Thursday, September 7, 2017

12th August, Manchester University


In the midst of all that Summer/outdoor fun, there was a trip to Manchester to play DBA ...

I stopped doing Britcon a while back for all sorts of reasons (mostly about competition culture and narrowness of focus, but that's another story) but I like Manchester and I do enjoy the cameraderie if only the timetable will release people for long enough to socialise.

DBA is a good add to the programme but the scheduling needs to ease up a bit (there is plenty of time at this venue!  We were the earliest to finish and nobody needed the tables) ...

(Britcon DBA ... lovely prizes, a diverse player base and a destination city to dine out in!)

The theme was 'armies,enemies and their enemies' of the Teutonic Knights (or something like that) ... I guess I'd better just say up front that it didn't work (most of the eligible armies weren't selected, the top 3 all picked the same list - and if you strayed from the obvious you fared quite poorly) ...

I took Seljuq Turks as I thought it would be 'different' and was one of only two armies on the shortlist that I had been tinkering with of late.  There were some other projects I'd have prefered to give an outlet to but they weren't on the list.

Anyway, it was fun and it did OK against the other Steppe army in the tournament.

Here's some of the Heavy Metal I came up against:

The other skirmishing army had more Light Horse than I did ... He put his faith in the depth rule, I gritted my teeth, stayed wide and exploited the flanks.

Thankfully the Cumans generally rolled lower scores than the Seljuqs ... so envelopment prevailed over punching through.

Tamara experimented with terrain and did very well overall.

Graham was a bit miffed by a late clarification that we would not be applying the dismounting rule as written in the book.   He had already picked and smartened up a Lithuanian army that benefits from the rule.

I see his point - but I also think we need to bear in mind that UK tournaments play a stripped down DBA.   As a 'non dismounter' my Seljuqs weren't allowed to vary amongst options available in the list, but had to stipulate the exact 12 elements at the start of the day ...  

I am able to 'tweak' the army if I know who I'm up against - but only if we allow the players to select which elements to employ once the opponent is known.   Other than the time and cross-checking, we could easily allow this.  Other armies can 'tweak' by e.g. dismounting. A few, of course have both a rich choice of options and some elements that can dismount.   I can't see any reason why you should prevent a player picking any 12 off his list (it is only 12 picks, after all ... ) but allow another player to vary his by dismounting.

And vice-versa, of course ... It is what it is.

Personally I would just eliminate the dismounting armies from the theme (so you don't need to make a ruling because the armies in play aren't affected) ...

The again, I'm not that keen on themes (as most of them seem pretty abstruse and don't seem particularly balanced) ...

If you are still with me ... such were the debates around Britcon 2017 ... a jolly little day's wargaming but some points to ponder.

 1st Mark Skelton III/83b Early Polish 
2nd John Saunders also Early Polish 
                                         and 3rd Colin O'Shea also Early Polish

Plus ... IV/18 Lithuania - IV/13b Early German - IV/28 Prussia - IV/36b Muslim India - III/79 Early Russian - III/74 Seljuk Turk and - III/80 Cuman 

Of course some of that apparent imbalance is because the shrewder sort of player can spot the optimum sort of army.

Anyway I enjoyed meeting up with everyone, had a 'learning experience' and didn't come last (just!) 

UK DBA League

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Summer of 2017 ... Middle England

Shows and Battlefields Heritage

It's been a while since Bakewell and mostly that has been the heritage events and shows trail ... we've been out and about a lot.  Here's a quick update (letting the pictures tell most of the stories) ...

The Battlefields Trust weekend Conference and AGM had a ECW theme but was staged in Newark and featured a day out to East Stoke for the Stoke battlefield celebrations.

The anniversary event was hosted at Stoke Hall, which some of you will know is home to Wargames Foundry, and the event included a wargame of the battlefield as well as a walk (in temperatures and blistering sunshine not seen again over the rest of the summer) and military displays by the Beaufort Companye ...

(Stoke Field - the steep river bank where many fleeing the battle met their end)

(Stoke Field - last gasp of the Wars of the Roses)

(Stoke Field/Stoke Hall - indeed lots to explore)

(Stoke Field - played as a wargame in the hospitality marquee) 


CoW 2017 is the first I have attended in 2 decades where I haven't been putting at least one session on.   I like to contribute as well as enjoy other member's sessions but it has just been one of those years.   None of my 'back burner' projects looked nearly like being ready by July and I had no spare time in which to turn up the heat.

There were some ancient and medieval options ...

(Tim WDDG North Gow's simple Hollywood Agincourt  game used 54mm toy soldiers)

(John History of Wargaming Curry presented an old school take on triremes)

(John Armatys hosted a card game version of Roman Careers: Cursus Honorum)

In addition I played a in black game exploring 20th Century terrorism, and in a strange Warsaw Pact game that involved drinking a lot of neat Vodka.


A few days later it was back home for a battlefield anniversary.

 (Northampton 1460: commemoration at the Eleanor Cross)

(Northampton 1460: battlefield interpretation)

We had our usual evening walk and wreath laying on the actual day (10th July) followed by the Delapre Family Heritage event at the end of the week.

We had the new game together with the battle model, period equipment and tours of the field ...
(Graham introduces youngsters to the joys of military history and wargaming)

Meanwhile, in the arena, Harrington's Companye acted out a number of tableau illustrating episodes from the battle.

We enjoyed a great turn out from members of Northampton Battlefields Society and everyone helped run the stand and displays ... So much so that I was able to host a meeting of the Battlefields Trust on the Saturday and show young Imogen around on the Sunday.

By the end of the month we were at Northamptonshire's other WotR battlefield, Edgcote ..

There is much more to say about this battle and Northamptonshire Battlefields Society has announced an Edgcote Project to look afresh at what we know in advance of the anniversary in 2 years time.

(Edgcote battlefield - medieval ridge and furrow around Job's Hill) 

Middle England's Summer battlefields tour finishes at Bosworth in August.

(On Saturday, The Battlefields Trust tent featured my 54mm DBA reconstruction of the battle)

We had Partizan on the Sunday so I could only do Saturday and by now 2017's washout Summer had taken a grip.   Even so, plenty of stalwarts braved the variable conditions and we did a lot of proactive campaigning.

(Bosworth 2017 - massed reenactment)

I bought a Warhammer for the waving about at talks ...

... but for the time being, other options are out of reach ...

By sunday we were off to Partizan and an early start to the Autumn shows season. 

 (Trustee Harvey Watson talks about Bosworth)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

10th June, Bakewell


I guess you could say it was a piece of cake.  Given an early tart.

So, 'yes'  ... good trip up, nice day out - lovely venue, lovely pudding - Round 8 of the SoA's league was a success and very well attended.  It is great to see the league initiative spreading out and engaging more enthusiasts in the big family of wargamers.

(my DBA 3 Later Pre Islamics ... )

While other forums continue to bemoan what they see as a greying mono-culture, the DBA community just get out and play, with everyone welcome ...

Plenty of grognards, true, but actually a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds ... appealing to veterans and newcomers alike.  And it seems like everyone enjoyed it.

So, well done to Simon for organising this round, and well done to the Society of Ancients for getting this whole series of events off the ground.

The event was 'open' and I took along some early Arab Nomads.  I thought they might prove a handful for the knightly armies - but though there were some, I didn't encounter them.

Here are the battles I fought.

One little word, though ... I packed the wrong sort of swordsmen (Fast not Solid, if you know your DBA ... ) so the pictures don't look quite right.  I verbally noted this to my opponents and we played them as they should have been with no issues.  Thanks everyone (it was a packing error after the BattleDay/Arsuf outing which had borrowed from several of my Arab and Islamic boxes).

That last one was a big battle in the desert (I guess you could call it a 'dust up') ... Richard 'flat lined' me with his highly rated camel army ... generating 20 combats over just 2 turns.  That was enough to settle it in my favour.  All skills engaged!

So around half 'plausible what ifs', half time warps into Asia ... all fairly abstract stuff, all pretty good games. 

Simon had lots of prizes to give out ... all the top ten got something.  Here's a look.

Well done Tamara for a personal best, top 'non-bloke' and a break into the upper half (top ten indeed).

The 'podium' comprised ... 1st, Pete Duckworth; 2nd, Neil Mason; 3rd, Mark Skelton.

Well done to them.

Here's all of us, assembled in the car park:

I took home some authentic Bakewell puddings and very good they were, too.

The next League event is in Portsmouth in a couple of weeks.  Check the link for what's on near you - and come join in.

Our sponsors are The Society of Ancients ... thanks to them (so follow the link and join up)

And maybe have a closer look at my Arabs

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

21st May, Newark Showground


For some years, now, we have jointly booked Partizan with the Lance & Longbow Society and Northampton Battlefields Society.   Latterly, the organisers have created a 'history zone' to accommodate the historical wargaming societies and military heritage stands.

(Northampton Battlefields Society)

So this year, the key zone offered you ...

Please click those links, as all these worthy organisations need your consideration.  All are charities or volunteer run.   Wargaming and military heritage interests would not be where they are without them.

 (the History Zone at Partizan)

Northamptonshire's most famous battle is Naseby ... arguably the most important battle in British history ... it has its own charity but is also a key project for the Battlefields Trust ...

(The Naseby Battlefield model)

Equally important, but firmly imbedded in the Participation Games zone, Wargame Developments is another volunteer association encouraging game designers and rules innovation.

Games at Partizan:

 Outside the ancmed brief, so for more pics of Phil's Naseby, go to the ECWBattles blog

(Northampton Battlefields  Society/Lance & Longbow/Society of Ancients: Northampton 1460)

(More ECW: Edgehill in 12mm)

(... and more ... Cropredy Bridge in 28mm)

Plus ...

How about this?

And regular readers will know I couldn't resist this ...

(click on the picture for a larger image)

So, a wonderful History Zone, and surprisingly lots of ECW ... but not so much in the ancients and medieval periods at Partizan this year.

Nevertheless, the Society of Ancients did well and the L&LSoc had a splendid day ... NBS and the Battlefields Trust also had a lot of interest - so thanks to everybody who stopped by.


A number of you wanted to join the Society of Ancients but wanted to pay by card.  Here's the link:

You will get membership of the oldest historical wargaming fellowship, 6 issues of Slingshot, a 20% discount on the Society's large back catalogue of games and publications, plus a host of other discounts (from 25% to 5% according to the trader) ... and there's a Conference and a Games Day ...

Most ancient and medieval enthusiasts give The Society of Ancients a try at some stage - the majority like and most stay ... if you are not a member, try clicking on the link.

We would appreciate your support.