Thursday, January 8, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, fun fact for you. The Geneva Conventions are actually not one, but four treatises on how most things war should be conducted including "what is and is not cool" to do to prisoners. The Conventions take their guidelines from four separate meetings of various humanitarian groups from the years 1864 to 1949. (Check this article for more detailed info on the chronology of the four). In 1977 (and 2005), the conventions were revised with ammendments added to them. You may already know all of this. What you may not know is that in 1977, science fiction was in vogue. The original Star Trek series had a strong cult following, Star Wars (A New Hope) opened in theaters. Battlestar Galactica was popular on TV. It was a good time to think the future would be full of lasers and space ships. The Geneva Conventions thought it would be a good time to update their name for these fast-paced future times. They tried to rename themselves GenCon 1977, but unfortunately, an upstart gaming convention in the United States was using the name GenCon 1977. The Geneva Conventioneers complained at their inability to acquire the cool name as the gamers had no intention of sharing the name.

The Geneva people tried everything. They said their rules for war were more important, but GenCon gamers were honestly more concerned with reenacting battles from prior to the Geneva Conventions' adoption (primarily those of Alexander and Napoleon), and thus had no concern for their moral guidelines as they had little bearing on their game rules. They tried saying that because GenCon was no longer held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, they should relinquish the title, but the geeks said no. They'd already printed up the fliers and the last thing they wanted was the DM running their D&D tournament ending up in Switzerland instead of Convention Hall B. The members of the Geneva Convention tried saying it was unfair that the gamers were monopolizing all GenCons for all years 1968 indefinitely into the future. The gamers threatened them with photon torpedos and thermal detonators. Unfortunately for the members of the Geneva Convention, the Cold War was on and they didn't know the gamers were referring to fictional arms and not some top secret U.S. military weapon. The members of the Geneva Convention backed down, but not before deciding that "it sucks being neutral all the time. You never get your way."

You have been informed.

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