Saturday 29 July 2017

COW 2017

Time for the annual jaunt to the Conference of Wargamers again, and a trip to Knuston Hall in sunny Northamptonshire. One of the gaming highlights of the year, and an opportunity to catch up with friends, I always find this to be both relaxing but at the same time exhausting.

Knuston Hall greets us once more.

A packed timetable this year, over 40 sessions. Amazingly, there were far fewer amendments than previous years. I was putting on two games this year, one on Friday evening and the other Saturday afternoon.

John B introduces the plenary game, a large multiplayer committee game based around the 1961 Berlin crisis. The player teams took on the role of the various protagonists involved, and fortunately we managed to avoid nuclear war (even if the US did get to Defcon 2 at one point).

I helped run 'A Platoon Commanders War' with John A. This has already been to Partisan and will be going to The Joy of Six soon. The punters are wondering how to get their chaps over all that nasty open ground.

'Firefights Grand Day Out'. An introduction to the original SPI Firefight led by Russell K and John DS, as well As two more modern variants. Russells version with toys and Johns 'Gunner, Sabot, Tank' using 100m hexes.

My British mech infantry platoon heavily dug in shows a company of T62s that infantry dug in on reverse slopes and armed with Carl Gustavs and Wombats can make a bit of a mess of tanks.

'If you Tolerate This'. Grahams 15mm divisional level SCW game played on offset squares.

John B introduces 'Fall Eidelweiss', an operational game of the German attack on the Caucasus in Jiuly 1942. The players were army and front commanders respectively.

The battlefield, represented as a point to point map.

I drew the role of Stalins representative to keep an eye on the comrades (and also manage logistics and internal security). I found this handy score chart useful to keep track of who demonstrated true commitment to the principles of Marxism-Leninism. The navy did rather well.

On Saturday I ran 'Kartenpsiel', a somewhat abstract game covering army command in the early nineteenth century. Here the various Corps commanders confer with Wellington.

And on the other side, Massena hands out some reserves to his Corps. We managed to run this twice in a rather noisy session which demonstrated the full range of human ingenuity and frailty. I shall report more fully in due course in the pages of 'The Nugget'.

On Saturday evening we played Toms WW1 trench raid game. Effectively it make WW1 into a D&D game, and was really rather good. 

Here we are creeping through Nomansland in the dark trying to find a gap in the wire.

Here is something! Time to bash the beastly Boche. Having duffed up the minenwerfer crew we made a hasty exit, only to find we'd completely missed our main objective. Oh dear.

On Sunday Andrew R ran this rather splendid area movement game covering the Battle of Stalingrad with week long turns. The Germans are pondering their options.

The Russians are forced back into the city. In the end the Germans ran out of steam and the Russians hang on, but but not before turning the city into a rubbled wasteland. This was a great game with lots of applicability in other situations (thinking of Verdun here) so I'll be looking forward to the game write up.

Another great weekend with lots of food for thought. All the games will get written up in The Nugget in due course, and if anyone is interested in this, then visit the Wargame Developments website for details of what WD is about, The Nugget and the Conference of Wargamers.

Monday 3 July 2017

Partisan 2017

We went along to Partisan recently under the auspices of Wargames Developments to run 'A Platoon Commanders War' converted to hexes. As ever, it was a great show with lots of eye candy, and we had a decent number of players for our game too, getting through several runs and well over twenty players. By and large I shall let the eye candy speak for itself.

These two were from the rather magnificant Too Fat Lardies 'Cambrai' game.

I was also very taken with these RJW pre-dreadnoughts.

These two are Copredy Bridge.

And a rather lovely rendering of Bunker Hill.

Another Cambrai game, this time put on by Kallistra. I was so impressed I picked up a copy of the rules.

Ah, and here is the real action. The players deep in thought as the try to figure out how to get their platoon over all that horrible open ground. This version of Platoon Commanders War is true 1:1 scale, with one figure per man, but also a 1:300th ground scale, so 12" is 100 yards (or rather, each hex is around 33 yards). Played with 6mm troops, this demonstrates just how empty the modern battlefield is.

Looks like the best way to biff the Hun is left flanking and bags of smoke. I'm sure that will do the trick.

A very satisfactory day out as ever, and I may have had a slight shopping accident (well with Zvezda kits at £12 for four, it would have been rude not to buy any). If anyone is interested in playing Platoon Commanders War on hexes, it will be appearing at the Conference of Wargamers, The Joy of Six and Partisan II later this year.