Tuesday, September 18, 2012

16th September, Norwich


A beautiful late (Indian) Summer's day saw me driving round in circles in Norwich before bungling into St. Andrews half an hour late.    I found the venue very easily last year, but discovered the penalties of complacency, this: getting straight there last year had been luck not judgement.
(the main hall at Eastern Front)

The wargaming community is nothing if not forgiving and flexible, of course, and we quickly got things back on track (and so the DBA Challenge started at 11.00, not 10.30).

(games and societies at Eastern Front 2012)
Eastern Front is a delightful show in a beautiful regional English city.  The venue is an East Anglian jewel, and you really must visit some time.

(one of the splendid ancient/medieval games at Eastern Front - click on the images to enlarge)

I have appended one of two views of an excellent collection of display and participation games to be found in the main hall - though, inevitably, I spent most of my day in the second hall, Blackfriars, where you would have found the Societies, the DBA and the Bring and Buy.

(what the Society of Ancients was doing at the show)


The DBA Challenge was open to Dark Age armies with a Dux Brittanniae award to the top army which actually fought in England in the 410 to 1066 period.   The duke's award would go to the second placed player if the Champion also qualified.  There was a top newcomer award likewise applied.

(the East of England DBA Challenge)

Sign in and play on the day, we got 7 players involved, which, though modest, I think marks a good starting point and provided us with good natured entertainment all day with comfortable breaks for shopping and lunch.

(Vikings deploying opposite the Anglo-Saxon defenders)

I took along 4 'loaner' armies to back up those who were bringing their own.   Courtesy of the seventh players joining in late on, all these armies got used during the day which was nice.

(my Anglo-Saxons .. New Era Donnington with Gladiator, Chariot, Essex and Lurkio mixed in)

However the main armies used were (III/51) Norman; (III/40) Norse Viking; (II/81) Sub Roman British; (III/24) Middle Anglo Saxon; (II/67) Ostrogothic and (II/71) Gepid.

(Nick's Sub Roman British ... Donnington originals, I believe)

To simplify play and present an authentic challenge we had a choice of fixed boards, with players dicing for sides then rolling aggression to determine the deployment/game start order.   It seemed to work quite well, and meant my felt allergy was not triggered by patches or garish fabric.

(the British are attacked by Norse Viking)

Many of the players were new to tournament play - even relatively new to DBA - so it was a good chance for people to get the rhythms of the game.  As usual when I 'umpire/run' event, I took along the Wadbag bible.   As usual, it wasn't necessary to open it, and the battles went smoothly.

(Generals in personal combat: Duke William takes on the Goths)

Despite a heavy loss to my Anglo-Saxons (Duke William unceremoniously 'mugged' by hard-charging Anglisch spearmen - a 'recoil the support either side and get the guy in the middle' revenge attack for Senlac!) ... the Normans proved the most powerful and versatile army and Richard deservedly won the Challenge.

(two more of the loaner armies I took: Sub-Roma British and Ostrogothic)

A clear Dux Brittanniae title went to Paul's Vikings, just pipping Nick, whose Sub Roman British were the best newcomers.

(those top newcomers consider moving down off their hill)

We reorganised the final round in order to involve a father and son combination in the games and give them a flavour of DBA's quick but engaging take on ancient and medieval warfare. 

(East of England Challenge: Normans clash with British)

Pleasingly, everyone else finished level with one win and one general killed.   Count back would have been 'the game between the players' but with the podium places/special titles awarded, we were happy to leave the remaining players on equal honours.

(Armies arrayed: the Gepids - Essex commanders, mostly Lurkio and Chariot cavalry behind Chariot infantry)

This was a lot of fun, and well worth the effort, I think.   Watch out for news of Norwich next year: if all things stay similar, I would be more than happy to run this again (and with a little more notice and publicity, maybe more of you will want to make the trip east and join in ..)..

(a new Dux Brittanniae 'Barker Marker' I made up for the event)

(I may have to keep this clear of prising fingers: it has an obvious 'sub-text'!)

See the Shows North stand next at Derby where we will be running games of Call it Qids, a simple participation game based on Ramesses's exploits at the battle of Kadesh.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eastern Front News

The Shows North team will be at Eastern Front in Norwich tomorrow.  Please come along and get involved.   We will be hosting a low intensity DBA event which you can join in on the the day.  Bring your own army or borrow one of ours.   

Join in for as many games as you like (no obligation to stay for the finals)No fees (other than entry to the show)

East of England DBA Challenge 2012

After consultation with 'the management', we have the following format for those who would like to play.
Please check in at the Society of Ancients stand (i.e. see Phil ... ;) winking) ASAP when the show opens at 10am.   We encourage entry on the day (no need to have pre-booked), and there is no entry fee other than for the show.  Players will play 2 or more timed 'pool' games in the morning session to qualify for the final rounds in the afternoon. 
Bring your own army in 15mm, any valid army is allowed from AD 410 to AD 1066*. No terrain required. One list (all elements must be selected in advance for the event), normal dismounting rules etc. apply. Armies that actually fought in Britannia within the period also qualify for the 'Dux Britanniae' award.
 Some Loan armies will be available.   We intend to run a plate competition if there is support ...
*per DBA version 2.2

September 8th - 9th, Newbury Racecourse


This year's Society stand seemed very busy explaining and packaging up the new style memberships (a rolling 6 issue subscription starting when you join up ... read more here ...)... and dishing out recent Slingshots as single issues.   From what I could see the stand was busy and I think the change must be going down well.

The Society was supported by one of Rob Broom's 28mm War & Conquest demo games ...

(click on the picture for a better view - they're building a Roman road!)

... in this case a fictional raid on a Roman working party (something to do with protesting about the route of a new by-pass ...) ...  Again, nice toys and a busy looking pitch through most of the weekend.

I can only give a fairly brief glimpse of this year's Colours Show as I was busy all weekend a few metres away from the Society stand  .... puting on a presentation of the second battle of Newbury for the Pike & Shot Society and the Battlefields Trust ...

(my pasting table depiction of Newbury 1644)

If you want to find out more about the battle (visible through the windows from our floor of the building ..) ... have a look at my ECW blog pages ( creating the battlefield ) and ( Newbury at Newbury ).

(eye-catching 54mm snow bedecked Napoleonics)

(Newbury again - this time in 28mm and the First (1643) Battle from W.A.R.)

Most of what I saw of the show was on our floor, but I did get down to the ground floor to pick up some more bases, and to buy a big expensive box of 'lang' Silfor tufts to tart up the Bosworth gear (I also bought some WW2 stuff but you wont want to know about that ...)..

(6mm Borodino)

Whilst downstairs, I got a glimpse of this splendid 6mm Borodino (covered with little Baccus guys) .. Leaning over and not really able to see what I was doing, I quite fortuitously took one of the best 6mm pictures I have ever been able to take ... so I unashamedly share it with you as part of my Colours report.  Do click on it (and then reflect on how small it really is) ...

(great work - this little Napoleon was a remarkable achievement)

If historical battlefields are of interest to you, you can find out more about them (resources, campaigns and events) from the Battlefields Trust.

Great to see President Boss meeting members on the Society stand over the weekend: Colours was one of the first wargames shows I did as what was then part of the Society of Ancients/Slough Barbarians participation games team.  In those days Roy used to run the show!    That was back in the Hexagon in Reading, and the first game I was involved with was 'David and Goliath' conceived by Andy Gittins* (a success in its own right, it evolved, of course, into the ever popular - dare I cheekily say 'evergreen' - 'Gladiolus').   Colours remains one of my favourite shows.

Ah .. those were the days!

*Andy, of course, went on to be President, and I have now handed the priceless Society regalia on to Roy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2nd September, Newark (Kelham Hall)

The Other Partizan

A good party of volunteers turned out for the combined Society of Ancients/Lance & Longbow Society historical wargames zone at The Other Partizan.

In addition to the various enthusiast support lines from both Societies, we took along the 15mm playtest version of DBA3 'Bosworth' and the latest figures for the 54mm version.

(The Society of Ancients: scenes from the15mm Bosworth game)

Elsewhere all the ancients enthusiasts seemed taken with the Miller/Hendry collaboration Ad Castores (featuring Simon M's new troop concealing vineyard bowers).
(Ad Castores/Augustus to Aurelian)

(Ad Castores detail: auxilia emerge from the vineyards)

Also in the Dome - increasingly, the 'ancient and medieval zone' ... - Rob was running War and Conquest and showing off some splendid hoplites.  Scrivs and co were doing a massive Hail Caesar Dark Age game based on the Gododdin, and there was a medieval skirmish to boot.

(War & Conquest 28mm hoplites)

In addition to our DBA Bosworth (in which I may have been shown the riddle to succeeding from richard's poor position*), there were good particiaption games on offer ... Rollbahn Ost, Gordon's Alive, DBN etc. 

No reason not to sit down and try out a few games.

(some great participation games at The Other Partizan)

(this big Crimean game was one of the better of the 'samey' 28mm sprawls)

Bosworth updates:

(Richard and Henry in 54mm for the upcoming Bosworth game: standards are printed fabric by Fluttering Flags)

Developing the Bosworth game, I am very pleased with how the standards (Graham Fordham's Fluttering Flags) are turning out, and I have converted up some suitable guns from Ian Kay's (Irregular Miniatures) 40mm Renaissance guns.

Artillery are one of the key arms at Bosworth.  Attested in great numbers, the presence of over 30 cannon balls in the marshy area of Fenn Lane forms part of the very evidence for the probable site.   

By 1485, modern 'field' artillery was taking its soon to become traditional form ... but though the lighter trails and large spoked wheels gave it greater mobility, it still could only move slowly off road (so limiting the deployment of Richard's battery to the left of the van, where the marsh would gain Henry some cover from the power of an awesome seven score guns ...
(one of Richard's 'state of the art' new fangled cannon)

I have painted Richard's guns a vibrant red in deference to his constant demand that his colours were displayed.

* or not: it can sometime be difficult with a wargame to tell the difference between inspired understanding of the battlefield and a good combination of luck (the two regularly overlap) ...