Doug Hamm lives in Surrey, B.C. and is my friend. That's a long way from beautiful Puyallup. Perhaps not as far as Virginia where Mike Pierce and Toby Barrett live, but Doug and I have been known to collaborate on projects and we genuinely enjoy one another's company. I used to see Doug twice a year; once at Enfilade and another at Salute in Burnaby in March. When I took my high school job I lost the opportunity to visit the guys at Salute because it's always the same weekend as the state student journalism convention. Last summer Doug and his wife Susan bought a house in Surrey, just across the border, complete with a large game room. He suggested that I come up for a visit. I didn't have a vacation planned, or any classes I was taking so I took him up on his offer. I went up last Tuesday and came back on Thursday and had a thoroughly good time.
I went up to game, and that's pretty much what I did. That and scope out Doug's game space in the basement. The Hamms have a full basement and it's all Dougland. He's meticulous about almost everything he does. His painted figures and unpainted stash are neatly organized. He has carefully clipped magazine articles directly relating to his projects and organized them in file boxes. His painting space is perfect with no space wasted, and indeed space available for expansion. He has a great gaming space that is comfortably suited for his 12' X 6' game table. Doug's been very smart about his hobby. I used to say the only aspect of my life that was organized was my game life. Hah! Not close. I've been organizing my stuff ever since I got home.
When I arrived and unloaded on Tuesday we began playing a series of four DBA games. Doug had a Tuareg army he hadn't played with before. Neither of us had a historical match so I threw out my Later Hebrews. I may as well have thrown out an ant army. He crushed me. I often thought I was getting decent match-ups, trying to stay away from his camels with my chariots and using supported blades or aux to get the pluses. No such luck. I generally rolled poorly off and on throughout the time I was there. Things have a habit of coming around, but I'm on about a three week jag of generally crappy die rolls. Twice the Tuaregs kicked the Hebrews all over the board. The Tuaregs are an all camelry army, if you can imagine such a thing. Doug was short a stand of figures so he substituted a cloud of dust for his missing nomads. In the photo he's getting ready to put paid to King Saul. Figures. I did get my licks in later with a Welsh vs Woodland Indians match up. First we mucked up the rules and the fact that spears are quick killed by warbands. (That's what happens when I don't engage in Barkerese for a couple of years.) Anyway we started over and I managed to A) stick all the terrain in the corners, and B) have a much better set of die rolls to give me the win.
Wednesday was huge fun. We played with Doug's adaptation of the Humberside DBX Rules to the French and Indian War. It worked very well. Odd period to make happen with lots of Indians and irregular troops, but I really enjoyed it--even though I look a little bemused and befuddled in the picture below.
After a round or two of that we were off to navigate the Delta traffic and make our way to Imperial Hobbies. It's a great shop. Lots of off the shelf figures to look at. I picked up a couple packs of GFI WWI figures that will some day go with my Peter Pig figures for Square Bashing. Yes, it's probably down the road apiece for that project, but I liked the figures anyway. Francis Munroe is the worthy proprietor of Imperial Hobbies in Richmond, B.C. He's a supporter of Enfilade, and his shop is a rarity these days as he tackles all aspects of gaming-role playing, board gaming, miniatures, keeps complete racks of magazines, nice selection of terrain as well as a great selection of plastic models. We don't have anything that compares in the Puget Sound area.
After our return to Chez Hamm, Dennis Chin and Andrew Mah came over for a huge Hundred Years War game. Loosely based on Poitiers, it was an ad hoc opportunity for Doug and I to drag out all our singly mounted figures. It was one of those games in which the sky darkened with arrows but the French just kept on coming. Eventually they washed over the English run by Doug and myself, and that was the name of that tune. We used my Arrowstorm rules which probably need more fiddling so that the French always lose ; ) Much fun. Great picture of Crusader miniature of King Jean II (the good) leading on his men-at-arms. On this night he was John the Very Good.
Next morning we worked some more on the French and Indian War DBX games. I learned to enjoy them even more. good stuff. By two o' clock I was on the road headed south for home. No border crossing horror shows to tell about, though it seemed that all non-US returning cars were being sent to customs or immigration.
I would be remiss if I didn't thank Doug and his wife Susan for having me up. It was fun, the dinner conversation was great. It was a perfectly wonderful way to spend a few summer days.
Pics are all by Doug.
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