Friday, 14 December 2012

The MHWC 2012 Christmas meeting

Oh Boy, where to start? Every club can claim a great meeting, one that stands out for a specific reason....fantastic win, thousands of figures, bizaar outcomes....this meeting I feel may have been quite unique.

We had a great meeting, our last of the year, and all...apart from Mark, I'll explain later....had a very good time; I doubt many of us had ever laughed so much. The trouble is that it was such an extraordinary meeting I have been struggling to write it up. This is my sixth attempt! I am going to have to start at the very beginning and let the story unfold organically. Cue wobbly fade-out picture and eerie music.....ooooooeeeeeeooooooooeeeeeeeeeooooooo etc

 ........Welcome to the Western town of Clubville. A festive little place caught in a snow drift and sporting a town Christmas tree (fully decorated and with working fairy lights thanks to Mark) and doesn't it look pretty? This was where we were to play out our gunfight, the scene was now set. I had even provided everyone with a home made Christmas cracker and instructed everyone that the wearing of the silly hats was compulsory....I am Chairman after all. As explained in the previous post, the game is driven by playing cards and the higher the card the better, Jokers trumped all. To help with the Christmassy feel I added couple of rule twists....whenever an Ace of a Joker were played there would be the tinkling a fairy bells and a Christmas Present would be delivered to one of the sites on the table; one of the houses, the tree or the Graveyard. If a player moved his figure onto the present he would be rewarded with a random prize to use in the game, a stick of dynamite, a reindeer, a penguin, a snowman, a cuddly polar bear or Santa himself!

Some of the tokens in play....note Santa looking as if he is surrendering :)

You wouldn't believe the trouble I had getting these figures at the right size! Each figure would give the owner a bonus, the penguin increased your initiative, the reindeer your movement, the snowman took a bullet for you and the polar bear gave one out. If you were lucky enough to get Santa then you could pick the bonus you wanted when you needed it. One use only these bonuses. Also note the present awaiting collection in the graveyard.

We almost had a full house for the meeting, so many I had to pull out of the game and umpire it, the lot of a Chairman. There are only 54 cards in a pack and with every player needing five we only just managed. I ran through the simple rules with the players, ensuring they were all wearing their hats and using the new club tape measures I had arranged for them all and had placed into the Christmas crackers. I am such a nice Chairman. The object of the game was to kill as many of each other as they could, a kill won you a specially made token and whoever had the most tokens won the prize, a milk chocolate Battleships game! And off we went.....and all seemed well, the game rolled along...Mark was shot dead almost immediately which did cause some sniggering. All such killed players returned next turn in a random location....and no, not as zombies either.

Our specially made Kill tokens, actually modified children's party badges...isn't eBay great?!
 Everyone was having a good time and the insults and laughter was already building to notably high levels when Maria called out from the hall kitchen that we had a visitor. A guy called John came over and said that he had come along for the meeting and was interested in joining. I introduced my self, gave the man a cracker and a seat at the game. I explained that, this being our last meeting of the year, we played one game that all the members could play together. He settled down and was soon chatting to the other members and asked about the club, were we going to write about the game in the parish magazine and so on. I said we might well do, we often provide pieces for such publication as we like to take part in the local community etc etc etc. and so in like manner all John's questions were thus answered...although John did look a tad unsure about something.

The game continued with more than the usual degree of one upmanship....just because you were shot by someone seemed reason enough to then seek that person out to return the favour; high cards were trumped, turns and initiative stolen, cries of victory and groans of defeat resounded....loudly and accompanied by more laughter and insults....and the sticky badges were being handed out as the dead were piled high and new John took full part. It was then, at the height of the raucousness, that Dave casually asked new John what period and scales he played. John didn't have a clue what he was talking about and said he had never seen wargames before...John, in fact, was there to be co-opted onto the Iwade Parish Council but had got the wrong day; the parish council meeting was the next evening!! This caused riotous laughter that was actually painful...side splitting in fact. To a group of wargamers already in a high and jolly mood (and with not a drop of alcohol in sight) this news stopped play with not a dry eye in the house. All those questions new John had asked had fitted our profile and activities and so the confusion, like a TV sitcom, continued until the truth was revealed. It could not have been written any better. New John, to his credit (and enjoyment I am sure) carried on with the game until the end and even gained a badge or two...along with a club membership application form. I wonder if he will come back? I wonder what he told his wife when he got home and she asked how his evening went????

To add to the general hysteria Mark spent the entire game either dead or with no usable cards in his hand and Clive, in an attempt to navigate past a chair, instead fell full length over it whilst still keeping his party hat on. The game became several smaller and more personal actions as vengeance was sought in various quarters and ended with poor Mark deciding to use the only cards he could to move his figure and the Santa token off the table to end his misery. Even then, with the shotgun armed cowboy leading away a Santa with arms raised in seeming surrender, the silliness continued. Several people wondered what Mark's figure intended to do with poor Santa and you can imagine the scenarios these over excited wargamers came up with! Certainly not a game for the ladies.

The game was eventually won by Bob who had managed to kill five or six cowboys during the evening leaving him the clear winner. Several wondered whether Bob's American roots had something to do with it but all agreed that the game was a great success....except for Mark perhaps. I know it took two days for my laughter induced headache to go away! I may have cracked a rib too.


  1. Sounds like it was a joyous evening and possibly even a new member perhaps. I must admit it gave me a giggle thinking what he would of said to the wife when he got home da da da da da Santa and Cowboys, da da da da.

    Brilliant story and cheered me up immensely thank you

    1. Hi Brummie,

      glad to have been able to give your funny bone a tickle :) as you say, try explaining to somebody what we do at the best of times...oh well, it was an experience for him.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun was had by all!!

    1. Hi Ray,

      Indeed it was. I had a great time asking the undertaker if he would come and measure my stiffie :)

  3. Hey alan. Love the western game! a few other things one, we got a hobbit house at work that comes up to my knee, wish I had car to take it home so we could use it for worms game or other table top games for you! Two, when are you starting up the worms blog and three, when is your next big show as I don't mind running the worms stand then!

    1. hi Ollie,

      glad you liked it :) as to your other points, Hobbit House - sounds great. i was saw a telly tubby game at a show once, the whole works, you had to kidnap one or more of the telly tubbys! worminator blog - soon I hope, would like there to be a forum too. Broadside 2013 - this will be on Sunday 9th June. MJ Figures will be there and are looking for someone to help run the games, I will tell him you are interested if you can make it. :)