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ConsimWorld Expo Prep: Psyching Up For Gettysburg

posted Aug 16, 2012, 10:40 PM by Douglas Sun
Originally posted: May 19, 2009

Next week, I’ll be in Tempe attending the ConsimWorld Expo wargaming convention for the very first time. All of my wargaming buddies who have been recommend the experience highly, but I was not prepared for the flurry of emails that come your way the week before the con laying the groundwork for that which is to come.

Part of it is organizer John Kranz’s intense conscientiousness about letting you know what to expect, especially if you’ve never been before. But part of it seems to lie in CSW Expo’s origins as Monster Con, a convention specifically designed to allow people to play through those large-scale wargames that fascinate you, but which you never have the time, the people or the space to play. That’s why CSW Expo is five days long. 

As much as I love to dabble at conventions, I decided to honor CSW Expo’s Monster Con heritage and signed up for a go at GMT’s Three Days of Gettysburg. So I’ve gotten some emails in the last day or so from Rob Vaughn, who volunteered to set up and coordinate the 3DoG game. Mostly, he talks about procedural rules about how the teams will be organized, which optional rules will be in effect, and so on. All stuff that’s good to know in advance.

This passage also struck me:

“About six weeks ago Tom K and I played this game with 6 players. We played from Friday at noon until Saturday around 2 AM. ( 20 hours of real time playing). We were able to make it to noon on the 2nd Day, with the Union holding, but the main Confederate attack about to begin. With our group next week, I anticipate getting to at least 10 AM on the 3rd Day, or even completion, if we stay at it.”

If I’m reading this correctly, that would suggest an estimate of three days and change to simulate a battle that lasted three days, if we don’t shilly-shally. Not too bad, but it still put me in mind of something that Shelby Foote wrote as an afterword to his magisterial history of the Civil War: “... in response to complaints that it took me five times longer to write the war than the participants to fight it, I would point out that there were a good many more of them than there was of me.”