Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wargaming Reenactments, Part 2

In Part 1, I wrote about my experiences with a refereed reenactment, Loudon Heights. In this post, I'll write about the pros and cons of doing events like this, and hopefully suggest things to do better the next time around.

To start off, I thought very well of my experiences at the Loudon Heights event. It was very worthy and different experience, especially in the light of the typical scripted events that predominate the hobby (which isn't a bad thing, just a little too common). The hosts did many things right, and for the type of event, it seemed to flow smoothly from a participant's aspect. To me, no part of the event went so wrong that I felt it must be discarded for me to enjoy. So, I'll point out what can be improved on as a "wargame" and what would be nice additions.

The list of improvements are short, but I feel important considerations for any kind of "gamed" event.
  1. Handling "wounded" and "dead" soldiers. One of the biggest problems with Loudon Heights was a reasonable method of cycling casualties out and then back into the scenario. If you were judged a casualty, especially walking wounded, you had to hike back your camp to be recycled. In all scenarios, that walk usually meant going through the enemy lines. Additionally, the walk was a good 10-15 minutes with tired feet. So by the time you arrived at camp, you were already cycled through. A better way of handling this situation is to assign a non-combat "medic" to serve as a roving rally point behind the appropriate units. The "medic" would keep track of blocks of time to keep and release casualties.
  2. Better rules for incorporating mounted cavalry and artillery into the scenario. Loudon Heights was blessed with an abundance of artillery and cavalry, but handling them in the context of a refereed event is problematic. In one instance, Federal cavalry slipped behind the Confederate infantry in what would have been a horrible cost to the horsemen in reality. But this is reenacting, and sometimes common sense is bent, and not in all good ways. With artillery, such is a grave matter of safety. You simply can't rush a loaded piece, let alone being in front of it at a distance.
  3. Make sure everyone is on the same page as quickly as possible. This suggestion can really apply to any reenactment, but with this sort of event, it's cruical. The catch to this event is that no one knew the exact rules, just what they were able to piece together from published event information and word-of-mouth. So there were questions on what the latest decision was to handle captures or how the event was going to be divided up scenario-wise.

1 comment:

Spiff said...

Nice couple of posts on wargaming or unscripted reenactments. I have always wanted to go to this type of event but have never been able to.