I recently started something that I haven't done before - or at least not for many, many years: I went to a wargames club to get a bit more sociable with my hobby! Turns out, it was a marvellous idea and now I regret that I didn't think to do it any earlier.
After Carronade was put on by the Falkirk District Wargames Club (FDWC) I reasoned that as they seemed active, and were one of the nearest to me, I should head along for a look. I've been along three times now, and each time has seen me doing something different to anything else I've done before.
1st night - Muskets and Tomahawks
I was invited into a game which was a skirmish in the American colonies, between the British (of which I was given some of the green-coated Rangers) and the Americans. The latter were herding a group of cattle across the table, while we attempted to stop them. I had quite a fun time of it, taking pot-shots at the rebels from nearby woodland - at least until they descended mob-handed to drive me off! Still, it took them far more manpower than I used, so I figured it for a moral victory!
2nd Night - Air Combat!
I've never played any air-wargame before, but somebody asked me to fly into a game called 'Check your Six!' which was set in the jet-age, during an Indo-Pakistan conflict. My pilot and wingman were sadly a completely useless duo, mainly due to my inability to properly maneuver a jet-plane. Too slow, too fast, turning the wrong way - there's a lot to master! Basically I wound up trying to turn in ever-widening circles, while everybody else fought it out. By pure chance, or possibly because the lack of threat I presented was obvious, I was the only player who never lost a plane. I also never shot anything down either, I suppose, but I figure that averages out to a decent showing!
3rd Night - Naval Combat!
I joined in with a game of Too Fat Lardies' 'Kiss Me Hardy' rules, covering Napoleonic naval combat from the age of sail. I led one of two French squadrons out on the ocean, fighting off an intercepting pair of Royal Navy squadrons. Sadly for us all, nobody was too practiced at the rules and we failed to anticipate that having your ships too close together nose-to-tail might not be a good idea: especially not if somebody rammed somebody else, and the whole line suddenly stopped, triggering an embarrassing pile-up in the middle of an empty sea! Many ships were shot to ribbons, boarded, set afire, and generally had their re-sale value reduced. Although the British won a good tactical victory, we did at least manage to slip by with most of our ships intact and blasted their rigging enough to mean pursuit wasn't possible - giving us a strategic victory.
Overall, the last few trips have been a wonderfully positive thing - I've met a load of new folk in the hobby, found them to be friendly and welcoming, and have been introduced to all sorts of new rules and historical periods I would have never considered myself! More of the same to come, hopefully.