SWA play by email game — Call for volunteers

By Paul Le Long

Inspired by Paddy Griffith’s “Sprawling Wargames” book, several of us have been discussing (on the blog and via email) the possibility of setting up a multi-player play by email game/campaign. Unfortunately, we all lack either the time and/or the expertise and experience in running such a game.

So would anyone like to volunteer to put on a game and run it?

There are plenty of willing players — me, George Arnold, Jonathan Aird, Mike Crane — would all participate. I’m sure others would too. There have been various suggestions about what period to play but the general feeling is that we would be happy with anything. George has run an ACW PBM in the past and is happy to share maps and advice on that if ACW was the decision, but as I say, we are happy to play anything. If this works out, there will be regular updates on the blog.

So, if you have an idea for a multi-player campaign and want to run that game, please step forward — your players await! Also if you want to participate, step forward.

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2 Responses to SWA play by email game — Call for volunteers

  1. Chris Hahn says:


    Excepting the early December 2012 review, I am not familiar with the referenced book. I am, like many others, much more familiar with the triple threat of lack of time, lack of experience, and especially in my case, lack of expertise.

    That much admitted, I confess that the idea of a play by electronic mail campaign does appeal.

    The May 1989 issue of MW (Miniature Wargames) contains a brief article on conducting a Zulu War campaign. Skimming this over 20 years old (yikes !) article, I was reminded of another colonial campaign report I had read wherein players were assigned roles of Prime Minister and members of his “cabinet.” In addition, there were assigned roles of the native factions – Zulus, Fuzzy-Wuzzies, Boxers, etc. As I recall, this produced some heated sessions among the cabinet, as arguments flew back and forth about the cost of waging war here and there.

    The September 1990 issue of this same publication contains “How to Run a Campaign,” by Gareth Harding. Interestingly, or perhaps as a warning, the author refers to the skill of running/overseeing the contest as “the subtle black art of umpiring.”

    More recently, the prolific Rick Priestley wrote about running a wargames campaign in the March and April 2011 issues of WI (Wargames Illustrated). He offers what might be called a Socratic analysis of the topic. He poses a number of questions and then offers answers, or at least his view on the answers.

    The questions are as follows:
    Who am I writing this for? (A question for the organizer or partnership running the campaign. Perhaps two heads would be better than one in this specific case?)
    How long will the campaign last?
    How do the players win?
    What is the role of participants?
    Is the game about the battles or the campaign?
    What is the scope of the games?
    How do we record progress?

    I think the prudent course would involve thought and discussion of these questions. This is a only a suggestion. I do not mean to “throw a wet blanket” onto the fired enthusiasm of those blog readers and contributors who are interested in the prospect of testing their skill against others. (Aside: Given that we are solo wargamers, I believe this qualifies as situational irony, does it not?)

    To reiterate: The prospect of a campaign is appealing. As I am putting together a very large battle set in ancient Babylonia, and have an idea to stage two more massive contests during the ancient period (the second will involve Sassanid Persians and the third will be modeled on the alternate history of A Very British Civil War, but will take place in Normandy during the 11th century), and as I have other commitments outside of the hobby – like everyone else, I am sure – I am not confident that I will be able to find/make the time to play. However, I do look forward to following developments.



  2. Sean says:

    I am surprised there hasn’t been more response to this. I think it is a great idea. I fear that I too do not have the experience or time to actually run a campaign but would love to learn about how to do so. I think narrowing down the theater and scope would be a start. I too am unfamiliar with the book mentioned and have no repository of back issues of magazines.

    In a nutshell, I’d like to help where I can, but not be responsible for the whole thing.



    PS – ACW really got my attention but the period or setting is not all that important.

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