When the League of Gentlemen Wargamers began, it was a fantastic, exciting, grand and much anticipated group activity to which everyone involved made active contribution. One of the most enthusiastic participants, generous of spirit and passionate about his hobby, was Robert 'Bob' Lauder.
I knew Bob from around 1990, meeting him at Kirriemuir when he lived near Dundee and gamed with Martin Terroni and George. He was associated with Kirriemuir Wargames Club and as a couple of the LoGW hailed from that town - famous as the birthplace of Bon Scott and the author of a certain novel about a boy who never grew up, Bob was one of the original League of Gentlemen.
Bob was an ex-merchant marine engineer and I believe hailed from that fine hub of Empire - Motherwell, the home of Scottish steel in the days when we actually made the stuff and used it to build the world's finest ships.
His passion for ships carried through to his gaming and he was renowned for his extensive, impressive and meticulously constructed collection of vessels which graced our tables on numerous occasions.
Bob had more terrain boards than the acreage of the Crown Estates and regularly supplied the vast majority of what we played upon. He used to bring them down in the back of his car or, we 'mined' them out of the tunnel network of the Kirriemuir Scout hut where they were stored en masse.
In the time when he and I were both involved, we played massive games from the Napoleonic, World War 2, Vietnam, Back of Beyond and Grand Alliance periods. In fact, it was these activities and the very large games which spawned both Republic to Empire (a set of rules originally written to cope with games on 24 x 12 feet tables with 16 players) and Beneath the Lily Banners.
His real passion was for the Age of Empire and his Crimean collection was his pride and joy. We had the privilige of playing with that in an enormous Balaklava scenario in the last game I ever played with the LoGW which I also believe was Bob's final visit too. That was many years ago - auld lang syne - Good times indeed.
I remember with great fondness sitting with Bob, laughing till we cried, drinking whisky and talking drivel in extremely convivial surroundings of little howf pubs dotted around the centre of Kirrie having eaten our fill of curry, or fish suppers or, Chinese food. We dined high and low but the company was of the finest.
He painted, modelled, collected and gamed on a grand scale. He was a lovely fellow and an old fashioned gentleman. I heard last night that Bob had passed. Sad news indeed.