To truly understand war, you need to learn about it. Study it. Even if it disgusts you. I play war games, and this is not saying that I make light of warfare. When you play a war game, you are attempting to capture the challenges that an NCO or Officer, faces while commanding his men. It's also a battle of the mind, attempting to outsmart your opponent.
Yes, at the end of the day I am simply playing with toy soldiers. I am having fun and telling jokes. But it is much more than this. It's reading about the conflict, researching the theatres of war, learning about the equipment and weapons. We are aware of the horrors of war; and despite the fact that we are having fun, we are able to separate the real events and people from our little plastic soldiers. In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking about those who have given their lives for their countries or causes.
War gaming gives us something more than just dates and locations. It gives us a way to enjoy the history we've learned in a wonderful way. So, if you love history, and a war gamer offers to show you how to play their favourite game, give it a shot. You will see the passion they have for their chosen era. When you see the amount of work put into the models and terrain is mind blowing, and you will be able to understand that this person truly cares about the subject. If you care about someone who is a historical war gamer, and you yourself loves history; Let them show you what parts of history they love. It will mean more to them than you can possibly imagine.
Play war-games instead of waging war.