Game Report: Falklands War Matrix game.

Last week I got the chance to play in another Matrix game- this time a rerun of the Falklands War of 1982. Again it was with the group from the Sheffield Wargames club but with a suitable socially distanced format through Skype.

 

Matrix games are really all about structured discussion- state and action and an effect with three reasons why it will happen and then the umpire adjudicates and in this case tells you if you have succeded or not. You are not limited to just yourself and your forces you can try and have an effect on anything.

 

The game was for seven players, Thatcher and Admiral Woodward for the UK, President Reagan and General Haig for the US, Galtieri for the Argentinians, As well as Pinochet and the UN being played. Each player was given their own briefing in advance. I was given the role of President Reagan with the basic tasks of ensuring that the islands were returned to the UK and offering some support too.

 

I played quite aggressively; with the US as the preminent economic power house I made sure to funnel supplies to the Brits (I knew they’d need them) as well as trying to distract the Soviets with naval exercises in the Med, hopefully to stop them meddling. I also gave Pinochet some cash to run month long exercises with his armed forces to make sure the Argentines were distracted there too. Am pleased to say that the game followed the history fairly well with the Black Buck raids, Exocets and the eventual recapture of the Islands all happening in more or less the right order.

falklands matrix game

The game was great fun to play- a good chance to do a bit of roleplaying too. Can’t thank Tim enough for running the game and the other players for making it so much fun. The format of the game worked really well over Skype too. Tim just set the camera up at the representationmal map whilst we presented our arguements.

falklands matrix game 2

With a couple of matrix games under my belt I’mm eager to play another one.

 

You can find Tim’s reports on the game here and here. The scenario is considered a matrix game classic and has been well recieved by a wide vareity of players and organisations, it is available in this book.

Cheers,

Pete.

My First Matrix game. The Peninsular War 1808-1809.

Although I’ve read about them since the 1990s, and have reviewed books on them here I hadn’t managed to actually play one until quite recently.

Fortunately Tim invited me down to Sheffield to play in a game he was running, naturally I jumped at the chance. Although the period in question, Napoleonics, isn’t one I’m quite clue up on I thought I should be able to manage OK- besides my friend Jerry said he’d support me and team up.

For the uninitiated a matrix game is a game where by the players make arguments on the likely hood of how successful what they want to do will be (the original iteration of the game had a matrix of prompts to choose from hence the name). An umpire then decides the odds and you roll to see if it it is successful or not. The system, invented by Chris Engle, has been much developed over the years and is a go to tool for professional gamers. The scenario Tim had decided to run was an old one dating back to 1992, as such the system relied on the player stating and action with an intended outcome and three supporting reasons why it should happen, players were given prompt cards to help them think up supporting argument, we had to use one a turn ideally.

20190731_202020

I was given the role of Gen. Moore, who started in England and basically had to stop Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington) doing well. With a full set of players, 2 British, 2 Spanish, 3 French, and month long turns we covered a big chunk of game time.

20190731_210929

 

As I was familiar with the basic concepts I flatter myself that I picked it up fairly quickly. Most of my arguments consisted of trying to stymie Wellesley rather than doing much fighting of my own and carefully trying to manoeuvre my forces to walk in at the last moment to take Madrid. This would have worked apart from an abysmal dice throw which resulted in me getting lost on the way….

20190731_190156

All in all I really enjoyed the game- I can see the potential of the concept but also I can see how some people that I had spoken to previously didn’t like it. The game relies entirely on the skill, knowledge and judgement of the umpire; in this regard it is more akin to a tabletop RPG rather than a standard wargame. This means someone like me who only really has a rudimentary knowledge of the Peninsular War can take part in a way that I’d find difficult in a more conventional wargame. There are other versions of the game and more info can be found herehere and here.

Tim has done his own write up of the game here and Martin, another of the players has done his here.

I left the game thinking up my own scenarios and I hope to be able to have another crack at a Matrix game soon.

Cheers,

Pete.