Whilst Bob and Graham were doing their stuff in Abingdon, I was away for a long weekend at the seaside ...
The Society of Ancients sponsors Bournemouth's Armati-by-the-Sea and it was a joy to get down to represent us there. Usually, because Peter needs to book early, something of the Spring agenda ends up clashing (well, as the Overlord show did this year ...) - and last year I could not attend. Sad, that, when you consider that, often, half a dozen Armati players fly down from Scotland for this one (and I am just in the East Midlands ...)..
The Bournemouth event is one of what the Armati players call 'scenarios': in this case historically matched pairs of fairly standard armies - all provided by the organisers (so each match is drawn at random, and who gets which army is decided on a coin toss). This allows a travel light option for the players (great if you are a newcomer, or travelling, say, by air) ... it also suits those of us who don't play all that regularly (and/or who don't generally play the standard 'tournament style' game).
(the first of the 22 army pairs)
It is, of course, an immense logistic challenge for the organisers who, this year, provided 22 matched pairs (yes, that's 44 complete Armati armies!), prepped, playtested, and delivered into the venue ... Immense and also wonderful.
Additionally, rather than provide individual army lists with each box, the players were all presented with a booklet detailing the 44 armies in their pairs. This was a fantastic idea, and much appreciated: not only does it give a detailed memento to take home, it also meant that you could browse the other games and answer the inevitable nuts and bolts questions without interrupting the players. Great idea - I hope it catches on ...
(the impressive Armati-by-the-Sea trophy and the players army guide booklet)
I tried to capture a flavour of the armies in use for the blog as I had done at Glasgow last time - but, well, the coverage is patchy, I'm afraid (there were 44!).
There were 4 Biblical, 3 Antiquity, 4 Age of Empires, 6 Triumph of Cavalry and 5 Age of Chivalry ... I think this mirrors popularity to some extent (ToC events always seeming to draw more entrants).
(click on the pictures for a bigger version)
By the final round, all bar 2 pairings had been used. The two that had missed (African Vandal vs Belisarian Byzantine, and Palmyran vs Aurelianic Roman Eastern) were offered as 'finals' to the players in the top two (Swiss Chess) matches - we all accepted so, it means, I assume, that all the armies got used. Excellent.
I think I'd better skip most of the gruesome details - I went down for the social event and to present the prizes ... and ended up winning (the first time since 2006) ... the rewards of low expectations, I suspect. And the luck of the draw.
(Peter the Hermit about to seccumb in the People's Crusade scenario ...)
Nevertheless, apologies to Bruce for the Saturday morning (I am always a bit grumpy before lunch ... but I did moan a bit, I think ...).. The following morning, John Bradley and I drew the 'Provincial Saracen vs Peoples Crusade' game: a delight, actually, but I'm glad John tossed the coin and awarded himself the pilgrims (managing that colossal army would have severely taxed my brain so soon after breakfast - the Saracen task was daunting, but it was, at least, obvious how to play the army ...).. A final game against Vincent Auger is always a pleasure - even if a difficult one to win. We got the Palmyran/Roman game, and I got the Romans ... always a viable army, and one I'm familiar with.
Some of us took the Monday off and went to the Tank Museum just down the road ...
An excellent if somewhat leisurely end to the Armati weekend.
(Craig studies one of those land battleships from between the wars)
For statisticians, there were 20 players, from previous champions to Armati newbies. We played 5 rounds. Nobody won all 5, nobody lost all 5. The top places were -
1. Phil Steele; 2. Bill Wilson; 3. Malcolm King. John Bradley killed the most Generals.
Huge thanks from the Society of Ancients to Mark Fry and Roy Boss for the army collections, and to former Secretary/webmaster peter Barham for organising the event.
I gather it will happen again next year so watch out for the date being announced.