Off our beaten track, again, and a long trip from central England ... the usual Lost Battles crew were unavailable this year so Shows North 'nipped' down, across London to the National Arena Sports Centre ...
Of course, I over-dramatise ... I lived in London for a while, did the SELWG show for the Society back to well ... before it moved to Crystal Palace ... and it's only half the Edinburgh trip (that said, such is London traffic these days on the way back, it feels as far ...)... It's a trek, none the less.
So no Lost Battle this year (no Cruttenden/Waller display armies) ... indeed we went bigger, and repeated this year's Shows North game Greyhounds in the Slips with its 90mm toy figures ... The scene is Harfleur ... Henry leaps out of the siege works and allies his men for another assault ..
'I see you stand like Greyhounds in the Slips,
Straining upon the start; the games afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry! England and Saint George!'
He rolls a die, and that number of soldiers join the assault party ...
(And, yes, we worked on the script at some length, it has a pretty turn of phrase ...)..
The cluster of men then rush forward to break through the French defences, moving and fighting by drawing dominoes at random; the leaders, Henry and the Captain of the Harfleur Guard (usually the presenter) using the Anno Domino battle boards and systems included in the Society publication 'Let the Dominoes Decide' ...
Many thanks to the SELWG team, who welcomed us and sorted things out despite our being behind schedule (guess who got lost weaving his way through south London's continuous road works and diversions?). And we were pretty quickly set up and running.
Greyhounds in the Slips comes in one of my pasting table fold outs, these days, so goes up sharpish. Good job, too, as it was proving pretty popular, and we had waiting players for a lot of the middle part of the show. Usually, I have visitors play Harry and his band of brothers (yes that bit, too ...), whilst Will or I play the French ... Here we had two boards up for the English at times, plus a third playing the French with me just directing. That's good.
Sometimes, of course, you can't coach the players, however hard you try ... For the first time, we had Harry shot dead by the sniping crossbowman ... now this is willful - I do explain to the players that there are risks in putting a low value domino in a defence zone ... and tell them too that the game works best if - like the script - the king leads the charge himself ... and that you can't be shot at if adjacent to the enemy ... (so he loiters at the back, letting the minions do the work, and with a low value defence in readiness: he gets shot down by the sniper) ...
Well, I'm not sure that's a game issue .. it could have happened, a crossbow shot, at a siege - and, indeed, it did ... to good king Richard down south at Chaluz in 1199. We also had the game where everyone was killed bar the two player characters who slugged it til just the victor was standing ... But mostly Harry led them forward and carried the day.
It went down well, and once again we were nominated for the Best Participation Game, and were happy to be awarded a runners up prize. Good to see SELWG making a big effort to acknowledge and reward the display and game crews that fill out the show (maybe that's why there are so many of them, and the standards are high ...)..
The other pictures from the show were a bit of a rush I'm afraid: I was busy on the game for most of the day. For a great selection of picture from SELWG, have a look at Big Lee's collection (on Big Lee's Miniature Adventures)
That said, I try to document the shows we do, and there was plenty to catch everyone's attention ... some good looking ancient and medieval games (Crawley were there with the Tanneberg game I last saw at Salute) ...
There was a very good DBA campaign set up (visually making quite a lot of a game that is in its essence very modest)...
I thought the BMSS 'old school' presentation of a biblical game (25mm figures on a pale sandy cloth) worked particularly well.
A nice mix of what wargaming once looked like, but with modern quality figures - hey, and some captions, too.
Amongst the more modern stuff, the thunderbolts on a stick game was there, and some brilliantly realistic forest terrain and wintry European landscape in the Hochwald Gap game (Shepway Wargames Club - I think they deservedly got the Best Terrain prize).
A very good and rewarding day out, and loads more copies of Let the Dominoes Decide in circulation.
The trip home offered its usual delights - one more photo then ... a mix of what Chris had to look at in the back of the car ... Glad he had something to do.
Me? I was just driving (well, not, actually ... sitting behind the wheel in charge of motor vehicle ... but going nowhere). Cities are such fun when nobody can go anywhere. Look on the bright side ...the tunnel was shut, the M25 was clogged, but my jammed-up 1980's going nowhere route actually got us back to Northamptonshire in just over two and a half hours. A result, I'm given to understand.
Thanks for a great show SELWG ..
Next outing for us? Fiasco, back up north again. A first look at the Royal Armouries's new Saviles exhibition suite.
Why not drop by and have a look - it'll be new for us as well. We'll have Greyhounds in the Slips again, but I think the tower just got bigger ...