My first proper job after qualifying as an archivist was to look after records of a large shipping firm that had been deposited at Liverpool University. It being the early '90s, the university had been given bucket-loads of money to utilise the Internet, so I joined an early listserv, MARHST-L, operating out of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.
This was an eye-opener - I was thrown into the company of all sorts of curators, academics and pure enthusiasts waffling on about the sea, ships and sailors. I had a great time and made several friends I am lucky enough to still be in contact with. I was introduced to the works of Patrick O'Brien, which just suited my long commute. As I moved into other jobs, I was lucky enough to always wangle a maritime connection - whaling records, exploration and port registration all featured.
Yet despite this, I never got around to naval wargaming. Perhaps knowing some particularly high-brow rivet-counters put me off. I had the image (not uncommon!) of naval wargames involving tiny-tiny ships in a large play area, with people standing around doing calculations with string, chalk and slide-rules (Fred Jane anyone?).
But I knew I was missing out.
I was quite pleased to read therefore that Clint from Anything But A One is proposing a play-by-blog game (with himself as umpire and Fran and Ray as fleet commanders). So I've sent off an e-mail, and we'll see what develops
One of the things that pleased me was that the proposed rule-set is Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls (though as Clint is going to do all the mechanics he says a familiarity with the rules won't be necessary). This is pleasing because I happen to know that an internet-based book dealer operating out of my spare bedroom happens to have this in stock. This is where I made my big mistake! As I settled down in bed at half-past midnight I did that foolish thing of cracking open an unfamiliar rule-set. Now it's half-past three and I'm having to do a blog post in order to drive out the thoughts of movement, damage control and PBEM that are going through my mind.
It's not helped be the fact that recently I downloaded some free back-numbers of The Nugget from Wargames Developments - just the sort of thing to stir my mind up when I should be sleeping . O brave new world that has such things in't!