|Someone always goes too far and brings a flag....|
|The immense invasion fleet|
All well and good, but I wanted other vessels as well as flat-tops so one June weekend it was off to the garage with some of my stock of off cuts of insulation foam and a sharpened knife. Though the COW game was set in 1944 I had already decided to go for a slightly more 'modern' look so that the ships might have a future role supporting amphibious landings in Little Cold Wars games. Emerging some time later with four lumps of foam vaguely shaped like ship hulls and a few bits of potential superstructure I used PVA to stick the bits together. For armament I cobbled together some missile tubes and after laboriously carving a pair of turrets had the idea of rummaging in the spares box. This yielded seven suitable(?) turrets and some missiles which were secured with more PVA prior to the fleet being daubed with grey emulsion paint.
Anyway, back to the game. Should you find yourself with a need to entertain 40+ nutters for an hour or so, it goes something like this:
Umpire team sets out 'fleet' on lawn.
Appoint a Japanese CO. Other Players work in pairs.
Brief the players thus: “It is 1944 and the Home Islands of the Empire are threatened by the godless enemy. To defeat the invasion fleet a terrible new weapon has been devised! The enemy will be scattered by waves of bomb-laden aircraft which will be deliberately crashed onto his ships. I congratulate you for volunteering to die for your Emperor in this heroic way!”
|Admiral Rapier (right) inspires his pilots|
Phase 1. Ground Crew makes a headband for the pilot. Pilot composes a haiku and writes it on a sheet of A4 paper. CO makes an attack plan.
Phase 2. Ground Crew build a plane (paper dart type thing) from the above mentioned sheet of A4. Pilots are briefed by CO.
|A properly equipped player showing an appropriate level of dignity.|
Phase 3. Ground Crew bid Pilots a tearful farewell (possibly including drink, bowing, flag waving etc). Pilots attack US fleet on the lawn. Umpire Team reports ‘hits’. If any.
Phase 4. Gather up all 'planes to be kept by umpire team for selective inclusion in Nugget.
|The virtually unscathed fleet sails on....|
Phase 5. Pilots and Ground Crew swap roles, start again at phase 1
For the game at Knuston I was again very pleased by the level of enthusiasm the 40+ players brought to a pretty flimsy game outline. Sadly their aircraft construction and piloting skills lagged some way behind. The first strike yielded two hits, the second only one. Maybe that’s why the concept never really caught on….