Partizan – SAS participation game

Of the three main elements of most shows, demonstration games, participation games and stalls, I think that as a punter, the most important of these is the participation games. Demonstration games are pretty and inspiring, and stalls are filled with bounty but participation games are full of ideas and entertainment. Thinking back to years past, it’s the participation games that I really remember.

As the unsung heroes of shows, I thought I’d write a few up from Partizan last week – here’s the first. I  think this one might have been Harrowgate Wargames club, judging by its position on the show map, but I’m not sure.

It’s set in the first Gulf War. Each player takes an SAS patrol, which has to sneak up the table and call in an air strike on a Scud launcher. The table is covered in Iraqi patrols, which need to be evaded – the arc templates indicate the zone each is observing.

The cards on the table are a set of playing cards as issued to US troops – the turn starts by each player laying down cards to indicate their path. These are then turned over one by one – the SAS move to the far end of the card. Each Iraqi patrol has a number, so for example, a ‘3’ card would activate patrol number 3, and the suit indicates whether they turn clockwise, anti-clockwise, move forward etc. A picture card allows the umpire/Iraqi player to select a patrol. The SAS player has to turn their whole set, so if a patrol heads towards their chosen path, they have no option to change course – all they can do is cross their fingers and see what happens – a great tense game mechanic.

If the SAS stray into the arc of a patrol, then they play a game of “High/Low”. A certain number of cards are laid out (depending on whether the patrol is in cover), and as each is turned over, the SAS player has to guess whether the next will be higher or lower – if they are wrong, they are spotted. This is another tension builder that echoes the process of creeping along.

There’s not a huge amount of decision making, but it was a good looking table, a quick-to-play game and the game mechanic was both engaging and evocative of the scenario. Great stuff!

2 comments to Partizan – SAS participation game

  • I completely agree. Strangely though it’s the participation games that seem hard to entice to games shows. I’m looking to get a good number of them in for Concord next year to avoid the Salute-esque shopping mall experience, so if anyone wants to run something let me know!

  • Aidan

    I’m not surprised it’s hard to entice them. There’s no money in it for them, and it’s the big demo games that get all the adulation on blogs! Running a participation game has to be its own reward!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>