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Sunday, 7 June 2020

WD and COW ... forty years on

Now that the Virtual Conference of Wargamers (VCOW) is definitely taking place on 10th, 11th, and 12th July, planning is well underway. As this is the fortieth anniversary of the first ever COW (Conference of Wargamers) and the foundation of Wargame Developments (WD), I am going to give an online talk about the origins of COW and WD.

The driving force behind the creation of COW and WD was the late Dr Paddy Griffith.


In the aftermath of the demise of the WARGAMER’S NEWSLETTER and BATTLE FOR WARGAMERS, ...


... there was no forum in the UK for the discussion of wargame design, and Paddy decided to organise a conference entitled ‘New Directions in War Gaming’ to see if a viable alternative or replacement could be developed. The conference took place at Moor Park College, Farnham, Surrey, over a weekend in 1980 ... and WD and COW were the result.

I am the last remaining member of WD who attended the Moor Park Conference ... and it makes sense for me to take on the job of recording and passing on the story of its origins.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,
    It is good to reflect on the past- where would COW be without the late Dr Paddy Griffith- great men start great things happening. I cannot help but think he had a vision and purpose for the common good...sadly to-day a lot of what takes place now is driven by money and profit. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      Paddy had vision, but was sometimes not the easiest person to get along with. Luckily, we both respected each other’s expertise, and even when we disagreed, it was never acrimonious or personal.

      Greg knew him well until he left the UK, and I actually took part in a Greg’s ‘Aidman!’ Vietnam game at the first ever conference.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Hi Bob,
      I'm sure that Paddy Griffith visited Greg here in Sydney-Australia some while ago and stayed overnight at Greg's home and gamed with Greg-you could check with Greg. Thought I'd mention Greg's friend Paddy. Regards. KEV.

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    3. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      I didn’t know that Paddy had ever visited Australia. After leaving Sandhurst, Paddy moved to the Midlands, then onto the North West of England. I rarely saw him towards the end of his life, although we did bump into each other occasionally.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. G'Day Bob, I remember that first COW, especially the sharing of ideas. I played in an ancient game run by Andy Callan, Acropolis Now. Paddy did come out to Australia in the 80's to do a series of lectures for the Australian Army. He was able to spend a week with us in Sydney. We over-dosed on alcohol, gaming and conversation. I've always considered Paddy a true English eccentric. When he was here we used to get up in the morning to find that during the night Paddy had put post-it notes on things he thought amusing, usually Limericks. Anyway it takes all sorts. Cheers Greg

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    1. Delta Coy (Greg),

      I also remember Andy’s game, almost as well as yours!

      Paddy was very much a one-off, a true eccentric in the proper meaning of the expression. His eccentricity was not contrived (as it is with some people); it was him ... and it enabled him to look at things in a way that was new and challenging. I well remember the reaction to his book about the American Civil War, which was vilified by those people who had not read and understood it ... and who were affronted that a limey historian had had the nerve to challenge the orthodox views. In my opinion, it was one of the best books he ever wrote, mainly because it explained so much in a way that made perfect sense.

      I only wish that he was still alive.

      All the best,

      Bob

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