Edinburgh, Telford College ...
Is Claymore one of the better kept secrets?
Well, not by me - when people ask what it's like, I confirm it is one of the best shows all year. A number of traders seem to agree, and are prepared to go what is more than 'the extra mile' for the event.
The new venue is spacious and lacks the 'steaminess' of the low ceilinged, if more famous, Meadowbank. Yes, it is a show of two disconnected halves. Yes, it is the eve of Festival, so Edinburgh's beds are expensive and mostly already booked ... but the gems are many. A truly first rate selection of games ... beautifully presented, but - as is becoming more the trend this year, it seems, interesting too (more and more, when you ask about the mechanisms, designers are using homegrown systems or freestyle adaptations of more popular choices.
Seldom will the game be just a static figure display purporting to be a game of an equally obvious wargame.
Also, Claymore seems to attract a very worthy coverage, from ancients to 20th Century, from Skirmishes to grand battles like Zama.
This year, the Society of Ancients was presenting the Glasgow Phoenix club's Zama, the centrepiece of the Scottish BattleDay, held over the same weekend as the Bletchley event and my Battle Day Workshop at Sheffield. The game is an enormous 28mm figure game using Tactica II and well over 1000 figures. Despite all that kit, and plentiful breaks to chat to visitors (and interupting SoA Committee members ...)... the game easily played through during the day.
I will post a little more about the game in my 'Zama wrap up' coming shortly, together with more pictures from the Edinburgh variant. Suffice to say that on this occasion, Hannibal won (though maybe not in the fashion envisaged by the Carthaginian when he devised his plans back in 202 BC!).
A great display, an intriguing game, and lots of eye-candy for the visitors.
Many thanks to Paul Innes and his crew, for combining such effective support both for the BattleDay and for the SoA's promotional effort in Scotland (the Zama game has done the other main shows, too - see here for Paul's Zama thread which reports on the game's Scottish tour) ..
For more Zama photos there's the collection I assembled (here ..) or a general collection on the Society of Ancients website (follow this link ...)...
(Battle of Northampton)
In case you hadn't noticed, this year is the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Northampton, and I've included a fair bit of coverage here. It was interesting to see Northampton's fame reaching as far as the firth of Forth - and interesting too to see the battle recreated in miniature, this time following the more traditional site by the river (as shown in the Lance & Longbow Society publication, generally, as shown on the map here ...)... Locals might be more than a little impressed with the impressive vision of medieval Northampton. The idea, of course, is to put the battle site right up against the river, as at the battle of Castillon (probably the prototype for the Lancastrian plan), and opposite the town.
Although they have gone for some pretty grandiose earthworks in this depiction, the scale is probably not wrong - one just needs to imagine this elaborate position dug into the landscape rather than superimposed (dug into the landscape and filling up with water, of course) ... The main issue with this interpretation is that Delapre Abbey ends up on the wrong end of the line, and it is hard to imagine how anyone standing by the Eleanor Cross could have looked into the trenches (over a mile away).
For these reasons, I still favour the solution proposed by Mike Ingram, which Simon Chick followed when building the version shown at the Battlefields Trust Northampton conference. For a fuller account of Mike's reasoning, there is an article on his website (here ... )
Reporting on things ancient and medieval, there were some other impressive ancients games including a big WAB game, and a 15mm Adrianople which just ticked quite a few boxes for me.
More generally, I particularly liked the big 15mm presentation of Froeschwiller (Worth) ... and its mighty depiction of the French position magnifique. I did a 10mm version of this myself a few years back, so know the topography quite well - and Claymore was one of those occasions where you see something from across the room (and in one of the smaller scales) yet it captures its battle so well it is instantly recognisable. That's a big tick.For those of you looking at the picture but not familiar with the battle ... er ... yes, the Prussians won this one - well, at least, took the French positions. However improbably ... having mauled the Prussians and substantially beaten them off, the French fell back, deciding it was just all too precarious.
(Spaghetti Western game from the RAF Luchars outfit)(WW2 Amphibious Assault game) ...I also quite liked the Napoleon in Egypt game. Yes I know Nappies can be very boring - but visually, this one got away from the 'dull green battleboards with every Napoleonic figure ever manufactured on them' syndrome, and presented something interesting and easy on the eye.
I guess, also, Napoleonics in the desert takes you back to a previous era of wargaming ... turning those inspiring pages in your prized copy of Funken and wondering how on earth you could do all those wonderful and unusual soldiers (when 4 boxes of plastics and just 3 or 4 metal manufacturers was all you could draw upon) ... Hmmm ... times have changed. (more stuff that takes you back a generation)
Yes .. a very good show.
Lots to look at. Great games. A good choice of traders - and as Chris (circling for prey in the early morning) can tell you, some bargains to be had on the Bring & Buy ...