Waging war every week

WAR is being waged every Sunday afternoon in the middle of Gainsborough.

Monday, 20th February 2012, 2:30 pm

Grown men are using their tactical skills to fight four-hour battles, often on challenging terrain.

But don’t expect to hear the sound of gunfire, this is table-top warfare.

Gainsborough War Gaming Society members take their model armies along to the Melrose Sports Club every week to compete on the battlefield.

Armies range from Napoleonic and World World Two to Sci Fi and fantasy units.

Mickey Leyland, 41, of Campbell Street, first started war gaming as a boy of eight growing up in Cheshire.

He said: “I had a younger brother and niece to help look after and it was something I could do at home.”

“I enjoyed painting the models and got involved in Warhammer games with fantasy armies.”

“I built up a lot of armies but sold a load when I moved here 10 years ago, then I started again from fresh.”

The Society has around 20 members and the youngest is 10.

Mickey’s own 12-year-old son Cameron plays but his daughter Charlotte, 10, decided she wasn’t interested after having a go.

Jason Richardson, 38, of Askwith Street, got hooked on war gaming after making friends with Mickey through playing the role play game Dungeons and Dragons five years ago.

Jason, who is a school volunteer, said: “We met at another friend’s house and Mickey got me into war games two years ago.”

“My son Ezekiel who is 10, likes to play them as well but my wife Rebecca hates it completely. She just puts up with it.”

Gainsborough town councillor Mark Binns, 39, of Acacia Avenue, said he first began gaming when he was seven.

“I lived on Victoria Close and a friend who lived next door got me into it. He was doing a World War Two battle at the time and it’s the history I mostly liked.”

“When you’re building an army it can be quite detailed because you have to learn about different weapons and how different tanks worked, like the difference between the Sherman, which went at 32mph and the Tiger, which went at 20mph.”

“Then you can work out how far to move them during the game.”

Mark, who has an 18-year-old son Michael, said war gaming used maths and English skills.

“You have to be able to work out your moves and use a tape measure to know how far to move, and you need to be able to read the rules,” he said.

Large tables are needed for the games, which can involve several armies, and the society is looking at moving to bigger premises.

Mickey said they would like to set up knock-out tournaments and a football-style league for junior gamers.

He said: “I enjoy spending evenings building and painting the models, I could be in the pub every night spending money and not have anything to show for it.”

Anyone is welcome to go along and join in at the Melrose Sports Club on Sundays from noon until 4pm. The cost is 50p for children up to 13, £1 for 13-18-year-olds and £1.50 for adults.

There is also a Facebook page under the title Gainsborough War Gaming Society.