Armati by the Sea 2013
I am very grateful to the team that regularly put the Bournemouth Armati weekend together ... and to the players who travel often great distances to participate in the event.
All games are preset historical match-ups, and all the kit required to play, down to the gice are provided by the organisers. Although Armati is no longer a 'living' and fully supported historical game, such is the appeal that players fly in from Scotland, Ireland and France for the event (my trip from the East Midlands is modest by comparison).
There were 20 scenarios this year, running from Megiddo to Barnet ... so that's 40 armies ready to pick up from the command table ... and all the scenarios with the appropriate lists are complied into a guide of which every player is given a copy. I would recommend this to anyone.
Armies are mostly from Roy Boss's extensive collection ... with some help from co-conspiritors Mark Fry and Peter Barham.
(glimpses of the provided armies: Teutonic Order)
It is a hotel-based event, and having arrived late on Friday, I was just a few drinks, a good night's sleep and a wholesome breakfast away from my first game. I usually hope for Dark Age and chivalry armies in these events: like most tabletop games, Armati does cavalry better than phalanxes - and the combination of longer movement and obligatory charging makes getting a result within the time frame relatively painless.
(some splendidly painted 15mm Celts: click on the images for a larger picture)
That said, if you must play Hellenistic games, play Armati, where the pikes 'units' have to be welded together into a phalanx, and where shooting up light troops is an irrelevance to the game result.
By my usual standards, therefore, the draw did not suit me ... of the 5 scenarios, I was drawn only one Medieval battle - the rest were BC 317 or earlier.
(some nicely turned-out elephants ... always a great sight on the ancient battlefield)
Of course, that's a very limited perspective ... I drew 5 great opponents, the scenarios I played were reasonably well-balanced and certainly engaging ... the armies provided were a joy to play with, and I seemed to keep on the good side of Lady Luck (she can be a flirt, and she knows how much I love her six dimples ...) ...
So here they are ...
N.B: the 'scenarios' range from preselected and historically opposed lists (most of them are straight like this, using the standard, bland, Armati terrain) to actual scenarios with built in unique effects. For ease, deployment is behind traditional Armati screens ...
SCENARIO 8: PARAITACENE - 317 BC (Early Seleucid vs Eumenid ... armies courtesy Roy Boss)
We deployed some distance apart ... this game was slowed by the lengthy approach. I had the Seleucid.
SCENARIO 6: CLUSIUM - 391 BC (Later Etruscan vs Trans-Alpine Celts ... armies courtesy Roy Boss)
I had the Etruscans and was battered upon by 'non-key' Gaesati - I fought them off at some length - but by then the battle was over. A clear win for the warband army.
SCENARIO 2: NIHRIYA - 1245 BC (Early Assyrian vs Hittite Empire ... armies courtesy Roy Boss)
I had promised myself to play simply, but this was Saturday evening and I was a bit daunted by the quality of the Assyrians ... so I resorted to Hittite tactics, left most of my Foot out-of-command, allowing me a very mobile 'hit and run' force of small chariot raiders. Although I lost my general in the process, my raiding parties managed to inflict defeat on the Assyrians before they got to my vulnerable infantry (on whom they were undoubtedly looking like a wolf on the fold) ...
That was Saturday ... a series of hard fought, fairly even games of which I won two.
However, I indulged many a libation on the Saturday night, and the luck of the gods shined down upon me all Sunday.
SCENARIO 4: NINEVEH - 612 BC (Sargonid Assyrian vs Medo-Cimmerian Alliance ... armies courtesy Roy Boss)
Although this is a Biblical/Antiquity army, I can play it like turks! 9 units of horse archers. Against Assyrians, however, you need some skill and some luck (as they shoot back).
SCENARIO 18: PIOWICE 1331 AD (Medieval Polish/Lithuanian vs Teutonic Order ... armies courtesy Roy Boss)
Vincent beat me in Glasgow in a game where I thought if I'd got a bit of traction, lucky or otherwise, I might have won. Here fortunes were reversed ... I could do no wrong. Vincent set all the combats up to his advantage. I won all the key ones on the dice. Job done.
As I say, as a gentleman wargamer, these days, I had determined to play nice historical games all weekend ... set up in the middle of the table with two flanks, then get on with the game without too much clever stuff. The games are better that way.
But it did result in me scoring a huge points tally on the Sunday. But not enough to challenge the leaders, I assumed. I was therefore taking pictures for the Society when I was called up in second place ... Second! ... well I never ...
(The Society of Ancients sponsors the event and President Roy Boss kindly presented the prizes)
Just for the record, second place comes with a £20 Amazon voucher (now that will come in very handy). As I am always happy to admit, I like winning etc. every now and then, so an unexpected 2nd place put a big smile on my face ... especially as we'd drawn scenarios that don't usually suit me and I'd had a lot of fun with them. Thanks.
Excellent weekend ... simple trip there and back - and I'd stayed on for the Monday excursion - which this year was to the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth ...
P.B.Eye-Candy on a visit to the D-Day Museum
Follow the link for pictures of tanks and stuff like that.
Great event ... why don't you join us next year? Before then, we'll be doing Bosworth on the SoA stand at Alumwell on Sunday.
(more splendid chivalry from the Bournemouth Armati tables)