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The date of the Strange Seas game at the Nunwading Wargames Club suddenly lurched into view. I had been to this club once before, many years ago. It was a very typical scene of a nerd trying to bust in to a small group of nerds. In predictable fashion, the oh-so-intellectual barbs were at my expense and for the benefit of the friends there. Being a thin skinned artist type, I never returned.

This was a mistake, of course, as I’m sure they were well intentioned. We all cannot help being over brainy dorks. And if I had persisted I’m sure that my gaming would have taken a different turn to the one it followed. That was at least 15, possibly more, years ago.

So I arrived with no little trepidation. Things were different this time. The atmosphere was different: you could see it in the age of the players: there were a lot more my age. And my skin has thickened somewhat, so it mattered not a whit to me whether or not I was ‘liked’ this time round. This was not even a question: they were all, to a man, friendly and inclusive. I met a very old friend who I had lost contact with and saw his exquisitely painted Napoleonic Austrians. We have agreed to actually get together and play a game sometime. I met many new potential friends and look forward to having an opportunity to talk to them again.

The game that Greg and I put up under the invitation from Nic of Eureka was a reprise of the Strange Seas game we ran in Adelaide. We did not have Alan’s lovely terrain this time, but we made do, and a few different figures had to be press ganged into the action. The boat, missing for most of the game, appeared at the end as an origami model that Nic triumphantly introduced.

The action followed the expected pattern. Squads rampaged around the table, falling foul of natural hazards and the vagaries of the natives that changed sides every turn. In a very short time the players seemed to get into the swing of things and there was a lot of smiling and laughing rather than frowning and concentrating (nothing wrong with this in some games, of course. But Strange Seas is a Pulp giggle, and if it can get that happening then the game, regardless of result, is a success).

I used our Enquiry chart to find the answers to a few questions. This seemed to work as well, and was a nice confirmation that the method of play that Greg and I have developed over many patient years actually has application for a larger audience. The only real hurdle is writing up a coherent set of rules, I guess, and there are many irons in the fire where this can happen. The squad movement system that will be used for Flashing Steel-Forged in Blood continued to work well. The players found it intuitive enough and there were no questions concerning formations and facing, as I had expected.

A success, I think. An introduction to a larger group of players; a rediscovery, as every man must continually confront, that try as he might he is not an island.

[Please excuse the ordinary photo, but I took it with my phone and I was sober.]

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