Monday 28 June 2010

Conference of Wargamers 2010 - Preparations

As we are now entering the 'home straight' in the lead-up to COW (it's this Friday!) I am pleased to report that preparations continue apace.

I am now involved in the presenting and running of four sessions, and progress is as follows:

The End - this, you may recall is the game first presented at Triples in April.  his game will be run several times with a single player for each game.  Most of the bits are in a bag, with the map in a tube - both in my garage ready to be packed into the car on Friday morning.

Tank Terror - Playtested and ready to go in the car.  This game involves players cast as US Infantry attempting to fend off a determined assault by 10 motorised 20mm scale tanks.  AT weapons include bazookas (dropping ballpoint pens on tank photos) and AT grenades (hurling empty Coke cans into a plastic crate).  The dodgy AT mechanisms were inflicted on COW some years ago by Ian Drury, while the motorised tanks add pace and panic!  This ideally involves around 6 US players plus 1 or 2 Panzer 'drivers'.

Spock's Shameful Secret - despite the name this is in fact a recreation of the 'Black Buck' raid on Port Stanley airfield during the Falklands War.  The name, and indeed the game were inspired by the acquisition of an inflatable Vulcan bomber in the shop at RAF Cosford (  last year.  The main problem about bombing such a distant target was fuelling, and the game will involve a Vulcan

with a crew of 3 having it's fuel tanks (a water-filled plastic beaker with a hole in the bottom) progressively topped up by a fleet if Victor tankers (more players with similar fuel tanks).  The tricky bit for players will be devising a refuelling plan...   Assuming fuel holds out the bomb run over Stanley will be simulated using an automatic airsoft pistol.  As you can see, the Vulcan is inflated.  I have also 'built' the runway and begun making 'fuel tanks'.  I'll carry on with the work this evening.

Completely Over The Top - This is the new 'emergency' plenary game.  Players will form a British division (and a few Germans) making a series of attacks during WW1.  Therfore pretty well everyone (there are 50+ attendees expected) will require a rifle.  Hopefully some people are making their own rifles (I know Graham Evans is planning a particularly luxurious version) but I appreciate that not everyone will be able to.  Jerry  Elsmore and I have therefore built 20-odd cardboard rifles.  I designed the rifle template by tracing round my M-14 and then adding a bayonet.  Sorry, baynot (not real, you see!).  I still need to build a 'tank' from a large printer box.  The tricky bit will be explaining to the client I am visiting on Friday morning why I have a cardboard tank on the back seat of my car...
For those of you intending to make your own rifles (please do!), mine are 37 inches long, plus another 7 or so for the baynot.  The photo shows one next to a very scruffy AK.  I'll let you figure out which is which.

Friday 25 June 2010

New Plenary Game for COW 2010

One of the effects of Paddy's sad demise has been to deprive us of the Plenary game he had planned. While I (and others) have been sent some briefings I don't know exactly what he had in mind. It may be that his notes come to light and that we will be able to run this game as PG intended at a future COW, but with
only a week to go 'till COW I can't rely on this happening soon!

I am therefore pleased to be able to report that Martin Rapier has come up with a cunning plan. Well, a plan. 'Completely Over The Top' will essentially be a lawn game version of his successful 'World War One in Three Turns' - as demonstrated by WDDTN at a number of shows a few years ago.

This has the benefit of continuing the WW1 theme Paddy was to use and will also require the construction of cardboard rifles and bayonets (or baynots?) Period Headgear (cardboard or otherwise) is also encouraged.

In a change to the advertised plenary game, WD Display Team North (aka messers. Armatys, Elsmore, Gow and Rapier) invite you to go 'Completely Over The Top'.

Paddy Griffith

My thanks to Bill at TMP for running the news on Paddy so quickly.

Paddy Griffith

It is my sad duty to inform you all of the death yesterday of Paddy Griffith. I gather that he suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital but did not survive.

Paddy, as many readers will know, had many credits to his name.  Here are just a few:  he was a founding member of Wargame Developments, the author of many books on military subjects, a TV star ('Game of War' in the late 1990s) and more recently ran an number of Special Interest days at IWM Duxford.

I am grateful to Martin Wallace (who was told by Tim Cockitt) for emailing me with this news. Paddy's wife, Genevieve also rang me, although I was out at a meeting at the time. I am hoping to be able to speak to her later in the day.

I will disseminate futher information as I receive it.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Conference of Wargamers 2010 Timetable. Yet again.

I have uploaded a new version (v2.1)  of the timetable to the WDDG site.

There are three additional sessions:

Phil Steele
'Greyhounds in the Slips' ... a 2 player Anno Domino combat game based upon Henry V's assault on the breach at Harfleur as analysed by William Shakespeare. Simple figure game using 90mm plastic figures, dominoes and optional (out of copyright) speeches.

Phil Steele
'Zama - ancient battle in depth' ... a different approach to refighting this battle using double-sized DBA armies.
A product of the Society of Ancients 2010 Battle Day project, this is a conventional figure game in 10mm using well known mechanisms but with an unconventional spin.

Chris Hanley
'WW1 Dogfight over Flanders'
This is flexible, each mission takes about 45 minutes but the campaign can last all day/night or as long as players wish to continue. Due to the multiplayer set-up and easy to play rules players can drop in or out for a mission as they feel. I should point out that this is not Wings of War with knobs on...

Monday 14 June 2010

Conference of Wargamers 2010

Yesterday's priority job was to put together the programme (the easy bit) and timetable (the difficult bit) for this year's COW.

The initial version of the timetable can be found via the WD Yahoo Group but needless to say I've already had to make one alteration!

So far I have been offered 32 sessions - a mixture of games, workshops and talks.

I will be finalising (in as much as one can) the timetable tomorrow (Tuesday) in preparation for publication.


Friday 11 June 2010

The Battle of Platea - 479BC

On Wednesday night Martin Rapier and I played another scenario from Phil Sabin's Strategos II rules.  After my drubbing as Darius at Marathon a few months ago we swapped sides and I commanded the Greek coalition facing Xerxes' Persian host.  The Persian were still full of themselves after the burning of Athens and the battle started off as a confused skirmish which intensified as more troops were fed in on arrival.  All of the photos (for the illustrated edition of Heredotus!) were taken from the Greek side of the table.  The Persian host was enhanced by a recent ebay purchase of a painted Baccus army.  These are the chaps on the darker bases.

Below - the early arrivals square up to each other.  Pausanius with his Veteran Spartans and Mardonius with a load of cavalry.  The King of Kings, Xerxes, went off back to Asia Minor in a sulk before the battle.
More arrivals - hoplites in the centre and Persian cavalry on both flanks.

The Spartans had the worst of an exchange with Mardonius and now the Persian centre begins to solidify.  In true Persian fashion their line is anchored by treacherous Hoplites!

The Greeks (on both sides!) begin to get stuck in.

Pausanius fights a desperate battle against the Persian cavalry to secure the Greek flank.

The blood flows in the centre while Persian cavalry heads for the flanks.  Pausanias has legged it after the demise of his bodyguard.  Mardonius has been killed in battle but the rest of the army seems not to mind!

The Greek line finally solidifies as the Persian host starts to feel the pressure.  Shortly afterwards both Persian flanks crumbled and the host fled the field.  Greek civilisation is secure (credit crises aside!)

Thursday 3 June 2010

Conference of Wargamers 2010 session list

The current list of sessions is below.  For booking details see the WD website at :

COW Sessions

Paddy Griffith et al
An adaptation of Joan Littlewood's "Oh What A Lovely War" (first presented as a stage show in 1963, then made into a film in 1969).
Some of the most important battles of the Great War on the Western Front will be played through, with every possibility that history will be re-written - and even that Ms Littlewood's searing condemnation of British military incompetence will be demonstrated to have been horribly misplaced.
Players will be split into three teams:-
- The Germans: Six players (should be conversant with German language as far as possible).
- The British PBI: As many as possible (A variety of broad regional accents is desirable).
- The British High Command: Seven Players, who must bring the Arrogance of Command and their
own "Monty Python & the Holy Grail"-style horses (Umpires will provide the Champagne).
All players are asked to bring suitable headgear for their roles (and Scotchmen please bring your own kilts); otherwise some provision may be made from the umpires' extensive stocks of cardboard.

WD Display Team North
Not the beginning of the end, nor even the end of the beginning and certainly not the beginning of the beginning. A typically modest game from WDDTN which aims to re-create the final year of WW2 in Europe. In about 15 minutes. Don’t worry, it includes toys.

Matthew Hartley
Each player is responsible for a small part (5 yards!) of the Anglo-Danish shieldwall on Senlac Hill, 15 Oct. 1066. Each player's aim is to survive the day. Some modestly innovative mechanisms will be involved.

Mike Elliott
A playtest session on a simple set of rules for Napoleonic wargames using 6mm figures, in which 1 base is a battalion.

Mike Elliott
An illustrated talk on the Battle of Northampton (July 1460) in the Wars of the Roses. Similar to the one I did in 2008 on 1st St Albans. Will include some of the latest research.

Bob Cordery
This session will begin with a presentation about Joseph Morschauser and his rules. After a brief biographical section it will move on to describe the rules he published in his book HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE as well as covering his grid-based 'Ancient' and 'Frontier' rules. It will pick out the main elements of his various rules, concentrating in particular on the game mechanisms he chose to use. This will be followed by a short discussion, and the session will end with attendees having the opportunity to fight some battles using Morschauser's 'Frontier' rules and the most current version of my Morschauser-inspired Interbellum rules.

Tim Gow
No – it’s not a sci-fi game! This lawn game will in fact be a carefully crafted recreation of a crucial moment in military history.

Jonathan Crowe
A team game involving 5 historical battles played to one-brain-cell rules. Two teams of 5 play one turn in each battle, moving round against their opponents. Each battle lasts 5 turns therefore.
Battles currently under consideration include one ancients, one dark ages, one English Civil War (all GB battles), one American Civil War, one World War 2. Games will vary in scale from 6mm to 25mm.
The purpose (apart from what I hope will be a challenging game) is to look at commonality between wargames rules of different periods, how perceptions of the game change with the scale it is played at, and how possible it is to make a competition out of historical battles which are inevitably not encounter battles between supposedly equal forces.

Phil Barker
Miffed at the past ineffectiveness of the locals and heartened by the replacement of the cunning Anglians by Para who are believed to be a bit thick, the leadership over the border have sent their greatest tactician Shefan ibn Ouns with a huge lashkar of experienced warriors to restore the situation. Mayhem is expected. "The Winds of Paradise are blowing O my brothers!" Featuring the town of Bhangbhangduq, poppy fields, some very expensive American maize and a lot of lovely new 28mm figures.

John Bassett
A role-play / planning game based on a real-life operation in the Arctic at the height of the Cold War. Roles will be allocated on the basis of ability to down Canadian Club whiskey.

John Bassett
An epic role-play/map game on the great slave uprising against Rome Featuring heroic rebels, dodgy pirates and corrupt governors, all done in finest WD taste. A developed version of last year's Rubicon game system. Players should provide their own snails and oysters.

David Bradbury
16th century galley warfare in the Mediterranean. A slightly more ambitious scenario than last year using the amphibious rules,

Ian Drury
THE LAST CRUSADE (The Battle of Nicopolis)
Jean Sans Peur and the The Last Crusade. As featured in a recent NUGGET, this is your chance to join Sigismund's Crusade to free the Balkans from the Ottoman threat. Features new rules for horse archers and a chance to see the Edirne slave market from the inside.

Richard Brooks
OP 14
An operational level Great War game (well, it’s quite good!) set in 1914.
Corps level activation and control, brigade level movement and combat resolution.
Red Square mechanisms adapted to:
Reflect narrative level typical of Great War, i.e. large multi-corps battles
Focus player attention on tough command choices
Differentiate ill matched opponents
Confront players with unforgiving tactical realities of 1914
Historical scenario from August 1914, 2-3 Corps a side, featuring Belgian ferocity rules.

Richard Brooks
DER GROSSER SCHWEIGER – The Life and Career of Helmut von Moltke the Elder
Illustrated talk on one of history’s most influential wargamers, who fought more unintended battles than any other great commander, and could be silent in seven languages:
Pioneered managerial command techniques needed by industrialised mass armies.
Mobilised power of modern weapons and transportation techniques to smash Europe’s traditional dominant military powers.
Greater than Napoleon or supremely fortunate in his opponents?

Martin Wallace
A two-player board game based on the first battle of Bull Run. The rules are aimed at the entry level market and are pretty simple. I intend to run three games simultaneously, as I did with Gettysburg last year, so room for six player.

Martin Wallace
Another two-player game, this one about the long struggle between Britain and France for dominance in North America. No idea how complex it will be as I've only just started designing it. It is meant to be the next two-player Treefrog game, so I have to have something ready by CoW. I will be running three games simultaneously, so room for six players

John Curry
Anti-terrorist training exercise in a hypothetical city. Players take on roles within the city government and manage the changing situation.

John Curry
After years of research I have enough to reconstruct this key wartime training game. Players captain the escorts in this simulation.

John Curry
After dinner practical session about early wargames. Including Triang’s combat, Waddington’s battle of the Little Bighorn, Battle of Balaclava by Strand Magazine (1890), Gen Horrock’s Combat.

John Curry
Plan a WWII airborne operation, then carry it out using megablitz type rules.

Martin Goddard & Rob Roriston
A game that was worked on at COW last year and is now complete. A chance to playa game that COW attendees had some input in.

Martin Goddard & Rob Roriston
A revisit of an older game in order to make it better and include new ideas. This will be a first outing, therefore it will be rough!

Martin Rapier
A fairly high level game looking at the planning and execution of a Corps level attack on the Western Front. It is anticipated that this session will be run in two parts, firstly a short planning session for senior commanders (Major and Lt Generals) in the luxurious environs of the bar, followed by a more conventional toy soldier game to fire the bombardment then carry out the attack. As a minimum three senior commanders are required, with the possible addition of sundry brigadiers on the big day itself.

Tom Mouat
A presentation about life in the Green Zone in Baghdad. NATO Missions, Bob on the FOB, General Majiid, Body Armour, DFACs, IDFs, the IZ, Sexy Interpreter Girl, photography, T-Walls and the daily Car Bombs.

Tim Price
An ADG about a small band of determined men after Saddam's hidden treasure... Palaces! Marble Floors! 50 degree heat! Flies! Special Forces! The smell of toilets!

Tony Hawkins & John Bassett
A lawn game. More details to follow.

Dick Scolefield
For those that remember "The Birds are Singing and its a wonderful Day" there is a chance to have another "stressful time" being responsible for 18 blokes in WWII. Just a simple recognisance brief - should be easy!
Those of you who have not yet experienced this single player 15-20 minute role playing adventure though the French countryside then come and brave the difficulties of platoon command. Anything can happen but before it does the birds are singing and its a wonderful day!