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Our KS Group and 2024

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Post  Martin Sun Aug 27, 2023 9:18 pm

Hi folks

After Covid hit we stopped running face-to-face games at Little Gaddesden, and have since been considering when to restart them.  During that time, there have been some developments, notably the emergence of Tabletop Simulator (TTS), and the success of our chums in the International Kriegsspiel Society (IKS) in bringing Kriegsspiel type games to a wider audience using that app.

This has led us to reviewing how we should move forward as a group.  We have not reached any final decisions, but our thoughts are beginning to crystallise, and we thought we'd share our current thinking.

The shape of things to come??

We all enjoy getting together for face-to-face games, and indeed find them superior to online games for some types of scenario.  We are very pleased that, in our recent polling among some frequent players, there is still a strong interest in this type of game.

That said, for convenience, cost, and involving folks in other parts of the UK and overseas, online games have a lot to offer.  So whilst face-to-face will still feature in 2024, there is likely to be a shift towards online games.

We are hoping that offering a mix of game types (all of which we enjoy) will lead to folks trying the different types of game available.  All games will be run at the weekend.

We have traditionally run 3 games in each of spring and autumn, and we hope to go back to that in 2024.  Starting in spring we will provisionally stage the following games:

  • One face-to-face game

  • One online map game using TTS

  • One online 'real time' game using Scourge of War

For more details on each see below.

Face-to-face games at Little Gaddesden

As ever, our games will feature a high ratio of umpires to players.  This is primarily to keep games moving at speed.  Including debrief, games will last approximately c5.5 hrs.

The range of topics will be wide, and sometimes extend beyond the purely military, featuring politics diplomacy and negotiation.  We feel these work better face-to-face.

An increase in hall hiring costs in recent years has caused us to look again at costs.  We have been charging just £5 per game for over 15 years, and that is no longer sustainable, so there will have to be an increase.  Currently we are looking to raise this to £10 as the hall fees have more than doubled.

Online map Kriegsspiels using TTS

The recent polling also indicated an interest in us running online map games using TTS.  This will allow us to include longtime friends based outside the UK for the first time.  We have already done some work on this, and will probably run a few games next year.

We are fortunate to include in our ranks a number of folks with IKS experience.  As with our face-to-face games, we will operate with a high ratio of umpires to players.  At least initially, we are not looking to run large games - probably no more than a dozen participants, including umpires.  Games will last about as long as our face-to-face games.

These will be similar in length and structure to those we run face-to-face at Little Gaddesden, but they may be more focused on military aspects, as this plays to TTS's strengths.  

Our KS Group and 2024 Tts_sc10

                                                              A surprise French advance seizes the ungarrisoned Metz fortress

Online real-time Kriegsspiels using Scourge of War (SOW)

Scourge of War is a series of commercial PC games by Norbsoft.  There are 2 games in the stable.  The ACW version was released as long ago as 2010, and a Napoleonic version followed in 2015.  SOW is far and away the closest commercial game to a map kriegsspiel, and in some ways has advantages over it.  As with TTS we can include players from outside the UK.  There is no need for an umpire team, and the AI plays any officer not played by a human.  There is no downtime, results tend to be quite historical, and (especially with mods) it looks damnably fine.

Overall, these games provide a terrific and immersive experience.  A small group of us has been playing SOW one evening per week for several years.  We play several period-specific mods which have been developed for the game, featuring historical battlefields, flags and sprites.  We even have a bespoke Reisswitz mod (see screenshot below)!  We hope to run some larger weekend games in 2024.  

There are two significant downsides however.

Following the end of the commercial arrangement between the designer and Matrix games, the games cannot currently be purchased.  Nevertheless we are aware that many forum members already own one or both games, and Matrix have committed to provide owners with unlimited downloads in perpetuity.  The other major downside is that the games require a stable internet connection.  In the earlier ACW version, this situation is compounded by the fact that there is no restart mechanism for multiplayer games.  The later Napoleonic version can be restarted, but the method is convoluted.  In this respect the games are not state of the art.

The Norbsoft team are currently working to improve the game, and hope to have an updated version for sale before too long.  We have been invited to contribute to this process.  One of our first proposals is that improvements are made to stability, and that a simple restart mechanism will be included.  We are pleased to report that the development team have fully taken this on board.

Our KS Group and 2024 Sow_sc10

                                               A Red battalion prepares to occupy Kippringen while the army command staff observes


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Post  Martin Sat Nov 04, 2023 7:59 pm

Hi folks

Here is an update on where we are re next year's 'spring' schedule.........

1. Tabletop Simulator (TTS) online games

We're making good progress here.  We have a further small practice game booked for later this month.  The main purpose of that is to recruit some new players as umpires.  They are already very experienced IKS umpires, and will no doubt give us some helpful feedback on our planned approach as well.

With a larger contingent of umpires, we will be well-placed to run a bigger game next year.  Like our face-to-face games, these scenarios will feature briefings and a chain-of-command.  Scenario length probably 5 hrs.

Overseas players welcome.

2. Scourge of War (SOW) online games

A small group of us have been playing SOW regularly for some years on on a Thursday evening.  The plan is run somewhat larger and longer games on a weekend.  The current intention is to run scenarios with up to 8 players.  Usual briefings etc.  Scenario length probably 4 hrs, as opposed to 3 hrs for our evening games.

Although the Scourge of War games are no longer on sale, we believe that a considerable number of forum members own one or both.  We normally mostly play the Gettysburg version btw, mainly because it's easier to mod than Waterloo.

If you have SOW:Gettysburg (and would like to play), the first step will be to invite you to play one of our weekly games, so we can get you up to speed on the mods we have developed.  If you're interested please complete this Xoyondo poll............

Overseas players welcome.

3. Face-to-face games at Little Gaddesden

As previously posted, we plan to recommence our Little Gaddesden games next spring.  We now have a tried and tested approach for these so, by and large, work will be limited to scenario preparation.

Unlike the online games, there are few technical limitations on numbers, so our games at LG will probably be somewhat larger, which will also help to spread the cost of hall-hire.  These are the only games for which we make a charge btw.  Scenario length probably 5 hrs

4. 2024 game schedule & topics

At the moment we don't have specific dates for our three spring 2024 games.  The current intention is that the face-to face game will the last of the three, so the chances of it being disrupted by bad weather or flu/covid is minimised.  The tentative schedule is therefore as follows:

* March: Tabletop Simulator (Napoleonic or ACW grand tactical)

* April: Scourge of War (ACW or Reisswitz corps or division-level)

* May: Face-to-face (30 Yrs War strategic, with quick battle module), followed by club AGM

Martin J

PS if you have any questions, please do feel free to post here


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Post  Martin Sun Nov 19, 2023 8:39 pm

I'm pleased to say we have several new volunteers to play SOW:GB, even if not all of them have yet completed the poll  Surprised

Although we've hit our provisional target number of players, that's no big deal, so we'll keep the poll open for the time-being.  A reminder that overseas players are welcome.

We will shortly be emailing those who've already registered their interest re the next steps.  As previously mentioned, that will normally involve joining our small Thursday evening sessions first, so they can get to grips with the game set-up and controls.  When we start larger weekend games in 2024 everyone will thus be in synch.

For anyone who hasn't played with us before, please note that all of our games - whether face-to-face or online - are played in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.  Scenarios are designed to represent military situations, and occasionally sides are therefore quite unbalanced.  Often we will play cooperatively against the game's AI.  If you are a highly competitive gamer, this may not appeal to you, but for your average kriegsspiel type, it's a heap of fun.

Martin J


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Post  Martin Sat Dec 02, 2023 6:11 pm

A big welcome to Damon M and AP514.  Thanks for completing the Xoyondo SOW games poll.

I don't *think* I know either of you.  Apologies if I do!  

Can you please PM me with your email and full name, so I can add you to our circulation list.

Martin J


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Post  Martin Wed Feb 14, 2024 9:20 pm

Hi folks

Here's an update on our spring schedule:

1. TTS map game on Sat 9 March at 1 pm (UK time) 

We have decided to make this another trial game, for a small number of players, as we are still getting used to the vagaries of the app.  We are fortunate to have recruited to the umpire team one of our pals in the IKS who has a wealth of experience with TTS.

This Napoleonic game set in 1811 central Europe is operational in scale with most units being combined-arms corps, plus a number of smaller cavalry corps.  Players will typically command armies of several corps. 

We are not looking for any more players for this one, but aim to start running larger games in the autumn, which will be open to all.

2. SOW game on Saturday 6 April at 1 pm (UK time) 

We have recently doubled our pool of SOW players, and are in the latter stages of getting them up to speed with the VPN we use, plus our bespoke mods, which improve both gameplay and the look of the game.

This ACW game is set west of the Mississippi in 1862 is grand-tactical in scale, and features recce and manoeuvre as well as battle.  Players will typically command a division.

As previously mentioned, although we've hit our provisional target number of players, we'll keep the poll open for the time-being for future games.  The game is not on sale atm, but if you already have it, and would like to play, please complete it.  A reminder that overseas players are welcome.

3. May face-to-face game at Little Gaddesden 

Apologies to all who've expressed interest but, due to family health issues, it has been necessary to postpone this one until September.  It will be the first game of our Autumn schedule however.

This is currently projected to be ECW campaign, with a high-tension quick-play module to cover any battles which arise.

After the September game, we will hold our long-delayed club AGM.

If anyone has any questions on the above, please post.

Martin (J)


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