COW 2010 was dominated by one event, of course … the sad loss of WD‘s founder and inspiration, Paddy Griffith. It is hard to imagine wargaming and military interests being anything like they are today without his immense influence.
(my thanks to Bob Cordery)
2010 was the 30th anniversary COW, and Paddy was a big part of the programme. The show had to go on, and in a fitting way, the weather allowed regular use of the lawns, and a willing suspension of disbelief. After a retrospective session on Dr Griffith’s importance, both on a structural and personal level, the more festive activities began with a chaotic but expectation breaking outdoor version of WWI in Three Turns.
It is perhaps because the Great War is thought by many to be ‘un-gamable’ that it is of such interest at COW … certainly it was a theme this year. I won’t pretend to give a full review of COW 2010, but here are some photos of some of the twentieth century games that were presented. There were too many to be able to attend or photograph all of them (but follow the various links around these pages and you will get most. Join WD, read the Nugget, and you will get the lot).
Martin Goddard was warming up his WWI ideas by bringing out ‘Square Bashing’ and collecting feed back
Martin Rapier had a great-looking Corps level game attacking the trenches. I would have loved to play a full part in this had I not been RCW-ing the River Don at the same time.
Still with WWI, one of the hits of the weekend was Chris Hanley’s ‘Biggles’ game … some excellent rules for aerial combat (some clever honing of familiar mechanisms which I won’t give away here … I’m sure Chris will make them available in due course) which were recycled into an additional session by popular demand.
The toys and equipment in this game were of a very smart quality which was an additional bonus. I think people could hardly resist getting control of these planes even if it were only in wargames terms, over a trenchscape of hexes.
Moving on a little, Graham Evans’s RCW project made its public debut in Return to the River Don. Excellent little game, this, and very well received … looking splendid in 15mm, mostly Peter Pig stuff, but also featuring the first public appearance of a Garford-Putilov heavy armoured car which I scratch built for the project (no-one makes one in 15mm but I rashly said I could fix that) …
I will cover the scratch build in an article on the modelling page.
I believe Graham is supplying the rules for publication in a future issue of the Nugget. The joyful feature of the game is the Nyet!/Da! test, in which the player attempts to use the troops with their consent … and the coercion mechanism by which he then opts to use them without. Eventually, they may mutiny, but mostly the sound of revolvers being loaded is enough to get them moving.
I cannot emphasise that that was just an early 20th century fragment of COW 2010. Perhaps it was fitting that what turned out to be a memorial COW featured so many approaches to a period which a few decades back might have been one wargamers would rather have avoided. Indeed, much has been rethought in the 30 years since the first Conference of Wargamers. I hope the future will be equally challenging.