Winter of '79 What's it all about?

Winter of '79 is the brainchild of Mark Hannam and Mathew  (Maff)  Sparkes. W'79 represents an alternative history of the late seventies and early eighties built over 600 blog posts.

In our vision, the 'Establishment'  take control of the legitimate government and the subsequent 'crackdown' is faced with spontaneous popular resistance led by trade union, liberal and left-wing elements, which boils over into civil war.

Now, I'm going to ask you to forget your own perception of the reality of 1979. Reality? It's only what you believe from personal experiences or more crucially what you have been fed by the media, and will be different for each of us. A heavy cocktail of reality, 70's TV drama, political invective, media spin and conspiracy simply provides the box within we can build our games.

What did happen, what could have happened, what would have happened doesn't matter at all. Not a jot. Winter of '79 provides me, Maff, MajorMike and I hope some of you with the context and motivation for fighting games based upon a premise of DPM vs Donkey Jacket, SLR vs Armalite, Brit against Brit, in the late seventies and early eighties.

Left vs right, forces of reaction vs liberalism?  We only need a rationale for the next battle; who is involved, how they are uniformed and what they are armed with.  There's no "More ea and hand grenades Vicar?" here. But there is no reason not to have colourful private armies, trade union and left-wing militias, local defence leagues, new military and para-military formations, each with their own identity defined by your choice of uniforms, camo, weapons, badges and personalities.

Equally the forces on your tabletop can simply be armed civilians vs military, helmets vs berets, maroon vs green, SLRs vs Armalites. International volunteers? Foreign assistance? Your call.

So why set in 1979? Because it's a watershed in British political and social history. The Winter of Discontent, the collapse of the Callaghan government, the rise of Margaret Thatcher. In the years immediately before we see the vested interests and right-wing gearing up for a 'battle to save civilisation' as they knew it. A fear that Belfast could easily be replicated on the streets of Birmingham, Londonderry in Liverpool. In the years immediately after, we have unrest in Brixton, Bristol, Toxteth and the Miners Strike.

Whilst I may have chosen to play through the scenario of a popular opposition to a right wing crackdown following the election of Margaret Thatcher, you may choose to have it the other way round - with a Moscow backed Marxist take over being thwarted by a military coup or a protracted war of resistance by the remains of any crown forces and some very secret armies.

All in all, there's everything to play for. So, lets slide back the bolt, put a round up the spout and take the safety off.....