Teacher by day, gamer for fun

He started playing the games as a young boy. They are board games with models, but not like Monopoly.

Toby Spaulding, a social studies teacher at Elizabeth Davis Middle School, has a unique model creation business and part-time job that brings him into the world of gaming.

While teaching is his chosen profession and he is admired by his students for his hip approach to history, Spaulding loves the history attached to his other profession – gamer.

“I come from a family of artists and military men, so war gaming strategy came naturally,” Spaulding explained. “Gaming gives me my own creative signature.”

With the advent of computers, real hands-on games on boards have lost some luster. Not true for the war-gamers. The premise is of boards or landscapes set up with miniature models made to as small as 1/108th scale, used to set up tactical and analytical skills to win the victory.

Spaulding has been playing the games for many years. He and another teacher, Nate Ball, started a gaming club at Davis Middle School The concept of role-playing is enhanced by different boards of landscape and terrain that players use their strategic and analytical skills to work against other role players to win military or war victories.

“It’s a natural fit with math, English, and history skills,” he explained.

People collect models, and sets of models, for the role-playing boards. The models range in size from tiny to large and some are as small as 1/108th of original size and range to larger sizes. Spaulding began making the unique miniatures recently.

“The models are generally called miniatures and are made of putty, resin or pewter and can be carved into something unique,” said Spaulding. One of the most famous role-play games (RPG) was Dungeons & Dragons during the 70s and 80s.

These RPGs are played in a store with other gamers, who own their own models, that they play against their opponent’s models in strategy table-top games. “These can include anything from historical gaming to fantasy gaming,” Spaulding shared.

The models can include Army figurines, historical figures, trolls and fantasy types, just to name a few.  As an outgrowth of Spaulding’s love of gaming, he began painting and selling model sets during the summer.

He also works part-time as a demonstrator and host for the games at FTW Games – For the Win – store. The store, located in Midlothian, is run by Rob Baer “We offer most tabletop wargames, card games, board games and hobby supplies such as, paint and tools,” Baer said. “We also have eight 4’x6’ gaming tables that you can play on, as well as 11 multi-purpose tables and HDTV.”

While the majority of war-game enthusiasts are still men, Spaulding shared that the “ladies enjoy the card game Magic and come into the store to play.”  Other games include Flames of War, Dust (WWII), Star, Lord of the Rings, and MERCS, just to name a few.

Spaulding still leads the game club at Davis Middle School and is an avid history buff. He said that he enjoys the “hands on, social interaction found with war games.”

And, it helped him to find his own unique passion for painting models. This summer he began selling them on Ebay and takes special orders for sets customers want cast or painted in some unique configuration. “I do some painting that are washes and some that are cartoon-like, and some detail painting – it is all a very specialized way to make your set of models very unique,” he said.

He also builds the boards that the games are played on by special order. “People have started to seek me out to make sets and I’m spending my summers working on them and I hope this continues to grow,” he shared.

He hopes to have stonedragonterrain.com up by the winter of this year. “Games let people escape,” Spaulding said. “Live action role-play allows gamers to get away from the world and enjoy an escape to scenarios and stories that include fun character development, tactical and analytical skills.”

Spaulding is just delighted that he gets to be a part of all the fun.


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