Thirty years ago, a trip to Farnborough meant a quick drive from my home in Bisley, across the ranges, past the Army camp in Pirbright and Bob’s your uncle. It takes a bit longer to get there from Ystrad Mynach, two and a half hours longer in fact.
Nevertheless, on a bright sunny Saturday, the 11th of November, that is exactly where I found myself. At the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre no less. I was at the Warfare 2023 Annual Wargames Show surrounded by 2000 or so avid wargamers.
The only thing we had in common was a tendency towards grey hair, and a few unwanted pounds around the waistline. Or so I thought….
UK Crokinole evangelists Mike Ray and Ian Witt, at the request of the event organisers, had set up four crokinole boards and were faithfully preaching the gospel according to Jeremy.
I assume that the appeal of wargaming lies in the hours spent lovingly painting model armies and painstakingly setting up historically faithful battles. Perhaps I’m right? Two minutes learning to play crokinole and just seconds to set up each game, where is the interest in that?
Nevertheless, loads of people stopped by and learned the greatest game on earth from two of the UK’s best players.
The day finished up with a keenly contested round robin tournament. I’m completely ashamed to say that I have forgotten the winner`s name. Failing memory, another trait I might share with the more elderly wargamer? I think Mike and Ian proved, conclusively, that there can be a crossover between crokinole and wargaming. Who’d have thunk it?