Typical wargames table
When we retired, almost ten years ago, we decided that we would fill our time with things we liked to do. We divided our available time between what in the Army we used to call “personal admin” and our hobbies. Personal admin includes housework, shopping and cooking. Things we like to do involve wargaming and hill walking.
Moving to Spain we had to adjust to more extreme heat in the summer months, than we were used to in the UK. So we have a different routine for the summer and winter months. Strangely, for someone used to living in the UK, the summer months are more difficult to organise.
From October to May we never seem to have enough time to do all that we want to. We usually go hill walking at least twice a week. We live in a rural village, and get our “people fix” by visiting one of the coastal towns for our weekly shop.
From June to September hill walking, or almost any other type of walking, is out. It is just too hot. The coastal towns are taken over by masses of holiday makers, and the crowds make it seem ever hotter, despite the sea breeze.
So in the summer month’s wargame related activities bear the brunt of passing the time. I usually try to plan a project to pass the long periods when it is just too hot to venture outside the house.
This year it was new campaign maps. Throughout the year we wargame most days for an hour or so. We have plenty of time to experiment with different types of wargames table, and to adjust our house rules. I want the table to look occupied, without being cluttered. We use 2x2 foot scenic squares to create our table, and I try to create a lot of tactical options by using the terrain. I like to have something on each square. Most tables will have a town, a village and a farm. Depending on the campaign area there will be between two and six hill squares. Often a river will take up three of the squares. Finally a scattering of large or small woods, or broken ground, completes the table.
It has made our wargames much more interesting. There is now rarely sufficient space to deploy a whole corps, let alone the three or four corps often involved. Instead of just marching from one edge of the table to the other, progress is decided by the outcome of village fighting or trying to take a woods.
So despite the large number of battles we wargame, each one is sufficiently different to make them interesting and challenging.
And dealing with the heat? Well we rise early (for us) to complete a two mile walk before 8am. And we spend an hour in the swimming pool each afternoon. In between an hour at the wargames table, and an hour watching a recorded TV programme, fills the time between meals and just a little “personal admin”.
Not a bad life.