And it's back to the trenches for me Posted on 13 Oct 07:38 , 4 comments

Well, back to the trenches for another day of combat. The guys are all deep in concentration, bent over their tables with the intense focus of a true war gamer.  As I introduce myself to more of the punters, it becomes apparent that one of the pre - requisites of coming to this conference is to be called Karsten/Carsten (depending on country).

So I start chatting to ... you guessed it, Karsten.  Let's call this guy Karsten the 1st of Hanover.

Now don't be fooled by the friendly easy going smile on Karsten 1's face, because behind that facade lies the shrewd and ruthless mind of the US Commander in Chief. 

Karsten 1 of Hanover is by all accounts an extremely good player, and in his spare time he manages to hold down a job as a maths, science and technology teacher, as well as being a family man, married to Ilona and with four beautiful children.

Next, I move on to talk to Carsten.  Let's call this one Carsten 2, of Denmark, who currently lives in exile in Sweden.

Carsten 2 tells me that has been playing the game for the last 23 years.  (I think to myself he must have started when he was a toddler - surely this guy can't be older than about 25).  He loves board games, but WiF is his favourite. He likes it because it has so many strategic and tactical decisions, there's so much planning, fiddling with numbers, and history involved. He's playing Germany, and it's a close game - which is good. He's probably played around 150 games in his life, and reckons he's won around 60 % of them (I'm sure he's modestly rounding down).  Favourite drink at the conference - Dunkel Beer.

Moving right along to the next Carsten, this time Carsten 3 of Copenhagen.

Carsten 3 from Copenhagen is playing the Commonwealth, and it's going well for him so far, although he claims the Russians are not doing well, and have left the building. This is his fifth Euro WIFcon, and he usually plays each Sunday at home, on Vassal. 

The next Carsten I speak to is from Stockholm, and he claims his name is actually Johan (but I have my doubts).  This is his 13th WIFcon, so he knows all the guys

pretty well. He doesn't play regularly at home, because he can't find enough players in Stockholm. So all you guys reading this in Stockholm, please contact Carsten (aka Johan) and start up a group.  I ask why he doesn't play on Vassal, and he explains that he prefers the real deal - the counters, maps and dice. I understand that; the game is so impressive all laid out that I'd prefer it this way too.

All this chatting to Carsten's has made me thirsty, so I venture into the kitchen to grab a drink.

Hmm, not so easy to find a clean glass here, maybe I'll leave it for a bit and go find another Carsten to talk to.

Now this is one cool dude.  Probably the coolest looking character here, he introduces himself as Christophe from Belgium.  No beer swilling from a can for this guy, instead, he's holding an elegant long stemmed glass and sipping fine red wine.  This is his 17th WIFcon, and he's playing the US.  At this stage he's feeling confident (and he certainly looks it - as he drags on his Cuban cigar).  One thing he loves about WIF is that you get to be in a war without killing anyone.  Good point, thanks Christophe.

I'm not having much luck finding other Carsten's to talk to for the moment, so I have a peep around at some of the tables

and I admire the beautifully laid out counters on the maps.  So neat, clean and precise.  A slight contrast to the kitchen ... but never mind, these guys clearly have more important things to concentrate on.

Next up is Björn from Berlin.  As well as apparently being an excellent player, Bjorn is a bit of a philosopher.  He explains to me how playing WIF has helped to shape his world view.

"In this game you have to make decisions with uncertain outcomes. Therefore I have to think about the possibilities and the risks and then make a decision with the best knowledge I have.  Now, afterwards, with a dice roll, that can either turn out to be a good or a bad decision, but I have to accept it because I made it with the best knowledge I had at the time.  So I've learned from the game not to blame myself when I make a bad decision in my life, I've learned to accept my decisions more, and gain more self acceptance. And a lot of people feel that they can't make choices in their lives, but we all have choices and I know I can change things in my life, I just have to think about the possible outcomes of my decisions. I just have to take my life into my own hands and say what do I want to do, what are the possibilities? And WIF has helped me to understand this. This is why it's also a great game for young people".  

Well said Björn.

Over and out from the front,

Cat <3