1. Operation Market Garden 2004

  • Organiser: Megagames Nederland
  • Date: April 3, 2004
  • Location: somewhere in Nijmegen
  • Role: Allied Air Ops

My very first megagame (little was I to know...)

Yes, the circus was in town and I got my first taste of megagaming. I remember having a pre-planning meeting some days earlier, to work out the drop zones and air transport routes; that was quite fun already, but of course then I learned a hard lesson about megagames when we more or less threw that plan out of the window at the start of the game (unfortunately my commander had not been at the planning meeting!).

Otherwise I remember a lot of order writing, being under an incredible amount of time pressure (in other words, par for the course in an operational megagame), and the Allied Air Force's greatest moment when we unleashed an entire USAAF bombing group on the ferry at Pannerden. To be fair, we did destroy the ferry, but we also flooded the polder around the ferry. My ancestors were probably turning in their graves.

(I took a better look at the cast list (still online, of course) for this and see that our team control was the late and very much missed Frank van den Bergh. How could I pssibly forget that?)

2. Breakthrough 1940

  • Organiser: Megagames Nederland
  • Date: April 25, 2009
  • Location: Liefland College, Utrecht
  • Role: French 7th Army Ops

The megagame I probably would have designed myself had Jim not already taken care of it.

I remember this as a very quiet game. The 7th Army dug in without problems behind the Meuse between Namur and the French border, awaited the arrival of the Germans and beat off some disorganised attacks without any problem. I think we even got an attack of our own in.

And then, of course, we got out of the way of an enormous combined arms group the French High Command had been carefully putting together. One of the high points of the game for me was Niek van Diepen (the French CinC) boasting of inventing 'guerre de choc combiné' (i.e. Blitzkrieg) in the post-game debrief. Also the fact that the Germans didn't manage to get through at the Grebbeberg-the Dutch Army in 1940 really sucks, but attacking there with an armoured division really isn't the best of ideas.

On a personal note, the other player on my team was German, so we had fun speaking German (sort of an anti-role-playing exercise). I also seem to remember our liaison umpire was Dave Boundy, always a pleasant experience.

Still one of my favourite megagames.

3. De Bello Gallico (Megagames Nederland)

  • Organiser: Megagames Nederland
  • Date: March 13, 2010
  • Location Liefland College, Utrecht
  • Role: Aedui? Can't quite remember

This game distinguishes itself by being the only one in which I saw Jim Wallman as a player (a Gallic bard, of all things...).

It was a good one: lots of roleplaying, I think I fought a few duels and eating drop was a game mechanism. Shame we all got crushed by Caesar's Roman army in the end, but you know, you win some...

4. War in the West

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: May 8, 2010
  • Location: Duke of York Military School, Dover
  • Role: French 7th Army Commander

My first megagame with Megagame Makers, and my first megagame in the UK. I travelled in style: took my beloved folding bike on the train from Paris to Calais, then on the ferry (what a proud moment that was - I even got to cycle into the belly of the beast before all the cars) and then up the White Cliffs (not quite as much fun as I'd hoped) to the Military School.

Again it was the Battle of France, and this time I even commanded it. I can't quite remember how it all turned out this time: a lot of fighting in Belgium and Northern France, but I think the Germans got more or less bogged down in the end. Which is, of course, still much better than the historical result.

5. Operation Goodwood

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: May 14, 2011
  • Location: Anerley Town hall
  • Role: 1st SS Panzer Division Ops

First megagame in Anerley. Quite a good one too. I think I'd asked for a role on the Allied side, but being on the German side makes for a good game too: the lesson to take away is that there is fun to be had in fighting a retreat.

6. Operation Goodwood 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: October 8, 2011
  • Location: Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • Role: Guards Armoured Division Team Control

Given the date, I can reconstruct that this must be the one that is my most expensive megagame ever: train from Bologna to Mestre, bus to the airport, plane from Venice to Bradford, another bus, hotel, Armouries, and then the train to London and a flight back from Gatwick. All worth it, of course. Plus, as Control I didn't have to pay the full fee, so it all balanced out.

For all that it's my first control role, I can't actually remember much about this game. I still have a vague remembrance of an attack somewhere near the end going really well, but otherwise I'm drawing a blank.

7. Operation Barbarossa

  • Organiser: Megagames Nederland
  • Date: May 26, 2012
  • Location: Activiteitencentrum Doddendaal, Nijmegen
  • Role: Commander, Odessa Military District, later Stavka

Ah, yes, this one. I think this was the first megagame I specially bought a T-shirt for. Still have it, actually, but since it says "I <hammer and sickle> CCCP" I don't wear it very often...

The game itself was quite fun. I remember a tactical withdrawal to the Dniepr or the Dniestr or some such river and then slaughtering a lot of Romanians as they tried to cross. We then had to withdraw a bit more to keep up with our neighbours, who weren't doing so well...

And then I got promoted to Stavka, or the Soviet High Command. I think we were just plotting a counterattack around Leningrad when the game ended.

8. End of the Beginning

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: October 20, 2012
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: British XIII Corps Ops

Looking at the date on some of these things is enlightening. This was my first megagame as a UK resident, exactly 12 days after moving to this sceptred isle. I can, of course, stop doing megagames any time I want.

Another game where I remember our part of the battle being fairly quiet. XIII Corps is on the south part of the battlefield, and most of the action was going on in the north. I think we did tussle a bit with some Italians, and we may have had a breakthrough in the end with our light armoured division or some such.

We got to fight the "Bologna" Division as well. I may have pointed this out to my teammates several times too many.

9. Urban Nightmare 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: November 17, 2012
  • Location: Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • Role: National Guard Control

In for a penny...certainly travelling to Leeds from London is a lot easier than doing it from Bologna.

I remember this game being a very stressful Control experience, mainly because there was so much to do and it was hard to keep up with events and updates. Not sure how much of that the players noticed...

10. Crisis in Binni 3

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: June 1, 2013
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: UN Control

This game, I seem to remember, was originally to have been Pete Merritt's game on the Balkan Wars, until unfortunate circumstances intervened.

The replacement game was very entertaining, though. I think I had to impersonate the US President at some point, and I also distinctly remember John Powney walking around with a skull on his beret (well, he was a warlord, after all).

11. Master of Europe IV

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: September 21, 2013
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Marshall Oudinot (Army of Berlin)

Ah yes, that game. The one where I learned that war is hard. Trying to coordinate three armies when you're only allowed to communicate via notes is not easy to do!

We duly got crushed by the allies (not helped by the fact that I was too cautious, otherwise we could have pushed our cavalry into Berlin and burned a huge amount of Allied supplies), and I had a cordial (ahem) meeting with Rob "Napoleon" Cooper and was transferred to the south, where we were also being crushed by superior numbers before I had to leave to go attend a conference.

All in all not my most successful command, but there was the compensation of seeing Tim Campbell in his natural habitat: a crazy fire-eating monarch of some German state or other. Good times.

12. Alea Iacta Est Iterum

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: November 9, 2013
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Mark Antony

Still not quite sure why, but this is probably the megagame I enjoyed least of all.

Possibly my expectations were too high-I'd devoured Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series and was really looking forward to playing a megagame on that subject.

In the event, I made a few bad decisions, narrowly lost an election for praetor and then never really got back into the game. I think the game was actually pretty good, I just didn't manage to engage with it very much.

13. Price of Victory 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: February 15, 2014
  • Location: Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • Role: British XV Corps Commander

The first megagame (maybe the clue is in the number) I actually had to look up, because for the life of me I could not remember what it was about. Luckily the Internet never forgets anything.

So, a game on the Battle of the Somme. I remember flashes now, and it was a good game. I seem to remember the teamwork was nice on this one. Sitting behind a table and letting your teammate do the actual legwork is always a good role to have.

14. Renaissance & Reformation 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: March 8, 2014
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Map Control

Was this the one where Catherine of Aragon tragically and totally non-pushedly fell down some stairs?

(Thanks to Tim Hall jogging my memory, I now remember a bit more about this game I was controlling the Balkans, where quite a lot was happening. Also Andrew Hadley's hat.)

15. Watch the Skies!

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: May 17, 2014
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Map Control

The one that changed everything...

Of course this one we all remember, and if there are any lacunae in my memory I can always just look at the SU&SD video again. (I can only apologise for the accent.)

More substantially, I was rather proud of that whole Mount Ararat thing I'd made up. Also remember this as being the game where Becky Ladley more or less invented the press role.

16. Iron Dice

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: September 20, 2014
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Joffre (French CinC)

I got to be Joffre! God, that was hard. Subordinates not listening to me (and then winning their battles and interrupting the German advance, so I then had to give them medals to boot), trying to conjure extra armies out of nowhere, trying to figure out what the hell was going on...

(Sorry to all those players whose teams I rearranged. It was good to see the Belgians do well though.)

17. Of Gods and Men 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: October 11, 2014
  • Location: Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • Role: Arkadia Team Control

One of the weirdest, and most pleasurable, games I have been involved in.

High points: well, John Moley, obviously, in the role he was born to play; the most wonderful mechanic ever where the Holy Trinity really becomes a thing; and generally getting to play in the Bronze Age, though with a slight regret that Linear B wasn't involved.

18. Funeral Games 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: November 22, 2014
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Leonnatus

Another firm favourite. Especially since I managed to become Regent of Macedonia and sire the heir of Alexander without really having any plan whatsoever (James Kemp dying at the right moment certainly helped a lot!). I think Matthew Bambridge spent the entire game trying to stab me in the back without ever really managing to.

19. Watch the Skies 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: March 21, 2015
  • Location: Camden Centre
  • Role: Alien Control

Yup, I was there too. This, to me, was the most enjoyable of the big WTS games. Not only because it was all still quite new, but also because it's fun playing alien control where you basically have your own game up there on the balcony.

An awful lot of running through corridors and climbing stairs was involved, though.

What also makes this game special to me is that I had to stop umpiring for an hour or two to be a First Aider to some of the players. (More or less successfully too, which is why it's so special.)

20. D-Day Dodgers

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: April 18, 2015
  • Location: Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • Role: Air Control

I remember this game. No clue what actually happened (I think the Germans got beaten quite badly, but I'm not quite sure anymore) but I have to commend the Italian team for wearing the original Bersaglieri hats. And for switching sides to the Good team, of course.

21. A New Age Dawns

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: May 9, 2015
  • Location: Senate House
  • Role: Holy Roman Empire Team Control

I think in this game the Holy Roman Empire was in grave danger of total annihilation, and we actually had to intervene as Control to stop that from happening. I also seem to remember a good discussion in the pub afterwards.

22. Don't Panic

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: June 13, 2015
  • Location: The Abbey Centre, London
  • Role: Air Control

I loved this venue. Also the first megagame where I could actually see my house on the map (well, technically that was the case in Operation Market Garden too, back in 2004, but the scale was a lot larger there).

I also remember a big air battle at some point. Hazy on the details, though (and on more or less everything else...)

23. Watch the Skies 3

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: July 11, 2015
  • Location: Camden Centre
  • Role: Europe Region Control

I'm not sure what actually happened in this one. It was nice enough controlling Europe (with Andrew Hadley), though I think very little went on on our map. It's all a bit of a blur, to be honest - these 300-player games really are a lot of effort.

24. City of Shadows

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: September 12, 2015
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Map Control

There were maps. And evil scientists. And superheroes. Other than that I don't remember much.

25. A New Age Dawns 2

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: October 17, 2015
  • Location: Royal Armouries, Leeds
  • Role: Holy Roman Empire Team Control

I don't remember anything about this game.

Though looking at the date, this was the game after which I apparently came quite close to death at the hands of Tim C. A really good story, that. Worthy of a silver jubilee megagame.

26. Washington Conference 4

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: October 31, 2015
  • Location: Anerley Methodist Church Hall
  • Role: Japan Team Control

An excellent game, with a great Japan team. The stalling tactics on armament were superb.

I was slightly miffed that I had to go around the venue and turn all Dutch flags the right way up before the game, though. Shame on you, Dave.

27. Dreams of Empire

  • Organiser: Cambridge Megagames
  • Date: November 7, 2015
  • Location: St Andrew's Street Baptist Church, Cambridge
  • Role: French Foreign Minister

One of the more experimental games I went to. Fin-de-siècle steampunk.

I did enjoy playing to more or less every French stereotype though, and channeling my inner Charles de Gaulle. I think I even wore a beret.

28. Rampjaar 1672

  • Organiser: Megagames Nederland
  • Date: February 13, 2016
  • Location: De Ark van Oost, Nijmegen
  • Role: Game Control

So yeah, the one I designed myself. Mixed feelings about this one.

To start with, everyone seemed to have fun, but there were some unforeseen interactions in the game that made the Holland team much weaker than intended (rather the opposite than was the case historically). Some of the mechanics also need updating, specifically the budget and the States General.

On the whole a reasonably okay game about a very interesting period in Dutch history. I'm not a fan of rerunning games, in general, but this game I think could do with a rerun with updated mechanics.

29. Very British Civil War

  • Organiser: Pennine Megagames
  • Date: February 27, 2016
  • Location: St. Thomas Centre, Manchester
  • Role: Anglican Archdeacon in Cheshire

So there was one I forgot the first time around...and a great one it was. This was actually the only game I properly dressed up for (dog collar and all). I looked very much at home in that collar, apparently - I must have missed my calling. (Now for a game where I can wear my academic robe...)

This was a wonderful game. I got to team up with Dave Boundy again (for the first half of the game anyway, until he was promoted to the Archbishopric of York) and we basically ran Chester and the Wirral after a few turns. We tried to ally ourselves with the Socialists across the Mersey, but they didn't seem too interested, so we just consolidated and sent our military units away to help out, I think near Manchester.

30. Watch the Skies 4

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: March 1, 2016
  • Location: Camden Centre
  • Role: Alien Control

Can't remember much about this one, to be honest. I'm glad we're not doing those really enormous games any more.

31. Urban Nightmare

  • Organiser: Megagames Belgium
  • Date: March 26, 2016
  • Location: De Spreeuwen, Mechelen
  • Role: no idea

A megagame in Belgium? I had to be there!

I don't remember much about the game (did I control something, or did I play? Pieter, you must remember...)

This game was just after the attacks in Brussels and in the beginning it was not even clear if it could go on, or if I could actually get to Belgium. But all worked out in the end (I did share my train with a very loud, boisterous and insensitive British stag party, but that's probably a pleonasm) and it was a nice occasion. Including the pub afterwards, of course, this was Belgium, after all.

32. Guelphs and Ghibellines

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: June 4, 2016
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Game Control

The low point of my megagame career.

Severely underestimating my own talent for procrastination, I started way too late on getting the game materials ready and it showed.

In the end, a sort of game emerged and I think most people had a reasonably good time (mostly thanks to the sterling efforts of the control team), but this was not my finest hour by a long shot.

33. The Spanish Road

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: July 16, 2016
  • Location: The Bedford, Balham
  • Role: Henry of Navarre

I've read a lot of novels by Alexandre Dumas and therefore I just had to play le bon roi Henri. I planned to say 'ventre-saint-gris' and 'par le carpedious' a lot, but in the end I don't think I managed even one.

The French Protestants did well in the game, managing to make France more tolerant, though we had a 'history comes back to bite us in the posterior' moment where we thought we'd eliminated all of Henry II's sons, but then realised we'd forgotten the Duc d'Anjou, who of course historically goes to the Netherlands, gets nothing done and dies at the opportune moment. But in the game he was still alive...So I didn't get to be King after all. Still an excellent game.

34. Dungeons of Yendor

  • Organiser: Pennine Megagames
  • Date: August 20, 2016
  • Location: St. Thomas Centre, Manchester
  • Role: Control?

Was I controlling the Orcs here? I can't quite remember. I'm not even sure if this was my first game with Pennine Megagames (update: no, that was A Very British Civil War). But a good time was had by all, that I can remember.

35. Not Over By Christmas

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: September 10, 2016
  • Location: The Bedford, Balham
  • Role: French Chief of Staff

The one where we nuked Germany.

We had a good French team here, even though the French First Army (a slightly overinflated name for a formation of corps strength) didn't really do much beyond driving from the Rhine to somewhere around Frankfurt.

Well, that, and dropping a nuke on Germany. Of course I was totally unaware, and I've been told my face when someone finally got around to putting me in the loop was a sight to behold. I later texted my partner (who is from Germany, but decidedly not from the south) and the response was "It's Bavaria, who cares?".

I did get to wear a képi for this one (an old Foreign Legion one - a proper one would have been light blue, I think). I'd spent the day before visiting a lot of arts and crafts stores in search of some stars to attach to it (what grade is an Army CoS anyway? Général de Division? Général de Corps d'Armée?) but to no avail. I have to tip the aforementioned képi to the gentlemen of the British Army of the Rhine, though, who more or less turned up in full kit. Reliving their young-adulthoods, no doubt.

36. Sengoku

  • Organiser: Megagames Belgium
  • Date: September 24, 2016
  • Location: GC de Linde, Haren
  • Role: Bakufu

The first time I'd actually managed to play Sengoku. Had a great time running the Bakufu with Dave Boundy (we managed to hide the young Shogun for long enough that he actually had a fighting chance at gaining power, as I remember). And bowing to people. There was a lot of bowing involved.

37. Chosin Few

  • Organiser: Pennine Megagames
  • Date: October 15, 2016
  • Location: Leeds
  • Role: CO 1st Marine Division

A game where maybe we didn't quite do as well as historically. Still, we all had fun, we managed to hold out very well around the Chosin Reservoir - we just found that the Koreans had cut off our retreat slightly. I think the game ended before things got really serious, though.

Quite an enjoyable game. There is a certain pattern developing here, though (see Iron Dice): whenever I'm in charge, things go wrong. People casting in the future, take note.

38. Everybody Dies

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: November 12, 2016
  • Location: Student Central, University of London
  • Role: Vale Control

I don't remember a whole lot about this game, I have to say. I think our area was fairly quiet, but people had fun and I think the game ran fairly smoothly.

39. Foxes and Devils

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: April 8, 2017
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Religious Control

Don't remember much about this one either. How does one control religion, anyway?

40. Everybody Dies Harder

  • Organiser: Pennine Megagames
  • Date: April 22, 2017
  • Location: St. Thomas Centre, Manchester
  • Role: Crownlands Control

I remember a bit more about this one than I do about its predecessor, mainly because I had a lot more to do. Stuff certainly happened in the Crownlands (I remember something about an execution going horribly wrong when the condemned refused to stay dead.)

41. Barricades and Borders

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: June 3, 2017
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Hesseburg Control

Alan Ford in a Pickelhaube. Apart from that I remember virtually nothing.

42. Urban Nightmare: State of Chaos

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers (et al.)
  • Date: July 1, 2017
  • Location: Swan Wharf, London
  • Role: Mishigamaa WAMCOM

Another one of those enormous games. It certainly was an interesting experience, though as WAMCOM I was mostly involved in communicating with the other megagames and didn't get much of a feel for what was happening in the actual megagame running around me.

Still, you know, I can tell my grandchildren I was part of it. (Incidentally, this was my last game before the twins were born, which explains the longer gaps between games after this...)

43. Still Not Over By Christmas

  • Organiser: Pennine Megagames
  • Date: September 23, 2017
  • Location: Endcliffe Hall, Sheffield
  • Role: Dutch Army Corps Ops

Forty-three megagames and finally I get to play someone Dutch. To be fair, I'd tried to avoid that as much as possible (even in this game, I'd actually asked for a German corps, but obviously the powers that be up north have me pigeonholed), but it was great fun. Of course I went full orange, and was duly rewarded with a game in which the Dutch corps wasn't really pressed at all. The nukes came early in this game, but thankfully there were only two, and one of them hit us.

Our finest moment of course came with Operation Dutch Rudder (name not invented by me), where we pushed an entire German Panzer Division through Hamburg to Lübeck, in the process cutting of the Soviet armies that were in the process of conquering Denmark. Sadly, by then Denmark had already surrendered, so it didn't actually achieve much in the grand scheme of things, but the Dutch army had covered itself in glory by fighting World War 3 to the last German. Serves them right for winning the 1974 World Cup.

This was another megagame I joined by bicycle, taking it with me on the train. And then of course Endcliffe Hall turns out to be on top of a very steep hill...

44. Divided Land

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: April 21, 2018
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Press

I'd never played a Press role before, and had great fun doing it this time. Playing with Jerry Elsmore helped, too. We got out some pretty good headlines, and of course actually got to know what was going on for a change (more or less).

45. Washington Conference Special Edition

  • Organiser: Dave Boundy
  • Date: June 30, 2018
  • Location: Anerley Methodist Church Hall
  • Role: French Minister of Colonies

The megagame of all the talents. It was good to get to play it, do some serious negotiating (made easy by the fact that it turns out that France really doesn't have all that much of a stake in Asia) and just enjoy myself.

46. A Very British Coup

  • Organiser: Cambridge Megagames
  • Date August 4, 2018
  • Location: Cambridge
  • Role: Labour Militant

Another negotiating game, and I must be getting better at this, because I think we did fairly well and it certainly was a lot of fun. I'm also going to steal some of the mechanics of this for my Commune megagame (still in design, but getting there.)

47. Hands of the Many

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: September 15, 2018
  • Location: Anerley Town Hall
  • Role: Ionia Map Control

Great subject for a game. Unfortunately, not much happened in Ionia, so I spent most of my time reading about another period in Greek history (the Latin Empire - another bit of megagame fodder).

I did enjoy playing out the Lesbian Civil War, with some help from the Thebans, and generally dealing with the Persians. An easy ride.

48. War to End War

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: November 17, 2018
  • Location: Leytonstone School, London
  • Role: Middle East Map Control

49. Long Live Death

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: February 9, 2019
  • Location: London
  • Role:

50. The Dancing Congress

  • Organiser: Megagame Makers
  • Date: June 1, 2019
  • Location: London
  • Role: