On Saturday, July 17th, 8 student gamers took part in the first in-person programming offered by Next Gen. Overall, the event was well received, with all involved having a great time.
For our offerings, the highlight of the day was Dave Waxtel's 25/28mm Punic Wars game. The game was massive in scale, so much so that a standard table would not suffice. Instead, Dave set the game up on the floor, much how naval academies around the world train their own cadets. Each student commanded their own ship, and us adults (Jared, John, Jim, Matt, and Eddie) joined in, helping the students to understand the game by getting involved!
I was really impressed with how Dave went through the rules, interjecting little tidbits of wisdom from his own life experiences. What stood out to me to the most was his comparison of battle planning and battle strategy to the kinds of business meetings many of our students will engage in one day- the sense of having to collaborate, strategize, and plan in order to succeed. It seemed like these points resonated well with the students, who do this sort of thinking in school every day.
The game itself was quite fun. The rules focused a lot on ship management, with students keeping track of their overall speed, damage, and energy level of their troops. Student would roll for initiative, move their ships in increments, fire, and melee in that order. The kids grasped the rules quickly, and were quick to accept help from the adults helping to keep everything moving.
When the naval battle ended, students rotated through three other games offered by Next Gen. Jim Stanton, an HMGS BOD member and very familiar face at the east coast conventions, ran his joust game, which saw students trying to unhorse one another for all the glory. John Spiess, former HMGS president, also got in on the action, running his Dark Ages game in 25/28mm. John has play tested this game with my own students before, and it's one of those games that's perfect for kids. The rules are grid based in a similar fashion to rulesets like To the Strongest! and Square Bashing by Peter Pig. Students have to activate their units and move square to square in an attempt to defeat the enemy. Since roleplaying is so popular amongst our Next Gen partners, he added some character building to the game, with each student taking on the role of a commander during the period. Finally, Matthew Thorenz, librarian at Moffat in Washingtonville, put together a 54mm War of 1812 game. Having heard his pregame chat with a few parents, Matt is super knowledgeable about the kinds of skirmish wargaming that fit 1812 so well.
We want to thank Carolyn Thorenz, librarian at Gardiner, who did so much work behind the scenes to make the day happen. She has helped to develop a wonderful community within the library, and Next Gen cannot wait for the next event. Carolyn even did a little gaming herself, participating in at least one round of the joust!
We also want to thank the GMs including Dave, Jim, John, and Matthew, as well as Eddie Regendahl for driving down to be part of the day.
And finally, a huge thank you to all of the parents and players who made the gaming possible. We sincerely hope you got something out of the day, and most importantly, had fun!
If you are a school, library, university, or business interested in an event like this, please do not hesitate to reach out. All of our contact information can be found on the main website.
As a final sendoff, enjoy these videos Dave shared with us.
This is Jared, signing off!