Best summed up by the Churchillian quote: "The Conference of Wargamers (CoW) 2018 was Blood, Sweat and Tears".
Blood - was all virtual, tiny metal soldiers or cardboard counters taking the brunt of things.
Sweat - the precious hours of "Game Designer Toil", followed by the "Fevered Excitement" of the Player 'decision and indecision' cycle and not forgetting the physical sweat actually caused by the 'Glorious' summer heat (27 degrees C).
Tears - Of "joy and laughter" (I have never laughed so much in ages) as even my numerous wargaming moments of nadir were to be celebrated and fondly remembered. I remember every game ending in sumptuous spontaneous applause.
See below for a flavour of the experience:
Nadir Moment 1: Having effectively lost 100% of my brave but badly lead mutineer Indians against the British Relief Force, I was left to beg and grovel for my pitiful skin. My survival depended on exchanging the European Ladies being kept hostage (and my few remaining working firearms) for a "I'll look the other way" moment from the officer commanding Bengal Lancers - It worked and I ran like the wind back to "my village" (see below, it was a wargaming low achievement high, that I had 'skilfully' deserved):
(Almost) Nadir Moment 2: While commanding the river-bound Khartoum relief force, having successfully forced passage of the Nile cataracts, against a fierce Mahdist skirmishing force all along the banks, I was positioned fortuitously in the province of Berber south of Khartoum poised to "Save Gordon" (which happened to be the name of the game). Then with almost the last fling of the dice (and in the best tradition of Matrix-Games) an outrageously bold abduction plot was hatched to kidnap me from the decks my Nile gunboat by Mahdist player "Lady C". Thus it was argued, the expedition would be thrown into chaos, dooming poor General Gordon. The 'project' was delivered with so much descriptive aplomb and creative ingenuity (to the point where the Umpire, a certain Bob Cordery from Wargames Miscellany, was seen therapeutically banging an empty plastic water-bottle off the top of his head repeatedly to help him make sense of the matter) that it 'might just work'. Knowing my wargaming fate was in the hands of Lady Luck (if I lost this I might as well chose crochet as a hobby) - Lady C was asked to throw two sixes. The resulting slow motion tumble of the dice remains crazily poised in my mind's eye, but only one six was thrown and nadir was turned to triumph, but total respect for the "move of the game" (see below, Save Gordon - the final position):
The best fun I've ever had while keeping my clothes on. My only dilemma is, that if I go around and start telling people how good CoW 2018 was then more people will just want to come to CoW 2019 .. but in that case the organisers would just have to put more games on .. so I guess it's really a WIN-WIN
Are you listening David Crook?