We’ve been running an after school club for year 3 & 4 pupils now for several years, as you can see, our club revolves around construction kits, painting figures and now mainly the tabletop gaming aspect of the hobby. A quick scan through this blog will show you the many areas of the hobby we have covered, from Airfix kits to Star Wars Battles.
The Headmaster and myself have been involved in the hobby for some years, in fact our combined total is around 100 years of experience. (That makes me feel quite old now!)
We’ve had a life time of painting and gluing things…..building up mountains of figures and kits that may never actually be finished. For us its second nature to paint an army or two during the summer holidays for use when we return in September. That’s largely been the way of it now for some time. Its a big investment in time and energy, and we know that for most teachers thinking about setting up an after school tabletop gaming club, they simply don’t have that amount of time, and they may never have made an airfix kit, or painted anything quite so small as a 28mm figure.
Now you don’t actually have to worry about the painting side of things at all, if table top gaming is what you want to do then it seems Flatpack Forces may have what you need.
As the name suggests the figures are flat, printed in full colour onto 2mm MDF and laser cut. They have lovely detail and they remind me of the character style in 1970’s boys Comics!….oh and the backs are printed too which is pretty cool.
Here are the figures for a WW2 battle.
All you have to do is pop them out and glue them with PVA glue to their round bases and you are ready to go. You could write your own rules or maybe use existing ones, there are plenty around to choose from a quick search for “WW2 Skirmish Rules” will bring up a host of entries, some free, some you have to pay for….again best to keep it really simple.
Flatpack Forces Also make some terrain, we have the trees, but sand bag walls are also available, with more on the way soon.
If WW2 is not for you perhaps you would prefer a Fantasy game with Elves and Orks, Flatpack make those as well. They even have a set of figures that can be used for a Dungeon & Dragons style Role Play Game, (see below) which is a bit more imaginative than just a full on Battle! Again rules could be written with the children, Character profiles could be dreamed up, and they could also design (either by hand or on computer) and make their own scenery like castles out of cardboard.
Picture courtesy of Flatpack Forces/One Monk Miniatures.
BENEFITS OF THE HOBBY
We’ve found in our club that it gets the children thinking about numeracy, they get to be creative, it helps develop their dexterity, keeps them focussed, helps their attention to detail amongst other things……..oh and did we said it was fun too?…one other side effect is we have found that parents often come up to us and say, “Thank you so much…it keeps them off their computer……or Phone” The parents are frequently very supportive of the new hobby in their childrens lives. It does seem to impact their lives at home and at school.
Flatpack forces German Paratroopers and Trees (Tank by MengModels World War Toons)
Flatpack forces U.S. Paratroopers and Trees (Tank by MengModels World War Toons, mat Aldi/Lidl)
FUNDING YOUR CLUB
Asking the children to bring in £3 or £4 for a term is a good place to start. That should give you the funds to get you off the ground, and maybe even stretch to giving them a figure to take home to keep.
We also sell stuff at the school summer and christmas fayres or even on ebay to raise funds, normally something we may have painted or have lying around! Hobby companies are often willing to help out with discounts sometimes donate stuff for free which can be very useful and helpful.
Some companies like Airfix and Games Workshop have dedicated school clubs where you can get things at a special price, or even free like GW.
But to be honest we’d recommend that you start by keeping things simple and we’d recommend buying some of the flatpack forces figures, they are robost enough to stand up to the rigours of play, no painting required and you are ready to go….just add some dice and some rules.