War will be declared in Sheffield this weekend.
Around 2,500 wargames enthusiasts from across Europe will push painted figurines around table top terrains, refighting historic battles with dice and cards.
“Essentially, it’s grown men playing with toy soldiers,” said John Armatys, aged 56, of Broomhill. “Are we eccentric? Maybe but it’s better than playing with model trains. Isn’t it?”
The Sheffield Triples Wargames Show, including competitions and trade stands, returns to the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s been running 30 years now,” said John. “And it’s got bigger each year. We’ve already had a group of Canadians book tickets for 2014 so it’s got a global reputation.”
The event is organised by Sheffield Wargames Society, which has about 50 members and has grown over 40 years to become one the longest-running societies of its kind in the UK. The group started above a hairdresser’s in Burngreave, moved to the YMCA in Broomhall and now meets at the Polish Catholic Centre’s Millennium Hall in Ecclesall Road.
Mark Hides, aged 45, of Wincobank, said: “The games tend to have one main objective: to kick seven shades of what’s good for the roses out of the other army. But it’s more than that. Playing wargames is a lovely way to spend an evening. It’s about socialising and learning history.”