Monday, 9 July 2018

A Summary of a Summary of CoW 2018 ... and the reason why any Wargamer should want to go to CoW 2019

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?



David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

I am listening and my deposit for COW2019 has been paid!

It will be a long wait.....

All the best,


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

It was great to meet you again, and I am so pleased that you enjoyed the weekend.

It is difficult to describe why COW is such a great experience. I've heard people who haven't been to one state that they could stay at home all weekend and play wargames, so why pay to do that? The answer is that COW is an immersive experience. It isn't just playing wargames; it is the talking and discussions with other wargamers, the talks/lectures, and the range of different warganes that one can experience.

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

I think you got it in one Bob "immersion" plus we're all a bunch of crazies who enjoy themselves far too much ;)

David, the only question whether you got a room or are joining me in the tented city

Jonathan Freitag said...

Sounds like a terrific experience!

Trebian said...

The people who put on games and the organisers are two different groups. If the numbers go up, the organisers can't just "put on more games", unless the people who go offer more sessions.

Plus actually, Knuston is at capacity. No room for any more unless...horror or agree to share a room.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Hmm, [darkening Gothic horror music in the background] the "tented city" I am in has a finite capacity too - on the upside I came away with an idea or two for games - a lure for lost souls searching for game entertainment perhaps

Trebian said...

Yes. Bring a game. If you don't want to run a full session, put on an ADG. The more the merrier.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

David Crook et al, hold on to your pants I have been cleared for landing at 2019 CoW .. which means I have a year to plan a game - Dave, Ron and Trebian look likely candidates for players in my eyes and all other who drop me a reply to this post + the infamous "First Come First Served" CoW notice-board.

Trebian said...

You have much to learn about the etiquette of the sign up sheet, young padawan.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

As per the "Field of Dreams" - Build it and they will come ;)
Naturally "all players welcome"
Scalability -I like the concept of an "n+" player game with toys

Rumblestrip said...

Be aware in your design that your game might not attract your preferred numbers. So it has to be scalable down (but hopefully not) as well as up. My own twelve to fourteen space extravaganza this year attracted three only (and they all signed up for the same side)! Bearing in mind that the minimum requirement was eight, some last minute reshuffling and co opting was required.


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Advice noted Rumblestrip

Was that Wuestenkriegenkartblockenspiel by any chance as I would have liked to have played that but it clashed with the Gathering of Vultures Matrix Game

No I am thinking 4 is a big game ;)

Trebian said...

Yes, that was Wusten....spiel. I missed it too as I was double booked, much to my annoyance.

Based on experience you can expect to get 6-8 players for most sessions, and that's a good number to aim for. Any less and you're taking up space bigger games might need, any more and you run the risk of having empty slots. Smaller games tend to fit well into the after ADG slot.

And you are suffering from the COW effect, when everything blurs a bit. Wusten...spiel was Sunday morning. Vultures was Satirday afternoon....

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Yes you are right Trebian

I was on the Multi=-Centre warganes and Open Battles stand
I could have in theory started but not finished it as I was keen to see the Open Battles move on from Airfix Battles
I needed my WWII fix


Memories do blue :)

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

I should have said I needed my WWII 'lots of figures on the table' WWII fix, I had looked in the end of the Mission Command session with some envy