Last week I had my first game at the Earlswood Wargamers, a (very) local wargaming group that meet just up the road from were I live, just south of Birmingham, England.
I have to say I was somewhat apprehensive about joining a wargaming group- being something of a virgin when it comes to being part of a group. In my imagination, historical wargamers are stuffy, beardy war-anoraks who will cheerfully point out to you that your lovingly painted soldiers have the wrong colour bootlaces for the period they are meant to depict, or whatever. I also imagined they had would field rank upon rank of not particularly well painted troops, as they endlessly re-fought Waterloo.
As soon as I walked into the village hall where they meet (we meet?) I knew my preconceived ideas where dead wrong, as they were welcoming, friendly and interested in my many and varied collections. They did have huge armies, but rather than the paint-daubed Napoleonics I have seen at shows and on the internet, these were rank upon rank of beautifully executed paint jobs! And even more exciting for me- they like smaller skirmish games too- like Dead Man's Hand.
The scenery and figures they were using just blew me away. The Dead Man's Hand board, the handy-work of David, was first class- featuring Lasercut MDF buildings from 4Ground and Sarrissa Precision that David had 'Pimped Up', and some scratch built additions- was easily as good as the best display boards I have seen at the wargaming shows like Salute (and better that many). His figures were simply stunning too.
I played the game (using three of my own Mexican Banditos alongside David's). I played with David and his nephew James. Dead Man's Hand is a fun, fast paced small skirmish cowboy game, inspired by the Hollywood and Spaghetti Westerns. We had six men apiece and the board is just 2 foot square, so it really is small. Never the less, it was great fun, full of dramatic moments, cinematic scenes and laughs.
|David's dusty western town|
|A marshal takes down a wanted bandito|
|A Marshall with a Winchester takes up a good firing position|
|Low-life Billy Bob takes the fight to the law-men- killing a Deputy and a Marshal, before the Sheriff guns him down.|