16th April, London, ExCel

SALUTE 2016


Salute 2016 was its usual grand day out: though slim pickings for the Ancient and Medieval enthusiast - the theme was Steam Punk although you wouldn't know it from all the Science Fiction which seemed the dominant genre.

Although I know they turned some others away, the only big ancients game I could see was our own 28mm Magnesia played as a Lost Battle.  That's quite an amazing degree of under-representation given how many enthusiasts tick 'ancients' on surveys and how big the ExCell hall is.

(Salute 2016: the Society of Ancients stand and - behind - Magnesia game)

So this won't be the same as the other Salute reports from this year - and half a dozen different views of the Star Trek bridge ... I'll showcase the few historical games from before 1500AD ...

Without the Society of Ancients and Lance & Longbow there would have been fewer.  Always worth remembering if you were under the impression that the Society's mission in championing the historical wargame was done already.

(Championing the historical wargame ... without these volunteers, what next?)

The Society of Ancients presented the great Roman triumph of Magnesia ...


(Salute 2016: the Lost Battle of Magnesia)

Presented by Prof. Phil Sabin and the shows team.


(Salute 2016: Magnesia 190BC by The Society of Ancients - detail)

This was an live game played 3 time with visitors to the show joining in.

The Lance & Longbow Society had Rob Broom presenting an anniversary refight of Hastings using his popular War and Conquest rules ... again played with show goers throughout the day ...


(Salute 2016: details from the battle of Hastings by The Lance & Longbow Society)

Not quite historical ... the Skirmish Wargames folk put on this attractive myth game in 54mm ..


... and reprising last year's theme, there was an impressive battle of Agincourt ...


I also liked this 28mm medieval encounter in Eastern Europe ...


Snow just works so well for games at shows ...


More Dark Age/Medieval from Dalauppror ...


... and some Saga ...


So, actually not too bad if you are at the Dark Age/Medieval part of the spectrum but just the one historical ancient battle.  Hmmm ...

Very little also for the naval enthusiast - and this year was the 100th anniversary of the battle of Jutland.   A surprising absence, perhaps?

Elsewhere ...


... there was lots of everything else ...

Especially, I liked ...


... the train ... and I liked ...


... the ships in the docks ... This was a huge decorative side table to the historical 'what if' ECW Bristol scenario - actually a rather splendid game ...

(Redoubt (sconce) in the ECW game 'What if Essex had gone to Bristol')

And I always like the Continental Wars Society and their mix of wargaming presentations prints and flats ...

(Salute 2016: the Continental Wars Society display)

(more Salute 2016)

... and there was some splendid miniature architecture on show ...

(overlooking the battle of Moncontour, 1569)

(Wilhelmstadt, beside the battle by Bill Gaskin and friends) 

Of course these, like the port at Bristol, are not really part of the battle, just decorative add-ons.  Now, as a modeller, I love to see them and they help make my Salute - but I do understand why some question their relevance (especially when the organisers are turning away core subject historical wargames) ...

So ... I really enjoyed Salute 2016 - I always do: a special blend of wargame magic with shopping, meeting old friends and enjoying the spectacle.  This year, the dearth of historical games was a disappointment, especially to the ancients enthusiast.

It was a grand day out but a missed opportunity.  I hope next year's show has a better balance of wargame types and interests.

Come see us at Campaign, by the way ...
Comments (4)

Double DBA Pharsalus at the BattleDay


My contribution at the BattleDay was to stage Pharsalus using some DBA options including the Double DBA format I proposed for Zama back in 2011.

The scenario needs to compel the players to fight in depth ... giving them 2 DBA armies, one behind the other.  The first two should fight themselves to a standstill before being withdrawn.  The clash of the main/reserve armies that follows should be the one that counts.

I needed some more 10mm Romans for this, of course ...

(Pompey's cavalry ... some of the older Chariot Spanish, some Newline Hellenistics)

Many thanks to Newline Designs for excellent service (and some very nice 10mm figures)

(Newline Designs 10mm Marian/Caesarian Roman legionaries )

The figures, built on the Zama collection, are mounted on standard 40mm basewidths (just extra figures): I like the look - each base being a more convincing 'unit' in the smaller scale.

(the personalities ... drop in pieces to go on the command stands)

to cover the Big Battle options, I made up 8 commanders, each an individual to fill a magnetised gap on a general's element ...

(Mark Antony leading a cavalry envelopment ... a new command piece)

(Metellus Scipio commanded Pompey's centre at Pharsalus ... he was a great descendent of Scipio Africanus so I was able to recycle an existing figure for him)

Pompey in overall command of his army with Afranius, Ahenobarbus, Scipio and Labienus as generals ... Caesar commanding his army and taking charge of the Reserve and Right Wing ... with Calvinus and Mark Antony controlling the centre and left respectively ...

(following the traditional interpretation, I put a large camp behind Pompey's army,  but left Caesar's off table)

Although I had intended to play both the BB and Double DBA options, we focused attention solely on the latter - so while it was nice to see all the personalities and note their positions in the order of battle, we only needed 4: Calvinus commanding Caesar's opening phases, Labienus the Pompeians ... and Caesar and Pompey to command the decisive phase.

I used 72 elements, but due to the numerical disparities, split them 34 to Caesar, 38 to Pompey.  It would give Pompey a break point 2 higher.  One of the challenges of the day would be to see if this asymmetry would unduly distort DBA's underlying balance.

(Battle on the plains beside the river Enipeus at Pharsalus)

Actually we played the Double game twice with a win each to Pompey and Caesar ... not enough games to be remotely scientific but certainly a veneer of balance.

The basic idea with Double DBA is that the two armies deploy 2 commands each, one in front of the other, and rolling a pip die for each.  The front commands wear each other down hoping to break through and do some damage to the enemy's main force.  Both opening phase commands are withdrawn when exhausted (i.e. when their DBA battle ends in the usual way).   The scoring between them is irrelevant but the winner gets to retain his winning elements (so if the winner was 2 elements off breaking, he can retain 2 elements from the opening phases force) ...

The decisive phase battle plays normally, one die per player, normal breakpoints and victory conditions.

Players are so used to simultaneous battle with command one beside the other that fighting in the Roman style, commands in depth, seems almost heretical.  But it does work surprisingly smoothly.

(Pharsalus: opening phases .. Labienus attempts to turn in on and outflank Caesar's right)

Both armies rested one flank on the river.  Caesar was woefully short of cavalry and his ploy of thinning his centre in order to deploy legionaries to shore the open flank was essential in the game.  

Caesar just does not have enough muscle or guile to hold off Labienus without the heavy infantry.


Caesar intervenes personally.


Caesar's intervention stabilises the flank and neutralises Labienus's numerical advantage.  

That said, Labienus has successfully drawn Caesar's reserves into the early phase of battle and these losses will be permanent.

Of course, the effect of the Double format is that the decision will always be elsewhere, and with Pharsalus, it will rest with the infantry (although without flanks, the centre might well be doomed) ...

And the final infantry slog went one-apiece ...

(a decisive Caesar win: the blade/legion on the right has just pursued a base depth after destroying the enemy legion to front - which broke Pompey's centre) 

Pharsalus today ...

I usually like to visit the battlefields of history before trying to recreate them ... in this case there was no time in preparing for BattleDay 2016.  I did, however do some virtual tourism courtesy of Google Maps ...

(the river Enipeus near the town of Farsala today)

(the flat plain at Farsala looking towards the town)

(the prominent high ground which narrows the plain near to where the battle may have been fought)

Obviously while without archaeology these images don't help identify the exact location or orientation of the battle, they perhaps do help give us a clue to look and character of the battlefield.

Like many an ancient battle, it is essentially a flat open field with an 'edge of the world' on one side (at least) ... some scope for cavalry on the other ....

To add interest I made a boat for the river.

Comments

2nd April, Bletchley MK (overview)

THE SOCIETY OF ANCIENTS BATTLEDAY 2016


This year's SoA Battleday was a well attended full house - a sunny day in the now well-established Sycamore Hall venue.  There were a lot of legionaries ...

(the Pharsalus BattleDay ... just out of shot, C&C, To the Strongest and Piquet)

The day started with an informative introduction by Lost Battles author Prof. Phil Sabin of Kings College and a lively Q&A.

There were 13 games being run on the day with some overlaps within 12 basic ancient wargame systems.  I'll give you snapshots of them in alphabetical order ...















You will see a couple of overlaps there: two DBA variants - a Big Battles variant focusing on part of the battleline, and my own 'Double' battle configured in depth similar to my treatment of Zama some years back ...

And Lost Battles appears twice ... once in the familiar Sabin/Cruttenden/Waller presentation, and then in a dual focus game which used Lost Battles for the big picture and Hail Caesar for the closer view.

Variable resolution might be one of the features of the day, as the Piquet game also sought to change focus (you might notice, on the general picture of the game above, a couple of magnification zones that up the scale) ...

(Pharsalus ... smaller scale figures: Civitates Bellantes)

... and smaller scale figures ... Pharsalus was a colossal battle and many presenters seem to have felt that smaller scales captured it battle (or games that mixed sharper focus with the big picture) ... 15mm predominated as usual but 10, 6 and 2 had a lot to say.

(Pharsalus ... smaller scale figures: Double DBA) 

I will put a report on my own game in separate blog (to follow) and wrap up the overview here.

It seemed a great success with some new approaches, some big games and lots of legionaries ...

(Pharsalus ... lots of legionaries: Armati)

Well done the Society of Ancients ... another great battle recreated!
Comments (3)

19th March, Sheffield


Sheffield Triples and the DBA Northern Cup

Another excellent day out at the English Institute for Sport in the company of the Sheffield Wargames Society.  

A little less well attended this year, perhaps, as a result of being the third weekend in a row of wargame shows within 50 miles or so of Middle England - but very friendly and well supported by the trade.

The Lance & Longbow Society were there with an updated version of their Deepdale game ...


Wargame Developments were there with busy participation game of Roman Careers


There was a good selection of nicely presented display games ...


And we were there with a modest presence on the Saturday supporting the DBA Northern Cup sponsored by The Society of Ancients (and with the prize fund generously boosted by Magister Militum)


More on the DBA Cup below.

Here are a few pictures from the show - some of you missed it I know but a big advantage of a quieter show is that you get a chance to have a good look round, chat to the game presenters, shop without queuing etc.

I particularly liked the mix this year ...




A pity I didn't have more time to have a go at some of them ... 

DBA Northern Cup

This year there was a 'Rise of Rome' theme ... the organisers provided the boards, armies etc. and the players draw the scenario for their game at the start of each round.

This year's list comprised:
I/59 Tullian Roman 
vs 
I/57a Etruscan League 
II/10 Camillan Roman 
vs 
II/11 Gallic 
II/32a Later Carthaginian 
 vs
II/33 Polybian Roman 
II/51 Later Judean 
vs
II/49 Marian Roman 
I/58 Meriotic Kushite 
 vs
II/56 Early Imperial Roman 
II/68a Pictish 
vs
II/64a Middle Imperial Roman 
II/69b Sassanid Persian 
 vs
II/78b Late Imperial Roman 
II/82a Patrician Roman 
vs
II/80 Hunnic 




The games turned out to be quite challenging and different ... I mostly drew the Roman side (which is not 'the usual' for me, so a good bit of variety) ...

My games were with ...

Early Imperial Romans



Later Carthaginian



Tullian Roman


Middle Imperial Roman


Patrician Roman


So that's a pretty good flavour of the ancient world ... and a good chunk of Romans (Tullian, early Imperial, Middle Imperial and Patrician) ...

Some nice terrain bits too ...

(A Roman watchtower camp - from The Baggage Train)

Congratulations to Martin, Phil and Scott, and to Tamara, our youngest player. ... This was the 11th year and the 11th winner - a testimony to the Cup's open and accessible style.  I slipped quietly into mid-table obscurity.


Apologies for the grainy picture - the light was in the wrong place ... but thanks to all the players for standing in line.  Hope to see you all next year.

Thanks to the Society for their support ... thanks to Paul, Tony and the Lincoln team for all the effort that goes into working out the scenarios and providing the boards and armies.

Thanks to Triples for hosting the event.


Comments

13th March, Wolverhampton


These days our first proper show of the Shows North year is Alumwell's WMMS in Wolverhampton.

Always friendly, always well-attended - and with a good trade presence (well I can usually get the stuff I need) .. This year we shared a birth with the Northampton Battlefields Society. ...


NBS have been doing sterling work defending the battlefields of Northamptonshire against developers, especially the 1460 site at Delapre Abbey.  As part of the campaign they have self-published a new book on the battle and we will have some available at shows this year ...


That's the Amazon link but if you get it through the Society at a show, all the cash goes to the Battlefield Society and everything over the basic cost then helps defend our heritage.

If you are interested in the Wars of the Roses, you need this book.

Plugging nearby Northampton aside, we used our time at the WMMS to get out the nostalgia collection of flats originally owned by Tony Bath, Deryck Guyler, Phil Barker and others and put on a 60's style game ...

(1960s style ancients ... the Bath/Guyler/Barker flats at WMMS 2016)

Although it isn't necessarily the definitive version (I'm working on narrowing that down), we played to the version of the Bath wargame included in Donald Featherstone's seminal War Games (first published 1962) ...

(the rules were Tony Bath per Featherstone's War Games ... here, the John Curry reprint)

When I booked the game in with the show organisers I had no idea that veteran Midlands wargamer, Society LVP and original painter of the majority of the figures on display, Phil Barker, would be able to attend ...

Re-united, as it were, with some old friends ...

(Phil Barker settles in behind one army in the Bath/Guyler/Barker flats battle)

As is often the case these days, Phil preferred to share his recollections of those early games (the development of the basing system, his victorious cataphracts, Tony's infernal layering of rule upon rule etc. etc.) than push the tin around (he is thinking entirely about HFG these days) but it was great to see him in good health and a pleasure to welcome him to the Society stand (where would the ancient wargame be without Phil and those early pioneers, most of whom, sadly, are no longer with us?) ...

(the very same cataphracts Phil used to defeat Tony Bath all those years ago)

As I hope the pictures show, the style of the game was how I fancy things would have looked.  I came into wargaming at the end of the 1960s, and some of the terrain I have had since then - but I have to admit I don't think things ever looked quite so complete as they do these days (in the modern game's infancy, really, anything you had would do ... at least for us youngsters).

(1960s style terrain ... original Bellona bridge and Merit Poplar trees)

Elsewhere we saw quite a good mix of games and displays, plus military vehicles, reenactment and the modelling exhibition which is part of the flavour of the show.





Painted backdrops seemed to be popular this year ... an interesting development.

(the Battle of Edgehill 1642 complete with landscape and skyline)

(Swiss and Burgundians)

Indeed there were one or two English Civil War games - I believe Helion have some rules coming out (I wonder if this is also on the up again) although perhaps fewer ancients ... nevertheless these Romans were out ...


... and there was a very large Hastings game using Gripping Beast figures (or so the captions implied)


A Roman Battle for Hyboria

Unusually for me I pitched this as an imaginations encounter because it was a celebration of Tony Bath's legacy and also, the Bath rules being as they are, I wanted to incorporate elephants, cataphracts, Gallic cavalry etc. into the game (to bring out the variety in the rules) ... 

It seemed to work nicely although those elephants are tough beasties.


The Eastern army, with reinforcements suggested on its flank, seemed to have the advantage (more elephants, Phil's fully armoured cataphracts, and a couple of those pilum-chucking cohorts) ... they went on the attack ...

(the Eastern army as it took the field replete with elephants, cataphracts, and legionaries)


This elephant stampeded under missile fire, however - and stormed off the table (narrowly missing those Gallic horsemen who were frantically - and it turned out wisely - running away from the cataphracts)

The Western elephants had already been lost to missile exchanges between the crewmen.


The rules are very bloody by modern standards ... high hit ratios and low chances to save ... whole swathes cut down by missiles or melee - but morale rules which give a fair chance to small surviving groups to press on.

(light troops tussle on the Southern edge of the battlefield)

(elephants and archers battle for the gentle slopes in the middle of the battlefield)

(Eastern high point ... 2 elephants survive the battle for the hill, cataphracts bear down on the Gauls and, foreground 2 cohorts will take on some archers) 

... actually, the cohort nearest the hill has already lost figures to the bowmen and will get cut down further before combat, while its supports will engaged by cavalry returning from a fight on the flank.

(the endgame)

Hit with more missiles, another elephant stampeded, in this case charging straight forward into the auxiliary cohort which had done the damage.  The foot broke and ran - but subsequently rallied.  The elephant headed off the battlefield.

The last elephant finally succumbed to hails of pila.  The archers who had torn shreds out of the enemy cohort then trounced them in melee - leaving the Western army, somewhat improbably, commanding the centre of the battlefield.

The cataphracts destroyed the lightly armed Gauls but both players agreed that they would then have ridden off rather than tried their luck against the overwhelming numbers now behind them.

Actually the game had worked very well and played quite quickly ... although there might be a catalogue of nuances one would look again at with 50 years more wargame design under our belts, it was fun, and victory progressed in a series of logical steps from player decisions and bouts of die rolling.

You can see why it would have caught on.

*******

More Barker wargaming next week - the very latest style, though ... DBA 3 for the Society sponsored Northern Cup at Triples (but I'll take some SoA goods with me and the promised copies of Northampton 1460).

Comments (2)

28th February, Keresley Library, Coventry

MERCIA DBA/SOA UK DBA LEAGUE

I wasn't able to attend Patrick's new event in Market Harborough so this was only my second outing with the 2015/16 DBA League.

The theme was armies from the history of Mercia so I opted to dust down my Anglo-Saxons and take King Penda'a Dark Age Mercians, famous as you will all know for his battles at Maserfield and Winwaed.   A hundred years before his relative Offa built a dyke.


I took along the longship baggage element with its improbable lateen rig.   The Angles and Saxons were great sailors, of course, and first arrived in these islands which they made their own by boat.

The army's DBA terrain is arable, of course, and the boat must be presumed pulled up on an inlet from a river just off the board.

(Mercian supplies beached by a waterway - click on the pictures for a larger image)

I also refurbished an old earthwork to provide a fort ... Mercians seem to have been good a digging earthworks so I thought I'd throw one into a game.

With an aggression of 2, I didn't get that many chances (but it did get into play) ...


The interior is actually a 10mm Roman watchtower supplied for review a while back by The Baggage Train.  I've always been pleased with the look of this resin piece on the 15mm battlefield.


I suppose I should complete the round up by mentioning the ploughman figure I built to enhance DBA V3's iconic 'plough' terrain type.


This army adds a cavalryman, a skirmisher and a pair of 'hird' warbands (the general and his personal retainers) to an 8 element shieldwall.  It doesn't do much singing and dancing but it sure is good at fighting enemy infantry.  

I was hoping to hold the line while breaking through with commander's (supported general warband) deadly fighting power.   Toughing it out against knights would likely be less productive.

The games ...


Game One: vs Sub Roman British ... cavalry and auxilia with some vulnerable blades ...


Game Two: vs North Welsh ... and a clump of knights to fear (it turned out with good reason) ...


Game Three: vs Feudal English ... could the spearwall get stuck into the archers (before the knights prevail) ...

At this, the half way stage, the set up switched and all games were with your opponent's army against your own ...


Game Four: with Anglo-Normans ... Charge!

There was now an interval for displaying the various armies before a 'best in theme' vote:-


Excellent ... my vote went to the colourful Anglo-Danish army (3 up, above)

... and then the wargames resumed for the final two rounds ...


Game Five: with Graham Fordham's Anglo-Norman ... Charge!... and ...


Game Six: with Martin Smith's Pre Feudal Scottish

This reverse phase went very well and I won all the games ... making 5 wins and a defeat (propelling me to a countback second place) ... and my cup oveflowed when the player vote picked my Mercians as the best of the bunch.

These were English style quick fire games and all mine were decisive (despite the preponderance of footsloggers) ... We had plenty of potential manoeuvre but everyone gamely got on with it.

Moments ...

(outflanked!  The Saxon commander leads from the centre of the line but the warrior on the right flank seems to be trying to draw attention to the enemy about to roll up the line !!) 

(from the rear - with the gear - a view of the shieldwall from the supply ships)

A great day out ... and a surprisingly elevated result.  Well done everyone!



WMMS next ... then more DBA at Triples

Comments (1)

20/21st February, Burton on Trent

BADCON - BURTON DOUBLES

I wasn't able to sort anything out for this year's Burton Doubles but went up to have a look at what was happening and say Hi! to people ...


Quite useful also to sit in on a couple of games of L'Art de la Guerre and pick up a few more nuances of the game.

The ADLG was quite a small section, the main choices seemingly FoG-AM, FoG-R and DBMM.

(click on the pictures for larger images)


All told a very well attended event and some great armies, terrain and baggage on display. ..




Hopefully I'll be able to do both days next year - and will be back as a player ...

For who managed to do what, check out Badcon Results
Comments

23rd and 24th January, Usk


GODENDAG 2016

Back on the road for the new year and our first stop was for a weekend of tournament gaming at Usk in South Wales and this year we decided to give a go at l'Art de la Guerre ...


We chose to go with Maurikian Byzantines and a horse archer ally (and the best in period option was Khazar) ... we were beginners and it seemed to suit us very well.

The format was 400 points configured as two 200 point allied armies with the two players commanding the 3 adjacent command on their side of the table.

OK.   We won three out of our four games (though 'on points' rather than by destroying the enemy outright) and lost the fourth by a small margin.  We ended up mid-table.

(our four games at Godendag)

In truth we a tad overmatched in terms of power and protection, most of the entrants in a fairly open field were medieval knight/longbow/chopper types so we had to whittle and dodge to get any favours out of the exchange and that makes for a 'long game' strategy.


L'Art de la Guerre is an odd hybrid which feel like a mix of FoG, Armati and DBM and it takes a bit of getting used to (what with 'units' being able to about face and charge (things you are comfortable with the DB element game but which seem clunky in a unit based game) ...

(some scenes from our games)

Like FoG the movement is in units (in this case UDs), like DBA3, the UD is a 40mm (i.e. a BW) ..

The opposed die rolls and and variable levels of cohesion (2 to eliminate light troops, 4 cavalry, 4 for Heavt Foot etc.) work very well and feel a lot like Intro Scale Armati ...

(a rare 'in-period' battle against Armenians and Arabs)

The command and control uses Pips (CPs) much in the style of DBM ...

(more knights)

... and the basing is WRG standard ...

(the hurly-burly of ancient battle) 

The rules are poorly written (probably in the main poorly translated although some of the queries and anomalies are not just down to playing the English version) and that is disappointing given this is the third edition.

I suspect I will play some more of this but it is difficult to see it as anything other than an extra option compared to say Basic Impetus or DBA V3.

What we really need is BBDBA Doubles ...

(the various winners at Godendag 2016 ... )

Thanks a lot to the organisers and list checkers ... great Welsh hospitality and our generous and good spirited opponents ...


Comments

Winter Quarters ... 2015 in review ...

2015 was a massive year for me in which a number of key projects came to fruition, in which I lost another close friend and in which I ended the year moving house (almost) ...

The bare bones as far as the Shows North blog is concerned ... 22 posts tracking a year in which we attended 12 wargame shows, 6 tournaments (although 2 of these in 2015 were FoG-R, so didn't appear here), 4 Ancient/Medieval heritage events and a couple of related features ...

(each picture is a link to the show report so click the pics to find out more)

The Shows ...













At the shows for which I did the games and presentations I did the Battle of Yarmuk four times, Bouvines and Northampton three times each, David and Goliath twice ... and we did my recent Society game Greyhounds in the Slips once (Salute) and a Tony Bath's Hyboria retake at Warfare.

*****

The sad event in the middle of the year was the passing of my great friend and collaborator Andy Gittins ... founder of the Slough Barbarians, Society President and designer of the seminal Society game Gladiolus amongst many other award winning participation games and Conference projects.

Here are some of us old guys at Andy's funeral ...


And here are some of us 30 years or so earlier in a pub in Dorset ...


Such a loss - we gave the original shows copy of David and Goliath some commemorative outings.


On the tournament side, I mainly played DBA or FoG-R ... with random scenarios at Triples/Northern Cup, Sub Romans at Mercia, Spartacus' Slaves at Tarrington, and their Roman enemies at the DBA Open ...

Mercian DBA Open


The Society of Ancients BattleDay


The English DBA Open


The Tarrington Scramble


Through our links with The Northampton Battlefields Society we promoted heritage protection and historic battlefields at Towton, Naseby's spectacular 370th anniversar event, at Northampton and at Bosworth ...






In addition to helping organise the 370th at Naseby, it is a year in which we have secured genuine moves towards a permanent exhibition at Northampton and start-up Lottery Funding for the Naseby Project.

Nevertheless it was a year of losses as well as triumphs ...


RIP Andy Gittins
Comments

21st November, Tarrington


OK ... off to deepest Herefordshire for another round of the Society of Ancients UK DBA League - now in the 2015/16 season.

Actually, Tarrington is really quite accessible, being some 12 miles or so from the motorway (so just about dual carriageway/motorway all the way from my door) - so don't imagine it is the middle of nowhere when you see this event advertised next time: it is easy to get to and a great format.  Highly recommended - don't miss it.



The format is an open 'scramble' - you donate an army (any) to the pool.   You get to play against it in round 1 and with it in the final round.  In between, you play with and against a random army supplied by one of the other players.

I took Slave Revolt/Spartacus ...

(DBA Slave Revolt/Spartacus ... 15mm figures/mixed manufacturers)

Followers of this blog might recall I took a Marian Roman army to the English Open a few weeks back - with the back story that it was half of a pair that I had built for the Alton Pairs but then not been able to attend.

This is the other half of the pair ... the revolting slaves.   Bottled up in southern Italy with their camp in the fastness of Mount Vesuvius ...


... with Jean Simmons skinny dipping in a secluded pool ... (or so Stanley Kubrick would imagine it) ..

The army has 4 (fast) hordes, and I was interested to see how they would do over a sequence of games.

There were plenty of hordes in the army mix - and 2 cases (Aztec and Early Libyan) where they made up half the army ...

So ... The mix:  I/7a Early Libyan;  I/60b Early Achaemenid Persian (Cyrus);  I/60c Early Achaemenid Persian;  II/7 Later Achaemenid Persian;  II/40 Numidian;  II/45c Slave Revolt (Spartacus);  II/79 Early Russian;  II/34b Andalusian;  IV/55 Ottoman;  IV/63 Aztec;  IV/62 Northern Sung;  IV/80 Hussite  ...

My games ...

(Ottoman vs Slave Revolt)

(Andalusian vs Early Libyan)

(Later Achaemenid Persian vs Early Russian)

(Aztec vs Numidian)

(Early Libyan vs Early Achaemenid Persian)

(Slave Revolt vs Northern Sung)

A lot of generic/what ifs there ... not really hisotrical (nearest was probably Libyans vs Persians although wrong sort of Libyans perhaps .. ) but all of them intriguing challenges and plenty of opportunities for me to learn more about hordes!!!

Players supplied the terrain with the armies (and players drawing the army had to use the terrain - only and all - as provided) ... there was an option to provide larger boards but all I saw were standard 24" battlefields.

I quite liked ...

(those Aztecs and their pyramid ... ) ...

(the later Persians mostly made with the recently issued Westwind figures)

(didn't get to use these Hussites but thought they looked very good)

Well, I really enjoyed such a diverse series of games and with all that experience of hordes it was very pleasing to win my final game using my own army (and mostly employing the offensive power of the revolting slaves whilst the gladiators covered their flanks) ...

(victory to Spartacus and the revolting slaves)


Well done to the top three ... a good test and an enjoyable day ...


I won 2 of my 6 games and I think got one draw  ... so finished lower middle (slightly less successful than my army) ...  Then again, I did use both of the horde armies and the Aztecs, indeed, won the most challenging award (for the lowest scores) ... and I think I want one!

Thanks to Martin Myers for organising the event and thanks to all the players for a splendid set of nicely presented and interesting armies.



Comments (1)