27th November, Bristol (Lincombe Barn)


I hadn't been to the Reveille show in Bristol for something like 20 years ... Long before they moved to the current venue (I took over the Shows North patch when I moved to the East Midlands so the focus had to shift) ...

But John Curry (History of Wargaming) asked me to take the Tony Bath game to what is his home club's show.

(the Tony Bath game at Reveille with the History of Wargaming project)

The set up was pretty much as in previous outings although we changed the deployments somewhat.   And we played to the version included in Featherstone's War Games.


The two opposing armies drawn up for battle:



Plenty of elephants ...  actually I took some more along as examples of collector standard (ex Guyler) rather than the wargame standard Phil and Tony used ...

(you can click on the pictures for larger versions)

Flanks and reinforcements ...


(proper 1960s Bellona bridge and Merit/Minitanks trees)

Playing the game 

(1960's style ... with Wayne Thomas ... ) ..

The cataphracts double moved and charged into an unequal melee which seesawed as both sides lost men ...


My elephants took multiple hits from massed archery as they tried to dominate the centre of the table ... They survived but were unable to move ... then one of them went berserk - right at my lone stone-throwers.


Wayne's, however, ploughed through several as I did hits but they didn't fail to save.  One of my units, indeed, failed to stand (and got trampled).

(to resist elephants you really need to form up in deep ranks - even then they may charge home)

Although we had some flights and breakthroughs on both sides, the elephants decided the day however (well, that Wayne did well with his saves and I didn't meant I could not stop the rampaging beasts) ... Very much the flavour of the Bath ancients game.


Well I confess I am a bit rusty so the game needed a lot of looking up (and there were some bits we didn't do quite right) - but it was quite a good run through and fascinating to see the progenitor of so many ancients sets.

The rules are a bit clunky by today's standards but you can see the start of so many of the debates around how the battle game plays (all new problems back then) ...


Many thanks to the Lincombe Barn club ... to JC for setting it up ... Wayne for volunteering to help me play the game ... and all those fellow enthusiasts who share my nostalgia for this traditional soldier and for Tony's original ancients game.
Comments

19th November, Reading


For our next Society outing we popped down to Reading on the Saturday to lend a hand and have a look round.  

Richard was doing the stand and presenting a 'Lap of the Gods' treatment of the Battle of Tewkesbury which seemed to go down very well.

(Society of Ancients: The Battle of Tewkesbury)

The competitions were obviously dominated by Ancient and Medieval wargames ... but elsewhere not so much ... 1066 was still prominent and I really liked the Dark Age game ...



... and I got to play a bit of the Staines group's Schweinfurt game ... some good ideas, there ...

The Pick of the Non-Anc/Med games:


(Chain of Command: Foy)

(Schweinfurt Raid)

I had a bit of time to play but there weren't as many Participation Games as you would have liked.

The Bring & Buy was excellent ... very well supported and continuously busy all day.  Almost too much stuff to browse it all but I got a couple of out-of-print books in mint condition for a good price so worth the effort.

Parking was free but you had to be early I've heard ... Good on Warfare.
Comments

30th October, Portsmouth


ENGLISH  DBA Open

The final round of this year's DBA tour was, once again, in sunny Portsmouth, and many of the contenders were present with some placings still to be decided.

I went along for the games and to help with the presentations (I was, of course, not in contention - it is a long season and I can get to very few of the rounds).

I took along the Nobades (or, at least, prototype Nobades)


... and here are pictures of the games I got ...

(English DBA Open ... vs Chinese)

(English DBA Open vs Lombards)

(English DBA Open vs Rajputs)

(English DBA Open vs Assyrians)

(English DBA Open vs Arabs)

We played off in groups of 6 (playing 5 games) to generate 2 semi finals and an optional plate competition (for which, one day, I will donate an actual plate as I make such regular appearances) ...

At one point I was indeed riding but my 2 wins out of 3 rapidly became 2 out of 5 (and didn't get any better in the plate) ... I did, however, kill a general (which is always a tick in a box for me) ...

The semis and finals were played with themed armies which allegedly tests the players better (though I am not so sure about that) - here's the list:


Players get to pick in order of qualifying, and select their option for the 2 remaining games.




They finished 1st: Colin O'Shea, 2nd: Lindon Paxton, 3rd: Peter Ellis, 4th:Richard Pulley

That left the overal standings: 1st and UK DBA League Champion: Martin Myers, League Runner Up: Colin O'Shea, 3rd: Bill MacGillivray, 4th: Richard Pulley, 5th: Arnaud Marmier, 6th Lindon Paxton followed by Pete Duckworth, Neil Mason, Martin Smith and Mark Johnson down to a total of 57 players altogether ... Tamara Fordham was 28th and won the Junior trophy.

There were 14 tournaments altogether ... Premier events, The Welsh Open, English Open and Northern Cup plus qualifying events at Great Bowden, Tarrington (both the Scramble and the Midland Open), Coventry, Alton, Bakewell, Manchester (Britcon) and the 4 seasonal events at Portsmouth, 

And then we lined up for the photos ...


Comments

DBA Special: II/55b Nobades


DBA3: II/55b Nobades


This is the army I selected for the 2016 English Open ...  part of the 'work in progress' project for armies on Rome's desert frontier (Axumite Abyssinian, Nomad Pre-Islamic Arab etc.) ...

For the event I have recycled some Abyssinian foot from my old DBM army but having played 6 games on the day, I'm happy this is a good addition to my collection of bespoke armies and will tailor make the requisite troops.   Look out for a future post.

Here's the army as it played at Portsmouth ...


The general is a Cv element but I have put him on a camel to stand out.


The cavalry are an imaginative mix of various components to give that desert frontier feel.  



I have a large resource of African and Arab infantry and cavalry from that very large DBM army and should be able to populate all these armies with characteristic figures.

I favour taking the 2 camel mounted spearmen as the 'quick kill' against knights does give the army some deadly tricks.


For the camp and table ornaments I assumed the Nobades had struck deep into the heartlands of the older Egyptian civilisations ...  it's a nice setting.


The Obelisk is the top half of a Hirst Arts model (I just found the full model too tall to be useful on the table) ... 

The lovely water carriers are Chariot.  Otherwise it's a healthy mix of Museum, Essex, Falcon, Donnington, Gladiator, Chariot etc. I'm sure you can spot the various examples.

A report on the Open will follow shortly.
Comments (2)

Kenilworth, 14-16th October


The Society of Ancients Conference

Hopefully the first of a new run - the first of many.

Very pleasing to me to see the return of the Conference ... part of the lively SoA mix in the 1990s I was, unfortunately, the Committee member back then who had to cancel the last of them (SoAC VII, I think ... maybe VIII) due to price hikes at our traditional venue.

The cancellation was only ever meant to be temporary but the old style Committee was always reluctant to underwrite what it thought was a minority interest, so getting it back up and running was daunting.

So a big thank you to Richard L for getting it to happen.

I'll doubtless do some features, and Slingshot will, I am sure, have some games, articles and scenarios - so this will just be a round-up that doesn't steal all the thunder.

What happened?

Around 4 talks and 8 or so games sessions (usually with 3 or 4 games to choose from in each slot), an annual dinner and lots of social mingling/bar time.

Few ADGs, very little workshopping ... nothing outdoors ... a big Tactica session that ran all weekend.   So somewhere between a 'wargames holiday' weekend and CoW.


Some sessions dovetailed with plenary talks and current topics (above, Matt Bennett on 1066 and a Hastings game using Armati II)

(detail from Matthew and Roy's Hastings game - because in the end I know you want pictures)


Some were stand alone

(Simon MacDowall's lavish Commitatus game) ...

The dinner was excellent - nice to sit down together at the end of a full Saturday ... the food was very good and the speech by SoA veteran Will Whyler reflecting on the last 50 years was bearable (actually very good ;) but Will is a long-standing friend and you wouldn't want me to go over the top).


After the dinner we did manage to get a few games of David and Goliath played in memory of the late Andy Gittins ... former President and a Conference regular ...


... and, yes, that is the originl D&G set (with one or two loving repairs by me to make it Conference ready) ...

(1980s classic ... David and Goliath show game ... as we did back then with hand written rules)

I had volunteered to provide Richard with a backbone of games sessions on the theme of wargaming historical battles so here's a summary of what I got up to over the two days ...

Saturday: Bosworth and Bouvines - 2 medieval battle compared; Sunday: Yarmuk - a DBA GBOH scenario explained and run.

(Bouvines ... a full 6-player BBDBA treatment of the epoch defining 1214 battle) 


In this play through, Ferdinand count of Flanders very nearly pushed up to the bridge but ran out of supporting troops - eventually succumbing (captured on the field of battle as his historical antecedent) ... Elsewhere it was an attritional battle in which the allies could make little headway.

(Bouvines - from the North before the lines clash)

Bosworth, of course, was fought on very different lines to Bouvines ... the combat being more deadly and the traditions of chivalry being no barrier to the political benefits of killing your enemies on the battlefield.


This was also a different style of game: 54mm figures and just the conventional 12 elements per side (well 12 for Richard, 11 plus the hope of Stanley for the Earl of Richmond) ...

(DBA V3: Richard III on the field of Bosworth at SoAC 2016)

Richard narrowly lost this battle having dashed amongst the vanguards on a 'death ride' that took him from the marshy end of Fenn Lane and the likely Stanley trap.  It gave us food for thought.

I think it vindicates the modern interpretation, however.

I played all these battles with DBA despite having run Bouvines with Armati and Basic Impetus previously.  I decided that my theme of translating long-lost batles into playable wargames was best illustrated by using a common platform, rather than asking players to switch horses game-to-game.

(SoAC 2016: the Battle of Yarmuk)

The third battle I looked at was Yarmuk ... this was my main contribution to The Great Battles of History project by the DBA contributor group.  It features original flats from the collection of DBA author Phil Barker - the ancients collection he once used with Tony Bath and friends in the 'pee-history' of the modern game.

(30mm flats)

I have to say I still think they look splendid.  Of course, today's wargame plays using the base as the component - the figures sit on top and tell you what the base is and what it does.  30mm flats (or indeed, in the case of the Bosworth game, 54mm solids) do just as good a job and have a unique, timeless, charm.

(Byzantine cavalry - originally by Phil Barker, refurbished and based for DBA by Phil Steele)

... and then the players proceeded to destroy each other in the most monumental battle of attrition this scenario has yet produced.  Actually not unlike the original battle as afra s we can reconstruct it with confidence.

Sunday Afternoon

Richard wanted to schedule a look at reviving the old SoA incentive games so as a light-ish end to the Conference I ran the show version of Greyhounds in the Slips ...


Although we were tight on time, we ran through twice, as, for the first time in hundreds of games (and not without a little player hubris), Henry got himself killed in the very first action of the game: jumping out of the trenches to deliver his Greyhounds speech and immediately shot dead by a crossbowman on the battlements.

I guess the last thing he heard was my cautioning: don't assume you won't immediately be shot at ... (tailing off ... ) ...  We reset the game.

(Greyhounds in the Slips: Henry V in the rubble of Harfleur)

It wasn't to be his day, however ... and he was last seen battling into the town at the head of his men - as they fell around him, the Captain of the French garrison administered the coup de grace.


... and then we were all packing up and the event was over ...

What a splendid event.  See Slingshot for details and don't forget to book for next year.

Great mix of old friends and new faces ... thanks to all the players ... thanks to Paul for an inspiring talk on Shakespeare's treatment of Roman politics, and to Matt for getting the Arsuf agenda up and running.

- BattleDay 2017 - Arsuf 1191 - it starts now - watch this space

Comments (1)

9th October, Crystal Palace





SELWG 2016 at The Crystal Palace National Sports Centre 

Back to Crystal Palace for SELWG's annual October show ... plenty of trade, friendly faces and lots of great games to look at ...

We did a Lost Battle treatment of Ephesos ... not one in the book due to the lack of documentation but a worthy experiement and a good looking game.


(scenes from the Ephesos game ... click the images for a larger version)


Elsewhere there were the usual mix of games although Simon's grand manner Raphia (To The Strongest) was the outstanding ancients game ...



There were a lot of pikemen


There were also some Viking/Saxon games and Hastings of course ...



Some nice 10mm scale Italian Wars stuff ...


and more modern periods





Autumn is here.
Comments

1st - 2nd October Castle Donnington


The Society of Ancients, Battlefields Trust and Northampton Battlefields Society


Another of our successful collaborations ... at Derby we had a couple of new things to share along with the popular weapons and equipment ...

The Battlefields Trust have just launched a new book of poetry following Clare Mulley's year in residency as the trust did its circuit of reenactment and historical shows ....

And Northampton Battlefields Society had the definitive Northampton 1460 game as trialed at The Other Partizan ...



Northampton 1460 is a quick playable 'historical narrative' game giving the players control of the options available to the commanders on July 10th 1460 ... It was up and running within the first half an hour and ran more-or-less continuously throughout the show.


There were few ancient games (Dark Age and Medieval being the preference within the Society's remit) but an excellent Hastings game by Like a Stonewall was an eye-catching neighbour to us.

(Like A Stonewall's Hastings 1066 game)

... a vast panorama of a wargame, I particularly liked the clever use of velcro boards and the whimsical inclusion of a group of needlecrafters recording the events in their now time-honoured medium.  Great effort.


The rules used were a less well-known set called Lionheart - again a refreshing choice.

There was also a very nice Viking skirmish game ... so here's a vignette ...


I found fewer stand out games in the rest of the show this year but liked the Rorkes Drift presentation ... 


... and I thought this 30 Years War display was splendid ...


A popular and well-supported show with a good mix of trade and games ... then down the other end of the hall, a big selection of tournaments (where many of the ancient and medieval games and players were to be found)

Nice to see Armati still ploughing its furrow ... Nice to see old friends splitting divisions with each other ... 


So a big thank you to the organisers and all of you who stopped by for a chat or played the game, flipped through the poetry.

A really enkoyable weekend.

See you next time.

Comments

Looking Back ... August ... The Other Partizan, Newark

Continuing our little catch-up .... The Other Partizan has move forward in the calendar to August (so it doesn't really feel that long since Partizan in late May) ...


The event is now in the Exhibition Ground and features an extensive History area in the centre ... you'll find us there, sharing space and personnel with The Battlefields Trust, The Northampton Battlefields Society, The lance & Longbow Society, Naseby Battlefield Project etc. etc.

Just as it should be ...

OK, I know ... you can't hive off the history - wargaming is the history (excepting the other bits) ...

Well, I see it as the future ... the money that shapes wargaming (and the buyers who underpin it) have decided wargaming isn't necessarily historical and so if there is to be history within wargaming, it has to be history-lite or history-sceptic ...

And I think it is right that in that environment wargamers have somewhere to go where they can assume that the history is important - that the history is part of the core purpose of the activity.

Here's some eye candy from the show if you are still with me.

(Northampton Battlefields Society)

Scenes from the Battle of Northampton ...

(Northampton 1460: the Lancastrian position)

(King Henry VI's tent in the compound by Delapre Abbey)



In addition to supporting the good causes, promoting the Society, recruiting members and displaying the most plausible interpretation of Northampton, we were also hosting a new, quick-fire, historical game of the battle ...


The game is played with blocks on a board contoured from the OS map ... cards allow a historical range of options and timings but permit a wide range of plausible outcomes.

(Northampton in flames in the background)

This was the combat debut of the game and it went extremely well - I do hope NBS will be able to produce this game semi-commercially so those of you who aren't able to play it at a show can have a go at home (next outing: Derby) ...

There were one or two other ancient/medieval games notably a splendid 54mm Republican game ...


... and Simon Miller's eye catching 28mm TTS extravaganza ...


... and just a nod to some of the other stuff around ...



Too many 28mm skirmish games, maybe ... too commercialised, maybe - but I still have a soft spot for the Partizan shows and I like their initiatives with the History Zone and Participation Games.

Thanks to the organisers and thanks to the many fellow enthusiasts who stopped by - your support is really appreciated.
Comments

A Busy Summer ...

Ancients on the Move is back

... well, after a few shows, a new home hub and a new laptop (after the last one literally melted down on the desk ... we're talking *puddle of plastic* time ... ) ... The Shows Team blog is up and running again (well, it is if you are reading this) ...

After Partizan, we went up to St Helens for Phalanx - then in July, our main events were the Battle of Northampton anniversary and the Conference of Wargamers.

I missed out on Britcon, but August now sees Partizan at the Newark exhibition complex and the Bosworth Festival.  Partizan's place on the first weekend of September has been taken by the Hereward show in Peterborough (the end of summer is all changed now) ...


Great to get back up to St Helens for one of our favourite local shows ... and a get together of old chums for a big battle on the Sunday ... 

The game for the show was Martin Charlesworth's Dirty DBA challenge ... a stripped down, anyone can play version of the iconic Barker game - ideal for beginners and veterans alike (as long as nobody tries too hard).  This was its usual success and recruited another little group of newcomers into ancients.

(A DBA challenge ... horse archers try to hold off advancing legionaries ... ) 

The show is a good mix of Societies, traders, demo games and 'have a go' Participation Games ... It has an excellent and well-supported Bring & Buy, priced to sell (and I always manage to find a few things that someone else doesn't want but seem like long lost treasure to me) ...

(the Lance & Longbow Society at Phalanx 2016)

(Phalanx 2016: one of the many impressive demo games)

Well, that colonial game was very much on message - we were off in the Sudan for our big game the next day ... sort of 'off topic' for the Shows North blog but a cracking Sunday nonetheless ...

Northampton & Bosworth ...

Anniversary events ... I wasn't able to put on any ancient and medieval games at CoW as this year it coincided with the 1460 anniversary down the road ...

(Northampton 1460 at Delapre Abbey)

This year was particularly important as the event began with a special President's Award, presented by veteran pollster and broadcaster Sir Robert Worcester on behalf of the Battlefields Trust to Mike Ingram and the Northampton Battlefields Society for our outstanding work on battlefield preservation and interpretation.

(Sir Robert Worcester at Northampton Battlefield)

We took along the wargame model ...

(Northampton 1460 ... the battle reconstructed)

... undoubtedly helps visitors understand the battle in the context of the landscape as it was in 1460 ... before visiting it on the anniversary walk ...

(Northampton 2016 ... anniversary battlefield walk commemorating the fallen of 1460)

Meanwhile ...

(CoW 2016 ... a favourite game in the bar)

At Bosworth we helped at the Battlefields Trust stand - and interpreted the battle with our now familiar 54mm collection ...

(with The Battlefields Trust at Bosworth 2016)

(Phil Steele's Bosworth battlefield model)


On the home front ...

Over the Summer we were also working on some DBA scenarios and a new packageable version of the Northampton battle (inspired, indeed, by W1815) ....


Scene's from Graham's Reconquista project ...


However, we could only do the Saturday at Bosworth because we were booked on the Sunday for the newly migrated The Other Partizan and the new N1460 game's show debut ...

I'll feature that one in a post of its own (next) ...
Comments

22nd May, Newark Showground

Partizan 2016

Partizan's new venue at the showground - but very much the familiar formula and a hall full of old friends and a great atmosphere.  It seems they were queueing round the block to welcome a reconfigured favourite.

As an innovation, Partizan had zoned the space notionally into demo-style and participation games ... with a history zone in the middle (an island of tables with the Pike and Shot, SOTCW, GCN etc. and ourselves all clustered around and, as it were, mutually supportive) ...

A special zone for the societies - what a great idea.


By 'ourselves', for this one I mean Lance & Longbow, the Northampton Battlefields Society and the Society of Ancients.

We supported 2 battles from Northamptonshire ... the 1460 battle of Edgcote (directly on the L&L and SoA remit) and the county's most famous battle, Naseby from the Civil War.

(looking across Edgcote and in the distance, Naseby, Northamptonshire's battlefields)

I'll include a separate feature on our ADLG trial game of Edgcote as a follow up to this report, but meanwhile here are some pictures from the show ...


(Edgcote 1469: start positions looking roughly South West)

And the Battle of Naseby (Northampton Battlefields Society/Naseby Battlefield Project) ... Naseby, of course, have recently begun a start up project in the next stage of their bid for a 21st century Visitor Centre.

(Naseby battlefield from behind the Parliamentarian left flank)

(1645 Naseby: smoke from the volleys of Okey's dragoons engulf's the King's right wing)

And we were promoting Northampton's new book on the 1460 battle ...

(arms and armour from the NBS shows collection - photo by Chris A)

Having an aisle between the Society stands and our games (rather than the way we usually abut them) stretched us too thin and we were not able to man the stand talk about the historical battlefields and play the development game of Edgcote.

We simply did not have enough bodies to stretch over the gap.

So apologies to anyone who went unattended or who thought they were ignored.  Actually we were simply caught out by the layout (which was new to us).

Not a whinge though - the societies did perfectly well out of the arrangements and so thank you to the organisers for a productive layout - just now we have seen  how it works, we need to recruit an extra volunteer or two.

(the battle of Circensium)

Successful also seemed to be ...  the game based on a book with the author of the books next to the game signing books ... Mssrs Miller, Hendry and Sidebottom to be precise and Ben Kane in costume too ...

The battle was based on an episode in one of Harry's books ...

(collaborators ... figures by - game by - book by ... courtesy of the BigRedBatcave)

For more on the project, please have a look at Simon's blog.

Not that many anc/med games other than that ... there was a nice Eleanor Cross (based on the Northampton one) in the St Albans game ...


... and WD were running their Cursus Honorum game of Roman career advancement ...

(Wargame Developments: Jerry all set for the next set of Roman aristocrats)

The other participation games looked good too ...

(collage: some of the impressive participation games running at Partizan 2016)

... and there seemed to be a lot of lace (one of 2016's signatures?) ...


I rather liked this nice WWII game ...


But most innovative has to be this toy town game where the figures have all been made out of clothes pegs!!!

(click on the pictures to bring up a larger image)

Follow up links should you need them:-

Our next show will be Phalanx next month ...

... and finally, how about this for photographing 15mm from Chris A?  These are some of my Welsh from the Edgcote game ...

Comments