Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6th - 8th July, Knuston Hall Northamptonshire

COW 2012

Wargame Developments' Conference of Wargamers is a highlight of any year - the only opportunity this side of Historicon to sample such a wide variety of wargames - and at COW they have a more European flavour and pace.   And many of them are innovative or at least exploratory in their format.

 (Martin Rapier's presentation of Phil Sabin's Fire and Movement game from Simulating War)

This year, for me it was a little like pulling one of those 1960 wargame compendia type books (a Featherstone or a Grant) and doing it for real. 

 (moving the tables up as the Felissima Armada progresses)

Jim Wallman entertained me with a Spanish Armada game with Airfix plastic ships (and some scratchbuilds) as well as an outdoor game (indoors) played with 54mm Britains plastics (what I was using in the 1960s) and toy canons ...  I solved my unresolved terrain conundrum for Plataea by building a sand table - a first for COW perhaps ... and two of my games used flats ...

 (Images from the gods part of the ancient history talk)

In addition to hosting a joint session with John Bassett on Gods and Generals (a follow up to the short 'Bloodletting at Plataea' contribution I made at the BattleDay), and the Plenary Game (the whole Conference were fireteams in Vietnam holding a base perimeter ...) ... I played or hosted 9 or 10 more games over the weekend.  I sat in on a number more ..

(Call it Qids at COW 2012)

Graham Evans presented his Society of Ancients Kadesh game (get your copy here ...) ...

 (Ramesses II towering over the Amun division encamped outside Kadesh - wjat could possibly go wrong)

... and I hosted a number of ancient warfare session or games ...

 (Lords of the Nile - V3 DBA in the Late Bronze Age)

The V3 DBA tryout was popular with players who had sampled my treatment of the current game last year in the Zama reconstruction. 

The Plataea project remains 'work in progress', I'm afraid - so COW had part 3 of the ongoing experiment adapting Neil Thomas's ancient rules (AMW, basically, though I am spinning adaptations off the earlier version in Wargaming - an introduction ...) ...

The refurbishment of the flats is not complete yet, and the summer has been so bad I've not been out in the garden building battlefields - hence the sand table ..

 (step by step sand table)

Sand table?  Yes - I got a couple of bags of sharp sand from the builders' merchants (one was actually enough), spread a plastic sheet out over my table and them moulded and painted  the landscape I wanted.  It worked sufficiently to last the session, and packed away very quickly once the game was done.

It probably took a couple of hours to set up (so needed to be a late night prep for a morning game session) but cost less than £5 in materials - and all bar the paint will recycle for a new project (or a better version of the Greek and Persian battle).

Sorted.   Different, anyway.

 (Byzantine Arab Skirmish)

Fred Cartwright enhanced the ancients options with a splendid looking experimental game which he put on in 28mm, using Arabs and Byzantines for some 'small wars' ... (De Bellis Parvis ... ?) ..

 (some of Fred's splendid 28mm Byzantine/Arab small wars warriors)

If 28mm isn't big enough for small wars, 54mm is the business for Little Wars.  In this case Little Garden Wars ... Jim Wallman's take on the H.G.Wells classic.  

Although I confess it isn't the sort of thing I do every week, I quite enjoyed this carpet game (it was intended to play outdoors but the weather gods were not accommodating!) ... the casualty system (firing matchsticks) made an interesting change to rolling dice or turning cards.

 (indoor Little Garden Game - Freedonia vs Corduguay)

I'm obliged to note that Jim also inveigled me into a Samurai game that involved fighting already dead bandit people (yes, the dreaded 'Z' word): I embrace the possibility of some mythic value in hacking through legendary creatures in what turned out to be an entertaining little game - and then I will move on ...

 (Jim Wallman's Samurai myth game)

In the last pass of the last turn of the last game, my skyhook team successfully scooped Trebian's Cold War mission leader off a hostile ice flow - but that's another COW story.

More modern stuff on my 20th century blog soon.

You can join WD and/or book next year's COW at Wargame Developments.

The Festival of History is next week.

 (a scene from Tim Price's S.W.A.B. Napoleonic naval game)

(more of those flats)

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