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Sunday, 8 July 2018

COW2018: Saturday interim report

After a better than expected night's sleep (mainly thanks to the provision of a powerful fan that kept cool air moving around my room whilst I slept) and a hearty cooked English breakfast, I was looking forward to a full day of wargaming.

The first morning session I attended was held in the Beech Room (a separate hut in the grounds of Knuston Hall) and was run by John Bassett. It was about the 1968 US election, which took place amidst a growing tide of resentment against the Vietnam War and an upsurge in more militant action by some elements of the Civil Rights movement. My role was that of Richard Nixon, and despite my best efforts I did not get my party's nomination and had to watch as George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, achieved victory in the presidential election.

After morning coffee I spent some time discussing arrangements for next year's COW with a senior members of Knuston Hall's staff before going around some of the sessions that were taking place. These included THE GUNNER'S GUIDE TO BRITAIN'S ARTILLERY (which featured loads of toy cannons) and Sue Laflin-Barker's TO SAIL THE SPANISH MAIN. I spent most of what remained of the time between morning coffee and lunch at the former of these two session, and joined in the memory-filled banter between attendees about the toy cannons we had owned or coveted.

After lunch I took part in Tim Gow's SOMME ENCHANTED EVENING lawn game. I commanded a British infantry brigade tasked with breaking through the German defences. Despite air superiority, overwhelming fire power in the form of six Field Artillery batteries, and a massive mine that had been laid under the German frontline, my four battalions were cut to ribbons only feet from their objective, the crater caused bye mine explosion.

It was very hot, and the game was brought to an earlier than expected conclusion, which allowed the participants to have a shower and a rest after afternoon tea.

The evening sessions started after dinner, and before I ran my SAVE GORDON! game I attended John Curry's talk entitled RANDOM TALES OF PROFESSIONAL WARGAMING. this gave a very interesting insight in the current state of professional wargaming, and will form the basis of a talk he will give at Connections UK 2018.

I had not run SAVE GORDON! for many years, but once I had started, everything fell into place and I think that the attendees enjoyed trying one of the earliest Matrix Games to be designed by Chris Engle ... and modified by me. I did try using a different card-driven method to select the order in which players would present their arguments (which worked fairly well) and SCRUD (Simple Combat Resolution Using Dice) to adjudicate any combat (which was not as successful). the end result of the game was that the British Desert Column managed to reach Khartoum before it fell ... but at the cost of one-third of its troops and its commander, Sir Evelyn Wood. It ended up inside the besieged city, and would itself need relieving. Luckily Sir Garnet Wolesley's River Column was at Berber, and relief was at hand.

The game sparked off a very interesting after-game discussion and I finally got to bed at 1.00am on Sunday morning!

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like a most interesting and enjoyable time.

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    1. Tradgardmastare,

      Now that you are retired, you really ought to come and join in the fun!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Ugh, President Wallace?! For all his flaws and crimes, Nixon was certainly better for the US than Wallace would have been! You should have called upon 'ol "Checkers" again! :-)

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    1. Gonsalvo,

      The game was an interesting one, and the result was not a done deal until the very end. The problem was that events conspired to give Wallace an advantage that he was able to build on, and he managed to 'steal' some of my party's voters that I had expected would support Nixon, thus making the latter vulnerable to challenges for the party nomination.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    Certainly glad your having a great time- sounds as though Tim Gow's Somme Lawn game was very interesting (any photos?)- assume it to be in 54mm...I had a large collection of 54mm WW1 Plastic British and German soldiers- the entire set was sold to a friend who also was very pleased with my two scratch built British Tanks- he has since asked me to build him some 'Wippet' Tanks as well - I declined, as I will soon be working on a very intensive project (not game related). Glad your 'Save Gordon' game went well and it all worked out. Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      I hope to write a photo-report of the session I attended or saw, and that will include several of Tim's Somme game, which featured large numbers of 54mm-scale figures.

      We could have done with your British tanks; it might have secured the victory that we almost achieved!

      My two sessions went well, but finishing SAVE GORDON! late on Saturday night had its impact next day!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Re-rereading the Save Gordon paragraph brought back so many memories (I have a smile on my face now) .. I will never forget the scene of you banging your head with an empty plastic water bottle as Mahdist Charlotte was explaining her river borne "abduction plot" of Sir Garnet Wolesley - that was a cose call IMHO ;) - Brilliant Game, loved every second of it! Thanks for putting it on :)

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    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      By the time Charlotte presented her argument, I was at a stage when I was expecting something a bit off-the-wall to be suggested by someone ... but not quite that!

      The game went well, but could have gone better if everyone had grasped the essentials of the one Action, one Result, and three Reasons from earlier on ... and not ten Actions, five Results, and no Reasons. Thanks for taking part.

      All the best,

      Bob

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