17th April, Oxford

One for Slingshot lovers everywhere ...

On some related printing business, I called in at Horgan's in Oxford on Friday.  Whilst I was there they indulged some nerdiness on my part and showed me the machine on which our splendid Society of Ancients journal is printed ...

(this is the machine that prints Slingshot - and the man that operates it)

See - Ancients on the Move takes you places other blogs seldom go ...

The Society of Ancients will be at Salute next week ... do come along and have a chat, browse our range of publications and try a game of Greyhounds in the Slips.



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29th March (Palm Sunday), Towton, North Yorkshire


TOWTON BATTLEFIELD ANNIVERSARY EVENT

The day after the BattleDay I was up to Yorkshire for the annual Towton Battlefields Society Palm Sunday event.


This year was special in that (and notwithstanding the changes in the calendar since the 15th Century) the anniversary (29th March) actually fell on Palm Sunday (as it did in 1461 and which is the traditional Sunday on which the TBS host the annual commemoration).

I was up with the Northampton Battlefields Society and we were in the windy barn ...


I have tagged some of the other exhibitors ...


The Battlefields Trust and the Scottish Battlefields Trust were there, as were battlefields Societies from Stamford Bridge, Tewkesbury, Northampton as well as Towton and others, plus some period traders and arms dealers and Societies including the Lance & Longbow ... battle themed and Wars of the Roses themed, mostly.

We were supporting the heritage message, showing the cannonball pictures and displaying the battlefield model

(Northampton 1460 on show at the Towton Palm Sunday event 2015)

In many ways what was started at Northampton on July 10th 1460 was finished 8 months later on Palm Sunday at Towton in the bloodiest battle on English soil.

Here's a chilly model of the Battle of Towton with its dusting of snow (using Peter Pig figures)

(Towton 1461)

And the Lance & Longbow Society had a participation game going of the Battle of Hexham

(Hexham 1464)

Outside there was a good turn out of Living History and Reenactors ... I was particularly pleased with the guns which seem to match the bore of the piece that fired the shot found at Northampton.


Here's one of their slightly oversized rounds (so it can't actually be inadvertently loaded whilst chatting) alongside Northampton's real one (that is smashed by the impacts following its firing) ..


So you get the idea of the size of ball shot at Northampton ... small by Napoleonic standards but capable of smashing men horses and masonry.

It will be splendid to get one of these guns down to Delapre and have it fire again.   I can see it now, by the Eleanor Cross, on the anniversary of the battle, firing a salute ...

(commemorating Northampton 1460 ... an image from the 2013 evening walk)

Something to aspire to.

Otherwise outside the were some scenes being recreated ...




At the end of the afternoon the blustery day was clear enough to allow a visit to the field of conflict itself ... 


(Towton battlefield ... the main action)


(Towton battlefield ... the sun dipping down as we overlook Cock Beck where much of the slaughter occurred) 

Many thanks to our hosts and volunteers.  A grand day out for all and well worth noting in your diary for next year if you haven't been - it'll be on Palm Sunday.

After the massive victory at Towton, Edward, whose men had been first over the rampart at Northampton was crowned King Edward IV but the issues of the Cousins War were far from settled.

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28th March, Bletchley, MK

The Society of Ancients BattleDay 2015 ... The Hydaspes

Apologies for the delays in updating Ancients on the Move ... I have had a large number of pictures to organise and edit following the last weekend in March which saw the Society's BattleDay on the Saturday and Towton's annual Palm Sunday event on the Sunday.

This year was the best supported BattleDay so far ... answering that rhetorical question about what happens when the battle pits Alexander the Great against an elephant army ...

The day started with an introduction by Professor Philip Sabin and a Q&A with Sabin and Duncan Head ... 

(Richard Lockwood introduces Professor Sabin to a packed room)

Phil made some points about the wide range of interpretations of the battle then produced a graph which amply demonstrated that there is plausible interpretation window which can help us filter out some of the less likely accounts.

Phil also argued that the wargame model better tested these theories because it introduced 'time' to the reconstruction in a way that text and diagrams did not (thus, some reconstructions look good on paper but quickly become implausible as soon as you start moving things around against the battle's internal clock) ...

Time, says Sabin, is an important parameter in ancient battle as, allowing some exceptions, whatever has to happen in the battle has to be achieved within the hours of daylight (ancient commanders have limited time within which to win a battle) ...

Anyway, here are some of the games ...
















I can't begin to give you a fair flavour of them all ... I played in the AMW game and had good 'nuts and bolts' discussions over the Armati game and Vincent's WiP project ...

The range was from an old classic from 30 years ago (WRG 5th) to the very recent DBA V3 or Sword and Spaer and a project so new it has yet to be published.   And this year I saw from 10mm to 28mm.

Although the presentation was from minimal to elaborate, in all case the finish and attention to detail was admirable.

Here are some close-ups ...






The packed day finished with the usual light-hearted honourable mentions ... from the splendid Hail Caesar terrain to the seamless improvisation of War & Conquest ... 


For a full account of all these games ... Hydaspes background and game-focussed orbats, keep an eye on forthcoming issues of Slingshot

I will update and/or correct this page as I can enhance the information ...
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8th March, Wolverhampton


Alumwell's 2015 Show

Sunday saw the West Midlands show at the familiar Aldersley venue - and a busy and enjoyable day it was ...

I took along a Basic Impetus version of the 1214 Battle of Bouvines (one of the most important battles in English history ... but less well known than many) ...


The battle was presented in glorious 15mm on the adaptable ceiling tile terrain layout that I use for short projects.

Bouvines was the key battle on the Magna Carta timeline: the culmination of a generation's worth of diplomatic work to strangle the French in a combined campaign from England, Flanders and the Empire.   

(the flower of chivalry line up on the open ground North-East of Bouvines)

(the game in play ... with markers showing the current VBU of affected units)

The French army was caught crossing the river Marque at Bouvines and found itself trapped against the marshy river by a peremptory allied attack.   This might potentially have caught the French in some disarray but, in fact, Philippe's army was able to get into battle order very efficiently - particularly the hard pressed battle under the Duke of Burgundy.

(French baggage slowly negotiates the passage over the Marque)

The emphatic nature of the French victory at Bouvines doubtless diminished King John in the eyes of his barons, and left Philippe strong enough to support the baron's rebellion with an army under his son prince Louis.

It is almost certainly a direct consequence of this battle that King John found himself obliged to put his seal to Magna Carta in 1215.

I will post more about recreating the epoch making battle of Bouvines in a future post.

Many thanks to the visitors and enthusiasts who joined in the game or discussed the battle during the day.  It was great to meet you all.

Our pitch at WMMS was again next to the Lance & Longbow Society who had a splendid participation table of the Medieval Baltic demonstrating Lion Rampant.


The game was particularly note worthy for its atmospheric glittering snowscapes ...

(the Lance & Longbow Society's Lion Rampant game)

Had I not been manning the Bouvines game I would have been keen to give this one a try.

Another great ancients game, this time WRG 6th edition (old soldiers never die) from the Border Reivers on beautifully sculpted terrain boards ...


Another busy day, but I got pictures of a few more games (not really ancient/medieval, but here's a collage) ...


... and if that wasn't enough to keep people browsing, there are always living history groups and a well supported modelling display.


And I liked the Anglo-Sikh game ...


Well - plus the shopping, that's an enjoyable day out for any enthusiast ...

As last year, someone foolishly set off the fire alarm which meant evacuating the building for a few minutes ... I think some visitors took that as their cue to go home as, post interruption, the show didn't quite resume its previous activity level (and quietly tailed off to home time) ...

Everyone I spoke to seemed to have had a good day, however ...
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8th February, Coventry


The Mercian DBA V3 tournament ...

In which some of us got to see what we'd learned of the latest version of the rules and how well we could apply it under the stress test of 6 quick-fire tournament games. 

Pete had set a theme of armies that would have fought in historical Mercia (Mercia is, of course, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the true heart of England, and is famous for building a dyke along the Welsh border).

Consequently, I chose to give an overdue run to 'Arthur's' Sub-Roman British (though I took my new Vikings along just in case) ...


This is the army featured in what has become AoM's most popular ever post so please do click that link for a closer look ...

The snowy bases were a deliberate reference to that Clive Owen film, and although a bit of the glittery white flock has worn off, people still seem to get the idea.

The venue was a pleasant little Community Library which unfortunately I drove past a couple of times before locating (and after a number of other excursions I put down to navigating solo while driving head on into a low winter sun ...) ... 

(wargamers in the library ... )

Anyway, I got set up pictures from some of my games .. No logic to which - I think the first game came and went too quick, and the game against Arnaud's elephants was too compelling to remember to take pictures ...

But I fought against ... Norman, Roman, Ancient BritishNormanHindu Indian and Feudal English. As you can see, the theme was not compulsory and there was an elephant theory to test out (and actually I very nearly defeated it) ...

(Game Two - won)

(Game Three - lost)

(Game Four - drawn)

(Game Six - drawn)

The draws were bloody affairs in which the play evened up to produce no winner within the time limit.  They were, however, close and entertaining games.

What did I learn?  Well, some might say I never learn ... in Game Three I suffered close on a 'fools mate' by getting my Knight General killed by doubled-up light horse conceding the overlaps which then allowed Warband to quick kill my Spears.  Game over in one inept round of die rolling.  Now, I do know that can happen if put the commander on offer.   I used to do the same with the Axumite elephant general.

But, spear-based, the army has a much better feel to it and all these Dark Age/Early Medieval battles create plausible game narratives.   And I quite like the mounted recoilers passing through (most types of) foot.   I hadn't really absorbed that option so it was nice to see it in play.

(photos courtesy of Martin Smith's endeavours)

I used an edifice in Game Four ... just to see what would happen ... interesting, and in one of my six games the plough turned rough (which is about right, of course).

I forgot to take my road ... but I did kill an enemy general ... and my peers generously voted my army best in theme (for which I was awarded a fridge magnet featuring Coventry's Lady Godiva ...) ...

SoA contributor Martin won, Arnaud came second and Martin M third.  I came next to last but my cup was running over with fulfilling games and a proud outing for my little men.

Very enjoyable even, smiled on by the weather and I hope it returns next year ...

And its goodbye from him ...

(organiser Pete does a convincing Al Jolson ... and Richard takes the biscuit)

The Mercia DBA was part of the current Society of Ancients UK DBA League ...

... and some games were counted towards The Championship ...

Full results are published on Fanaticus/Mercian DBA ...



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New Features for 2015

I have had a major tidy up over the winter and rationalised the use of labels here (which started out haphazard, then stopped altogether) ...

Now all the major themes have labels, as do the shows and events ...

so you might like DBA Armies ... or you might like to look back on, say, past Salute shows ...

The following historical battles get one or more mentions (click the link ... there will usually be at least a picture of a wargame, maybe even an entire scenario) ...

Battle of Al QadishaBattle of ArsufBattle of BagradasBattle of BibracteBattle of BosworthBattle of BouvinesBattle of CallinicumBattle of ChaeroneaBattle of ChalonsBattle of CravantBattle of CunaxaBattle of CynoscephalaeBattle of EdgcoteBattle of GabieneBattle of GaugamelaBattle of Hedgeley MoorBattle of IllipaBattle of IssusBattle of KadeshBattle of MagnesiaBattle of MantineaBattle of MontapertiBattle of Mortimer's CrossBattle of NasebyBattle of NicopolisBattle of NorthamptonBattle of PlataeaBattle of PoitiersBattle of PydnaBattle of RaphiaBattle of SellasiaBattle of SentinumBattle of St AlbansBattle of TewkesburyBattle of ThapsusBattle of the GranicusBattle of the Trebia 218 BCBattle of TowtonBattle of VerneuilBattle of WakefieldBattle of Zama 

I will endeavour to keep this new system updated ... you can find all the labels in the panel at the foot of the page ...
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January ... Winter Quarters ... 2014 retrospective

This is apparently AoM's 250th post since reporting the Society's Shows North season began on blogger in March 2008 (so a surprising 7th birthday coming up soon).

Despite the number of posts dropping slightly (due to the manifold disappointments of V2 of FoG, we have dropped out of a number of tournament events) monthly pageviews bobble around the 3,500 mark (which isn't too bad for a special interest blog posting on average 5 times every 2 months - 29 posts for 2014) ...


Shows North attended 10 wargame shows and 10 other wargame/heritage events ...


Shows (please click on the picture for more on the event) ... 


(as part of the Lance & Longbow Society team)



(incorporating the SoA DBA Northern Cup)







Events
(including FoG-R, Armati, DBA and Basic Impetus)











What a high content year!

This shift towards history/heritage reflects my personal interests as much as it does the health of historical wargaming and/or the Society of Ancients ...  That said, the drift towards 'history lite', 'minis gaming'  and Space Marines in hollywood historical outfits ('historicals' as the minis gamers call them) seems unstoppable.

On the credit side, my Montaperti game got 'best game' at the BattleDay, my flats got featured in the BFFS magazine, I took the runner up position in the English DBA Open and the Northampton Battlefields Society won a community award.  I was voted a trustee of the Naseby Battlefield Project and I got to explain the Battle of Bosworth to cricket hero Freddie Flintoff for a TV clip.

My actual wargaming has only tallied to around 80 games in 2014 (call it 3 games per fortnight) ... that's probably the lowest in 3 decades but has a lot to do with the collapse of interest in FoG/DBM ... (so far fewer 4 game weekends than in past years - and, really, I haven't missed them much) - that said, DBA V3 may encourage a pick up in interest.  Armati, for me, is now just for old times' sake and I expect my 'mainstream' ancient/medieval wargaming in 2015 to be mostly DBA, Basic Impetus and Neil Thomas's AMW ...
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DBA Special III/40b Norse Viking


As promised, here is the companion army to the Pre-Feudal Scottish ... The Vikings ...

Building this army was inspired by Peter Pig's new extensive range of Vikings and Saxons and the desire to assemble them and as many equivalents from other manufacturers for a review ...


... and, with a little care and attention, I get a couple more Dark Age armies out of the exercise, Canmore's Scots and these cultural raiders ...

The V3 DBA army follows the usual formula (post 850): a solid Blade general and 10 bases of Solid Blade hirdsmen ... (and just one element tp pick and choose over) ...


The landwaster standard was made in the usual way from tissue over a foil substrate, doped with PVA and painted ...


The 12th element can be archers (Bw or Ps), Beserks (fast Wb) or Irish (fast Ax)


V3 of DBA offers slightly more choice by allowing 3 bases of substitutes from an ally (in this case Irish, Scottish or Anglo-Danish) ... that might mean a bit more variety but this is tough good-looking army as it stands.


The figures are (just under) half Piggies, the rest Essex, Donnington, Khurasan, Black Hat, Museum, Outpost, and one each from Touller, Irregular and Chariot (just to show how nicely they all mix together) ...

The camp is meant to represent the prows of some longships pulled up on a marshy riverbank ...


Peter Pig make loads of looting and ravaging figures, so, with an Essex ship there was a lot of kit to jumble together for this piece.  It is made on clear plastic sheet rather than my usual MDF basing so any river it sits on should show through ... The guarding Camp Followers are detachable of course.

I pasted together some of the shield designs again (done hand as usual)  - sorry if they come out a bit blurred by the editing ...


They are the usual mix of Celtic/Saxon/Norse designs that seem to pass for generic Dark Age these days (and honestly I know no better) ...

It pairs nicely with Pre-Feudal Scottish or, say, Anglo-Saxon

A very enjoyable project and a nice addition to any collection.



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30th November, Halesowen

WARGAMER 2014

The Society of Ancients combined with the Northampton Battlefields Society to run a stand at Wargamer in its bright new venue in Halesowen.

We took along the wargame model of the 1460 Battle of Northampton (which is only an hour down the road from Birmingham) in a display format - as Wargamer isn't one of those shows where we usually pick up volunteers for full multiplayer participation game.


I set the battle up as the Yorkist lords move their forces forward

(uncle Fauconberg at the Battle of Northampton)

There was plenty to talk about as only 2 evenings previously the NBS had picked up a Community Star award from the local residents' association in Northampton's Far Cotton and Delapre where the battlefield lies.

The award recognises the Society - and particularly its chairman, Mike Ingram (he of the excellent Bosworth book) - fighting for what it believes in: the preservation, interpretation and publicising of the 1460 battlefield at Delapre Abbey ...

(Community Star award alongside exhibition weapons from the Northampton Battlefields Society)

And I was also doing some surveying for our friends at the Naseby Battlefield Project who need to know what you would like to find in a visitor centre should you go to the ECW site (I will provide info and a link when there is an online version available) ..

If not particularly busy or intensively promoted (and the two can go together) Wargamer is a great example of a good quality local wargames show.   Lots of great exhibits from clubs and groups within an hours or so's drive and a fair mix of traders including the indomitable Dave Lanchester (Books) down from Yorkshire for the day (great support from Dave and he looked busy enough for it to have been worth his trip) ...

The show was a little easier to find than the former venue, better lit, had a bar (albeit rudimentary) and more parking ... winning all round, then.

In addition to Northampton, there were plenty of ancient games on show ...


The Cobridge (Stoke Challenge) club had this sumptuous Republican Roman Armati game.


The Border Rievers had a splendid and well captioned Battle of Mycale 


Tremendous terrain and loads of figures  ... this game was being played using WRG's 6th edition.


And The Guards of Birmingham were playing a large Hail Caesar game loosely based on Hydaspes ...


Well, add in our Medieval battle and that's some good coverage of the Society's period of remit for a local Sunday show I think.

A good diversity of style too ... 15 and 28mm ... Armati, vintage WRG and HC (and the set up for ours would have been a matrix game) ...

Other good stuff at Wargamer included ...

(WWII - Parker's Crossroads)

A couple of Renaissance games ... from Malta ...


... to the English Civil War ...


Several Napoleonics and even an interesting WWII Naval game ...


A great selection: I counted 17 games: 5 Napoleonic, 4 WWII (3 land; 1 naval), 3 Ancient, 1 Medieval, 1 Renaissance, 1 ECW, 1 ACW and 1 Indian Wars … in a good mix of scales and using everything from glossy published rules to oldies and homebrews.  

What a showcase.  There was also a Bring & Buy.

The weather was good for travelling so this was a great day for the midland wargame enthusiast (if you didn't attend this year I am sure you will want to look out for next year's show) ...


That was the last show outing for the Society of Ancients for 2014 although my own wargaming is moving on apace over the Winter break (and more special features are in preparation - so keep an eye on Ancients on the Move or just hit the follow by email button) ...

Oh ... and don't forget to renew your Society subscriptions (the majority of members still lapse with the distribution of the November issue - and that's the next one coming) ...



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DBA Special III/45 Pre-Feudal Scottish


Sorry for the low level of activity here, I have been busy with a number of projects (some of which might well find their way onto this page in due course) but normal service is being restored as I catch up ...

First, those Pre-Feudal Scots that did such sterling service for me at the DBA Open ...


They are now tidied up, ready for pictures and adjusted to Version 3.   The core adjustment is that you lose a skirmisher and the Warband option goes up to 2 elements ...  anyway ...

The army is mostly Peter Pig Viking figures (with some help from Outpost, Donnington, Essex and Chariot ... plus, to make a mix, a figure each from Curvus Belli, Old Glory, Minifigs, A Touller and Lurkio) ...


I have tagged this army Malcolm Canmore's Scots .... Malcolm, of course, was the adversary of Shakespeare's Macbeth ... so an ideal opponent for your run of the mill cauldron boiling Scot.

It was Malcolm's army that removed Birnham wood to Dunsinane in the classic denouement (and I suspect gives rise to this army's core of 3Pk spearmen ... ) ...

Canmore apparently means 'big head' so I've given him a big head.  He is a Touller figure with an Outpost Varangian head (between 2 Outpost cavalrymen - the left of which has an Essex head)


The left is an old Essex one piecer with added spear and Outpost head ... the right hand figure is also Essex but with a Lurkio top half.   They match up nicely, I think ...


The Scottish thegns ... an Outpost Varangian amongst 3 Piggies ...


The core of the army.   Mindful that V3 was changing these spearmen to 3Pk, 


I chose to model them as generic Dark Age infantry with very big spears.  I deliberately did not go for shieldless schiltron types as I suspect they may be anachronistic.    These look the piece for me for 11th Century foot, and I think are fine for the 3Pk designation (but its just my interpretation) ... nonetheless, not all have shields.  Again, the shield designs are generic Dark Age with a Caledonian twist and there is the odd yellow warshirt ...


Men in skins... men in warshirts ... more Hollywood than Galwegian with a deliberate hint of wildness.   not to be taken too seriously ... Chariot wild men, a couple of Piggies an Outpost and a Minifig.   They mix well.


V2.2's useful 2 elements drop to 1 in V3 ... Corvus Belli, Outpost (with dog) and 2 New Era Donningtons ...


I made this broch-like encampment from an old Airfix (Nottingham Castle) turret ... and added a mix of junk including some sheep, a dead cow, a camp fire and a likely anachronistic kingly flag.   The army is making camp (and maybe looting ... a bit ... ) at a newly captured tower ...  There is an Outpost shaman dancing in a loincloth.   Answers on a postcard?

As an alternative I have based up some Museum monks ... the army pairs up with some Vikings, so the monks are their natural foes ... when needs must ...


This beautiful Barker Marker is actually the top half of a 28mm MDF cross from Timeline.   It was just too tall for this collection so I chopped it down (and am very pleased with the results) ....  I set it in a spiral pathway mimicking contemporary shield designs.   I have no idea whether there is any justification for this.


I had quite a lot of fun making the camp, and it views well from a number of angles.   I was particularly pleased with this guy emerging from the tower ... actually he is a PP wounded figure but the pose just seems to suit.   It is also a tremendous little figure (yes - that is 15mm!) ...

As I say, the shield designs are generic Dark Age with  some Scottish flavours ... there is some authenticity to the swirly designs North of the wall, but mostly it is generic/conjectural ... anyway, I clipped a bundle of them together so you can see for yourself.


Occasionally there's a bit of something else in the way - and sometimes the angles are quirky - but, by and large, this seems to have worked (I'll do it again for the Vikings I think) ...

So ... here is the army reconfigured for V3 ...


It was surprisingly good (came 2nd) as a V2.2 army, so I will now wait and see how effective 3Pk are in the latest version - it will add another dynamic to the now interesting and variable Dark Age infantry fight.

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