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.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Virtual Conference of Wargamers 2022


Virtual Conference Of Wargamers – February 2022


What is it?

When is it?

Where is it?

What will it cost me?


The VCOWs in 2020 and 2021 were very successful. 

VCOW has 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. The post-VCOW participant’s survey revealed overwhelming support for the event and a desire to repeat the experience.

Because VCOW widened participation and encouraged many new members to join us; and that the events were so successful, the virtual committee has decided to host a similar VCOW event over the weekend of 4-6 February 2022.

VCOW2022 is not a replacement for COW. We are planning to hold COW as normal in July 2022. If circumstances make this impossible, we will look into running a second virtual event in the summer of 2022, however this is a backup plan only.

We look forward to seeing you all.   

Details of sessions available will be posted on this, the new WD blog and this will be updated as more information becomes available.

Attendance at VCOW is open to the following:

Members of Wargame Developments

Guests invited by WD members

The cost to attend is a mere £5 – the Paypal link can be found on the WD blog.

Numbers will be limited so book now to avoid disappointment!

Saturday, 13 March 2021


COW2021 2nd to 4th July 2021

In anticipation that Stage 3 of the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions will come into operation on 17th May, we have begun the process of planning for COW2021.

At present, the situation regarding what restrictions might be in place when Knuston Hall reopens is unclear, but rather than wait until 17th May to begin preparations for the conference, we are starting now. With this in mind, we would like to make the parameters we are working to as clear as possible.

  • All those who paid in full for COW2020 have had their bookings carried forward to COW2021. If you fall into this category, you do not need to book a place at COW2021 but it would be helpful if you could confirm that you still wish to attend by emailing Bob Cordery (using the email address on the back page of Nugget). If you wish to cancel your booking, please do so as soon as possible, again by emailing Bob and any money you have paid will be refunded to you.
  • It is not possible at present to take any further bookings for COW2021.
  • If you wish to offer a session for inclusion in the COW2021 programme, please could you contact Tim Gow (again, contact details are in Nugget) as soon as possible? He can then begin to plan the conference programme in anticipation that COW2021 will take place.
  • Any arrangements that we make will need to be flexible and may be subject to change at short notice. We have no control over the restrictions that Knuston Hall may need to operate under when they reopen, but rest assured that we will do our utmost to regularly update attendees.

Bob Cordery and Tim Gow

COW Co-ordinators

Friday, 12 February 2021

When the party's over - VCOW 2021 and beyond

VCOW 2021 took place on 5-7 February and appears to have been a considerable success.  Thanks to all of you who contributed to the weekend - and of course to the domestic authorities who facilitated our attendance and kept us fed and watered.

A survey will shortly be sent to attendees and feedback will be greatly appreciated.

So what's next?  We hope to have an announcement about COW in a couple of months and it is very likely that VCOW will (or has) become an annual event.

That's all for the moment - I will leave you with one of the more harrowing sights of the weekend!

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. ...