University of Leicester eBulletin

Wargaming and Role-Playing

May 2003
No 129

Whether it's Star Wars, the dark ages, the Roman Empire or World War Two, wargaming and role-playing have become increasingly popular over the past few years, helped by the release of such big-budget films as Lord of the Rings and The Matrix.

Rob Jones, Computing Officer at the University of Leicester's School of Education, is among several University staff members who are frequently involved in the games. He has been actively involved in wargaming and role-playing for the past eighteen years.

Rob is a member of the De Montfort University games club, and has recently formed the DMU Veterans, which is primarily aimed at past members of the De Montfort University games club who still wish to attend events and championships and keep in touch with other past members.

In 2001 De Montfort University hosted the Student National Wargames and Role-playing Championships at the University of Leicester's Digby Halls of Residence, in which Rob Jones acted as one of the central organisers, as well as overall umpire and co-ordinator for all wargames categories run that year.

Typical gaming competitions run over a weekend and last one or two days, playing for up to eight hours each day. The wargaming events often start with two or three games a day, and competitors score points for each victory, draw or loss in that battle.

Role-playing usually involves one game a day, and is scored by a referee who has written a scenario for the gamers.

There are many competitions over the next few months, ranging from national championships to themed campaign weekends. The last big event was the Student National Wargaming and Role-playing Championships, which was held in Dundee after the Dundee team beat all competition at last year's championships in Bangor, North Wales. Despite a good effort the De Montfort team was just beaten coming in second to a combined team from Sheffield universities.

Wargaming is "a bit more than just playing with toy soldiers", Rob Jones is quick to point out to any sceptics. Through the historic wargames one can develop extensive knowledge of battle skills and tactics from Roman times right up until the Second World War.

The organisation of a championship or event involving between twenty and several hundred competitors and spectators is a leap into real business management, requiring budgeting, planning, promotion, and motivation techniques.

The competitions have other benefits: "Enjoyment and challenge of the games, seeing whether the army I've designed can do what I want it to and survive against the opposition. Also, the friendship; I've got friends across the country that I have met via the gaming community", Rob Jones comments.

Most role-playing and wargaming clubs are more than happy to accept new members, offering support and advice to inexperienced persons within the group. At the beginning of the academic year there are often large recruitment drives, and this is the easiest time to join.

Does gaming attract a certain type of person? "I don't think so", Rob Jones says, "as most of the clubs tend to be quite mixed. In the past some have considered it a male dominated pastime, but that is changing too".

For further information regarding wargaming and role-playing, the Student National Championships, or the DMU veterans, email Rob Jones at, telephone 0116 252 5726.

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: May 2003
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