... and so it was with a yawn and barely a scrape across the icy windscreen and we were loaded and off to Great Barr Leisure Centre in Birmingham for the last show of the year ... Shows North's last show for the year, certainly, and pretty much the last on the UK circuit.
Wargamer is something of an enigma - it is quite modestly attended and very 'old school' ... the feel is as much 'community open day' as 'trade show', the Bring & Buy is a treasure trove of wargame surplus, priced to sell, and the admin is a family affair. Attendance can be patchy. Maybe that's a December thing.
(scenes from our DBA 'Lords of the Nile' game in progress)
We took along the DBA V3 try out game, because it suited the relaxed nature of the show - but also because I had arranged with Phil Barker to take over his original flats collection and so the flat's version of his latest game seemed entirely appropriate.
There were a couple of other ancients games in play, both of them 'open day' style big games. Either ends of the tradition, I think ...
(old style WRG Ancients game in progress on a cloth battlefield)
(new style trayed-up 28mm Ancients game, fairly static, on a 'teddybear fur' battlefield)
Both very impressive games and good to see traditional ancients periods doing well amidst all the hyped-up gamer fads.
There are always plenty of games to look at here ... I think it is a nice 'end of year' day out, and the kind of venue where people can set up something they want to put on (just because they want to).
There's always a good ECW/TYW display and plenty of good 20th Century and Modern exhibits.
This is Ancients on the Move, of course - but I'm sure you'll indulge me a few out of period examples (it is Christmas ...):
(splendid 28mm TYW wargame)
(LRDG raid game ... Bardia giving some 'drive by' options, but ending up on an airfield -shades of 1942 from Benghazi, perhaps?)
(shoot up them planes while the chance is there ...)
And a very impressive Spanish Civil War game fought on an impressively Iberian looking table ...
(different scale, but very 'Trebian', right down to the white casualty rings!)
(a lone T26 scouts out the road ahead without any infantry support ... click on it for a bigger version)
The other key event at Wargamer 2012 was my acquisition of a large collection of authentic 1960's flats, donated by Phil Barker to my memorabilia collection. Wargames History.
Now, when Phil and Sue asked if I would be interested I had no idea what might be involved ... A mass of fine pewter or just an old shoe box with some broken bits and pieces in it? I said yes, of course, as Phil is, in person, a pivotal piece in the history of today's wargame (and a key contributor to The Society of Ancients).
Well, take a look!
(new accessions: Phil Barker's ancients flats collection)
What a fantastic array!
Being from Phil, the figures are fully turned out, simply but consistently (and 'fully') painted, organised into proper units, and based.
The latter point is fascinating. Tony Bath, of course, stored his figures flat, and mounted them into slotted sabots (made of two layers of cardboard stapled together with slits at regular intervals) on the day.
The majority of Bath/Hyboria figures from Deryck Guyler's collection were glued onto plain cardboard bases in fixed multiples (so would have required rings or similar casualty markers).
Phil's collection seems to mark a transition between the Bath wargame and the WRG games I began with (2nd edition) when I started ancients as a teenager in the early 70's: they are flats, of course, organised in typical Bath-style units, and with no 'frontage' concepts (so,say, no dispersing of skirmishers more widely than combat infantry) ... but the uniform basing is permanent, is painted over in a precursor to the modern landscape style, and each unit has a split down of (mostly) singles and smaller multiples to allow casualty removal. So part Tony Bath, part WRG.
Well, as the photo shows, there is much more to say and plenty to photograph: I will post some more as I assimilate all this over the winter.
Well, that was 2012. I think the wonders of the Olympic Games in the middle of the year have added to the pace with which the year has rattled by. I have a few more games to play and a couple more blogs to squeeze in - but what a year for the historical wargamer and Ancients enthusiast!
Thanks to everyone on the UK Shows circuit who contributed to making it a friendly and rewarding time!
See you in 2013. Vapnartak is in 7 weeks. Sooner than that, I'll be out playing FoG in Usk.