Connections UK 2023
In 2023, Connections UK, the conference for wargaming professionals, was held at Sandhurst Military Academy on 5-7 September.
Due to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, this was the first time I was able to attend. Needless to say, I was as excited to see and explore the building as I was to listen and participate in the events.
Jim Wallman had planned and designed a ‘wargame about wargaming’ as an introduction and an icebreaker on the first day. With about 250 participants, Jim was the game manager of three games running simultaneously for the first day. Each game had a suitably qualified expert person and expert game control supported by teams of controls (including yours truly).
Jim introduced the game at the beginning of the day, answered questions then we all headed to our respective game locations. I was very pleased to be in the Indian Room, no doubt because I know people in high places (thanks Jim). I also had a fair interest in the room as the great-great-granddaughter of Robert Nott, who joined the Royal Artillery in 1856 at the age of 19. He was posted to Lucknow, India, in time for the Indian Mutiny (1857-1858) then to Barrackpore, where, in 1875, he received the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal as Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, Royal Artillery 16th Brigade.
As with most large-scale games of this sort, people started tentatively, but having got through the first round were off and running.
One young woman said how much she learned from the game. Usually working at the lower ends of the department, she now had a better understanding of what was happening higher up the ladder.
It seemed to me that the game worked at several levels. Yes, people met other people who then were familiar faces to engage with throughout the conference. As with the young woman, participants gained a better idea of the business side of wargaming rather than just the game design component.
You can find out more about the programme for the three days HERE.