Friday, 18 July 2014

A Mighty Wind

AMW was this year's Plenary Game at COW.  Although this was my idea and design, the real blame must surely lie with others for failing to talk me out of it.
Someone always goes too far and brings a flag....
This game arose from a daft idea I had while reading Nemesis – Max Hastings’ 2007 book on the final year of WW2 in the Far East.  What might still have been a sensible game took a nose-dive into frivolity when I realised that this was the perfect opportunity to use the pair of 3-foot long plastic toy aircraft carriers gathering dust.  After I put together the initial er, ‘concept’ I enlisted Bob Cordery’s support in bringing along more ships. 
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.
Scary eh?
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….


ian drury said...

It was a brilliant start to the weekend!
Ensign Drurysan
Imperial Navy (ret'd)

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Drurysan ... goes clean round the bend!

Conrad Kinch said...

That's a fantastic idea.

Tim Gow said...

Ensign Drurysan
I'm sure you only survived the game so you could sell your memoirs...

Tim Gow said...

Bob Cordery
I think there is a considerable body of evidence in support of your claim!

Tim Gow said...

Conrad Kinch
So book now for next year!

Archduke Piccolo said...

The number of hits per sortie seems to be just about what the Japanese achieved...

Peter Douglas said...


Even by your standards this seems impossibly silly! Well done!


Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
Are you saying that this was in fact an accurate simulation disguised as a daft game? Wow.

Tim Gow said...

Peter Douglas
See above - Ion thinks it's accurate and that's good enough for me!