Wargamers are a rare breed. Even rarer than a wargamer however, is the gamer's spouse or girlfriend or daughter who joins in the revelry. For a hobby that is probably 97% male, I've met a few guys here and there whose spouses or girlfriends actually game with them.
Recently my wife and I embarked on a mission to get ourselves back into better shape and the other night she returned home from work suggesting we hit the pavement and go for a run. It was chilly outside and I could tell her heart wasn't really in it so I made a suggestion:
We play a fast wargame and the winner determines if we run or not. If my wife won, we would run 3 miles. If I won, we'd go pick up our daughter from day care and go on with our evening. The game I chose for her was a lighthearted, fun game: Bolt Action. (you can read about Bolt Action here)
Bolt Action is a skirmish level game where you move squads of troops around the battlefield. I thought this would be a perfect way to get out of running and indulge in my favorite past time. Disregarding my wife's competitive spirit, I explained to her about the orders, moving, and shooting and asked her who she wanted to be. My wife chose the Soviets. 2 "nicely painted" squads bristling with submachine guns (SMGs), rifles and bayonets, Light Machine Guns (LMGs), and revolutionary fervor faced off against my nimble Germans armed with 98k bolt action rifles, an LMG or two, and some prayers...
"Which squad is the one with the better guns???" she asked with eyes wide in anticipation of shooting. "This one, your submachine gun squad, dear" I added. (normal couples with zero wargamers in the house simply don't have conversations like this).
My wife moved her squads with the self-assurance of a Sergeant Steiner from "Cross of Iron," selecting terrain that would cover her infantry during the advance.
|My wife's SMG squad in cover.|
|Nicely painted Soviets with an orders die!|
|My poor, poor Germans...|
|Moving my Germans up through the wheatfield. You can see the wife's troops comfortably taking up positions in the buildings in the foreground...|
When she took the building, she immediately pointed out that she could both see, and hit my troops in the wheat-field in front of the building. I bit down hard and acknowledged her observations as she started counting her firing dice. One, Two, Three....Nine, Ten, Eleven. The dice were rolled and my troops fell, one after the other and she helped me drop them with glee (she couldn't roll a 6 though, thankfully - so I got to pick the casualties at least). My German command squad was knocked out and I'm horrified to admit she caught my rifle squad in the open and mowed many of them down as well next turn.
|I get HOW many dice?? The Mrs rolling for her SMG squad's fire. Twelve dice later!|
|One German squad toast! The red die is a pin marker. The first of many.|
The last act of this family tragedy? Bolt Action's elegant and none-too-subtle "surprise charge" rules where troops under 6 inches can launch an assault entering into hand to hand combat without the defenders being able to fire at the attackers. My wife sent her crazed, rifle-armed reds into the fray against a pinned German squad on the road. The result? Let's just say if we hadn't run out of time, I would have been eating 3 miles of pavement for dinner.
|Command Squad - yeah they would be wiped out next|
|My wife's Soviets in the building.|
|More of my wife's Soviets peeking around the corner of a destroyed house|
|My troops caught in the open!|
|German Platoon Leader KO...|