Saturday, 23 January 2016

School Daze - The Founding of Cardboard Carson

As a teacher in a primary school, I don't get as much hobby time as I'd like. So I thought I would see if I could sneak it into work, under the guise of a club.

Once I'd decided to go ahead with the idea, I tried to pick out some games. I realized that the game needed to be:
  • simple enough rules that I would be able to teach them to children below the average target audience.
  • easy enough to set up and play a reasonable amount in 45mins.
  • a mainstream theme that would appeal to the broadest audience, and make finding models and terrain straightforward.
That limited me to only a handful of games. I contemplated A Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games (as it is so simple, it is often used to introduce wargames) and Chain Reaction by THW (partly because it's free and partly because it does away with the IGOUGO mechanic). In the end, I went with the game I was most familiar with and required the least additional work to get going on: Legends of the Old West by Warhammer Historical (deceased).

First of all, I picked up a couple of bags of toy cowboys and Indians. They are considerably cheaper than models specifically designed for wargames and are sturdier to boot. The garish colours also help with game play.

After that, I needed terrain. Now, I've made a fair amount of Old West terrain, but nothing I was willing to risk in the hands of 8- and 9-year-olds. So after a bit of thinking I came up with an easy to make, easy to store and cost effective design of building.

While they might not be what you or I would want on our gaming tables, they are pretty effective and could be decorated by the children, giving them some ownership. The very simple design could also be modified to create some more exciting feature buildings to fight over.

Cardboard Carson, as the new town became known, grew nicely and soon I had enough for two small tables. A few splashes of paint, some computer designed shop signs, hand draw wanted poster cluttering up the place and the terrain was ready.

Finally, I decided that I needed to turn my had to the rules. Specifically, could I make a visual reminder for the children to use that would allow them to play the game on its simplest level. As I say though, my time is limited and I've got marking to do, so I'll show you how I got on in my next School Daze post.

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