Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Wargames in the community
Bloody hell, I am so crap at this whole blog malarkey! When was my last post? exactly. For crying out loud Leo, get a grip man!!!
Following the success of the Broadside shows, and the support we get from local borough councillors, the club is reaching out to the wider community with offers of help. Not decorating little old ladies flats or anything like that, not since the last time....we never did find the cat. I think the loud sirens on the fire engines scared it off you know. Very temperamental animals cats...and old ladies...rude too; never heard such language! Where was I? Oh yes, helping the community.
Wargames are very visual and often quite spectacular to look at, even a basic club game can look really nice. Many such games lend themselves well to public participation too and so we are talking to non wargame groups in our area and offering to run a game at their events as an attraction; we could even help raise money by charging visitors a small fee to take part in a game. It is certainly something different and with careful selection of games possibly lucrative for the event holder. One such game we play is a western gunfight that uses cards rather than dice and is very simple to play. Younger visitors love it and can pick it up really easily too. If their character gets killed off, they can simply re-spawn at the cemetery etc.....for a small fee of course.
Our first foray into this wider world took place on Saturday last. The Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey holds an annual fair and invites local groups to take part. I offered them a game, realising it would also be a useful piece of advertising for us and our open day, but also as an interesting sideshow.
we were supposed to be running a Saga Saxon Vs Viking thing...with Normans...but you know how these things go; so busy painting 1/700th scale Napoleonic ships for October etc etc etc. Instead, I decided to run something that was actually available and that we were more confident with rules wise...ish...a ww1 skirmish using 'To the Last Man' by Chris Peers. A good set of rules, once you have managed to find everything in the most frustrating rule book ever. I wont bother you all with it now but, well, blimey. The pic above shows a platoon of 1914 Brits defending a rather knocked about hamlet. The Germans, who outnumbered the Brits by something like 2:1, were part of an advance guard sent to probe ahead of the main force...you get the idea. The pic below shows the initial German advance, the two central squads getting a rough time of it.
There were three of us playing, Steve T., Andy and my good self in a more solid and less anthropomorphic guise. Steve T. played the Brits and dug himself in to the available terrain. We decided to allow the Germans to enter the game from a random direction in DBA fashion. Steve nominated a favoured edge that was numbered 1-3 and the remaining three edges numbered 4-5 &6. We rolled a one so promptly advanced into a reasonably well prepared defence. There rules favour very early war Brits and make them hard to hit and they are able to shake of pin markers more easily...they can also shoot well too but all of this is kept within reasonable boundaries...but bloody hell did we need the extra troops! We advanced half the German platoon in the hope of keeping the Brits occupied, then bringing on the rest to exploit weak points etc. In this Andy and I were partially successful but we lost quite a few men in the process. The Brits ability to shake off pin markers and their sheltered positions made this a tough job but we kept pushing and were applying a lot of pressure. By the time we brought on our reinforcements the British line was looking a little shaky!
By the end of the game though we had pushed Steve into one central area, shown above at an earlier stage of the game, and was threatening to surround him; but the casualties were mounting up. It was hard to decide upon a winner, the Brits were being pushed but were now in a more solid position from which to mount a defence...that said, they were also now at a real risk of being surrounded and if this was a real fight the oncoming German forces would have found a nicely concentrated target. The Brits may have been better to fall back whilst still in good order and continued to inflict casualties in a running fight.
The rules are great and provide a good game with historically accurate results. I think that the Germans need to keep moving and try to get to melee with the Brits to minimise their shooting bonuses but, melee is bloody in these rules so.... A good game was had by all but, more importantly, how did we get on with regard to promotion?
Not too well as it turns out. We were in a hall, which was good, but nothing much else was...so we were a bit isolated to say the least. We did get a few visitors, all of which were given one of our nice bookmarks and an invite to the Open Day. A few youngsters came to chat and we helped with ideas for setting up their own club at school, we even offered to help where possible and work with the school. I did speak to several of the other groups involved and offered our services and it seems that we may have made a few friends for the future here. It was our first go, of course, but I have high hopes that we can integrate ourselves as a club withing the wider community....a good way of advertising ourselves and attracting new members too of course!!