Asking me why I like miniature wargaming is like asking me why history is important, or why do I write military history? I am not sure I can answer those questions. I have always been surrounded with books, and toy soldiers since my earliest years. I grew up with them and I have lived with them my entire life. As a teacher, I used miniature wargaming in the classroom to teach history.
The question has arisen as a result of my last blog about how do we get younger individuals into miniature wargaming and, in turn, into studying or reading history. I have some ideas of how to do it. They are merely ideas at this stage.
1. Get your kids to play games at an early age.
2. Introduce your children to games like chess and Risk, which have figures to move around the board.
3. Encourage your children to create their own games from books which they have read. They do not need to be military oriented.
4. Let them “cannibalize” games to design variations of the games they already have.
5. Let them tweak the rules of their existing games to make them “better.”
6. Get them into crafts where they can design buildings and fences for their games to make them 3-dimensional. Imagine redesigning Chutes and Ladders.
7. Get them a sand filled with construction sand and turn them loose with wood blocks and table spoon or tea spoons.
8. Have them design their own folding cardboard game boards and build their own layouts.
9. Encourage them to paint their figures (military or otherwise) with water-based acrylics.
10. TEACH THEM HOW to PLAY and CREATE away from the TV. I have taught a great many students who have never really played, read books, or had constructive fun away from their cell-phones and video games.
As a teacher, most manipulatives were and are geared to elementary school kids. In high school I found the majority of team building and group activities trite and, frankly, immature. I walked out of a couple of in-services because I could not tolerate the banality of the contrived demonstrations.
1. If you want to recruit younger players, gamers have to take the games to the public. The problem is putting “legs” on the following suggestions.
2. Go to the local school board and speak to the social studies director to ask if he/she could find a way to work a day into the calendar to provide a space for you to spend with one class, in one school to introduce an historical simulation in which the class could participate. If you could get the stage in the auditorium for you or your game club to set up at no charge to the school you could engage a class for the day. Make it an indoor field trip.
3. Contact the local library to see if you could get a meeting room for a day and run a game to one and all who wander by. The library might even provide a public service massage to announce it.
4. A mall might have a social room in which to try that too. The management might advertise it also.
5. Picture it much like the Club rooms set up at a game convention.
6. Maybe a local group like the YMCA, the Girls or Boys Club, the American Legion, The Marine Corps League, The Veterans of foreign Wars, the Odd Fellows, or a local park could provide a game room or pavilion to which the public could come.
I am always open to suggestions. If the public will not come to us, we gamers should go to the public.
As always, thank you for your patience and your constructive suggestions and observations are always welcome.