The HAWKs sponsored two iterations of the Plastic Army for Kids project (see previous posts) at Historicon 2011. All participants were supposed to be 10 or younger, and all of them received a Continental Army, a British Army, a ground cloth, a copy of Big Battles for Little Hands (donated by Phil Viverito of LMW Works and Classical Hack fame), dice, a deck of cards, two tape measurers (donated by Robert Seitz), some road sections, and two hills. This picture shows the participants from the second iteration. I think they look pretty happy — even the kids who cried a couple of times when his units ran away or were wiped out. (He really empathized with those plastic widows!) All of the kids seemed surprised that they were getting armies when the game was over.
I was the GM for the first iteration. Duncan was the GM for the second. The first time around, the parents sat away from the table and observed. The second time, the parents sat up near the table and helped. I thought the former methods was better. While the parents were trying to help keep the game moving, sometimes they didn’t know Milk and Cookies Rules well and misguided the kids. More importantly, it was easy for parents to slide from rules help to directing tactics and troop movements.
We consider this a very successful club effort. We plan to do this again for the next couple of Historicons. Most of the HAWKs provided time and/or resources to bring this to fruition. During Historicon, at least two big boxes of figures were donated for future efforts. Some people donated cash on the spot. Others offered to paint armies next year. Many came by the HAWKs room and were effusive in their praise of the HAWKs’ efforts to make wargaming approachable by youngsters. This included not just the plastic army project but a constant offering of kids’ games all weekend.