Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wargaming Reenactments, Part 1

While I'm on my wargaming kick for this week, I'll throw in my couple cents on using reenactments as a wargaming medium. I've touched on ths subject before while discussing event scenario design and the use of fate cards. This is a type of event we really need to see more of in the hobby.

My only experience with a reenactment as an officiated (I prefer to use "gamed") event was Loudon Heights in 2005. The event was tough, but it did leave a lasting impression on me. It's well enough to know proper commands and drill to get you to a predetermined place at an event, but putting that knowledge to practical use for something as chaotic as a unscripted and fluid battle event is another thing all together. Loudon Heights proved that to be true many times over. It was the first event where I got lost and fell in with another unit in order to find my own was something (good) to be remembered.

I went to this event with another fellow, and our first impression was that we had to be mobile for the event - just carry what you could pack with you. Unfortunately, this was discarded in favor of semi-permanent camps because of the hotter than expected weather. This also adjusted the event hosts' plans for constant camp vigils, although you could still be captured being somewhere you're not supposed to be, like in the enemy camp or during a battle. Still, it was to be one of the tougher events that I had attended, apart from Saylor's Creek '84-'86.

The next day, we were all given a high-level description of the battle rules. It was going be a simple thing - referees dressed as civilians would be trailing the major formations. As the fighting progressed, one of the refs would give you a wound/death card (which is unlike a "fate" card) and just follow the directions. You could either be walking wounded, wound and immobile or dead.

The event started out at a run, and probably gave one the best view of how a battle really unfolded, along with the organized chaos, as opposed to a scripted event, where everything is nice, neat, and on time. During the first scenario, I pulled guard duty for the colonel and didn't get to see too much unfold. But I did manage to jump in with another unit who was assaulting from the heights overlooking the main battle area. The battle looked great. The battlelines engaged fell apart quickly as wounded melted away from the fight, as would be expected from the ranges engaged.

In the second scenario, my ticket came up quickly, as I my "nose" was shot off from a nearby artillery unit packing canister shot. The rest of the day involved some hard marching and skirimishing, as with Sunday morning to finish the event.

Continued in Part 2

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