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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Real Public Participation Wargaming

The National Museum of Scotland hosted a small wargaming event in support of their current Viking exhibition on Sunday.  I was there with the Falkirk and District Wargames club (there were 9 of us there in total) doing a large scale Basic Impetus game of the Battle of Cruden Bay or ‘The Slaughter of the Danes’.   South East Scotland Wargames Club put on Viking raid using the Dux Britanniarum rules.  The Edinburgh Hub partnered with 6s2Hit to present a quick fire game of The Siege of Paris, a one to one game called Men of the Sword, and they also supported a painting area.

This was the first time I had taken part in an event outside of the more traditional wargaming mainstream and I thought it went very well indeed.  Although numbers weren’t huge, perhaps 250 – 300, most seemed genuinely interested.  The guy running the painting table where 28mm Vikings were being painted up, largely by relatively young kids, had about 80 takers and looked pretty busy for almost all of the day.  The Siege of Paris was very popular with the youngsters and only took about a quarter of an hour to play which worked well.  The Men of the Sword table had a good number of takers and the SESWC game also attracted interested spectators.
We ran our game 4 times during the day.  The battlefield was split into 3 zones effectively resulting in 3 separate battles each time.  A club member was available to play each game but was ready to give up the slot and/or assist any member of the public who wanted to have a go.  Although that happened only about a third of the time there was also lots of good engagement with people showing an interest rather than wanting to actually play.  The club had bought some plastic Gripping Beast Vikings and we gave away sprues to those that had taken part.  We also used the opportunity to promote our show, Carronade, on 11th May.
I hope we get the opportunity to do something like this again.  Usually when we talk about public participation games we mean games at wargames shows played by wargamers and their offspring.  It was very good to see an interest being shown by a much wider section of the population and we may have sparked a lifetime interest in the hobby with one or two kids, or provided an insight into what is out there to some of the adults.    The Museum was pleased with the event so we might get an invitation back or to one of their sister venues.  All in all a fun and rewarding day.
 Scots settlement
The full table, Scots to the right and Vikings to the left and some of our club members 
The Seige of Paris, before the Vikings disembark from their ships
The Men of the Sword gameboard
The Vikings go 'A Viking'


  1. Looks like an interesting day Dave. Pity I missed it. The full size game does look impressive.

    The siege of Paris sounds interesting too.

  2. It was a good day. SESWC Report at