RockyMountainNavy, 17 November 2022
In 1982 I was a young teenager and had been playing wargames for just a few years. It was also the early years of CNN and “live news.” The first real war I remember crossing those two together together was the Falklands War. I have long loved exploring the Falklands War and am always on the lookout for new wargames on the subject. I recently acquired Confrontation in the Falklands (1982): Wargaming Methods, Scenarios and Games Volume I by John Curry which was first published in July 2020 by The History of Wargaming Project (www.wargaming.co).[No, that is not a typo…it really is “.co”.]
Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) is a print-on-demand title available through Amazon, military booksellers, or direct from the publisher. It is an 84-page softcover, magazine-sized, dead tree publication.
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Like so many The History of Wargaming Project publications, Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) is a combination history and wargame rules. In this case there are four games included.
The first section of Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) is background and the history of wargaming associated with the conflict. Here one can read about “real” wargames (more like tabletop exercises – TTX) that were conducted by the British commanders during the war, and their experiences in professional wargames afterwards.
Of course, you can’t have a John Curry wargame discussion without a Matrix Game coming up. The first wargame in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) is, of course, the Matrix Game version of the conflict.
The second wargame in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) is much more in my personal wheelhouse. “Game #2: The Falklands War: Task Force Commander” is a multi-player solo affair where all the players are on the same side playing the senior officers of the British Task Force.
“Task Force Commander” is highly abstracted and come across more like a TTX than a hex & counter wargame. Appendix 1 of Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) does helpfully provide some unit markers if you don’t have minis of your own. (You can also look at Paper Force on wargamevault.com to see if their inexpensive print-n-play minis work for you.)
The third game in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) moves from the sea to the land in “Game #3: Battalion Commander.”
To be honest, “Battalion Commander” is more a staff planning exercise than a wargame. The maps and units are well suited to a TTX. That said, there are more than a few similarities between “Battalion Commander” and earlier editions of Admiralty Trilogy Group’s (ATG) War in the South Atlantic campaign book for Harpoon that included a ground combat module (dropped in the latest edition).
Game four in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) is recollections of a professional wargame that the great Paddy Griffith ran in 1984 for an unknown military UK defense sponsor looking at the potential for renewed conflict two years after the original conflict. It is not a complete wargame, being reassembled from notes and materials in the archives of The History of Wargaming Project, but does provide great insight into how Paddy Griffith designed his professional wargames.
While it is possible to “play” several of the wargames presented in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982), perhaps the best use of this product is background to help in running a campaign or games for a club or study group. It is interesting to compare the games in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) to other “campaign” wargame books like ATG’s War in the South Atlantic 3rd Edition (2022). ATG used their War in the South Atlantic to run a scenario at Historicon 2022. A write up of that event, found in the October 2022 edition of The Naval SITREP #63 from ATG, makes for an interesting comparison to the games found in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982). Most notably, War in the South Atlantic is much more “granular” as wargames in the Harpoon-series are wont to be, whereas the games in Confrontation in the Falklands (1982) are seemingly played at “higher” levels of abstraction.
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