Monday, August 3, 2009

Edinburgh, August 1st

Claymore 2009, Telford College, Edinburgh


This was the first Claymore at the new venue– Edinburgh's Telford College. First impressions were positive re parking availability, space, variety of attractions etc. although maybe the jury is out on numbers and certainly loading and unloading (being fair to SESWC, I assume we take 2009 as a learning year) …

The new venue comprised 2 main areas, the hub area at the front of house, and the gym hall a corridor’s length away. We were in the Gym. It always feels a bit cut off to be in the ‘other’ room, but I got the feeling everyone got round, and there was enough trader and game content to make the gym an essential part of the tour.


Deliberate or not, there was very much an Ancients theme to our area, as well as the Callinicum game Glasgow Phoenix were putting on for us, Gateshead club had an adjacent game, Lance & Longbow presented an impressive ‘Fulford Gate’ (stretching the concept of Lance & Longbow, maybe, Dave? … ), and there was a visual very impressive Siege of Troy layout.


(click on the pictures to see a larger version)


I would like to thank Paul Innes and his Glasgow crew for putting on Callinicum. As some of you may be aware from the pre-publicity, this was a transportable version of the big 25mm sand table game put on for the Scottish participation in this year’s Battleday. Having joined in the Bletchley proceedings, I was keen to see another version, and already well-briefed on the battle. As a fan of Arty Conliffe wargames (as well as being an Armati regular, I have been impressed with what I have seen of Shako and of Crossfire …) … I was keen to have a look at the proposed mechanics of Tactica II.


Paul was careful to ensure that the game and info sheets gave a good flavour of the battle and of Tactica’s ideas without giving the unpublished new game away, and I shall respect his concerns. In addition, some of the game mechanisms were scenario add-ins to simulate the historical context.

The game runs to an initiative driven IGO-UGO sequence, with limited manoeuvre, simultaneous shooting but player-defined melee directions: familiar stuff to Armati/Tactica enthusiasts, but with some new subtle tweaks.


How the open movement works, I couldn’t say … working off a given scenario, and with Paul’s penchant for shoulder-to-shoulder deployments, there was not a great deal of player choice beyond go forward/not go forward. That said, I remember Roy commenting at the BattleDay that there was a prolonged archery phase at Callinicum which was largely absent from a number of the Bletchley games (including the Armati games I joined in) … Certainly the horse archery was in evidence in these games. For more about the battle itself, the 2009 battlepack is now available from the Society of Ancients website (here ...)


A feature that certainly seemed to work well was variable unit size, and break levels gear to a link of unit size and morale/training levels. Again, not to much I will say, and no judgements I would like to make after what was just a taster … however it did seem to mesh nicely and gave a good and entertaining picture of battle.


The scenario played quickly despite a large number of players and visitors joining in, and the games were quite tight … comfortably allowing a morning and an afternoon run to completion, and a 1:1 result overall – which reflects both a balanced game, I think, and how marginal (or mostly ‘spun’) was the historically claimed ‘victory’.


(elsewhere at Claymore - the Troy game)


(elsewhere at Claymore - the Fulford Gate game)


I have to admit, with the Callinicum game to play, a hall full of ancients, and Society members dropping in to say ‘hi’, I didn’t get out much – so can’t really
add too much to the above brief survey of what seemed to be a successful show.

In addition to the Troy and Fulford games, the RAF Wargames Club had another innovative looking participation game, and since I snook in a Khartoum picture in my Phalanx report, I can hardly not mention the 'Gold
for The Mahdi' adventure with its tomb raiding overtones



(RAF Wargames - Saving Private Ryan)

Certainly a worthwhile venture for the

Society of Ancients.

Thanks very much to everyo
ne who contributed and to everyone who stopped by (and thanks for the positive feed back).
Thanks to SESWC for inviting
us, and I hope the new venue lived up to your expectations.

Find Paul's Callinicum stuff (here ... )

See the Bletchley BattleDay pictures (here ... )



(Gunboat in the 'Gold for the Mahdi' game)

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