‘One Hell of a Gamble’ was John Bassett’s anniversary Cuban Missile Crisis dual location crisis game.
Wargaming the ungamable? Well, it worked very well.
Washington (most of the rooms and corridors) and Cuba (the shared social space – a bit like Uncle Sam’s back kitchen) were in London, populated with a big US Administration team (White House, Pentagon, CIA etc.), a handful of Soviet players (ambassador, KGB bureau chief, arms convoy commander etc.) and Bob Castro …
The Kremlin was in Sheffield hosted by Tim Gow.
There was an open Skype line connecting the two locations, plus the various players had their line contacts and moles on mobile links.
I played Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador in Washington, and my most regular game contacts were Gromyko in Moscow by phone, and the Attorney General (Robert Kennedy – my best line to JFK), face-to-face, in the Washington corridors …
The communications were a bit clunky, which seemed appropriate, and real time events could rapidly overtake the process of reporting back and waiting for Politburo decisions in response. This felt very plausible.
Did we save the world? Yes – of course … a telephone hot line was set up and the warm war cooled down again.
I have played in a number of these Committee/’crisis’ style games, and having the remote players in another city really enhanced the feel of it. I think, 50 years on, this was a good time to play a Cuban Missile Crisis game – and this format suited it well.
We were able to play the vital days over a few sociable (if fraught) hours before repairing to the pub for an essential post debrief ‘debrief’ …