Potted History of CLWG

The Group was started in 1974 by a small group of activists who were thoroughly fed up with the then-mainstream of WRG-dominated face to face competitive figure games.
Our games at the time were probably only a little distinguished from those we rejected, but it started an attitude of dissent against the mainstream that has continued, and continues to this day.

It was this attitude that meant that when Wargame Developments (WD) was formed in 1980, our membership was much involved and very active in its initial stages.
The inaugural conference 'New Directions In Wargaming' had 40 attendees of which 35% were or became CLWG members.
A glance through Volume One of WD's house journal, 'The Nugget' shows at least a third of the contributors were from CLWG.

In the late 1980's moving like the British economy through boom and slump, we finally took on a more radical constitution in 1989 which recognised the unusual nature of the group and laid down the ground rules we have now.
Hence the consitutional requirement for every member of the group to put on one game and write one article a year.
We are a group of initiators rather than consumers.
Our games aim to be challenging and the best we can do.
This does not suit everyone, and the mainstream goes on, attracting large audiences and big bucks (well Games Workshop does), Our role is more like that of an Indie record producer - meeting the needs of the more discerning audience, in preference to the mass-produced pap that is 'pop'.

Throughout the 1990's CLWG became very involved (as it is today) with the development of Megagames - large, multi-layered games, involving anything from 30 to 200 participants. CLWG became an important test-bed and clearing house for the ideas and systems used in these games, and it's members both design and play in these games.

The group is known as a wargames group. And it is true that most of us would describe ourselves as wargamers.
But when compared with the true breed of wargamer we seem to be quite different.
We don't often play open face to face one player per side games, for example.
We play a much wider range of subjects than is normal in wargames clubs.
We don't use paintball or lazertag guns, or dress up in historical uniforms.
In fact to the non-wargaming world, little of what we do would probably qualify as a wargame.
An alternative term for what we do most of the time is 'history games'. Not all our games are about war, not all our games use toy soldiers, or maps or computers - but the one unifying factor is the history.
[Note - that isn't entirely true in that we sometimes play SF and Fantasy games if the mood takes us that way - but mostly we do history games.]

Of course, in playing history games, we inevitably deal with war, as Thomas Hardy wrote:

"...War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading."

...although I suspect that there are some of us here who would simply take that as a design challenge.

We also have a practice (in accordance with our constitution) of being as critical as possible.
This is not to simply describing a game presented as 'rubbish', but to offer suggestions on how the subject can be, possibly better, dealt with.
The essence of our frequent game design workshops is to give the workshop organiser the sort of feedback he could never get on his own (unless suffering from a bizarre multiple personality disorder).

Now, in the 21st Century, CLWG continues to play a wide variety of games - new influences come into play. Recent developments have included versions of 'Collectable Card Game' formats, Matrix Games (though these are still controversial in the group), Live Role Play games, Free Form games - plus the usual array of map games, committee games and figure games.

We are, as we have always been, a small, friendly and accessible group. Meetings tend to be small and everyone gets a chance to contribute and fully participate.

The future? Who knows? Why not turn up to one of our meetings and be a part of it?