In 1971 a team of crack commandos escaped from a high security military prison and into the underground...
That wasn't us I'm afraid.
However in 1971 Sheffield Wargames Club was formed laying the firm foundations for the present Sheffield Wargames Society. With 2011 marking the fortieth anniversary of SWS and it's entry into 'middle age' we have allowed ourselves to dragged kicking and screaming from the late 20th century, into the new-fangled and Jetsons-like 21st with the creation of our new web site, a platform that we hope will offer new ways to promote both SWS and the wargaming hobby in general.
Forty years ago, a group of like-minded individuals decided that it may just be a wicked wheeze to meet up regularly to engage in games with tiny metal soldiers (or has it has been described, 'getting some hot lead action'). The cabal gathered above a hairdresser's shop in the Burngreave area of Sheffield. This came about because Bob Cooper (a man to whom I and others owe a great personal debt and whose 'hands on approach' in teaching wayward teens how to role-play has been immortalised in the book '(Real) Life's A Bu**er!') was courting a lady (to whom he has been happily married for many years) who worked in the shop.
From these humble beginnings the club moved to the Y.M.C.A at the opposite end of the city, where I and the current Chairman, Steve Roberts joined. It was here that I and many others found that we were not the only people in Sheffield interested in playing wargames. Indeed, over the years the club has 'collected' such people as John Armatys (Wargames Developments, Dodo Publications) Lloyd Powell (MOD Publications, Leopard Heraldry) Dave Gregg and Mick Rothenburg (Foliage Factory), Tim Gow (Megalitz and WD) and many others who have enriched the hobby over the last four decades.
The mid-1980s saw an influx of young gamers who despite looking like refugees from 'Led Zeppelin' or 'Bon Jovi' brought a new injection of enthusiasm to the club along with an increased degree of noise pollution. The exploits of these 'young pretenders' have similarly been recorded for posterity in the memoirs of one of their number. The also saw SWS become increasingly involved in the competitive aspects of the hobby and several past and current members have been finalists in and champions in wargame and painting competitions at a national level. Indeed the club won the National Championships several times in the 1970s and as a result of doing so hosted the next year's event as part of the 'winners responsibilities'.
SWS is probably best know (well, after it's ability to drink pubs dry) for the 'Triples' show and competition. 'Triples' is a direct descendant of the 'Attack '80' show staged in the historic Cutlers Hall. From this tiny acorn has grown 'Triples', an oak tree in the wargaming calendar.
Over the years both the club and show alike have moved into various venues, and the wargaming fraternity has moved with us. The club's home is now the Polish Catholic Centre on Ecclesall Road, whilst 'Triples' has found a new home in the excellent venue provided by the English Institute of Sport, where we hope it will thrive and grow as a new generation of wargamers discover the pleasures of collecting, painting and playing games with model soldiers.
Today, the club has around 50 members (no mean feat by any measure) and we play all manner of historical and fantasy games. A rumour persists that in days of yore, fantasy games were banned but this is probably just hearsay. Whatever your tastes, we can assure you of a warm welcome and some excellent games.
The club continues to travel up and down the country staging large display games or visiting other clubs for weekend-long games, cementing relationships that we hope will last for many years to come.