Friday, 17 July 2020

VCOW 2020

I've been a regular attendee at the Conference of Wargamers for over 20 years now. This normally takes place in early July, and we all assemble at Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire for a weekend of wargaming merriment.

Things year of course things are different, and as the Covid 19 lockdown continues Knuston Hall was unable to host large numbers of wargamers in close proximity for 48 hours. The conference organisers instead decided to run the whole thing remotely, hence Virtual Cow (VCOW) was born.

As regular readers will appreciate, running one remote game takes a fair amount of planning and effort. Trying to coordinate twenty four  sessions and over forty gamers takes a huge amount of effort. Tim and Bob were able assisted by a number of extra people, particularly Alex and John who helped with the technical side of things. By and large Zoom was the platform of choice, and many of the sessions were designed to accommodate large numbers of attendees. We also had a Slack instance for online chat and had a permanent drop-in room set up in Jitsi. A lot of the players on individual sessions also used WhatsApp for in-game communications.

John and myself ran game session using our tried and tested Skype hosting, as that is what we'd got used to in the last few months. With such a bewildering array of technology in use, the preceding week was spent in tech testing sessions in contact with the players and making sure everyone was up to speed.

Overall, it was great and the whole thing worked really well. The effort the organisers had put in really paid off, and it helped that a lot of the players had already had experience of remote gaming during lockdown already, so were familiar with the etiquette of group video meetings etc.

If you are interested in the programme etc VCOW had its own blog site here:

I shall report on my own game session in a separate post, but I went with our tried and tested Skype setup, and although I was rather nervous about running it remotely with a large number of new people it all went fine, despite some of the inevitable comms problems.

A taster! The German horde plunges into the Russian positions.


  1. I thought that the whole weekend was a glorious success, but feel that Zoom is a better platform than Skype.

    1. I agree. It works much better for larger groups, and you can also have separate chat rooms etc. I wonder how well it would work with a webcam game display? I am sure it is fine for game assist/powerpoint type games.

  2. Well done Martin, good game and epic camera shot of the action