Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Newbury Racecourse, 12-13th September

Early September traditionally means Colours, and - for the main Society of Ancients Shows Team - the start of the Autumn events season. This is usually the point where the Summer projects reach completion. As often as not it is also a chance to visit trade stands for the first time in a while too.

Colours is a two day show, and the Society of Ancients usually gets the most out of the opportunity by changing presentations over the weekend. I guess you win some and you lose some: if you attend both days you get to see both attractions (sadly, one dayers will inevitably miss something).... But you can catch up here.

(click on the image to see a bigger version)

Also on this busy weekend, some visitors got their fist view (and try out) of the Society's new game 'Empire' .. a strategic game by Philip ('lost Battles') Sabin. Subtitled 'The Macedonian & Punic Wars, 350 - 150 BC', it is an easy play game for one to four players, simulating the struggle for imperial dominance between Carthaginians, Romans, Macedonians and Persians/Parthians from the 4th to the 2nd centuries BC. The game was distributed as a special bonus to all those 2009 Society of Ancients members who had subscribed for this year by the 31st of January.
(new SoA game 'Empire' by Philip Sabin)

It is now generally available to those who missed the cut (here ...).. On Saturday, David was able to run through a few turns with people and it seemed very appealing.

Saturday's big game was a full size Lost Battles encounter from the Persian Wars enabling visitors to play through the decisive events at Plataea in BC479, and the death knell of the Persian occupation of Greece. It looked excellent as ever.
Phil Sabin ran the games, with (Mardonius and Pausanias?) Eric Cruttenden and Alan Waller assisting the players on either side (and providing the splendid figures). The game ran all day attracting considerable interest both from intrigued newcomers to the increasing number of followers of Phil's Lost Battles project.
(Greeks on the move in the 'Lost Battles' Plataea game)

John curry and his team took over the display space on the Sunday for a participation game based on his innovative Medieval Siege rules (and indeed, as Slingshot readers may recall, his strange medieval wargame ...)... The strangeness in much of this is that John organises siege reenactments, role playing and combat games, and has put the experience from these into the wargames (rather than built them upon a long tradition of miniatures gaming, as is usually the case) with the result that there are many fresh ideas in the games which make more sense the more you think about them.

(John Curry's Medieval Siege Game)

That said, there is also a lot of fun to be had playing with the big toys, rolling the towers up to the walls, and moving in old school style from the table top to the interior areas as you clear the towers of their defenders. A lot of good ideas. Watch Slingshot for some follow ups ...

(once you get inside the towers, you transfer your figures to the (floor upon floor) interior layouts) ...

We can add John to the list of game designers who have run their own game on the Society display tables.

Elsewhere, of course, there was a wide variety of wargaming presentations on offer - perhaps the least usual of which was the regular author of this column taking time off from the Society of Ancients (and moving next door!). In co-operation with the Pike & Shot Society and the Battlefields Trust, I was presenting my 15mm Naseby game. You can find out more about the game and the project on my ecwbattles blog (here ...) ... but please give a thought to the work of the Battlefields Trust who are dedicated to preserving our historic battlefield from development and deterioration. There is still masses to do, and all forms of help and support count.
(renegades from the ancients display? Will Whyler commands the Parliamentary forces at Naseby)

The battlefield was a 'fold away' type built inside a pasting table - as first shown in trial form on this blog at Partizan last year. This attracted quite a lot of interest and will be fully explained on the other blog. The game was played to Armati ECW rules (a hybrid of Arty Conliffe's Advanced Armati and Armati 2nd edition).

... which permits the slick link to other stuff going on at the show, staying with Arty Conliffe games but moving to Crossfire. Look at all that terrain. Easy.
For more pictures of Colours, and some lovely ones of this, try here ...

I only got a quick chance to wander round - with my own game, the Society of Ancients stuff and that big desert game all together on the top floor (next to the Bring & Buy), I was clearly in the best bit already- but here's a few more snaps ...

I thought this current Middle Eastern City fight worth a click (there's something about flat roofed sun-baked buildings and shiny civilian cars that makes you know there's an Abrams or a Challenger on its way ...)... And there was a very big LRDG game ...

This was very impressive, but looked a little like Ad Hoc's Salute winning Benghazi game with the jokes taken out ... Seriously though this gateway looks pretty much like the Two Fat Lardies one, which looked a lot like the Ager/Hockley one (honest, it was them, guv - I only painted the insignia on the vehicles ..).. Did the desert airfields really look like this - or have participation game designers started perpetuating their own mythologies? Great game though, guys. Lots of nice models, and plenty of interest throughout the weekend. Did anyone knock over the boiling pasta in this game? Or is that an 'in joke'?

Lovely show as ever at Colours. Still attracting one of the best selections of traders, and one of these pleasant 'light and airy' racecourse venues. If you missed it this year ....

If you are a Society of Ancients member in the (southern, I guess) UK, don't forget we have an open invitation for you to a Games Day in Farnborough (Elles Hall) on Sunday (details in Slingshot). All welcome. I'm going to get a game of Armati with my Romans ....

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