This post originally appeared on the Hemispheric Views blog for the month of Nostalgic November. You can also read the accompanying posts by Martin Feld and Jason Burk.

I was in Year 5 at a new school. I didn’t know anybody. My previous school didn’t have a formal uniform and I’d worn velcro shoes everyday. Now at this new school I had to wear leather lace-ups, and I didn’t know how to tie laces.

Fair to say, I was nervous and apprehensive.

Until I discovered Stratego. Our Year 5 classroom had a bunch of games, but Stratego was epic. I made a good friend playing Stratego. I found my place. I loved the game. Before classes started in the morning, we’d play Stratego. During rainy lunchtimes when outside play was impossible, we’d play Stratego. The winner kept the board, the loser had to shuffle back to the end of the queue of players wanting a turn.

Stratego helped me assimilate into the school and become safe and secure.

In the early 2000’s I found a rudimentary online version of Stratego but it didn’t have the same experience as using a real board and pieces.

Fast-forward to now. A few months ago we were on holiday in Albany, Western Australia and we were exploring a toy store in town. On their shelves were boxes of Stratego.


I looked at the games. I looked at my 10 year old son. I looked back at the games and grabbed a box. Was I buying this game for me, him, or both of us? I like to think the latter, but it was probably the former.

Now, here we are. Nostalgia has delivered an experience in the present.

Paying it forward