For several years, the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKs) have been running a really neat event at Historicon. In addition to the other games we run at the convention that are targeted toward younger gamers (we dedicate a table throughout Saturday of the con to only kids’ games) we run a special event. This event, the Armies for Kids game, involves kids who are under 10 usually using Milk and Cookies Rules (from Big Battles for Little Hands). After the event is over, each kid gets to take away two complete, painted armies and some other goodies. In the past we’ve provided terrain pieces, rules, tape measures, etc.
This year’s project is 25/28mm Napoleonics. Using a combination of figures from a number donors, including the NASHCON staff, we have pieced together six sets for this year. Each kid who plays in the game will receive a French army and an army from one of the opposing powers. There are a handful of painted figures that couldn’t be made into units and a box of unpainted lead as well. During the game the game master (Eric Schlegel this year) will ask the kids some history questions. If they answer correctly, they get to take something from these extras.
The picture at the top of this post shows some of the HAWKs working on Father’s Day to assemble the donations into armies, rebase many of the figures, and make small repairs. The picture below shows one of the armies being assembled.
This year’s donations included some old Scruby figures and other rarities that are the “missing link” between the toy soldiers of Little Wars and modern wargaming figures. Other donations include Calpe 28mm figures and some old “small 25′s.” We tried to match up figures by size in each child’s army, but it’s not perfect.
Next year’s project will be 40mm ACW skirmish. We are building around a very generous donation of painted 40mm Union troops. If you have any 40mm Confederates you’d like to donate, or any other donations you’d like to consider, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The donations all go to kids. In very rare cases we’ve sold or traded some of the donations in order to purchase missing items to build complete armies. We think this is a really nice way to do something about the “graying of the hobby” beyond complaining about it. When you see the look on the kids’ faces, it makes the many hours spent during the year well worth the effort.