The Strategy Club

In honor of the recent start of school in much of the United States, behold this scan from a Virginia high school yearbook I recently picked up at a library book sale. Harking from the 1979-1980 school year, this thirty year-old assemblage of wargamers and role players looks much like a gathering of the faithful would look today, though we’re a bit older, wiser, and jowlier.

Maybe not the Breakfast Club, but definitely the Strategy Club!

The Strategy Club!

The Strategy Club met every week to organize wargaming sessions. They had refought the great battles of history (on paper and game boards, of course). They adventured through the deepest underground labyrinths and bravely fought fantastic monsters.

Read through the ironic lens so common today, the club description could be seen as cutting and snide, perhaps, but I’m more inclined to see the descriptive text as a valiant attempt by a non-hobbyist to understand and explain just what these lads were up to in the science classroom every week.

I wonder if there are many similar clubs dedicated to wargames and role playing games in high schools today. As with any hobby, wargaming circles tend to ask where the “new blood” will come from and bemoan the “greying” of the hobby. In my own experiences with Fine Local Game Stores, I’ve seen plenty of younger gamers, but seldom involved in what we would consider board wargaming, focused instead on collectible card games and fantasy/sci-fi miniatures gaming.

How to get them interested in the intricacies of cardboard and combat results tables is a valid question. I think the best approach is not proselytization but rather approachability. Smiles and a willingness to interrupt a turn to answer questions at a game store go a long way towards converting kids from cards to cardboard. Not that there’s anything wrong with cards, of course.