Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Panzerfäuste : An Open Letter

It has been great to see the interest generated in the posts about Hysterical's Panzerfäuste project on a variety of internet platforms. However, I am concerned by a minority of comments which are somewhat erroneous and need correcting.
First off it is worth noting that Panzerfäuste is not a new game. It first saw the light of day at the end of the nineties as a small press production with a small range of supporting white metal miniatures. This is important to note as in the near two decades the original game has been in production NO ONE has ever expressed offence or concern at the game or its background (and the game has been bought by serving soldiers and veterans).
Secondly it is not a WW2 game with fantasy races. The background to the game draws on more than just WW2 for its inspiration and if you check out the miniatures released by Wessex Games, you will see that there are WW1 inspired Sturmtruppen sitting alongside WW2 inspired Commandos. This is important to note when an uninformed minority start tossing around words like “Nazi” There are no Nazis in Panzerfäuste and never will be. The Dwarves in Panzerfäuste are Imperial not National Socialist and they are led by a Kaiser not a Führer.
One individual has made a point that it is offensive that the "British" are portrayed as “Evil” Orcs and the “Good” Dwarves are "Nazi Germans". Now I am going to assume that this individual has not bought the original game and is making a whole raft of presuppositions about the background that are totally incorrect.
I'm not quite sure why the person in question has decided that Orcs are automatically Evil. Yes in the old days of D&D and first edition Warhammer, Orcs were “alignment Evil”. However this view has changed over the decades and I prefer the more revisionist approach to Orcs based on books like Mary Gentle's excellent Grunts and Stan Nicholls Orcs series. Both authors treat their Orcs as poor bloody infantry doing what they are told by the man in charge. They are not inherently evil, just employed by someone who is.
So why are our Orcs "British"? Well it is easier to answer why our Dwarves are "German". Dwarves come from Nordic and Germanic myth and one of the great pieces of Germanic myth is the Nibelungenlied, which features an Evil Dwarf called Alberich (not all Dwarves are “Good”). Couple this with beards and fancy moustaches, a love of mountains and a propensity to hold a grudge over lost lands, well to me that sounds more German than British.
So with "German" Dwarves decided upon (led in Panzerfäuste by the nasty Kaiser Alberich), who were the "British" going to be? 
Having previously worked on Flintloque for three years, where, inspired by Wellington's quote that his infantry were “the scum of the earth”, the Orcs were “British” it never really occurred to me to have them as anything else. As a traditional enemy of the Dwarves, it made sense and this view was probably subconsciously reinforced by GW’s ‘Ere We Go! “football hooligan” orcs, models like the 40k's Ork Kommandos and Mary Gentle’s excellent book that smashes fantasy stereotypes.
Like the vast majority, I (along with the rest of the Hysterical Games team) also “personally detest fascism”. As anyone who knows me will attest I have marched against fascists and I have a zero tolerance policy to people who share memes from extreme right wing organizations on social media. I also have family members who died in defence of this country. I could not stand by though and allow someone to engage in borderline libel by saying they are “less than impressed by anyone who thinks nazis are the good guys, as in this game.” 
I DO NOT think Nazi’s were good, this game does not portray Nazis as good (or Orcs as evil) and I will not have my character defamed in posts by an anonymous individual. I would caution them doing so again especially when they know nothing about the game or its background, and are making a whole bunch of erroneous suppositions from a place of complete ignorance.
Once again I would like to thank the whole internet community for their support as well as all the positive vibes and messages from the gaming community about the rebirth of Panzerfäuste.

Hysterical Games Ltd

1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything you have just said but do feel that basing the Poles on 'troglodytes' is a little insensitive. They almost seem akin to skaven from WH fantasy, when in fact the Polish were a very proud and well presented army in both world wars. Just wanted to get that off my chest, do with my input as you wish :)

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