Over the last months I have had the opportunity to participate in a wargaming experiment sponsored and led by Nick Skinner, the co-founder with Richard Clarke of TooFatLardies. His idea was to recreate a Kriegsspiel-type of game but using the tools and technology of the digital age.
Nick contacted a small number of wargamers in late October (if I’m not wrong, we were 7 or 8) and set up a channel in the popular chat app Discord, where we all could be in contact.
He then uploaded a copy of a military map 1:25,000 scale, provided to each team a set of forces, a narrative of the situation (to put us in context) and a mission to win the game. This was done on a Friday; over the weekend each team discussed the best strategy to achieve the objectives laid out in the mission, divided the forces in battle groups, appointing commands and providing orders for each of the battle groups.
The players were then called to play on Monday at 7.30PM GMT (+1 in Spain).
The game was umpired by Nick and for each battle group a subchannel was created, where we get information from the umpire and provide orders in reaction to events happening every game bound (15 minutes of game time). All information was then conveyed in the team’s common channel where the C-in-C was present; this was a way of simulating the radio net of our forces.
First I must say that this has been one of the most interesting wargame experiences I had in years… and all thanks to the technology but specially to the way Nick managed the game. Think for a moment: no table, no models, no rules… just a map, a tablet or telephone screen, a pencil and a pad to take notes … and some common sense to give orders to your forces as the game developed = great wargame experience.
In the first game, our forces had been recently defeated in major offensive by the enemy. We have regrouped in town by a major river and our mission was to destroy the two main bridges to buy time to our army to build a new defensive line using the river as the frontline.
I took a platoon of engineers with some infantry and light armour support north of the main position to destroy the bridge, then pull out south and blow out the second bridge. Easy said than done. Unexpected events could hamper you moving along the road, putting the explosive charges takes time and the enemy is not idle in the meantime.
|Map of the first game. My forces to the rightm north (red, pink and purple kampfgruppe)|