Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stockport, 12th December


Stockport Pick 'n' Mix
was an end of season tournament weekend, mostly FoG and DBMM. It ran as two separate one dayers over the Saturday and Sunday - I was able to call in on the Sunday (and give my Feudal Aragonese a pre-Christmas outing).

For FoG, the format was 650 points on a 5' x 3' table (with one less terrain piece) for 3 150 minute games. We
fought for army prizes and raffled extras as well as for the boxes of sweets. It worked very well, I thought. Unfortunately, my three 'open' games produced nothing 'in' period.
Nevertheless, a game against Hammy's Mitanni, a junior with Parthians and a Roman swarm provided some entertaining and informative distractions.
I've largely steered clear of Biblical period FoG, as the treatment of Chariots has looked a bit questionable (back to the old discredited 'Panzer Division' theory,
I had thought) ... In play, they are better than I expected, although I would like to see them skirmish in deeper formations. They ought to be a little harder for missile foot to hit ... That, of course, is the good news.

The bad news is that they get the same dice in hand-to-hand as medieval knights. Quite ridiculously overpowe
red. It didn't really affect our game, as I was unable to catch them anyway, and I was losing manoeuvre and firefights with the Medium Foot anyway ...

The battle with the Parthians was a straight forward fight in which I managed to rout a BG of Cataphracts and slip some Jinetes past the flank (and sack a camp) ...
and the Dom Rom experience was the usual forgettable 'gamey' stuff you get with that sort of army ... extra-sized terrain (which ought to be banned in the full size game - but which is just a joke on 5x3) ... devious positioning, carefully angled charges (everything the Roman can do to avoid a straight fight* - everything the player can do to prevent the obvious and intended consequences of any passage of play) ...
Sadly, against a 'free-style' player like me, that means Umpire interventions and explanations every other move.
I'm not making these comments as a grumpy wargamer ... Win or lose, the swarm style game is dire as a historical wargame (it might be more satisfying to those who like the game as a sort of geometric chess that has no link to ancient warfare) ..

More I would draw attention to the fact that overall, because it produces such a nit-picky, niggardly game, it is a bad choice for a fast play format.
Second would be to state again that I prefer pre-set terrain (I have never yet seen a game improved by player chosen terrain - not in 20 years of it): more so now that FoG has re-introduced the tedious terrain system that the BHGS imposed on reluctant DBM players back in the 1990s.

The BHGS/FoG system still produces implausible and unplayable tables in equal measure, and panders to the gamier fringe.

Still, I suffered a limited loss against the Romans (bounced off a couple of frontal melees with damage, then got my Light Horse caught by one of those 'cleverly' angled charges that obliges them to evade in a direction that ignores the obvious and wide open safe area) ... not enough to spoil a good day's wargaming.

I hope this will become a regular event.

The North West Regional Gaming centre, Hallam Mill, Stockport is a great venue, with good facilities and cheerful staff ... Very 'Warhammer' as these places always are, but with a good stock of ancient and medieval plastics, if you are passing by.

I managed to recruit a new member to the Society of Ancients while I was there, and distribute a few sample issues of Slingshot - so a fitting last outing for the Shows North roadshow.

I have still a couple of posts I intend to fit in this year ... but these will now be from winter quarters.

We will see you in the New Year. Quite possibly at Penarth in support of the new Society of Ancients UK DBA League ... and we will be at York Racecourse for Vapnartak.

*with an army famed for its relentlessly frontal fighting - but that's FoG drilled MF for you!

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