Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Showing Off

Some more Fuzzy Wuzzies...
On Sunday I took my oldest lad to Varnap... Vaptar... the wargames show in York.

I bought a few odds and ends... some WWI casualties from Kallistra, some Magister Militum mounted command figures for the Sudan, some Pendraken bases.... I didn't find Wings of Glory at a decent price, and I almost got X Wing for £22, which might have been a bargain of sorts, but the last one had been sold just before I returned after much prevarication (as in truth I don't really like the game, so perhaps it was a blessing).

It was a good show, the venue is nice, there was plenty to see, and I think the lad enjoyed himself too. With thanks to the History Alive people who allowed him to paint a Roman soldier, which pleased him... even if the people on the Warlord stand were rather charmless when he went to thank them for providing the History Alive people with the figures to paint.

Which brings me to my point.

The lad likes to play games, he is a lethal capitalist at Monopoly, his dungeon crawling skills are a joy to behold, and I have been slowly introducing him to wargaming.

The show had a number of participation games, and the deal was that after we had a look round the lad could pick which game he would like to play (rather like my rules when we go to the fair). From my point of view the ideal candidate would have been the jousting game, as if he had liked it, I would have been happy enough to buy the rules, get some suitable figures, and spent Sunday evenings bashing each others brains out. But for whatever reason the people running the game seemed uninterested in engaging us, and the lad had pretty much made his mind up that he wanted to play the Tomahawks and Muskets game - ironically being pit on by the local 'club' the Ilkley lads.

So we made our way to the table, I asked if the lad could play, they said he could and he found himself in commanding a force of rebels. The others playing the game appeared to be two friends who apparently played Muskets and Tomahawks on a regular basis.

No sooner did we get underway than the guy in charge of the British started displaying many of the unpleasant aspects of wargaming, re-rolling 'cocked' dice when not in his favour, but not re-rolling them when they were, trying to rush the turn on when we were moving figures, but taking his time in his own turn.... etc... there were other things that were just flat out cheating... but hey! it was a game at a wargame show so rather than get involved in a discussion about his antics, I asked the lad if he was enjoying himself (he got to roll some dice, but not move the figures) - he said he wasn't - so we made our excuses - though not to the arsehat, as he was too busy trying to get the umpire to rule in his favour over his latest bit of cheating - and went and bought a huge, and very nice, yorkshire pudding with minced beef and chhips for our dinner.

A couple of months ago, there was a piece in WSS about why young people don't get involved in wargaming. In truth I didn't read the whole article, but skimmed it in WH Smiths, as I rarely find WSS has enough content to justify the over price, and the content it does have is not to my taste.

Talking to the History Alive people, who run wargaming, painting and modelling sessions in schools, and link it to history, there is certainly no lack of interest in the hobby from young people. And judging by the boys fighting Rorkes Drift with a mixture of part painted miniatures and cardboard Zulus they are certainly enjoying it.

 I suspect the reason is that during these History Alive sessions the kids are allowed to play.

Which let's face it in the hobby more generally is not something that happens too often.


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