Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

A Line Between Disorder & Order

by Jim Wallman


“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…”
Sun Tsu

Sunday 7 July saw a playtest of a game I’m working on that is for an icebreaker game for the Connections UK conference later this year.

  • This is a fast-play simple logistics-themed wargame

  • It is designed to be pick up and play with intuitive rules and short introduction time

  • A game should be playable in about 90 minutes.

  • Aim to provide an opportunity for players to interact, network and converse to provide an icebreaker activity.

Importantly this is not a simulation, the game’s main function is to encourage player interaction and to illustrate how logistics might be handled but in a highly simplified form.

The game is played on a very large (about 4m long) game board/map, with a kind of ‘train-set’ for moving cubes of various sorts produced at one end, and moved along Main Supply Routes to the front line which they are consumed by combat units in the front line.

The game board is divided up into sections, each of which is designed to have a number of players

  • Production – representing the Home base, and overseas suppliers, with production of key materials simplified into Fuel, Munitions and Equipment, and a Personnel pipeline to represent recruitment and training.

  • Logistics – representing moving items produced through a network of supply routes and supply hubs.  In the game there are ‘supply columns; represented by trays to place the cubes of various colours in.   There is, of course, never quite enough resources to move everything quite as far as one would wish.
  • Combat – the players on the front line decide whether they have the resources to attack (or not).  They can use artillery to degrade the enemy, or conduct counter-battery fires or even attack logistics nodes.  Combat is deliberately designed to be slow and attritional because the main focus of the game is the logistic process – the combat is there to consume resources and create logistical problems (rather than perhaps the other way about in a more conventional wargame).

Both sides in our imaginary conflict are represented – the Green side and the Purple side.  In this way the enemy has a vote and this hopefully creates more player engagement.  The Purple side has been made to be different in that it is an Expeditionary force – and so has to make decisions about transporting supplies and personnel by sea or air into the area of operations.

Also the game is supposed to be fairly fast play – taking around 15-20 minutes per game turn.  This has meant having to have very ‘step by step’ game rules that take players through the various simple game processes and procedures.  The session at CLWG was exceptionally helpful is identifying areas of the game guide that were a bit unclear at this stage.

In the playtest we took a fair bit longer than the ideal – the first turn taking about 45 minutes (but this being CLWG, there was inevitably a lot of discussion about the game itself!) but by the third turn we were down to 20 minutes – even with Mukul and Nick (who were on the same side) shouting recriminations at each other!

On the whole an extremely helpful playtest, even with it being sadly the last in-person meeting for Nick (who is moving to Spain) and Sophie (who is going home to the Netherlands).  Good luck to both of them and look forward to seeing them both on line as part of the CLWG Digital Diaspora!









Written by
Posts: 15

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.