4th March, Newark Showground

HAMMERHEAD 2017 and the SOCIETY of ANCIENT DBA Northern Cup

With no Triples this year, the Society sponsored DBA Northern Cup moved seamlessly over to middle England's 'up and coming' Hammerhead - and a very successful move it was.

Hammerhead has established itself at Newark showground which now hosts the two Partizans as well.  OK it lacks the charm of Kelham Hall but wins on parking and convenience.

The main hall at the showground is, shall we say, spartan in its appeal - but the DBA event was in the gaming annex in a building across the way and had a number of advantages (shh or they'll all want some ... but lets just say 'carpet' and coffee without queueing ... ) ..

So ... a good venue, and, as always, a well managed event by Paul and Tony.

(The SoA DBA Northern Cup: my first four games)

The format for the Northern Cup is preset armies and tables provided by the organisers ... attack/defend specified for the game but otherwise free deployment.

It works very well and is a great leveller.

All the limited spaces for the event were sold, so we were 'full' (come along next year but book early)

The armies were all from the early periods.

(The SoA DBA Northern Cup: the morning session)

Also in our annex was this very appealing try-out game of the new Helion Armada game (simple Andy Callan rules and print-cut-and-glue paper ships).

Very tempting ...

Elsewhere in the show there was not a lot for the ancients enthusiast - but a good range otherwise and again, a lot of modern, some naval and some colonial ....

We were back for a couple more games after lunch (in which I fell from needing a miracle to no chance at all) but overall had a a great series of games and met some new players (as well as old friends) ... Indeed we had a nice mix of players including newcomers and youngsters (kudos to V3 of DBA for this encouraging trend and another full house).

And so to some worthy prize winners ...

(Dennis, Mark Johnson in First place, and Patrick)

A grand day out ... in support of which I took along the 54mm participation game of Bosworth which is also, of course, run to the latest version of DBA ...

Hammerhead and the DBA Northern Cup - I'm already looking forward to the next one!


26th February, Tonbridge

The day after Alton I was down at Cavalier helping the shows team with the stand in support of a Lost Battles demo of Cannae ...

 (The Society of Ancients - the lost battle of Cannae BC 216 - Tonbridge 2017)

The game was ably run by the author Prof Philip Sabin of King's College (and a long standing SoA Committee member), together with regulars Eric, Alan and Mark ...

A vibrant game ...

and an excellent collection of figures ...

Hannibal's greatest victory.

Elsewhere the show was well attended and featured an attractive mix of games ... WW2/Modern and Naval seemed to be the trends ... Perhaps something we will see during 2017?

(Cavalier 2017: other stuff)

Look out for Hammerhead and WMMS in March and Salute in April.

Comments (1)

DBA Special ... IV 13b Medieval German

Figures mostly by Irregular Miniatures with some QRF, Minifigs, Essex etc.

Comments (1)

25th February, Alton

... and quickly it was DBA again - this time the Alton matched pairs tournament.

Each player takes a matched pair of armies (armies and enemies on the lists) and every other game is played with your own pair or your opponent's pair ... 

The day is six games - so you get to use your own pair 3 times ... when using your own pair, the opponent chooses which army to use (otherwise the standard options apply) ....

I opted to take Mongols and Seljuqs as I reasoned with time tight on the clock, all those potential 2/2 and 1/1 combats would give a good prospect of a completed game each round (as indeed they did)

My armies

IV/35 MONGOL CONQUEST (Cv gen; 4 x Cv; 6 x LH; 1 x Art):
1 x General (Cv), 2 x Mongol armoured cavalry (Cv), 5 x Mongol horse archers (LH), 1 x stone thrower (Art), 2 x Khwarizmian cavalry (Cv) and 1x Kipchak horse archers (LH) …  Steppe.  Agg: 4

III/74a SELJUQ TURK - Army of RUM (Cv gen; 3 x Cv; 5 x LH, 2 x 3Bw; 1 x 4Kn):
1 x General with mamluks (Cv), 2 x askaris (Cv), 5 x Turkoman horse archers (LH), 1 x Kurds (Cv), 2 x Armenian foot (3Bw), 1 x Agulani (4Kn) … Steppe.  Agg: 3

Each army had its quirks ... the Mongol stone-thrower is an interesting asset to take to a 'horse archer' fight.  The Seljuq Agulani add some punch but are at risk with all that light horse around.

The other players chose:

Teutonic Order v Early Polish; Ptolemy Keraunos v Galatians; Zenobia's Palmyrans v LPIA; L. carthaginian v Polybian Roman; Hellenistic Greeks, Sparta v Boiotia; Guti v Akkad; Italian Condotta v French Ordonnance; Early Welsh v Middle Anglo-Saxon; NKE v Ugaritic; WotR, Tudors v Rebels; French Ordonnance v Medieval German; Early Sumerian b list x 2; Middle Assyrian v Hittite Empire; Attila v Patrician Roman W.; Gallic v Celtiberian; Teutonic v Post Mongol Russian; Mitanni v Syro-Canaanite ...

My away games were ... Egyptian vs Ugaritic, Welsh vs Anglo-Saxon and Zenobia vs the Arabs

Unusually, I did quite well with my own pair ... my opponents gave me the Mongols each time - but I won 2 of the 3 games.  Sadly the other games didn't go so well.

So I wasn't threatening the podium this time.   Mark, Pete and Colin were ... so congrats to them - with Mark finishing in the top spot ...

It was a splendid day's wargaming and the battles were all entertaining in their own way - excellent!

Results of the 2017 Alton DBA Matched Pairs:-

1) Mark Skelton, 119 pts; 2) Pete Duckworth, 116 pts; 3) Colin O'Shea, 103 pts; 4) Scott Russell, followed by Peter Ellis, Bill MacGillivray, Kev Casey, David Constable, Richard Pulley, Lindon Paxton, Terry Ellis, Phil Steele, Neil Mason, John Saunders, Paul Clair, Denis Grey, Mike Thompson and Tim Moore.

Well done to everyone ... here they all are (with Martin, who took the picture, snipped in for completeness) ...

Well done also to Martin for organising this and sticking with an entertaining formula ...

More on the Society of Ancients here

More on the SoA UK DBA League here

(Early Welsh occupy a hamlet: figures by Martin Smith, resin huts - from The Square - by Phil Steele) ... 

Hammerhead next ... and the Society sponsored DBA Northern Cup.  See you there.

Next on Shows North will be a day out with the Society shows team at Cavalier in Tonbridge.

(snapping the winners: looking over the organiser's shoulder ... ) 

12th February, Keresley Library, Coventry

Mercian DBA 2017 Sunday 12th February

Having missed Usk and Burton, my first outing of the year was to the Mercian DBA event in Coventry.  

This year's theme was Italian Wars - to explore the extension of the V3's take on anc-med into the early 16th Century (a slight period creep in the new edition, and armies not all od us have played much) ...

In that spirit, I took along a late Medieval German army full of Landsknechte.

This army was drawn from my FoG-R Italian Wars army and certainly looked the part.  I gave it a fantasy Gothic fairy-tale castle as an Edifice camp: originally bought for next to nothing as a semi-historical HOTT stonghold, this just looked the part.

Oh, and I borrowed an anachronistic gun from Northampton.

I played against Swiss, Tudor English, French, Spanish and Italian Condottieri (twice) ...

Sort of ... in Mercia you play the first three games with your army, the last three against.

I registered 3 wins, a defeat and 2 'time up' draws ... and that put me bottom of the top 10 in a field of 20.  I bagged a general but didn't take a camp (that seems less of an option in V3) ... Not so bad for a first go in ages but you'd have thought I'd have mastered this game by now.

I wasn't too sure about the 'period' but enjoyed it a lot - the games were close and challenging and everyone got some scores ...

Graham Fordham was narrowly pipped for top spot, on countback, by Tony Green ... and Tamara was the higher placed of the juniors.

(Mercia 2017 ... Graham and Tony on top)

(Mercia 2017 ... most of the rest of us: from Martin Smith's album - he's behind the camera)

Here's another glimpse of those Germans ... good enough to merit a feature I think - I'll do a photo set shortly.

More DBA to come - Alton Matched Pairs.  See you there!

2016 wrap Part Two - Review of the Year

The 2017 season is up and running ... the Southern Shows team will be at Cavalier next weekend (I am hoping to give them a hand), there is a Society sponsored DBA Pairs event at Alton the day before (SoA UK DBA League) and Shows North will be part of the DBA Northern Cup at Hammerhead the week after.

Out and About in 2016

(a cheerful Henry Tudor rides through the camp at Bosworth - we were there with the wargame)

In 2016 we did 22 formal outings as SoA Shows North or in combination with our regular partners, Northampton Battlefields Society, the Lance & Longbow Society (plus we did games at a couple of Battlefields Trust events) - so pretty much twice a month (and to think some people think we wargame enthusiasts should get out more!)

12 were public wargame shows, the others Society events, reenactments, tournaments etc.

Here are the SHOWS ...

Clicking on the pictures takes you direct to the report.

By special request, we took the Tony Bath game to Reveille with the History of Wargaming Project ..

... and we helped out the Southern Shows team at a few big events ...


Despite its ups and downs, 2016 was an excellent year for the Society's Northern Shows team.  It was brilliant to be putting on wargames in the Royal Armouries, Leeds, again.  We had some new DBA events ... and new players ... and a return of the much missed Society of Ancients Conference.

High spots other than the Conference?  For me the success of the Tony Bath wargame, and allied to many of our combined events, the onward march of Northampton Battlefields Society: with some new awards, and a new game developed from the particiaption game we ran at several of the 2016 joint SoA/NBS show stands.   I'll add more on the NBS wargame in a separate post as I know many members have asked for info.


2016 wrap Part One - Wargamer in Halesowen

Assembling my review of the year in advance of 2017s first shows at Hammerhead and Alumwell, I stumbled on a 'lost wargames show' - a fully edited album of pictures from Wargamer in Halesowen that never made it to the blog.

Apologies to the organisers - it was a great day out and continues to be an excellent local show:

Plenty to do as you can see ...

I gave the Tony Bath Hyboria game a final outing ... it stimulated quite a lot of interest so thanks to everyone who came over and shared in the nostalgia ...


(Society of Ancients nostalgia: 1960s flats originally by Phil Barker and Tony Bath)

(Hyboria at Wargamer 2016)

(Phil Steele's Tony Bath game for the Society of Ancients)

(the Tony Bath Hyboria wargame)

There was also a very nice ancients game put on in the modern idiom by slingshot Stalwart Ade G - in glorious 6mm (well worth some pictures):

Excellent ... beautiful massed effects ...

Elsewhere at Wargamer 2016 (yes there was more):

... and the December weather was good too - cold but not wintry ... such a gem of a show I assume it is weather worries that explain its relatively low turn out.

See you there next year, though ... hey, showgoers?
Comments (2)

27th November, Bristol (Lincombe Barn)

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

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

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

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

The two opposing armies drawn up for battle:

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

(you can click on the pictures for larger versions)

Flanks and reinforcements ...

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

Playing the game 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19th November, Reading

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

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

(Society of Ancients: The Battle of Tewkesbury)

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

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

The Pick of the Non-Anc/Med games:

(Chain of Command: Foy)

(Schweinfurt Raid)

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

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

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

30th October, Portsmouth


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

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

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

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

(English DBA Open ... vs Chinese)

(English DBA Open vs Lombards)

(English DBA Open vs Rajputs)

(English DBA Open vs Assyrians)

(English DBA Open vs Arabs)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we lined up for the photos ...