Tuesday, 29 June 2010
As some of you already know, Paddy Griffith's died recently. I can't say I was his best friend, or even a friend, but he was the most influential wargame writer I ever read, and I had the pleasure of playing in several of his games too. Paddy was a well know military historian who wrote extensively and taught at Sandhurst, here in England. I know him best as the editor of the Nugget, the house magazine for Wargame Developments, who also run a yearly Conference of Wargamers. The title of which alone speaks volumes for the groups' sense of humour.
I remember playing at the first CoW I attended in one of Paddy's games, called First Bombing Raid in History. I volunteered to be the Batman, which was fortunate for the pilot that I was accepted. Paddy had given players folding bicycles for them to ride, all folded up of course. Given I’m a keen bicycle enthusiast, a recalcitrant folding bicycle holds no horrors for me, so my fellow team member was able to take to the runway. The initial take-off was aborted, but fine-tuning allowed a successful second attempt to be made. Then flak fired at the bicycle/aircraft by having several boisterous lads throw Frisbees at the unsuspecting player. Much fun was had.
Another game by Paddy was a freestyle role-playing game called the Red Star Express where we had an hour (representing twenty hours) in which to drive our great workers’ express from Moscow to wherever the Revolutionary action was (I was too lowly to be told our destination). It was a miserable ride with the cook short rationing us and then ripping us off with over-priced vodka. As the track ganger my job became vital in overcoming the counter revolutionary forces that bedeviled our journey, and I can say with out doubt, or fear of contradiction, that I led the way in patriotic fervour and willingness to face action and do my job under any conditions (by keeping my character totally drunk on vodka). I was even wounded, by capitalist terrorist fire, but not a word of protest or anguish passed my lips as quietly I waited for medical aid (encouraged to scream my head off by the umpires), which I received from the hands of no lesser person than the Political Commissar (Bob Cordery I think).
A very busy man who had to keep an ever vigilant eye out for subversives and counter revolutionaries, his duties led him to re-educate several firemen who were sabotaging our noble cause. If more citizens were like this man then the Revolution would be assured and we would not have failed to reach our destination on time.
Another fun game that also managed to teach its participants about an obscure part of history. That was Paddy's greatest gift, he opened up people's minds to new ideas and ways of thinking.