Sunday, 10 July 2016

Conference of Wargamers 2016 - Friday Evening

Come July, come WD's COW at Knuston Hall in glorious Northamptonshire, Rose of the Shires. Consistent with the wretched summer we're having so far even Knuston couldn't break the mould but who needs sun when so much fun is in prospect?

After much meeting of old friends and an excellent dinner (the catering at Knuston has improved enormously in the 36 years we're been going there and for some may even be the highlight of the weekend) it is time for the Plenary Game.

The design of the Plenary Game is always a challenge, Something quick to learn that will involve 40 players, promote interaction but won't take all evening. This year we had "Holy Relics", designed by WD Display Team North, from an original idea by Sue Laflin-Barker.

The teams all represented ecclesiastical establishments from medieval times, intending to cash in on the Pilgrim trade by having the best set of relics. We were Durham Cathedral, home of the body of St Cuthbert.

Spelling "Liver". Not a great Relic

You had to spell out the relic in Scrabble tiles, which you traded with other teams. I think. We were a bit slow on the uptake to be honest.

Classic body-part Relic

We probably should have read the back ground papers as well, as they gave you hints as to what sort of relics would make for a good Pilgrim Experience. We, on the other hand, just went for amusing body parts.

The hub-bub round the Cardinals
Once you had a new relic you took it up to the panel of Cardinals for judgement. Here's the queue for the Cardinals. Cardinal Barker is having a quiet doze in the corner. Pope Laflin is obscured by the crowd.

Eventually we got round to being a bit more sensible and submitted St Cuthbert's quill that he wrote his book with, his Lamp he wrote it by and of course his Holy Banner. That picked our points up a bit, but we still came in last. Still, it isn't all about winning, is it?

After that it was down to the Practical Room for another of Tom Mouat's one-shot role play games. He's immensely proud of his new components and rule mechanisms which are all beautifully produced. What we want to know is what world-ending evil will we be up against this time?

Everything is explained
 For the first time in a Footfall game we were in outer space, and we were a freelance crew, not working for some Shadowy Government Agency (or SGA for short). I ended up as Captain by default, - not paying attention when every one else was grabbing character roles.

The Away Team dock with an abandoned mining ship
Describing role playing games is always a bit dull for the people not there, so not a lot to say. This one was a cross between Firefly, Alien, and a few classic sf novels. The crew had a few new players in it and I made a poor choice or two when allocating jobs, such as who was to go on the away team. Not their fault. Poor captaincy.

Oh look. This one's got missiles on it. Where's the crew?

Eventually we found where we were going and faced down The Alien Menace semi-succesfully (inadvertently killing all the base survivors when trying to open a door with a plasma cannon. Ho-hum).

I'm pleased to say that we got away without leaving anyone behind. Okay I had to put one crew member in a stasis pod under guard because it looked like she was incubating The Alien Menace, and she was kidnapped by an SGA from the hospital on Homeworld, but I didn't leave her behind.

Alas tensions in the crew ran high during the mission, so we had to sell the ship off and split the proceeds.

From there it's off to the bar until the Lounge clears so I can set my game up. "It's Getting A Bit Chile" is the opening game at 9am, so I need to get the terrain board out at the very least before bed. I'm done by about 2am, so time for some shut eye before we get stuck in on Saturday.

(NB This posting should have gone out late Friday, but I couldn't make the wi fi work. My fault for using a Windows XP netbook I suppose)


  1. That sounds a grand event. :)

    1. Ay, it was a Grand Day Out, and there's more to follow.

  2. If only my circumstances, work or lack of or variability of same etc., were different. Sounds like you're having a whale of a time.

    1. Yes. A Whale of a time was had by all, and enough beer drunk to float a whale too.

      To be honest I structure my year round COW so I don't miss it. Sad but true.