War gamers battle to death in Wellington
Sun, 19 Aug 2012 6:22p.m.
By Dan Parker
The country's top war gamers have converged on Wellington to celebrate 40 years of conflict the only way they now how – with a battle to the death, of course.
It is an event where trolls battle elves, the undead take on the extraterrestrial and the history of World War II's most famous conflicts can be rewritten with the roll of the dice.
It is also a place where reputations are made and tempers can flare.
Michail Woolf is the battle-hungry club president of the Wellington Warlords. It's a role that sometimes means he also plays peacemaker.
“It's like rugby,” he says. “What goes on on the tablecloth, stays on the tablecloth. “After the game is finished everyone goes ‘oh well that's it’.”
For the uninitiated, table-top war gaming sees hand-painted figurines attributed a value. They move around a table with the roll of the dice and a tape measure for accuracy.
The game is over when one side consistently rolls higher scores and conquers the entire board.
“It's odds; it's risk management; it's like probabilities,” says war gamer Damian Caufield. “If you're good at maths you can work out what you need to roll so you can minimise your chances of failure.”
When it comes to success, 150 competitors from all over the country converged in Wellington to chase it this weekend.
The community is much bigger, but some, like former New Zealand masters representative James Milne, have been coy about coming forward.
“Up until I was 15 or 16 I didn't really tell anybody because I couldn’t be bothered going through the stigma of it,” says Mr Milne.
But he says he no longer cares what people think, and his is the common attitude in a group of gamers keen to shrug off stereotypes.
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