Finally took some time to sit down and record my ever-brewing thoughts on Sinai, the SPI wargame from 1973 that depicts the various Arab-Israeli conflicts up to that period. I find Sinai to be a fascinating example to explore as it offers so many facets to analyze. There is the more formal design genealogy interpretation, in which Sinai can claim to be one of the first commercial hobby wargames to tackle a 'contemporary' topic and even indulge in hypothetical forecasting of potential 'future' conflicts. There is also the materialist interpretation, in which the rules, game board, and pieces used to play the game are seen as means of constructing a theme or enforcing a specific viewpoint of the conflict via procedural mechanics or design aesthetics. But for myself, the most interesting interpretation is that related to the role Sinai plays as both a secondary AND primary source of the conflict depicted.
I originally gave this presentation as part of the Weird Shift 'Micro Talks' event held in Portland a few months ago. Assuming my audience would have no prior knowledge of wargames like Sinai, I spent the first portion of my presentation going over a very brief history of wargames in general before launching into my general analysis.
With this project, along with my previous look at the My Lai card in GMT's Fire in the Lake, I'm beginning to put together enough examples to at least have a half-way decent essay in the works. Still a back-burner idea, especially since I'm closing in on finishing my dissertation, but I believe there is enough there worthy to discuss and examine.