I learned at my first visit to the club that that was the last night of the club and they were 'celebrating' with a huge Vietnam game, what, you are closing! The local politicians in their wisdom decided the community didn't need community centres and were closing them down at an alarming rate, but the club could relocate if it wished, and of course they wished.
My second visit to the new venue was much happier, I happened along at Airdrie at just the right moment as at least four of the regulars were building 15mm ACW armies with the intent to use Johnny Reb, and they were all veteran wargamers, my spirits soared. I had been playing the game longer than them and they all jumped at the chance when I offered some extra gaming at my place. I am one of those wargamers who like to have everything as perfect and trouble free as possible, attention to detail I like to call it rather than the modern medical term ACDC or whatever. I duly set up a beautiful looking table with my imported Geo-Hex, run off orders of battle and organised the troops in the brigades required for the game, for me this was half the fun of the game and I could spend hours at it. The lads turned up, struggled up the rickety loft ladder, enjoyed themselves and thus began what was in essence a small ACW club which met once a month when I was at home, and occassionaly twice if I had garnered enough brownie points with the missus. There was an added impetus to this as the council had by now shut the second venue and that left nowhere at a reasonable price available for a club.
I was still pretty much sticking to my one game at a time and exclusively played Johnny Reb with only one distraction when I built up some naval forces for the same war, these we played with only a few times, despite it being a good game. The others had a more open mind than me, Billy and Robert had huge, beautiful Napoleonic armies along with WWII, SYW among others, Robert's ACW collection was larger than mine, but was almost all Union, he didn't like to play the 'baddies', Davy had his own centrifugal moulding press(?) in his garage and had troops for everything, he also ran a club in Motherwell out of an old school or college. See, I do have some mates.
I popped down to Motherwell a couple of times before I settled on the guys at Airdrie, one of my first games was WWI, I was leading a bunch of German Stormtroopers to take the British trenches, it was a multiplayer game and someone else was the German supremo. My first WWI game and true to my expectations my troops were getting sliced and diced before ever coming withing spitting distance of the British, I quietly thought what's the point as all along the line the Germans were getting laid out in neat rows. At the end of the game while I was complaining ever so politely that the 'game' had been pointless, Davy asked our Kaiser why he had not used his artillery contingent to blast the trenches or lay smoke, as I left the building I heard in the background "we had artillery?"
I went a bit crazy with the American Civil War, I had been to re-enactments, visited loads of battlefields large and small, had thousands of troops, I had music cassettes, flags, a large library including the history of every Union military unit of the war from its enlistment to disbandment. I also had the Official Records of both sides on CD and could pull up reports from any action at any point in the war no matter how trivial. While writing a small article on the battle of Belmont I became completely confused by the official reports as although I knew all these regiments and commanders had been there, according to the written word they were all at a different battle, I couldn't make head nor tale of what happened.
|128 volumes in this, now that is a good use of technology.|
I decided to try an experiment, I got six players together for a large battle, I chose Drewry's Bluff in 1864 and I asked them all to write a report at the end of it and send it to me. Sure enough, it was hard to relate what I had saw as the battle unfolded to what was written on the reports, and as you would expect each general and his men had performed brilliantly, it was the others!
It was me who ended this happy state of affairs this time as I decided I had had enough of life offshore, my two sons had gone and it wasn't much fun for either me or the missus on our own for three weeks out of six, I was also sick of wondering each time I turned up to work how long my job would last in these now techno savvy days. I had been extraordinarily lucky working for Chevron UK for sixteen years but as they had sold the field and I was now a contractor life was not as good, I gave it another four and made my decision to leave.
However I did need to keep up my extravagant lifestyle so that meant working for myself, I bought a Post Office and village shop and moved south to live amongst the 'auld enemy' in Lancashire. My wargaming was about to come to a shuddering halt.