Retro Gamer

Midwinter’s Bizarre origins

How a restaurant became a host to wargaming

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“Mike and i actually developed the concept for the Midwinter series in a Chinese restaurant in Liverpool – seriously now!” surely we need to take this story with a grain of salt and some soy sauce for taste? “it’s the absolute truth, it’s not a yarn,” Jane tells us. “We were sat in the restaurant, there was myself, Mike singleton, sid Meier and Bill stealey. so we were sat in this restaurant and sid said to us, ‘Why don’t you guys do a war game?’ so we were going to do a big, open world war game. i was wondering how we were going to do this when Mike said to me, ‘Have you ever tried tabletop wargaming?’ i said no, so he said, ‘Well we’ll use this, the tabletop idea, as the basis for the new game.’ and before i knew what was going on, Mike had been rushing around the rest of the restaurant collecting all of the condiments, and the knives and the forks and everything, and we had the knife army versus the fork army. We were tabletop wargaming, with sid and Bill as adjudicato­rs, and we designed the whole concept – we pulled tables together and everything. The guy who owned the restaurant was starting to get really pissed by the end of the night… i think we shipped him a few quid to keep him quiet. We actually wargamed throughout the night with Mike and me coming up with ideas on the fly, with the knife army versus the fork army. We wrote all that up the next morning and that’s how the Midwinter franchise came about. all that intrigue and moving armies about and stuff, all from that night in a Chinese restaurant just near the centre of Liverpool.”

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