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Small Soldiers: A Cultural History Of Miniature Wargaming

Small Soldiers: A Cultural History Of Miniature Wargaming

Saturday, May 25, 2024
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Main Auditorium
Main Library
  Adult     Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds     High School     Teen  
  Arts & Crafts     Gaming  
Registration has closed.

Miniatures wargaming is big business, with the Warhammer series of games, made by Games Workshop, pulling in revenues which rival Dungeons & Dragons. Yet they remain underexamined. This is changing, with videos and books about the history of the form proliferating in recent years. In this talk, Ian Williams will chart the history of miniatures as a cultural form. Where did miniatures wargaming start? How are they made and why do the games play the way they do? What’s the difference between a historical wargame and fantasy/sci-fi? How did Games Workshop come to dominate the industry? What commentary do they offer on the broader culture? Why are we watching Duncan Rhodes on YouTube to learn how to paint? And why are there so many Space Marines in Games Workshop’s catalogue?

Ian Williams has been a DJ, game designer, labor reporter, and pro wrestling historian. Prior to pursuing his PhD, he was a featured weekly columnist at VICE Sports, and his writing on digital labor and other topics can be found at Jacobin, VICE, Paste, The Guardian, and quite a few others. Ian’s research interests concern the connections between design, mass production, and craft movements. He examines both the labor conditions under which these activities occur and the communities which spring up around them. His prospective dissertation is in an examination of the material history of miniatures wargaming, both as a matter of political economy and how they are used to rhetorically imagine history.

Event Organizer

Larkin Coffey