20th June, St Helens

Phalanx 2015

Many thanks to the Spartans club for another great event at Sutton Leisure Centre.  Many thanks also to Steve and the Gentlemen Pensioners, my hosts for the weekend.

As is now a trusted formula, I was up with the Society's membership stand in support of Martin Charlesworth's popular DBA challenge table.

(Martin's 'Dirty DBA' ... let battle commence)

(Early Imperial Roman vs Picts)

(Achaemenid Persian vs Classical Indian)

We got around 8 games in during the day, but nobody won the challenge (although I took over playing the home army while Martin went shopping so the pendulum did swing towards the visitors for a while) ...

It is nice to see people playing the game.

Elsewhere, the Lance & longbow Society were running the Battle of Liverpool scenario with the Lion Rampant rules.

(The Battle of Liverpool with the Lance & Longbow Society)

(Battle of Liverpool: the armies close ...)

Also of an ancients style, I was very impressed with the large semi-historical naval game ... played on Kallistra hexes with home adapted rules ...

We don't really see enough trireme games on Ancients on the Move so I'm sure you'll enjoy so more details ...

Also seen on the ancient and medieval beat ...

Phalanx is an excellent show with a good mix of traders, demos and participation games: plenty of things to do and be inspired by for a one-day show ... here's a flavour of the rest of the periods ...

(Great terrain in this Liverpool WWII game)

... and an excellent Prusso-Austrian game from the Cobridge lads ...

Of course that's just scratching the surface - I was on the stand most of the day so these are just some of the things that caught my eye.  You really should visit this show if you are at all in the region.

There is also an excellent traditional Bring & Buy ... I picked up a bundle of stuff (I'm not a big bargain hunter so you know if I am shopping that there's good things to be had) ...

Then on to more important things ...

In the evening we filled a gap before dinner with a couple of games of Yarmuk.  Different again and well received by the players.

(enough said)

The Sunday was given over to a big multiplayer ECW game, more pictures of which can be found on my ECWBattles blog.

(Sunday: Pike & Shotte)

Excellent: my thanks to all involved.  A great end to the Spring and early Summer season.

Next up for me ... The Battle of Northampton in a local heritage show at Delapre Abbey ...

And COW 2015 where, amongst many good things, I will be reprising Bouvines and Yarmuk.


13th and 14th June, Naseby, Northamptonshire ...

The Northampton Battlefields Society at Naseby 370.

NBS took a little medieval magic along to the Naseby 370 event over the weekend ... to promote interest in and understanding of Northamptonshire's other key battles (Northampton 1460 and Edgcote 1469).

We were also supporting the Magna Carta celebrations on Sunday at 3pm (the LiberTeas event) ... and visitors to the event were given a free cup of tea to celebrate the story of English rights and liberties.

(LiberTeas: 800 years of Magna Carta celebrated at Naseby 370)

It seemed peculiarly appropriate to be celebrating Magna Carta's anniversary on the battlefield where Parliament won its right to be part of the governance of the land.

In addition to the museums and artists, cake stalls and tea parties, the Phoenix Club presented a series of wargames with a 17th century theme ...

(wargames at Naseby 370)

The big game was played to a version of Pike and Shotte, and the participation game used an adaptation of Lion Rampant.

The exhibition zone was also supported by the Pike & Shot Society, Helion Books, The Battlefields Trust and David Lanchester's books.

On Sunday the exhibitors got an impromptu visit from the Naseby Project's patron, Earl Spencer who took a keen interest in the wargame exhibits, particularly the historic battlefields of his native Northamptonshire ...

(Painterman Simon explaining the Battle of Northampton to Earl Spencer at Naseby 370)

So we were able to demonstrate medieval battle, explain Northampton's part in the Wars of the Roses, as well as celebrate the anniversary of Magna Carta and see some of the 17th century stuff that was, of course, the weekend's main theme.

(Naseby 370 ... the big battle captured on my small camera)

Next outing as Shows North will be in a week's time at Phalanx supporting Martin C's DBA Challenge

For more picture from Naseby 370 see ECWBattles/Naseby 370

31st May, Kelham Hall, Newark

Society of Ancients and Lance and Longbow Society at Partizan 2015

Yarmuk 636 ...

Shows North attended Partizan on behalf of SoA and L&L, and took along the prototype DBA V3 scenario game of Yarmuk.

Yarmuk was the cataclysmic battle fought out East of Damascus between the rising power of Islam and the formerly dominant regional power of Eastern Rome (the Byzantines).

(Yarmuk at Partizan ... flats from 50 years ago refurbished for today's wargames rules)

This is a development project in its final phase and enjoyed a first public outing.   The game represents the significant cavalry battle on the Northern flank on the penultimate day of fighting. Above shows my interpretation of the historical deployment.

(Khalid's Mobile Guard appear behind the Byzantine's Northern flank)

We pick up the battle narrative when the Arab cavalry reserve makes its surprise appearance behind the Byzantine position.

(looking along the Arab battleline ... mostly infantry with cavalry support directed by Amr ibn al As)

The Arabs must hold the line long enough for their elite force to swing the battle.

(the Byzantines drive forward in the centre)

Unfortunately, Pips (and the threat to their flank) meant that, in the game, the Byzantines were not able to attack all along the line and take the battle to the Arabs.

(Yarmuk at Partizan: the Byzantine line rapidly collapses)

Poor dice rolls accelerated the pace and the Byzantine forces were quickly split up, surrounded and annihilated.  Vahan's senior army evaporated first, leaving Qanateer's Slav recruits assailed on all sides.

(Yarmuk at Partizan: the last stand of Vahan's army)

The Slavs faired better only in holding out for a couple more turns but won few exchanges with the dominant Arabs.

(Yarmuk at Partizan: Qanateer's army is broken)

The battle was fought using adapted V3 armies (2 commands each, with independent break thresholds) and the scenario specifications will be published in a forthcoming book supporting DBA V3.   Watch this space.

(The Battle of Yarmuk: a DBA V3 scenario debut at Partizan - final positions)

Both Byzantine commands were broken ... for the loss of 1 element of cavalry from Khalid's Mobile Guard.

Our most emphatic Arab win in all the trial games - but on public debut, quite probably the most historical outcome.

In 636, Khalid's cavalry manoeuvre completely outflanked the enemy and led to the destruction of Vahan's cavalry and reserves, cutting the army's retreat.   It went very badly for the remaining troops.

Elsewhere at Partizan ...

Lots of good games around, sadly most of them in predictable 28mm but probably the best you'll see in that format ...

(Partizan 2015: a mix of spectacular 'big' table 28mm games)

(Grimsby's splendid gentlemen tread the teddybear fur ...)

But top 28mm game, for me, was Simon Miller's To the Strongest presentation ... good rules, masses of figures, simple rules and people joining in.

(Partizan 2015: BRB getting people involved in his To the Strongest demonstration)

... so here a couple of indulgent shots of massed battle, Roman-style ...

(Partizan 2015: To the Strongest ... you will need reserves ... )

Great day out ... seemed quite busy in the morning (well, 'crowded' - so we were unable to run the game til the afternoon, a bit like Salute used to be in the old days) ...

Yarmuk ran very nicely and its unique flat figure charm was enjoyed by a string of admirers once the crowd had thinned enough for people to see the game (NB: I must switch soon to much bigger tables like everyone else) ...

Partizan very much knows what it does best and caters to that audience.  The lighting has never been great and Kelham Hall's catering has evolved over the years away from what wargamers generally hope to find ...despite which we had quite a few visitors over the day and everybody seemed to be enjoying the show.

We're all looking forward to the next one.

Thanks to the crew, hosts and visitors.

Comments (4)

16th May, Sheffield, EIS

The SoA DBA Northern Cup at the Sheffield TRIPLES show.

So my trip to Triples started with a powercut, a broken down lorry on the A43 and the M1 North shut due to an accident (apologies to the thousands of other people choosing to travel then and who therefore ended up caught in my jinx) ...

So no surprises that I would lose more than one game of DBA on the day rolling a one with my general ...

This was the 11th annual Northern Cup and as smoothly organised as ever by our stalwart Lincoln friends.   The theme was Britain: a Nation at War' and featured scenarios from ancient times to the Wars of the Roses.

(Sub Roman British vs Scots Irish)

(Later Imperial Romans)

(splendid 15th Century armies based on Game of Thrones)

The possible boards (draw randomly for each round) were: Ancient British vs Caledonian; Pictish vs Late Imperial Roman; Scots Irish vs Sub Roman British; Norse Irish vs Norse Irish; Welsh vs Anglo Norman; Scots Common vs Scots Isles and Highlands; Feudal English vs Feudal French; House Stark vs House Lannister.

The Northern Cup offers a pretty full day of wargaming - 5 rounds in the day - but one of the advantages of getting beaten relatively quickly is that there is a bit more time to wander round the excellent show ...

Ancient/Medieval enthusiasts would have loved the display by the Knights in Battle Medieval Society ... combining equipment displays from their reenactments with a colourful battle using Neil Thomas rules ...

(Knights in Battle equipment display and picture books)

(the miniature Knights in all their glory) 

There was a popular participation game being run all through by Wargames Developments (didn't really get to talk to them as there was a game in progress every time I walked past) ...

(WD's Costal Command game in full swing ...) 

... and amongst a number of attractively presented participation games, I also noticed this gunfight game (again, supported with an eye-catching display of weapons and relevant exhibits) ...

I know a lot of fellow enthusiasts insist it is all about the game (or all about the minis), but I think the additional display features, exhibits and interpretations are all part of a good presentation these days: not only do they catch the eye, they also give another crack at explaining to casual browsers why you think your period or genre is worth their attention.

An all too brief look round from me, but lots to see and do.

Back at the DBA Northern Cup, the final round shuffled the pack, and for the 11th successive year, a new Champion emerged (astonishingly, nobody has ever won this event twice) ...

(The 2015 DBA Northern Cup Champion and runners up)

Phil Johnson won with Pete Duckworth (2nd) and Scott Russell as runners up.  Thereafter ... Dennis Grey; Martin Smith; Paul Hodson; Colin O'Shea; Graham Fordham, Tom Howes and Tom Whitehead; Richard Pulley; FrankShaw; Martin Myers.  Phil Steele and Mark Johnson jointly propped up the table.

A thoroughly good day out.  Thanks to Paul and Tony for organising the event, Sheffield Wargames Society for hosting it at Triples, and to the Society of Ancients for sponsorship.

See the Society's Shows North team next at Partizan at the end of the month.

UK DBA League page (Society Sponsored)
Comments (1)

9th and 10th May ... The Centre MK

(wargames meet the public in Middleton Hall)

Well done MKWS in getting Campaign back on in Milton Keynes Central shopping atrium: the wargames show with open access to ordinary members of the public.

The Society of Ancients has been proud to be associated with this initiative since its inception and is keen to do its bit presenting our wonderful, life-change and life-affirming leisure interests to a wider public - young people in particular.

Kids today lead very deprived lives that may not involve libraries, museum - even, I am told, toy soldiers (though that can hardly be believed) and are often misled that games are mostly noisy, head-scrambling video and console challenges.

This year, the Society stand hosted a participation game by the Northampton Battlefields Society (Northampton 1460: figures and layout by Shows North and Fluttering Flags; game design and umpiring by Trebian), a display by The Battlefields Trust (we had a reenactor in kit coming but he was taken ill) and a battlefield display by The Naseby Project (again, figures and layout by Shows North and Fluttering Flags) promoting their massive June 13/14 event.

Here are some details of the games ...

(Northampton 1460 has been boiled down to a rapid attack card game with a strong historical skew)

(March and Warwick attack the Lancastrian ramparts)

(overlooking the formidable position from the London Way)

(the game in full flow ... a Yorkist victory is imminent) 

Tim and Pete from Staines had the excellent Agincourt participation game from Salute up for the Saturday ... 

The designers gave me a quick run through and the game looked good ... the basic idea is that the French are in a race to capture hapless English nobles for ransoms ...

Ancients enthusiast would also have enjoyed the Hail Caesar game ...

... but pride of place must surely have gone to the Playmobil chariot races ...

Other periods were represented, though, I have to say, with the notable exception of the eye-catching Dambusters game (another Salute veteran) the ancient and medieval games clearly had the edge.

(display and participation games at Campaign 2015)

(Big kids went dambusting)

For more pictures of the Naseby Battlefield, please visit our sister blog ECW Battles in Miniature - but here's a plug.  The big weekend in 13th and 14th June (unmissable if you are within travelling distance of middle England ... it's the big one!) ...

(The dragoons in Sulby ... battle opens)

(Naseby: the Kings army advances on Parliament's position)

So a big thumbs up from the team and plenty of smiling faces from the public ... some new enthusiasts recruited and a lot of leaflets distributed.   A great show.

Write to the Centre's managers and tell them how much you like the show.

The Society of Ancients is next out sponsoring the Northern DBA Cup at Triples

Shows North will be doing Yarmuk at Partizan at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, you can catch me at Northampton talking about the Battle of Bouvines and the Road to Magna Carta on the 28th 


25th April, London, ExCel


Salute likes to have a theme ... and the Society is seldom able to join in with it ... this year was different, however, and the theme, Agincourt, felt directly into our period of remit.

We set up two games from Henry's epoch defining 1415 campaign, a full scope Agincourt game using Impetus rules and the Society's Anno Domino game of the assault on the breach at Harfleur, Greyhounds in the Slips.

(Agincourt - the French vanguard moves forward)

(Agincourt - some 'extra input' on the game from Lorenzo)

(larger figures for the 1:1 action at Harfleur)

(Greyhounds in the Slips - the author was also on hand to help players through this game, too)

Both these games ran during the game and I enjoyed giving Greyhounds another run out ... players and browsers were appreciative as usual and we had the full range if outcomes (including Henry getting killed by a crossbow bolt from the tower ... how very 'lion-hearted' of him! ... ) although generally the iconic warlord won the town and went on to fight at Agincourt.

Elsewhere there were a number of impressive ancient and medieval games ...

('Bloody Cremona' played with To The strongest')



... and, of course there were a lot of games out of our period and 'off theme' ... plenty of Napoleonics (in what is also Waterloo year), plenty of 20th Century and a whole host of wonderfully presented figures - I'll include a couple of collages in the vain attempt to capture the feel of a truly vast show ...

Back to the Agincourt theme, Donnington/Ancient & Modern had a great and well thought-out Field of Glory game in glorious 15mm ...

(Agincourt across the ploughed fields of glory)

(FoG Agincourt ... battlegroups of Frenchmen surge forward)

But with less emphasis on the ploughed fields but a strikingly French castle, The Lance & Longbow Society's Hail Caesar game swept the board as far as the organisers were concerned (bagging 3 awards) ...

(Hail Caesar Agincourt ... a panorama of fighting men in the fields of France) 

(Painterman Simon adds to his trophy cabinet on the Lance & Longbow stand)

And here are some futher joys from this lavish presentation ...

(Salute 2015 ... some details from the award winning Agincourt game) ...

Well done to the L&L ... and well done to the Agincourt theme ... I have featured games using Impetus, HC and FoG but there were others as well.  A great showcase.

I always try to wrap up with some thoughts on the show but with Salute it never works (the show is so big I can't take it all in in the few sessions I get off from running the game ... and then I bump into people anyway so miss half the other games) ...

The lighting seemed better, but the acoustics can be attritional ... and the fantasy shopping hubs were a bit scary ... but it remains the UK's premier show and it was great to see the societies there flying the flag for traditional historical wargaming and contributing some of the best looking tables at the show.

See you next at Campaign ... don't miss it.

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.


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


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.


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 ...

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 ...