Mildenhall wargaming club puts strategy to the test
The armies may be small, but they can pack a wallop.
If, that is, you’re an Ork or Tau.
Orks, Taus and Space Marines took to the battlefield recently as about a dozen members of RAF Mildenhall Wargamers Club got together to fight the competing Warhammer 40,000 armies.
About a dozen of the members met at the base’s Bob Hope Community Center ballroom to battle it out with their pewter or resin soldiers, weapons systems, armored vehicles and flying machines, which were arrayed to take advantage of the various terrains.
The club meets at the center every other Saturday.
“Sometimes it’s not enough,” said Master Sgt. James Arel, who fought a handful of battles on a table set up to look like a wooded, hilly countryside.
When they’re not scheduled in the ballroom, club members launch battles in homes, squadron dayrooms and the base coffee shop.
Warhammer 40,000 was created by a British company and is one of the more popular tabletop miniature games played in England and the U.S. The game is set 40,000 years in the future, where humans fight with creatures from other planets and even against their own kind.
It all depends on what types of unit a player brings to the battlefield — or at least the battle table.
On one recent Saturday, the gaming generals ranged in age from a 16-year- old high school student to the 36-year-old Arel.
High school sophomore Christopher Damers was the youngest member there. He’s been gaming for about two years.
“It’s kind of a stress reliever from school,” he said. “It also requires strategy and I like strategy [games].”
Christopher played on a table that was made up to look like a bombed-out city, complete with roads, destroyed buildings and crashed flying vehicles.
“I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I can hold my own against some of the veterans. I’m doing all right,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Jarrod Kinner has been playing miniature games since 1985. He was at the Saturday session.
“It’s not just a game,” he said. “You put together your own army.”
And he means that literally.
The figurines don’t come fully assembled, so it’s up to the gamer to put the pieces together and then paint them.
“Your paint job is your pride and joy,” Kinner said.
And if you don’t have at least a base coat of paint on your army, they don’t fight, according to club rules.
While Warhammer 40,000 is the club’s current “hot” game, it’s not the only game that they’ll play.
“I’d love to get historical gamers in here,” Arel said. “If someone brought a Civil War game, I’d play it.”
The only things that the club doesn’t play — although Arel said individual members themselves play — are card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons.
Everything else, it seems, is fair game.