Battleshed Diaries

Sunday 5 June 2016

A Wartime experience

Today, I mostly played Second World War tanks and First World War fighters under the wing of a Concorde.

A trip over to East Fortune today as my local club were running a couple of Public Participation games for the National Museum of Flight's Wartime Experience Day. This is event hosted historical re-enactment groups demonstrating what wartime life was like during the first and second world wars.

Although I've been to this museum on many occasions, especially for their annual air show, this was a first for me helping to demonstrate wargaming to the general public. The Falkirk club has been here before and today we ran Wings of Glory games called Dogfight over Flanders and a WWII tank game called Tiger Tiger loosely based on Warlord Game's Bolt Action ruleset. The South East Scotland Wargames club joined us too putting on a game of the WWI invasion of Alsace also using Bolt Action.

And yes, we really were set-up under the iconic fuselage of the Concorde G-BOAA. In Hanger 4, accompanied by the Blitz Sisters warbling away to tunes of old and the Fly Right Dancers taking what appeared to be willing members of the public through vintage steps. 

No, I didn't have a go. As The Teenager commented recently, "You don't dance, you spasm." All very atmospheric, but a little wearing over the course of the day when trying to loudly explain the concepts of wargaming to grandparents with slightly hyperactive grand-kids in tow! There was also a vintage hairdresser in the hanger (Vanity Thrills Salon) but apparently my hair is 40's style anyway!

The Air Cadets were eager to have first go of Wings of Glory
We had a good throughput of folks, young and old, for both games throughout the day. Once again, club stalwart John Ewing deftly led the Wings of Glory games and instructed us how to manipulate the 'Explosion' damage card to control play when the young'uns get a bit too animated trying to beat their dads! 

Wings of Glory is one of those systems that lends itself perfectly for PP games, especially with the basic rules so accessible. Over on the other table I had a go of Tiger Tiger, where two Tiger Tanks (no, really?!) were taking on the allied armour. Another great multiplayer set-up in the able hands of Andy Kirkwood from the club (and SAGA campaign Irish warlord, Abhartach MacLaren!). I even had a go. I rolled a '1' at the crucial moment... stop bloody laughing!

Tiger Tiger encouraging new gamers
I occasionally headed outside in to the bright sunshine, to see what else was going on. On my mid-afternoon leg-stretch I ended up watching the 'Second world War' battle re-enactment where a patrol from the US 1st Infantry division (The Big Red One), accompanied by a token British paratrooper ran into German opposition. 

Its the American Dad's Army!
Apparently the token Brit was sent ahead to scout and provided the first dramatic death of the scenario. A strident fire-fight ensued that even had me doing one of those involuntary 'jumps' when it started up - like the ones you do in the cinema and hope no one noticed! Lots of smoke and dramatic acting ensued. There was a dad with his lad standing next to me. The wee one asked,
"Dad, what are they doing?"
"They're shooting at you," replied the dad. 
There was a long silence and then a slight whimper.

Back in hanger number four the gaming continued. Along with the vintage singing and boogying. By the end I was desperate to play some heavy rock once I got into my car! 


A grand day out though in good company. I didn't get to see everything going on but its certainly seemed a popular event. And who knows, we may have done our bit to encourage new (and old) blood into our hobby.

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