By Rob Morgan
The photograph is of a small wargame I prepared several years ago, to use at an ‘open day,’ simply to illustrate the ease with which a wargame can be created. Several other demonstrations chose to show off ranks of 25mm bright-coated 18th century or Napoleonic figures which were not to be touched or examined by the casual observer.
This was different.
I went back to basics, the way we wargamed in the old days, when we actually wanted people to participate. I gathered together a mass of small plastic ships boats, and rowing boats, with or without oars, added single masts and sails. One fleet had lateen rigs and the other square, just for the purpose of recognition. A small gun at each bow, as you can see. I sprayed the lot Humbrol Matt Dark Earth (the colour for wooden walls, believe me!). I based them on games counters, painted the sails — all were white, but if I’d had time, maybe a coat of some other linen colour would have appealed. The sails had small decals added in some cases, or identifying emblems painted on. I added a couple of pennons and flags, and that was it.
Simple rules, a single page of A4, using only a pair of dice, I recall. The Umpire, me, had a range of interesting ‘interlopers’ at his disposal. The giant seagull, or should it be a Roc(?) is one, it came from a cake shop, and was intended as a decoration. It decided to circle the opposing fleets, and then swooped on one ship to break its mast, seize crew for dinner, or land on and capsize it, whatever. The add-ons provided as much entertainment as the wargame element.