio “Il Cap Games” (RPG and fantasy simulation content creator, as well as “technical wizard” of LudoStoria) and Annie “Scissorhands” Petronelli (boardgame content creator with “Il Club della Tovaglia” channel and game promoter, as well as archaeologist with a specialization on prehistoric cultures).

The rest of the LudoStoria Coordinating Staff is composed by Maria Benedetta Errigo (communications and media manager, journalist and novel writer), Luca Fiorentini (engineer, professor, expert in risk management & decision-making methods but also passionate about warfare/pol-mil sims and studies) and Lorenzo “Boardgame Physicist” Gentile (mathematician and science professor, boardgame content creator), joined by honorary member Sergio Masini (one of the first pioneering wargame essayists and game journalists in Italy, as well as published military historian and historical expositions curator).

Riccardo can be reached on X/Twitter. Check out the LudoStoria panel at SDHistCon Second Front 2024 Saturday!

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