Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Conference of Wargamers 2016: Sessions

As the next annual Conference of Wargamers (COW2016) draws nearer, the list of sessions is finally coming together.

As of today, the following sessions should be taking place:

HOLY RELICS! (Sue Laflin (with Wargame Developments Display Team North))
The Plenary Game
Based on the idea that the Anglo-Saxon and medieval religious centres competed for income from pilgrims and collected relics to increase their popularity. Of course, all of our relics will be completely genuine….

CURSUS HONORUM II (Wargame Developments Display Team North)
A slimmed-down version of the original game of careers in the Roman Republic. Wargame Developments Display Team North’s participation game for shows in the 2016 season.

DE VALERA'S WAR (John Bassett)
A matrix game on Irish neutrality in WW2, featuring Abwehr agents, intransigent Orangemen, bombers, gunmen, and quiet Americans.

FLUECHTLINGE (John Bassett)
A workshop looking at how to game what is probably the worst refugee crisis in history: the expulsion of fourteen million Germans from eastern Europe in 1945. Participants should note that this may be a black session.

FUTURE UK ARMY CONCEPT (John Curry)
A simple military training game to practise future force development, in particular the reduction in manpower in infantry companies: 3 platoons to 2 per company. Using large homemade counters and 1/300 stylized terrain it will emphasize the importance of ammunition conservation, concentration of fire, coordination of all arms, covered approaches and suppression. Games are played against active opponents who are doing their best to win.

AIRFIX BATTLES (Alan Paull)
An introduction to Modiphius Entertainment’s Airfix Battles Introductory Set, and/or the Collector’s Edition (WW2 land combat). An opportunity to use those old Airfix figures and models that you have tucked away at the bottom of a cupboard of miscellaneous stuff you collected when you were young and na├»ve! A chance to play (and to talk about ‘hollywood wargame’ design too). [This 'should' be using the released game itself, subject to the vagaries of publishing, plus any expansion materials to hand.]

MISSION COMMAND – SOMEWHERE IN NORMANDY, SUMMER 1944 (Alan Paull)
Mission Command is a set of World War Two wargaming rules for use with miniatures. It's an umpired game, and prior knowledge of the mechanics is not required. This session will be an attempt at an interesting and stimulating miniatures game for one team versus an umpired enemy, with associated discussion about simulating tactical/operational engagements in WW2, focused on Normandy on and after D-Day. It will use Mission Command (the alpha or beta?) version of SSG Wargames’ draft WW2 miniatures rules) and some toy soldiers.

IT’S GETTING A BIT CHILE.... (Graham Evans)
Between 1879 and 1884 Chile, Peru, and Bolivia fought a brutal and bloody war on both sea and land ostensibly over guano mining rights. The outcome shaped the power structure of modern South America and still has ramifications today. From the maritime warmth of the coastal areas, to the harsh, dry Atacama desert and the brutal altitude of the Altiplano they armies fought each other anywhere they could, showing no mercy on either side. Fought with (mostly) modern weapons comparable with their European contemporaries, using a variety of tactics from the Napoleonic to the most up to date.

A most obscure war ... except for a couple of really good wargaming based sources and a really neat range of 15mm figures from Outpost. For this year we’ll go with a table top 15mm late 19th century wargame that is under development to educate and excite COW-goers, under the gaze of European military observers. So, put on your sandals, wrap yourself in your poncho and put some coca leaves in your cheek, it’s nasty up there.

A FISTFUL OF HERRING (Tim Gow)
Being a gentlemanly method of resolving conflict on the high seas. Conceived during the Great Herring War of 1909 (reduced from 2016), this session will feature 1/1200 toy ships and matchstick firing cannon. It's as if Fred T Jane bumped into H G Wells in the pub.

1866 AND ALL THAT: THE BATTLE OF LISSA (Ian Drury)
2016 is the 150th anniversary of Lissa (20th July 1866), the only major fleet action of the ironclad era, and the most over-analysed hour of fighting between Trafalgar and Jutland. The Italian fleet has all the advantages: bigger ships with far better guns, and more of them, and includes the Affandatore ram ship with two unfeasibly huge Armstrong rifled muzzle-loaders. What can possibly go wrong? A game for 4-8 players keen to shout ‘ramming speed’ (in German).

CURSUS HONORUM III – THE CARD GAME (John Armatys)
Another game of political advancement in the Roman Republic – based on Rummy, it has had a few test games with three players but needs some serious testing, preferably with different numbers of players.

THE LAND THAT DECENCY FORGOT (Russell King)
Up to five expert support service information technology giants bid for and execute contracts for cyber-security from amongst the world's most massive, successful and sought-after companies, across a wide-range of activity from banking, pharmaceuticals, and entertainment to construction. In the dark hours of the morning, when not working with their clients, and under the influence of performance-enhancing drugs, their employees are also engaged in activity disrupting the very corporate sector they slavishly serve, striving to achieve social justice and modify the behaviour of these increasingly self-serving corporate nightmares.

ISLAMIC TERRORIST BINGO (Russell King)
Eyes down! Get a line for a big surprise!

THE GREAT CROSSING (Jim Wallman)
A short, slightly dark, game about an international response to migration across a small sea.

WARGAME 2020 (Jim Wallman)
A tactical wargame based on some recent professional work I've been doing. The game is about battlegroup and brigade operations in the near future based around the projected capabilities of professional armies in the 2020-2025 period. This is map based and a pretty simple and accessible system that wargamers should be able to pick up in a few minutes. The game is designed to draw out insights and discussion about force mixes and the application of capabilities in a variety of settings.

GANGSTERS – RETURN TO THE SOUTHSIDE (Colin Maby)
Developed since last year, a card driven game for four players whose object is to end the game with the most money by the control of crime and the running of illegal operations (and of course to prevent the other players from doing the same).

QADESH – THE BATTLE AFRESH (Ian Russell Lowell)
An illustrated talk on the 1274BC battle.

THE DEVIL TO PLAY (Ian Russell Lowell)
The Reformation: Rebellion and Reaction. Further thoughts on the German Peasants’ Revolt, 1524-1526. A talk with gaming.

UNREDEEMED NEPTUNES (David Bradbury)
English and Flemish Pirates off the Barbary Coast in the Jacobean Age. There will be no references to rum, but sodomy and the lash might be touched upon in passing, possibly with some Shakespeare quotations thrown in for good measure.

SUITCASE SAGGER (Tim Gow et al)
Back in the good old days of the Cold War, an elite team trains with the very latest in anti-tank technology. This session may involve laying on grass. And possibly getting up again.

A lawn game from the team that brought you PVO Strany and Spock’s Shameful Secret. So you’ve been warned.

PICKETT'S CHARGE (Wayne Thomas et al)
Up to seven players are needed to replay the famous action using 10mm figures and the new 'Hail of Lead' rules.

FAIL NOT TOMORROW – THE BATTLE OF NIBLEY GREEN, 1470 (Mike Elliott)
A game based on the last battle fought between 'private' armies in England.

A TERRIBLE BEAUTY (Mike Elliott)
A game/discussion on the Easter Rising, Dublin 1916, to mark the centenary of this historic event in Irish history.

A DARK NIGHT IN WHITECHAPEL (Mike Elliott)
September 1888. A dark night in Whitechapel. An ADG based on (you guessed it!) the arch-criminal who was never caught ...

THE HEART OF DARKNESS – GAMING TERRORISM (John Curry)
For several months I have been working with some organisations on developing new gaming models around the dark subject of terrorism. Playing a red team has been used in serious games for many years, but the difference is these new games are designed to be run from perspective of the terrorists. The aim of the research is to explore the value of such games in developing a deeper understanding of these complex issues. The session will consist of a short 20 minute introduction, then I will give people the chance to try one of the game prototypes. Wargame Developments is the only group with some track record in gaming this area and so feedback will actively be encouraged.

MEN AGAINST FUSSING (Jim Roche)
A reworking of Paddy Griffith's 'Men Against Fire' game in the light of Leo Murray's 'Brains and Bullets'. With toy soldiers and the risk of being hit on the back-of-the-head with a rolled-up copy of the Daily Telegraph.

OFF TO DUBLIN IN THE GREEN (Jim Roche)
A singalong based on the events of 1916, from Gallipoli and Kut-al-Amara to the Somme and the Easter Rising; plus the Battle of Jutland and the Sopwith Camel, with a nod towards Verdun and Winston Churchill's command of a battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers. If you want the old battalion, We know where they are...

SANDHURST KRIEGSSPIEL (Tom Mouat)
This is a wargame used at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as part of junior officer training. So simple I could teach someone how to run the game in 30 minutes – so no experience a positive advantage. There will be two scenarios – a Platoon Attack and a Counter-IED patrol (scenario created by Capt Ed Farren).

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE ASTEROID ... (Tom Mouat)
This is a 'Footfall-type game with completely revised rules and mechanisms, this time set in the Far Future (and looking a lot like the classic game 'Traveller'). The crew are adventurers in the Laver Asteroid Belt, looking for Pirates and Salvage! The rules are simple enough for anyone, so no experience necessary.

PEQUENA ESPERANZA (Tom Mouat)
This is a game used by the Defence Academy for language training. It is a simple Matrix Game set in the jungles of South America and featuring the Army, The Police, the Village Elder, and the notorious Drug Baron! And probably a couple of other people!

OH WE SAIL THE OCEAN BLUE … (Bob Cordery)
A (hopefully) fun/not too serious session of late ironclad/pre-dreadnought naval battles using home-made toy-style model ships, Hexon II hexed terrain, and simple rules based on the 'Portable Naval Wargame' and 'Memoir of Battle at Sea' rules. So if you fancy yourself to be a reincarnated Jackie Fisher or Charlie Beresford – or even a Percy Scott – then come along and try your hand.

GO TELL THE SPARTANS (John Bassett)
A presentation and discussion on winning and losing the narrative in contemporary conflict.

This is the usual mixture of serious and not so serious games covering a wide range of topics ... although there do seem to be more naval wargames and contemporary wargames this year than in recent years.

This is the 37th year that Conference of Wargamers has taken place, and the 36th year that we have staged it at Knuston Hall, Northamptonshire. Not a bad record by any means!

Notes:
Like all organisations, Wargame Developments has its own jargon. For example, there are a couple of sessions where the term 'black' or 'dark' are mentioned, and at least one is described as an ADG.

The former deal with topics or subjects which look at the nastier aspects of warfare, and are not recommended for people who might get easily upset by the discussion or by participating in such sessions.

ADGs are After Dinner Wargames, and are usually scheduled to take place after dinner on the Friday or Saturday nights of the Conference. They tend to be more fun, frivolous, and entertainments, although they can also be quite thought-provoking as well.

For a full list of the jargon used by members of Wargame Developments, read the group's handbook. It can be found on the Wargame Development website.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like a great programme. One day....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alastair,

      I am going to have real problems again this year choosing which sessions to go to.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete