For those of us labouring under the Covid-19 lockdown, Virtual Gaming has been an absolute boon, and the technologies, such as Zoom, Teams, Jitsi and others, are now part of our standard lexicon.
Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I have become a big fan of games from the Too Fat Lardies (TFL) stable, including Chain of Command, (WW2), Sharp Practice 2 (Black Powder), Dux Britanniarum (Arthurian Britain), and Infamy, Infamy (Romans vs 'barbarians'). In fact, thinking back, it must be nearly two years since I last played a non-'Lardy' game.
Since March 2020, the indefatigable Jeremy Short has organised a series of virtual gaming days. Where previously face to face TFL gaming days took place across the UK, rejoicing in titles such as 'Wor Lard' (Durham) or 'Deep Fried Lard' (Musselburgh), Clotted Lard (Exeter) and so on, nowadays a group of gamers get together via technology, and play out TFL games from the comfort of their own devices, with their tipple and snacks of choice in their own homes.
Virtual Lard 1 in June saw six hosts setting up tables and cameras to host players. Usually 2 players per side, games on offer included CoC, Dux, SP2 and Infamy. - games were run in morning and afternoon sessions so you could play CoC in the morning and SP2 in the afternoon. Afterwards a virtual pub was set up on Discord so participants and others could catch up and talk wargames and any other topic with other wargamers.
From small beginnings: that first Virtual Lard with six games has mushroomed and on Saturday 30 January 2021, there were (I think) 24 games on offer, around 180 'Lardies' online and a tremendous amount of fun for all.
Games were allocated via the Discord Channel:
And a Google sign up sheet, and were essentially filled within 15 minutes of the sign up being opened. There were a huge variety of games on offer, from Coastal Patrol to IABSM, and looking at photographs of the day, game hosts had really gone all out to put on truly excellent quality games, with showcase standard terrain and figures.
The other noticeable thing was how many countries were represented, from New Zealand to Newoundland, Ireland to Italy. In our afternoon game there were Italian, Belgian, Bavarian, myself and even a token Englishman.
Being well prepared I had signed up to two star games, in the morning Big Rich Clarke (one of the Lardies and wargaming superstar..) put on a game of Infamy - in which myself and Pierre-Yves as the Romans were to burn a rebellious Gallic village and return to camp.
|Zoom - a rogues gallery of players and two views of Rich's splendid table
Needless to say.. a less than stellar middle-game left us nowhere near the village and in danger of being overrun by masses of irate Gauls. A cracking game in which both sides were left with a Force Moral of 1, (0 is game over..) and awaiting the turn of the card to see who would get to inflict the final cut. Sadly for the Romans - it wasn't us and Centurion Chrismas Bonus will have to live to fight another day. (I'm comforted a little by learning the afternoon game saw the Romans massacred... obviously a completely unbalanced scenario in which we did well not to lose too badly 😀 )
In the afternoon a Chain of Command game hosted by Dom and the Boys in Bavaria, as we fended off 1st Para's attempt to push through to Arnhem Bridge on the first day of Operation Market Garden. Historically, we managed to keep them pinned down and the risk of history being rewritten was averted.
If you do get a chance to play at a Virtual Lard - or indeed any online gaming opportunity, grab it! It is surprisingly fun, satisfying, and the opportunity to play with folk from round the world is one real plus to how we wargamers have managed to stay sane during the pandemic.