Sunday, August 3, 2008

Edinburgh 2nd August

Claymore 2008

The weekend brought the opportunity to make a long drive up to Edinburgh to SESWC's flagship wargames show, Claymore. Thanks to Colin and the organising team for inviting us ... sorry it took til late on to put our package together, but from our point of view it was well worth the trip. It was a great opportunity to meet so many of our Scottish members for the first time - a big thank you to all of them for calling by and making us feel so welcome. In addition to taking up the Society literature stand and a wad of glossy new Slingshots, we decided that a suitably topical thing to do would be to run an experimental version of our Armati Arsuf Scenario from last year with the new Field of Glory rules.

Topical? Well a combination really. FoG is a topic many ancients enthusiasts are interested in (how do they work, do they give the right 'flavour', how would they cope with historical scenarios etc.)... and the grapevine had already informed me that Dave L had had to cancel the planned Arsuf game that was to form the Lance & Longbow Society's centre-piece. So, with a week to go, there was going to be no Field of Glory at Claymore, no Arsuf presentation, and although Colin had kindly reserved the Society some tables, nobody had volunteered a Society of Ancients game. I thought we could fix all those items.

The downside, necessarily, is that at this stage neither I nor Chris, who assisted, are adept enough, really, to present FoG at a show (neither experts nor practiced). I'm sure that was evident to everyone! Perversely, however, it seemed to work with a fair few fellow enthusiasts all day long. Many of them were just as intrigued as us, and maybe were put at ease by the fact that we were beginners too. The upside was both that a number of visitors were happy to get involved, and that Field of Glory actually did a pretty good job of handling the battle.

Given all the chat, meeting and greeting (and a fair amount of looking things up!), we only played the game through fully, once. However we did work things through to a decisive outcome, with the Saracen army in general retreat. I will post some more detailed feedback in a separate report ... suffice, for now, to say that although Saladin's army got some impressive early results, they were defeated wherever the Crusaders managed to tie them down in hand-to-hand combat. Although this is a pretty obvious feature of a Crusades engagement, in truth, not all rules systems do give that result, and how FoG got us there was both plausible and entertaining.

Special thanks also go to Alan and Phil who volunteered to take charge for a spell around midday - so Chris and I could get some refreshment and have a look round. I was very impressed by a genuinely diverse and eye-catching mix of games (and a fair mix of things to look at and things to play). Best display game was the Battle of Solachon - the last minute stand-in for the Lance & Longbow Society (AD 586, and something Richard might look at in his count down to the 2009 Battle Day ... he already favours Byzantines and Sassanids ..) - yep, I wish I could get games looking that good at the last minute! Best participation game was the RAF Wargames Club's 'Toy Story' and off-beat teatime game with Eureka's engaging range of nursery-style figures coming to life.

Wandering around, my attention was distracted form the Ancient and Medieval theme by a number of good looking games - a couple of good colonial examples which stood out being Dingwalls impressive layout of the
defence of Rorkes's Drift, and the Iron
Brigade's Indian Mutiny game.
Back on topic, the St Helen's and Ashton Spartans (the Phalanx people) had brought a phalanx along. An impressive, and impressively linear refight of the Hydaspes (you can find out more about them and the home-grown rules they use here ...)..

Well, you might be wondering at this stage about that Lance and Longbow Society game ... AD 586? Hmm? I have to say my tongue was stuck firmly in my cheek. It has to be the earliest demo game the LandL Soc have ever put on. As our Arsuf game added to an existing 2008 Society of Ancients Poitiers theme, maybe this signals that Dave will be leaving the Medieval period to us, and opening up their display space to prize-winning games in any related periods. I'm only teasing, of course, and am aware of the last minute changes. Solachon was a good choice (look at the pictures) ... Between ourselves, Phoenix and Lance and Longbow, the advanced information (or lack of it, from us ...) could have been quite misleading ... as it is, Claymore did indeed get the Battle of Arsuf, and a 28mm 'ancients game' - and I think ancient and Medieval enthusiasts got stuff to do and things to look at.

My thanks again to the indulgent people who stopped by, had a chat, helped out etc. You made the day for us. And to our hosts, the SESWC, who had put together an attractive and friendly show - as I'm assured they usually do ... but it's nice, for newcomers, when it's true. We're already working on making some effective arrangements so this and the other Scottish shows can get fuller coverage, and local enthusiasts whatever back-up they might need.

1 comment:

tradgardmastare said...

Phil and Chris
It was good to meet you and other SoA folk too.Super to have the SOA at Claymore once more! We look forward to many more visits and co-operation betwixt North and South!
Best Wishes