I have been reluctant to post about this until I had some solid game design work completed for this project, but since I have no idea how long that will take, I figured I would at least throw this teaser out there.
So what is the Open Wargaming Initiative? Well, imagine a wargame system designed from the start to be open-ended and extensible. But more importantly, a wargame system that nobody "owns", or rather, we all own it together. Like Linux, the system and all its materials would be "open source" in the sense that they are free for anyone to do with as they like. Anyone can take the materials and productize them and sell them if they wish, but the free version would always be available to anyone who wants to download and construct the components themselves.
The larger hope is that the fan community for this system would contribute new rules and materials to the source repository, and the game system would grow and become richer for everyone's participation. Nobody is required to make their new rules or components freely available, but the spirit of the project would hopefully encourage people to do so anyway so that the system evolves and improves over time.
What I want to do is provide the first version of the game system myself--rules, counters, mapsheets, and player aids--as free PDFs on a repository website, and then let the wargaming community take it from there. The system itself is intended to be essentially generic, modeled after games like Blitzkrieg, Strategy I, and Field Marshal in that it would allow gamers to play out hypothetical campaigns on a hypothetical land mass over four different technological eras (ancient, gunpowder, mechanized, and high-tech). It would also allow for historical scenarios ala Ancients using mapsheets customized for particular battles/campaigns. The game system operates at two scales: campaign and operational. The campaign scale is best suited for large-scale conflicts in more modern eras (i.e., late gunpowder/early mechanized and beyond), while the operational scale is better suited to more detailed gaming of any era, though it is important to point out that the system is not intended to reach down into tactical scales (I'm not interested in introducing the complexities of LOS, for instance).
The tentative title for this system is Open Warfare and I have a skeleton design sketched out, along with some playtest components, but it is so far away from completion that it isn't even ready for peer review. Half the reason I don't have more developed already is that I am busy with other projects (like Napoleonic 20), and the other half of the reason is that the design ideas have not been as free-flowing in my brain as I would like.
Now, I don't know who else out there might find this idea intriguing, but if you do, let me know. If nothing else, a healthy exchange of ideas either here or on a CSW forum would be a positive addition to the effort. This is also your chance to tell me I'm insane and that this idea will never fly...