Monday, May 14, 2007

The Grand Day Out, or DANGER DANGER, NURD ALERT!!!

Well they day finally arrived - the day of wargames that I have been planning for since before Christmas. All along it had been clear that I might not be able to get there due to my mother-in-law's illness, and in the week running up to it, my own sickness. It was only on Thursday night that it was finally clear that we would go. Oh yes, my eldest son had been volunteered to come along to help and play the game with me.

Wargaming is a hobby that involves using toy soldiers on model scenary to recreate historical battles. How the game progresses is controlled by a set of rules which determines how far the soldiers can move during each turn, how far they can shoot arrows, etc. The rules also allow you to calculate who wins and loses any fighting that takes place. Unlike Chess, the wargamer has lots of different sets of rules to choose from, ranging from the very complex to the very simple, each having their good and bad points. At this event, there were around 60 people and 12 games, each representing the same battle but using different rules. It is great fun to compare how the different sets of rules reproduce (or fail to reproduce) the same battle.

In previous years I have stayed over night near the hall where we meet, but I had not been able to book this year, so we got up at 4am to catch our train at 5.50. Our eagerness meant we were at the station at 5.05 and were horrified to see the large sign - DUE TO TRACK MAINTENANCE WE WILL BE OPERATING BUSES BETWEEN HERE AND FAVERSHAM. My heart sank. The bus would surely mess up my planned connections. However, the bus then arrived at 5.15, meaning that (thanks to our excessive haste) everything then fell back into place. Cool, I thought. Arthur, my son, had other ideas. This was just a lucky escape. Something else would be waiting for us further on.

And he was right! Getting to London, we headed down to the Underground trains to announcements along the following lines:


There followed a list of lines that seemed to include just about all of them. Except the one WE WANTED! (Chorus of angelic singing.) We zipped across the capital with time to spare, got on the next train and arrived safe and sound.

I had just finished setting up the scenary and soldiers when a small sea of smiling faces appeared in front of me. It was James and 3 of his absolutely wonderful children. The morning was spent listening to the introductory lecture and then playing our games, me and Arthur on one side and James and another friend of mine on the other, with James's children rolling lots of dice for us. It was great to see James again, he is such a nice guy and his children were an absolute credit to him.

James had to leave at lunchtime (working on Saturday night) so after lunch (a lovely Thai curry) we recruited another player and carried on. Arthur and I lost by the narrowest of margins, but it was a great game and we had infact reproduced history very closely, which was good.

As the event wound down to its conclusion, there was a prize giving and I was stunned and delighted to be awarded the prize for best scenary. I had intended to post a couple of photos here, but forgot to put them onto my USB drive. Maybe tomorrow!


Logziella said...

Wow...that is so cool! I finally understand what this hobby of yours is! I think it's great that it's something you can do with your son.

And WHAT AN ADVENTURE you had in just getting there...looking back, I bet even that part will be a great memory especially that everything worked in your favor! YAY!

How great to hear that saw James again!!

krista said...

Can't wait to see the pictures, John! Great to hear you had a great weekend! Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Nice that you were able to spend the time with your son. You'll both remember that trip for a very long time!

John said...

It was great fun, and Arthur was really bitten by it all. His first question at the end was "What battle are we doing next?"

An Adventure - I guess it was. I actually forgot to point out that I had a rucksack with the soldiers in and was also carrying the scenary which was in four 2 foot square sections! We must have been a sight!

Terri said...

Sounds like fun! Congratulations on your prize-winning scenery!

amazingbrenda said...

Congratulations John! I'm sure the scenery was great. Whohoo for you & ur son. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Sorry that u lost. Maybe nxt year. ;)