Sunday 4 February 2024

2024 Sheffield CALF


Sheffield CALF – March 2024


What is it?

When is it?

Where is it?

What will it cost me?


As we all know, a calf is a small cow.  While COW (Conference Of Wargamers) is a full weekend, the CALF is a one-day event.  During the day you should have the opportunity to attend three or four different sessions.

The CALF will take place on Friday 15 March 2024 in Sheffield.  0930 for a 1000 start, finish at 1830.  There is plenty of free car parking.

Details of sessions available will be posted on the WD Blog and this will be updated as more information becomes available.  Thus far, sessions include One Hour WW2, Je Ne Regrette Rien,  Little World Wars, Not Quite Mechanised, Cold War Blitzspiel and Wolves In The Forum. 

Attendance at CALF is open to the following:

Current members of Wargame Developments

Guests invited by WD members


The cost to attend is a mere £25 to include a buffet lunch and tea/coffee throughout the day.

Please contact Tim Gow (details on the back on Nugget) or leave your details in a comment if you'd like to attend.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

COW 2024 - session list so far...updated 06/12/23

 Last updated 06/12/23

John Wilkie et al
75 minutes                                                                                                       all attendees
18 Aug 1559, Pope Paul IV has died, the Council of Trent is suspended, but the Inquisition is going strong. Rival factions from France, Italy, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire are poised. The longest conclave in the 16th Century is about to begin. The real conclave lasted 121 days and left three cardinals dead and several others too ill to continue, can we do it in an hour? Featuring plotting, conspiracy, manipulation and riots, conclave 1559 expands on our previous Conclave 1492 with up to 55 cardinals and numerous other roles battling for control of the fate of the Catholic Church.

John Bassett
2 hours                                                                                                                        3-6
A crisis management game based on a real-life hostage rescue situation in Eastern Europe.  The game system builds on elements of my "Armageddon at Waco" (COW 2022).
Participants should note that this is liable to be a black session.

David Burden

Rubble Town

20-30 mins, single player, up to 2 games in parallel multiple sessions on Friday evening post-dinner

Rubble Town is a card-based game of clearing your way through a card generated urban route. Can you clear to the end in a faster time, with fewer casualties and with less damage to the environment than anyone else? COW2024 may feature the 2024 era version of the game.

David Burden

Brick by Bloody Brick

2 hrs                                                                                                                                        2-4

Brick by Bloody Brick is a Company-level game of modern urban combat. It uses a stylised gridded map and vertical blocks and is a more tactical counterpart to last year’s Battle of Redditch. Brick by Bloody Brick features all the tropes of modern urban battles including UAVs, UGVs, cyber (just), EW, subterranean, civilians and collateral damage.


David Burden

Urban Insurgency – the Battle for London 2027

2 hrs                                                                                                                                        2-6

Urban Insurgency is inspired by Joseph Miranda and Ty Bomba’s War in the Mega-City, but also taking ideas from We Are Coming Nineveh, District Commander: Maracas plus some new ideas of my own. The game uses a topological map showing the key areas of a city, and for added immersion will be based on London during a fictional civil war in 2027.


Bob Cordery

Guns, Guns, Guns

1.5-2 hours                                                                                                                              any

A discussion about the various gunnery mechanisms used in wargames up to 1940s

The session will be introduced with a PowerPoint presentation that will look at the various gunnery mechanisms used in wargames during the period. It will compare how closely they are an analogue of the training and gun control methods in use at the time. Attendees will have the opportunity to try these various mechanisms, and this will be followed by a general discussion.

 John Armatys

Cold War blitzspiel

2 hours                                                                                                                                    6

A chance to shove some toys round the table and try the latest version of my low level (a tank = a tank, an infantry base = a section or squad) simple "modern" rules, which started life in the Cold War Wargames Workshop at COW 2023.

 Pete Sizer


90 minutes                                                                                                                   2-6

Back in an improved form this grand tactical set of rules exploring insurgency warfare is part of my research for my Wargaming PhD (under Dr. John Curry). It is a generic set of rules designed to be adaptable for any twentieth century insurgency situation.

Stephen Aquilar-Milan and Robert Eagling


2 hours                                                                                                                                    any

A learn to play session.  I have owned a copy of Kingmaker for over 20 years and I've never really understood how to play the game. We would like to run a session where the participants, hopefully with a degree of knowledge about how to play the game, teach us the gameplay. It's a bit like one of those demonstration games that we see at shows, only we would like to ask the players about the game mechanics and why they made the decisions they made. Hopefully, we can achieve a degree of knowledge transfer and the players can have a fun morning with the Wars of the Roses.

VCOW 2024 - the session list so far...updated 02/01/2024

 Last updated 2 January 2024

Russell King

2 hours                                                                                                                                    any


A game called which will explore the network - in the popular semi game-show format - of business investment in Nazi Germany aimed at funding Aryan supremacy


John Curry

My Aunt’s War

1 hour                                                                                                                                      any

A short game about my aunt’s war on the home front. It is a black game. 


John Curry

A medieval Staff College problem 

1 hour                                                                                                                                      any

Demonstration how to turn the standard staff college problem into an exercise in medieval warfare. 


John Bassett & Bob Cordery

Amritsar to Kargil: Wargaming South Asian Conflicts 1919 to 1999

60-90 minutes                                                                                                                         any

From the Third Afghan War to the struggle for Indian independence, the last British campaigns on the NW Frontier, the Burma campaign in WW2, Partition, Burmese independence, Operation VIJAY, the 1962 China-India war, the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars, the Golden Triangle in the 1970s, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Tamil Tigers,  mercenaries in the Maldives, India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry, the rise of the Taliban and the 1999 Kargil War there are a wide variety of South Asian conflicts that Western wargamers all too often don't understand.

Bob and John will lead a discussion on this neglected period, looking at what makes this region so interesting, what they and others have done to game some of these conflicts and what remains to be done.


Jim Roche

Paddy's NAZI Ideological Fervour Quiz

1 hour                                                                                                                                      any

The war is temporarily passing through a phase of difficulties.  This is because the army has betrayed the Fuhrer, some 'officers' have even attempted to kill him, others are still actively working for the forces of international Zionism and Plutocratic Bolshevism.

In order to root them out, the Reichsfuhrer SS has now empowered the state security services to submit this specially designed questionnaire to every officer holding a responsible position in the battle line.

You must attempt to answer every question


Martin Rapier


2 hours                                                                                                                        up to 6

The latest version of the One Hour WW2 rules, covering grand tactical actions in the second world war, with battalion (or equivalent) sized elements on a small hex grid. This session will highlight the latest revisions to the rules, and is both an opportunity for players to try the system who missed out at COW last year, and for experienced players to try it again. The scenario will feature asymmetrical forces in a historical engagement during the Bzura counteroffensive, which will emphasise particular features of the rules.


David Burden

Cityfight 2024,

2 hrs                                                                                                                                        2-4

Cityfight 2024 is an updated version of the classic Cityfight game of small-scale urban combat. The game will be played double-blind with each side having its own map and relying on umpire reports to identify locations of the enemy forces. The game has been modified for playing on a square grid. The game will probably be played on a mix of Zoom, Jitsi and Google Slides and a technical rehearsal will be held before the VCOW weekend.


Nick Riggs

Qu-AI Sera Sera

2 hours                                                                                                                                    3-6

A matrix-ish game.  The players represent World Powers, each of whom has only just become aware of a nascent Artificial Intelligence. The AI is growing in intelligence and power at an exponential rate, and the players have very little time in which to determine how they will individually or collectively respond.


Pete Sizer

Black Gold, Blue Flames and Fibreoptic Cables: A North Sea Matrix game.

2 hours                                                                                                                                    6

A matrix game for six players to explore present day hybrid warfare and grey zone activities in the North Sea.


Ian Robinson

People's War in Voronoi

90 minutes                                                                                                                               4

People's War in Voronoi' is a new COIN game with simple rules and combat system. It is based in the mythical country of Voronoi and looks at a Red insurgency vs a Blue defending force. The Red insurgency can spread and overwhelm Blue, or likewise Blue can stop the insurgency and reverse it. The map is based on a Voronoi diagram, and it's an alternative to standard hex or square boards. Each area represents a space that can be crossed in a move. The rural areas (green/brown) are larger, and the urban areas are smaller with more regular shape. The size differences arise since distance = speed x time (time being constant), and you'll move more slowly in an urban area compared to a rural area.  The game will run using Google Drive - Meet and links to be send out later.


John Armatys


90 minutes                                                                                                                   any

A talk about ranks in the British Army, including some pretty obscure ones (my favourites are the Sub-Brigadier and the Marshal). The wargaming applications are limited, it might be of use to those contemplating career games or role playing games, but I hope that the session will provide an interesting diversion into some obscure bits of military history.


Toby Ewin


1 hour                                                                                                                          any

Including the various German games (several of which have been detailed in printed sources), the origins of the German naval games (drawing on an as-yet-unpublished article by Prof Wintjes), plus a little about French and Italian and (the lack of) Austro-Hungarian games, as these have generally not been so well covered, at least in English.  Also a mention of US games and what we now know of Russian tactical games.

Michael D’Alessandro

Death in Paradise - The Battle of Nu'uanu 1795 - A Virtual Battlefield Tour of the Final Battle for Hawaiian Unification

1 hour                                                                                                                          any

We will begin with the unique civilization and culture of 18th century Hawaii and how its first contact with the West led to a desire to unify the Hawaiian Islands to help balance them against the West. Landing with Kamehameha I on Oahu at Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater, we will march up country with his army, battling at the Punch Bowl and ultimately at the Pail Cliffs. The campaign features naval, land and aerial combat while external agents the British and the Russians engage in a form of a Pacific Great Game. Spears vs. cannons - what can go wrong? We will conclude by considering the effect a unified Hawaiian kingdom had on 19th Century history and how that effect continued to resonate in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Gary Sheffield, Graham Evans and John Bassett


90 minutes                                                                                                                   any

A discussion on the links between history, historical fiction, historical drama and wargaming, and how bogus history can undermine them all.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

VCOW 2023 - the session list so far

UPDATED 13/12/22

While this is clearly still a work in progress, booked and prospective attendees may be interested in what's on offer.

David Burden

Vertical Urban Wargame

2 hrs                                                                                                                            2-4

This will be an urban wargame in 10mm, with big multi-storey buildings and limited sight lines, and all you get to see is what your (mostly) street-level webcam tells you. A bit of an experiment to see if remote wargaming is actually better in some ways for tactical urban wargaming.


John Bassett


90 minutes                                                                                                                   up to 5

A Zeitgeist game about Viennese coffee house culture in the years before World War One, when Freud, Klimt and Wittgenstein rubbed shoulders with the likes of Stalin, Hitler and Trotsky.  An experimental game, part role play, part matrix, part balloon debate and almost certainly a complete fiasco...


John Bassett, Russell King & Ian Drury

Omdurman to Sarajevo: Wargaming the Period 1898 to 1914

90 minutes                                                                                                                  any

A discussion on wargaming the decade and a half that saw Kitchener in the Sudan, San Juan Hill, Mafeking, the relief of Beijing, the battles of Mukden and Tsushima, Italian aerial bombardment of the Ottomans and the chaos of the Balkan wars.  It's also the era of Sidney Reilly, the Russian revolution of 1905, the Sidney Street siege and the Curragh mutiny.  It's a fascinating period that perhaps deserves to be wargamed more than it is.


Michael D'Alessandro

Pearl Harbor - A Virtual Battlefield Tour

1 hour                                                                                                                          any

Covering why the Japanese considered the war inevitable, why Oahu was the optimal target, the technological leaps the Japanese had to make to ensure the success of the attack, and why the Americans considered Oahu impregnable. We will start at the tea house which the Japanese used to gather open source intelligence on the disposition and operations of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and tour the coastal artillery defenses the U.S. invested in and the air defenses they did not invest in. We will visit the the fleet anchorage and airfields at Ford Island and Bellows Field that therefore were taken by surprise. We will reflect on the cost by visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and end by considering the aftermath for all involved.


Alan Paull


1 hour                                                                                                                          any

Back in 2019, Gibsons Games asked me if I would be interested in re-developing Andrew McNeil's seminal Wars of the Roses board game, Kingmaker. It seemed like a good idea at the time, though it turned out to be a longer and bumpier journey than originally conceived. Now, we've had a successful Kickstarter campaign, and Gibsons’ new edition is on track for delivery in or around March 2023. In this session I'll present some thoughts about my experience between then and now. There will be space for questions


Jim Roche


1 hour                                                                                                              any

Singalong session including the delights of Stalingrad.


Jim Roche


90 minutes                                                                                                                   7

A Paddy Griffiths game.  French Officers Mess discussion in a fort under siege in the Franco-German War of 1893.  Political future - what are we fighting for?   What tactics to employ? Participants are members of the Officers Mess in Fort de Liouville, Fort de Gironville and Fort du Camp-des-Romains.  In addition to the major issues already set-out, we must address the issues such as Le Pantalon Rouge, c'est la France and the role of the Chasseurs Alpin (a Lieutenant on secondment)  Jamais ĂȘtre pris vivant (Eng: Never to be Taken Alive)


Russell King

James F Dunnigan's Origins of World War One (1969)

2 hours                                                                                                                        5

Take part in a moderated session of Origins of World War One by JFD, one of wargaming's great designers. This is a keenly competitive political game in which the five major nations in pre-World War I Europe all figure. They will pitch with and against each other to achieve each nation's objectives using diplomatic effort and international treaties. Ranging across theatres from mainland Europe to North Africa and India via the troubled Balkans, a simple system of play shows clearly how feverish intrigue developed across the world from 1909 to 1914.


Pete Sizer

Hybrid Warfare: A Wargaming Workshop

1 hour                                                                                                                          any

What is hybrid Warfare? Is it a completely new phenomenon? How can we game it? This hour-long workshop will examine the issues involved and attempt to come up with some suitable techniques to wargame them


John Curry


90 minutes                                                                                                                   1-15

The aim of this game is teach something about the life and psychology of modern mercenary. Build your character, then work through a series of situations as the war develops. Each of your decisions is then compared to what the actual mercenaries did. At the end of the campaign, your performance will be evaluated.  Note: some might consider some of the content to be exploring some very black situations.


Graham Evans


90 minutes                                                                                                                   any

We all know about the siege of Basing House, but Northamptonshire has more stately homes per square mile than any other county in Britain. Whilst this meant the county was the playground for the rich and powerful, it was staunchly Parliamentarian during the Civil war.  However, its country houses offered an opportunity to exert power by both sides. This talk looks at what did and did not happen with them.

Sunday 27 November 2022

VCOW 2023


Virtual Conference Of Wargamers – February 2023


What is it?

When is it?

Where is it?

What will it cost me?


Following the success of similarly events in the past three years, VCOW is now an annual fixture in Wargame Developments’ calendar.  VCOW 2023 will take place over the weekend of 3-5 February.

VCOW has preciously featured participants from four continents and welcomed many new and returning members, many of whom had in the past been unable to share in the COW experience. 

VCOW is not a replacement for COW – the latter will take place as usual in July.

Attendance at VCOW is open to the following:

Members of Wargame Developments

Guests invited by WD members

Booking details will follow shortly. The cost will be £10 - the proceeds will be used to help defray the expenses of WD's online presence.

Sunday 10 April 2022

COW 2022 Update

 COW 2022 will not be held at Knuston Hall, which is closed until the autumn (details below).

The COW organisers are committed to holding a WD event this summer - either a VCOW over the weekend 8th - 10th July or a face to face COW at an alternative venue and possibly over a different weekend.

We hope to make an announcement at the end of this month.

The details from the Knuston Hall website and Facebook page are as follows: 

"Knuston Hall is currently closed and courses are cancelled until Autumn 2022.

The Council is reviewing operations, including looking at improvements to the facilities and safety upgrades.

We understand this will be disappointing for our customers and hope to conclude the review as quickly as possible.

In the meantime we are not taking any bookings for future courses and any monies paid for courses in the cancellation period will be refunded. We will not be transferring money to future courses.

We will be working through cancellations in date order and will be in touch with you regarding your booking.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience and disappointment this has caused."

Monday 13 December 2021

VCOW 2022 - booking deadline is 14 January!

 Next year's Virtual Conference of Wargamers will take place from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 February.

VCOW is a mix of games, presentations and discussions organised by Wargames Developments and run over Zoom.  It's open to WD members and guests. 
We're working up the programme and at present some of the highlights include:
David Isby, legendary SPI game designer,  expert on Afghanistan and colleague of Charlie Wilson
* degenerate art in the Third Reich 
* revolution in contemporary eastern Europe
* intrigue and diplomacy in the universe of Dune 
* Cluedo hostage rescue
Presentations and Workshops:
* wargaming the interwar years
* crossdressing cavaliers and transvestite troopers 
* virtual tour of Hiroshima 
* improving combat effectiveness 
* wargaming urban conflict
VCOW 2022 costs £5 to attend and you can reserve a place using PayPal - see the link to the right of this page.

The closing date for booking a place is Friday 14 January.

2024 Sheffield CALF

  Sheffield CALF – March 2024   What is it? When is it? Where is it? What will it cost me?                                      ...