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 ...

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)

(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


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) ...


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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19th October, Portsmouth

The 2014 English DBA Open

I very nearly had to open this post with one of those 'the monkey writes Shakespeare intros'.   You know ... you go on bashing away randomly for long enough  ... More anon ...

The Open is a one-day DBA event ... take any army you like but the players will then be arbitrarily pooled by date.  After a round robin of pool games, the winners and runners up go forward to a knock out scramble for the trophies.

In addition, the Open was the last round of the Society of Ancients UK DBA League - with some positions still in doubt on the day pending the open scores.

So two sets of trophies come day's end.

(front - alongside the latest Slingshot: plaques for the DBA Open; behind: shields for the DBA League)

I do hope you like the shields ... these are hand cast and embellished in Northamptonshire and are unique to the Society.    In this case a number of ugly old figures, miscasts and off cuts were melted down and recycled.     As many of you know, I have a soft spot for old figures so rest assured no classics are being lost to posterity in this process - indeed I hope it is a sort of Valhalla for yesterday's misshapen and abandoned warriors.

DBA Open

I took along some generally unfancied Pre Feudal Scottish (III/45b)

Malcolm Canmore's Scots

3Kn Gen, 1 x 2LH, 1 x 4Wb, 6 x 3Sp, 1 x 3Wb, 2 x 2ps.

These are the rest of some bags of  Peter Pig Vikings and samples from other manufacturers which I put together for a Slingshot review.   I had them just about ready for Portsmouth - they will have a few clumps of heather added to their bases when I find where I have put the little bag.

The only fiddling - other than mixing in the different makes - was lengthening a few of the spears: this army will become '3Pk' under V3 (and lose a Ps for a Sp or Wb) and I wanted it ready for the new version.

(the AD Pool: portrait shot of Tim's splendid Mongols about to sally forth)

In my 'AD' pool I got Mongols, Samanids, French Ordonnance, Magyar and a cross-over tussle with Babylonians ... a challenging series of opponents but not bad for an Open competition.

With all those LH my main plan was to channel the enemy with woods, back up my flanks and close the enemy down as rapidly as I could.  Attack rather than defend if there was any choice at all.

(closing down the Mongols: if they roll a 1 now, I am in business - my Zocs are coming)

(Channeling the French ... in fact the flank skirmish in the woods - and its implications - decided this one)

(Samanids: I was very wary of that elephant but managed to get onto its flank and turn the game)

I failed to get to grips with the Magyars (hard to pin them down with infantry and there's not much time to faff about with Portsmouth's sudden death timings), and, against the Babylonians, (put simply) I failed to find an answer to the disruptive effect of that wooded blob in the middle of the table (especially after an enemy Ax had jumped into it at an incompatible angle!) ...

(crossovers ... this terrain was too complicated for me and it blunted my attacking intentions)

Even so, the plucky Scots topped the pool and thrust me into the semis.

Knock out ... Roses civil wars ...

So choices over ... the format for the final phase of the Open is for all 4 players to take the same army (in this case Wars of the Roses, although options could be chosen).

(semi-final: a favourable Wars of the Roses engagement)

I have to say I don't really find WotR in DBA 2.2 a test of much other than die rolling - but I got lucky and proceeded to the final ...

(Final: no gifts in this game ... more WotR ... an unfavourable engagement - I couldn't kill anything)

Then I got unlucky and came Second - Game over.

(2014 English Open: Babylonians vs Chinese; Kushite Egyptians; more knock out WotR; Samanids vs Mongols) 

So in the end not the complete works ... maybe an accumulation of errors ...

Winner: Martin Smith; Runner up: Phil Steele; 3rd Martin Myers; 4th Duncan McCoshan

Society of Ancients UK DBA League 2014

All this was sorting out the finishing positions for the national DBA League as well - although in the end Martin Myers did not manage to overhaul Richard Pulley's 3rd place score (so, by day's end, things looked similar to how they had started)

(Martin and Colin collecting their shields - Richard and Findlay were not able to play the final round so will receive their trophies at the next event)

Many thanks to Bill, Lindon and the Portsmouth club for their customary first class organisation (and a new venue that was easy to find) and to Martin for the extra photographs.

The Society of Ancients and Magister Militum sponsor the English Open

The Society of Ancients and Monarch Books sponsor the UK DBA League

More details, standings and results on the Paws DBA page
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13th October, Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

SELWG 2014

So, in all the years I've been going to SELWG*, I've never said anything about the Crystal Palace, after which the park in which the SELWG venue stands, takes its name.

The Crystal Palace, of course, was the poetic name given to the truly vast glass and metal pavilion built in Hyde Park to hold the Great Exhibition of 1851.   At the time it was the biggest glass building ever erected and was a wonder of the industrial world.    Just look at the size of it.

After the exhibition, it was disassembled and moved 8 miles away, south of the river, to a specially terraced hilltop in leafy Sydenham.   Piece by piece.  What a triumph.  

And there it stood from 1854 until it was completely destroyed by fire in 1936.   Completely destroyed.   I found this photo:

Click on it.  Astonishing.   Today all that remains is the stonework of the terracing - epic, like the ruined centre of an ancient city - and the name, a permanent fact of London's geography.

It is a fantastic venue for a wargames show and has free parking.  There was even a funfair on the old exhibition site but I did need to get home after the show.

I was down to help out on the Society of Ancients stand, and to collect trophies to take along to the next weekend's national DBA event (just gone, by the time you will read this).

(the Lost Battle of 2nd Mantinea with the Society of Ancients)

After the distinctly medieval feel of ancients at recent shows, SELWG had a more ancient ancients feel ... up on the balcony, SoA (Phil Sabin/Eric C and Alan W) were putting on a participation version of the 2nd Battle of Mantinea (that's the famous victory of Epaminondas one) ...

(scenes from the Mantinea game)

Downstairs, there were permanent clusters around the chariot race and Simon Miller's (To the Strongest) Romans in Britain game.

(the Crawley club's AD SPATIUM ACCEDIS)

(To the Strongest, this time featuring British resistance to the might of Rome)

But what I noticed in particular was a naval theme ...

(SEEMS presented Hotham's First action, March 1795)

(Tonbridge Wargames Club's refight of the Battle of Cape St Vincent - 1797) 

Also I was pleased to see ...

(Peter Pig's latest version of PBI ... PBI Company Commander ... available soon)

(a simple but attractive SYW display from the Essex Warriors - if 28mm always looked like this it might even catch on!!  Give or take the casualty rings)

The biggest plane award probably went to the B52 over Vietnam ... hmmm

(Deal Wargames Society's Mayhem on the Mekong - nice brown river too ...)

But I think easiest on the eye must have been the sprawling 15mm Marlburian game ...

And the splendidly stylistic First Battle of Ypres 20th October 1914 ....

Another good show - thanks to all those contributors whose work is featured above and to everyone who supported the show.    By and large an entirely different selection of games and themes to Derby - so certainly worth the trip.

Thanks to SELWG for inviting us and whoever organised the weather so it didn't rain all day.

And an engaging variety of visitors chatting to us on the Society stand - thanks for stopping by.  

Also apologies to anyone we failed to notice or who we thought was happy browsing but actually wanted to talk to us.   I know this does happen despite our best efforts to pay attention.    It isn't intentional so do feel invited to give us a nudge.  

*which actually dates back to Catford, but that's another story ...


Donnington Park Exhibition Centre, 4th - 5th October

The Northampton Battlefields Society and WD at Derby World Wargames 2014

This outing, we took the Northampton battlefield presentation along to Derby's annual event as a Participation Game for up to 4 players based on the Society of Ancients classic De Matrica Bellae.

In this variant of Politics by Other Means,  players are given cards which they can use in building their narrative into what starts as a very basic figure wargame.   This means really quite sophisticated ideas can be woven into the game if that is how the players see it developing.   It is your game ... you decide what happens.

By an odd coincidence, the Border Reivers game on the next table to us was using a similar, if simplified, matrix game approach inspired by the same SoA Publication to run their cattle raiding game.

As well as the rules and cards for DMB, the games pack also contains a full multi-player map game, Londinium's Burning.    If you are lucky, there may be some stocks left at the Society webstore otherwise catch up with us at a show (we should be able to find a copy).

So ... The Northampton Battlefields Society was formed to research, explain and protect Northampton's battlefields - principally the 1460 site at Delapre Abbey, but also the other military history of the town and the further off Wars of the Roses battlefield at Edgecote

Neither battlefield has been archaeologically surveyed so there is much more to do to understand them.   

At Delapre (a park just on the edge of the town if you are not familiar with it: it is a couple of minutes off the A45, and has plenty of free parking so is one of the easier battlefields to visit) there are plans to establish football pitches and club buildings on part of the English Heritage designated area so we must be vigilant.

(the other side of the board ... Wargame Developments and some information about CoW)

Edgecote is on the route of HS2, so we must do what we can to preserve as much of the elusive battlefield for posterity as we can.

Wargame Developments is, of course, the host organisation for the Conference of Wargamers.   By coincidence also in Northamptonshire, CoW can play an invaluable role in developing and testing wargames and approaches to historical battles.  

Ideas such as running the game to the canonical hours being rung in the abbey come straight from CoW and have been incorporated into the design of my sundial game clock.

(improvements for Derby: the model of the Eleanor Cross is almost finished - inset: the real one)

At CoW we also decided to use the furlongs of the open fields as the measurement for the game mechanism (and coincidentally, effective range for a longbow is a furlong, so using contemporary measurements does seem useful).

(improvements for Derby: the sundial game clock marked off with the canonical hours)

Nevertheless, it was quite ambitious running a matrix game at a busy and noisy show like Derby, so we had to learn as we went.

At times we may have got the balance of attention wrong - perhaps not giving enough to the casual browser ... then again getting distracted from the game which needs some thought and which needs to push along.

(listening to the punters ... there is quite some knowledge of medieval warfare arrayed around the Northampton table)

We got two multiplayer games played and a one player aside blitz version, and the possibilities developed as we warmed to the task.

A number of historical possibilities were explored - but in 2 of the 3 games the Yorkists got into the Lancastrian position, fulfilling the criteria for a historical result.

(panorama of the Lancastrian position ... standing to during what was, in 1460, a morning of rain)

In De Matrica Bellae, the final phase is that every player gets to make a case as to why the won i.e. bearing in mind their briefing and the events of the game, why they did the best.   So the loser of the on table battle may well be judged the player who did best if they can make a sufficiently powerful case.

(a couple of shots from Game 2: Fauconberg repelled, Warwick breaking the barricades)

(scenes from Game 3: Fauconberg finds a weak spot in the defences, breaks in and tackles Buckingham)

The choice of winner is, of course, resolved by the Matrix argument ... it will be adjudged 'your day' because (3 reasons supported by a randomly drawn card) ... judged on strength by the Umpire (equals a die score on D6 you need to make or exceed) ... The player who exceeds the target by the most is the winner (so an outstanding argument and a good die roll are required - wargaming at its purest perhaps).

In the meantime, of course, we were also trying to interest casual browsers in the issues of the battle, explain the history and possibly recruit new supporters.

If we missed you on the day, apologies ... perhaps you will give us another chance:

There is a Facebook Page here (... you ask can join the group)

There is a wordpress website here (... click on a topic that addresses your questions)

Other Ancient/Medieval tables at Derby ...

A couple of views of Graham Fordham's snowy Participation Game for the Lance & Longbow Society ... blending Saga with the activation mechanism from Bolt Action ...

(Northern Crusading from the man behind the Fluttering Flags)

A popular opportunity to play the Gladiator game Jugula ...

And that other matrix game raiding cattle ...

Here's a couple of selections of other stuff worth looking at around the show ...

(Both world wars and either side of the cattle raiders, Tamara poses with the WRG dinosaur and the L&L yellow banner)

(some big buildings from the FIW and Jugula tables; some tanks and a ship)

But I'll finish with some views of the super French and Indian War table ... very inspiring ...

Joint winner of the best display game I believe ... well, for once, I agree ...


All in all, a very rewarding outing ... it seemed to fly by and thankfully the shows are coming thick and fast as I already know there was plenty of shopping I needed to do but hadn't made a list.

Great chatting to Ron Kay at Irregular about when he was stationed at Hardingstone in the 1940s (walking back from a night on the town past the battlefield and up past the Eleanor Cross) ...

Great making some new plans with Warbases.    And great meeting up with the Armati players for the first time in a while.

Many thanks to players and supporters ... thanks to the organisers for allocating us plenty of space - and thanks to everyone who helped.

See you at the English DBA Open in a couple of weeks (you are going, aren't you?)


7th September, Kelham Hall, Newark


The Society of Ancients and The Lance & Longbow combined as usual at Kelham Hall for The Other Partizan, Newark's early Autumn show.   

The display was Phil Steele's Northampton 1460 which was constructed for the Northampton Battlefields Society, formed last year because of the threats to the historic battlefield (which is currently open park land and golf course) - NBS has both a website and a Facebook group.

(behind the displays, the NBS banner lists the battle of Northamptonshire)

The society's principal concern is the 1460 battlefield at Delapre Abbey, but on foundation it was asked to widen its brief to encompass the other battles of Northampton and other important battles within the county such as Edgecote (1469).   

I should add, perhaps, that the great ECW battle at Naseby continues to have its own support network (the Naseby Battlefield Project) but there is considerable interaction between the project and the town and county society.

(The Battle of Northampton at Delapre viewed from the South-West - from behind the Eleanor Cross)

The evidence relating to the battle at Delapre has been collated and evaluated in a recent CMP (Conservation Management Plan) by battlefield archaeologist Glen Foard (the man who found Bosworth) and this has been accepted by the council (though many implementation hurdles remain to be negotiated).
(the Battle of Northampton at Delapre viewed from the North - from the direction, say, of the castle)

The report makes clear that the balance of evidence is that the battle took place in the park (then Hardingstone's open fields) adjacent to the nunnery, overlooked by the Eleanor Cross.   

When de Waurin refers to the emplacements 'behind a little river' he almost certainly refers to the Fullbrook, a stream that crosses the park, not to the massive river Nene that cuts the fields here off from the town itself.

Reconstructions that butt the king's position up against the meandering river are almost certainly wrong according to current scholarship (I should add, perhaps that the majority of contemporary - or 'near contemporary' - accounts place the battle in fields - so in the park - not meadows - which is what flanks the river).

(archbishop Bourchier and the Papal Legate Francesco Coppini watch the battle from the Eleanor Cross)

Yorkist partisans archbishop Bourchier and the Papal Legate Francesco Coppini watched the battle from the Eleanor Cross, so the Hardingstone cross, which remains in situ, is one of our reference points for locating and orientating the battlefield.

(the Hardingstone cross today - shown on the anniversary of the battle)

Frustrated with Buckingham's refusal to grant Warwick and audience with the king, the Papal party on the hill excommunicated the Lancastrian army.   
We have no direct reference to what effect this may have had ... although the Lancastrians did, of course, go on to lose, and there were no permanent memorials erected to their fallen.

(Warwick's cavalry had a sharp action on the London Road in the preliminaries to battle - 15mm figures by Mirliton)

This project is part of an ongoing campaign to understand the battle better and to publicise its historic story and its present challenges.   

We will be taking a playable version of the battle to Derby early next month and we will have battlefield guides and info forms on the stand.

The other crowd pleaser at The Other Partizan was Simon Miller's collosal Pydna game ...

(Pydna panorama)


This was a huge project but involved a large number of participants and was played throughout the day.  

The rules were Simon's forthcoming To The Strongest (see more on Simon's blog) and feature grid zones and playing card activation.

(Pydna: a view of the battlefield through the gates of the Roman camp)

(Numidians and elephants thunder forward on the Roman wing)

A Society of Ancients member, Simon has done an excellent job of drawing enthusiasts and show organisers into these projects ... Time was when I might have reported from Partizan that ancient warfare was poorly represented.   

Now it is the star of the show.

Elsewhere ... 

I spotted a good looking Dark Age game and a snowy GNW-ish battle in Skane ...

Having laboured hard in the past to get snowscape-compatible basing in the past I was quite impressed how comfortable the visuals were with unmodified 'rock and grass' basing on the white boards.

Also at Partizan, Wargame Developments had their Doodlebuggers game (well most of it) all geared up to to blow V1s out of the sky (usually onto Southend pier or flattening the now famous shed in Bob Cordery's garden).

Great show as ever ... nice to be back in the main building even if that makes photography more of a challenge.   Thanks to the hosts for inviting us of course, and thanks to everyone who stopped by, chatted, took photos of the battle etc.

Please get in touch if you want more details about Northampton or the various Societies or follow the links.

If you are an active enthusiast in the ancient and medieval periods, the Society of Ancients is your society - please consider joining if you are not a member already.  If you are of the more dedicated disposition, please contact the Society Secretary (say, via the website) and volunteer to help.  There are always vacancies.

Or find me at Derby and we'll have a chat.   I can answer many of your questions and put you in touch with the right people.