First, today is the battle of Waterloo +202 and, for me, it's always a day of remembrance. I think I shall always take it as history's greatest battle and only regret I can't visit every year.
Back weary from Origins, but I wanted to follow up on the folks who wondered how the kids' Commands and Colors: Ancients gaming from www.grogheads.com would go.
It was absolutely splendid.
For those who don't know, running a wargame at a convention these days is something of a crap shoot. Some days you can't put up enough chairs and others you wind up talking to your friends in the booth. The one thing the organizers of Grogheads Central Command seem to have intuited, however, is that there's a fair number of older folks with young children that want to have their children at least try the games they love. It turned out that it would be hard to imagine a better game than C&C:A. As said before the scenario was simple, the number of different unit types limited, there's no terrain, and the objective is simple enough. The young people, and their parents, responded.
We had six slots if memory serves and only one of them had no takers. Others were oversubscribed and I'm glad I brought an extra copy of the base game so we could set up an extra table for the unexpected players.
A few animadversions if I might:
1. Every one of the parents that came by wanted their children to enjoy the game for its own sake. Sure, a few of them seemed to be harboring the hope that their boy or girl would be willing to play something other than "Click, Clack, Lumberjack" with them, but that did not come at the expense of the youngster having fun.
2. C&C:A is stupid popular. I had quite a few folks wander by as I was setting up and ask if I was looking for a game. They seemed quite disappointed when I said the session was targeted at kids. My second favorite moment of the whole business, though, was the fellow who looked to be my age who, while HL was helping a youngster at another table, asked if I'd be willing to teach him the game as he'd just bought it. His enthusiasm for the system and gratitude for me having taken the time was memorable.
3. My number one moment, though, came from the very first session just on Thursday. A pair of brothers were brought over by their father. The older brother was a talker -- verbal and connected to those around him. The younger was an introvert who said little even as I explained the rules and the game set up. Once the game started though, this kid, who was certainly no more than six, either by accident or design understood the scenario almost intuitively. Playing the Syracusans, he nigh-wordlessly marched his heavies, one hex at a time, across the battlefield and ground his brother into paste. He could have advanced his flanks but never expressed an interest. He never acted bored or restless -- quite the contrary, it seemed he really, really, really wanted to play. He played cards, moved blocks, and rolled dice with the confidence and focus of a real veteran. He crushed his brother 5-0.
A fine, fine set of memories -- and, may I say, a bit of a hope for a groggier tomorrow.