I used to help run participation games for a few years at various events – rarely wargames shows funnily enough. We mostly attended things like air shows, military days, fetes with a re-enactment element and country shows. They were aimed at letting people see something of what wargames were about and letting them try their hand.
As other people have said, it is a lot of work in the preparation and in my experience, requires player/presenters to be very switched on to how people are feeling when they approach. We were a mix of military and civilian trainers and instructors so that helped.
Many times we got the ‘I’m just looking’ people to hang around by not pushing but including them occasionally in discussion and then decisions and before they realised, they were engrossed in charge of a unit or a wing, and family members were returning at ever shorter intervals asking ‘haven’t you finished yet?!’ I am very pleased to say that participants included men, women and children.
The games were designed to run as games, there was never dead time – so we had a shift/watch system – people playing (always prepared to stand down and mentor at a moment’s notice if there were public wanting to play), people ‘front of house’ engaging the public and ‘spares’ ready to take any role if everyone was engaged in talking/playing. The shifts/watches moved round every so often (There was supposed to be a break factored in somewhere but that never seemed to happen!)
I haven’t done this for over 20 years but seem to remember that organisation and logistics could be quite time consuming, and the day itself quite tiring but very enjoyable.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Guy Farrish.