This weekend I had the great pleasure of visiting the renowned wargamer and figure sculptor John Ray at his home, and more specifically in his tremendous wargames room; to meet him for the first time, be introduced to his post Seven Years War campaign (which he's kindly invited me to join), see the mighty collection - all sculpted by John himself, and natter about wargaming for several hours.
The company and hospitality were first class, and we discussed all aspects of our shared hobby - and our respective approaches to it. The figure collection was everything I'd expected it to be and more, with gorgeous units filling the display cabinets. As a big bonus, John had thoughtfully laid on a 'small' game (a tiny percentage of his armies but enough to represent an interesting tactical challenge) with which to illustrate how his rules work, and contribute a small piece to the overall campaign picture. I enjoyed the game very much and was impressed by the smooth simplicity of the rules, which belied their subtle cleverness and suitability for the mid-18th century period. I think my Wurttembergers made a sufficient showing at the border against the Prussian invaders to ensure that honour was served, before pulling back to preserve their strength for another day.
John also shared with me some of his plans which follow on from his book (A Military Gentleman - if you haven't got a copy already, get one now before they're all gone!), which sound very interesting indeed. I for one am looking forward to these developments, and the campaign is clearly going to be a fascinating experience.
All in all I had a superb day in the company of a true Wargaming Gentleman and came away inspired to keep working on my own 18th century collection while I look forward to my next visit.