Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Culpeper’s Toy Soldier Exhibit

 Culture arises and unfolds in and as play.”

Johan Huizinga

On February 4 we visited the Museum of Culpeper History for a Sons of the American Revolution ceremony honoring African-Americans and Native Americans who served in the American War of Independence (AWI). I appreciate these opportunities to learn more about different aspects of history and how they affect our appreciation of our modern world. After a brief overview of the service these oft-overlooked groups gave fighting for freedom, a descendant of Revolutionary War officer Captain Phillip Slaughter spoke about his enslaved servant Spencer accompanying him on campaign in New Jersey, Valley Forge, and elsewhere, taking care of horses and the mess and otherwise supporting Patriot armies in the field. The gallery was packed – the previously planned outdoor ceremony was moved indoors given the forecast cold weather – and we luckily found a spot to stand in a corner of the Civil War gallery next to an exhibit of Civil War toy soldiers made in France. It reminded me I hadn’t taken any photos of these game-related artifacts before, and returned later that week to take pictures for my own reference (and to share) lest the exhibit change in the near future.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Capacity for Conventions

Running the Star Wars RPG with
convention guest Timothy Zahn, 1993.
I was cleaning out a filing cabinet a few weeks ago and came upon some old signs for convention games I ran in the distant past. I allowed myself to slip into nostalgia for the days when my calendar held annual sojourns to various game conventions within driving distance, where I’d go and run a full slate of roleplaying games and, in later times, miniature wargames (usually designed for kids and hobby newcomers). Most provided inspiration for numerous stories I’m wont to share when the mood strikes, I’m emboldened by some liquid refreshment, and I have a willing (or at least politely tolerant) audience. They’re great memories. But life marches on, obligations to home and family take precedence, and I’m certainly not as young and energetic. I’m not sure I have much capacity for running convention games any more, though goodness knows in my blind and foolish optimism I occasionally muster the energy and give it yet one more try.