Saturday, June 25, 2011

St. Helens, 18th June

(see the Society banner, central, right over at the back)

Phalanx 2011

Last year we drove up to Cheshire on the Friday evening listening to a lack lustre England World Cup game on the car radio (remember that disappointing summer of 2010?) ...

This year we went up early for a fuller Gentlemen Pensioners Phalanx/wargames weekend ... a Society of Ancients shows appearance on the Saturday sandwiched between my Naseby refight on Friday afternoon, and the big Sunday game - this year Bautzen ...

I thought Phalanx was very good. We had been moved from our tradition berth next to the Pike & Shot Society to the other corner alongside the Lance & Longbow ... with Irregular Miniatures, David Lanchester Books and Baccus as neighbours.

(Lance & Longbow Society game featuring a lot of pikes and quite a bit of shot)

(click on the picture for a better view)
The Lance & Longbow Society (of course, the aforementioned Gentlemen Pensioners, mostly) put on Cerignola, while for the Society of Ancients, Martin Charlesworth was reprising his ever popular 'Dirty DBA' Challenge table.

('Dirty' DBA ... )
(as usual, the Society defended it's honour in the DBA challenge)
I'm sure numbers must have been up this year, and most of the thoroughfares were crammed for the first half of the show.

(Pike & Shot Society)
The Bring & Buy was too crowded to get at, all morning, but when I did manage an afternoon visit, I found some bargains and plenty on offer.
(Just a part of the busy Bring & Buy: along with the Societies and a healthy array of games mixed in amongst the trade aisles - a good part of the formula that makes for a great wargames show)
It was generally wargamers selling 2nd hand, rather than semi-professional (like those expensive Southern Bring & Buys) and, 'yes', those £2 good condition military history books were, indeed, ex-libris the late Paddy Griffith.

Nestling between Manchester and the Mersey, we do OK for volunteers here, so everyone on the stand gets a chance to see the show and do some shopping, chat to people and take photos.

(Baggagetrain products are available with a Society of Ancients member discount)
So, Stephen from the Baggagetrain reminded me we need to get the discounts page updated (he offers 10%) ... that's one of his resin 10mm Watchtowers behind some of my 15mm Varangians

(some nice samples dropped off at Phalanx)
Cutting Edge Miniatures dropped off some new releases for review (Hittite 28mm ... very nicely proportioned I think - less clumsy than many of the cruder ranges in that scale ...) ... and Pete from Baccus talked me through Polemos and showed me some of his 6mm ancients.
(Baccus 6mm Romans)
Elsewhere former President Halewood and his Crosby friends have been bitten by the Very British Civil War bug. Not my cup of tea, of course ...
but the Gentlemen Pensioners HQ is just down the road in Salford, and the Crosby game did remind me of Lowry's signature industrial backgrounds (perhaps Lowry's figure style is what VBCW needs to give it a little more resilience?) ...

(A Very North Western Civil War)

There was a big ECW Game ...And a smaller but very engaging Indian Mutiny game ...

But I was most impressed with this 10mm panorama (demonstrating yet again how a scale like this can capture the pageant of a full battle within the single visual frame of a modest table - frankly, comparing the 7 Yrs War game and the ECW, the 10mm game easily wins over the 28mm, I think (much though I like them both...)...

A good example of a regional show with a good mix of trade, displays, Societies and games. Thanks for the invitation, Spartans ... I'm looking forward to next year ...

Sunday's big game was a 15mm Shako-based refight of Bautzen, which looked something like this ...
There are several blogs from players if you want to find out more about this lavish wargame (see .. Wargame Amateur ... Will's Wargames Blog etc.) ...

For what it's worth, I took the role of Wittgenstein, commanding the allies. I was satisfied with my subordinates' efforts and commitments to the cause as ever. We stopped the French (well, that's what my memoirs will say).

Enabling this great weekend to be 'bookended' with historical battles from my stable, the late-stayers finished off Sunday with a running of the 10mm Zama 'Double DBA' wargame.
(Naseby: from Friday evening's game)

(Sunday evening -Zama: a fitting end to a weekend of historical battles)
For more on that Naseby refight, see my ECW Battles in Miniature.

Don't forget to help us out at Campaign.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shows Update - Campaign (volunteers needed)


This is Ancients on the Move, and just about all the posts are views of events the Society of Ancients attends. This one is about a show we might not.

(balcony view of Campaign 2008, and the Society of Ancients stand)

I have been attending MKWS's Campaign for at least 20 years (since back when it used to be a 'Play Off' venue for the old style World Championships in Derby): both Campaign and Derby Worlds have changed a lot over the years!

Campaign has become one of our favourite events of the year - a wargames show within the full public glare of Central Milton Keynes Shopping ... and so a rare opportunity to show ancient wargaming to members of the general public rather than only to showgoers (who, though they might not always be ancients players, are at least, usually, open to the idea - as they went to the show): at MK, many of the potential punters are just bored with shopping and had no intention of looking at wargames exhibits. They may not yet know that wargaming is what they'd really prefer to be doing with their leisure time. Imagine their lives for just a moment ... no wargaming - no toy soldiers - no painting schedules ... (just work, take-aways and telly)

Campaign is a great opportunity to save them.

(Campaign 2009: entertaining the public by introducing them to historical wargames)

Unfortunately, because of the schedule of other exhibitions in the public space (Middleton Hall) and the Royal Wedding, the event has been moved to a weekend that clashes with the other big Middle England event, WD's Conference of Wargamers (8-10th July, Knuston Hall), and our Shows North team is already committed to that.

We can still cover the Milton Keynes show as well - but need extra bodies to do so. Society members reading this blog, and within easy reach of MK on the weekend of 9th and 10th might like to volunteer (send me a comment, an email, or get in touch via the SoA's members Yahoo Group etc.) ... Either day or both (or parts thereof ...).. It's a great opportunity to join in, and it would be sad for the Society not to be represented at such a refreshing event just because of the dates clash ...

Let me know - I'll sort something out.

Show report on Campaign 2010
Show report on Campaign 2009

It's about enjoying history.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kelham Hall, Newark, 29th May


Well, I wasn't very impressed with Salute this year, I was so busy at Triples that I scarcely got time to complete urgent business ... but I enjoyed some camera time at Partizan.
The show seemed a little less busy this year (and down the odd trader and a games table or two*) - perhaps, I understand, due to the proximity to Triples, the week before. That, combined with Graham running The Elephant in the Room as our show game, meant I had time for a longer break in the afternoon and got to see the show.

(Graham running The Elephant in the Room)
We are giving an extra bit of exposure to Shows North participation games TEITR and Greyhounds in the Slips this year to support the Society publishing cut out versions in A Domino Double Header as the 2011 incentive project - if you missed the early resubscription you can get a copy from the web store (Society of Ancients games) or from the stand at shows ... and at some of the Northern Shows, we will be running it (so you can get a quick start, too).

(what you get in the game pack)
In the pack, you get a double sided A2 play board (one game either side), rules booklet plus all the cards, and fold up playing pieces for those who don't have figures that they would prefer to use instead.

You need to provide 2 to 4 sets of dominoes (preferably in a shuffling bag), and for GitS, a couple of dice. Let the Dominoes Decide - also available - has the basic game plus lots of additional resources for using the Anno Domino combat system in the Roman Arena.

At Partizan Graham played the elephant game through 7 or 8 times, including some thrilling finishes (though the velites eventually prevailed in all cases) ...
(Pachyderm down - shots from the game)
I trust you will indulge some pictures of the game where (one-time psales volunteer) Sarge made a long awaited return to ancients and characteristically tried to do too m
uch too soon (yep that's both his velites lying on their sides). In the end the other two players went on to dispatch the elephant just before it reached the Roman lines.

Partizan also offered an opportunity to try (or in my case chat to the authors about ...) some of the new crop of ancients games.

(click on the pictures for a bigger version)
(Plataea - War & Conquest)
Rob Broom was there with War and Conquest (and a version of the Battle of Plataea), Great Escape Games had a try out table for Clash of Empires ... and if that wasn't enough 'new' ancients, Phil Hendry and Richard Clarke were there with a development version of Augustus to Aurelian (watch the news pages ...!).

(Clash of Empires)
(Augustus to Aurelian)
The DBA campaign in a day participation game was also running - in this case in Medieval Italy. Loads of good stuff in this game, and very well presented. The core, of course, was a day long sequence of DBA participation games.

(DBA - The Italian Job)

And that was just a quick tour of the more fascinating ancient and medieval offerings: there was much, much, more ... some good ideas, and some nice presentations.

There is more of that splendid ECW 'Worcester' game on ECW Battles in Miniature ...

Now I know (despite all the help I have offered) that a lot of browsers on this blog are taken with the 28mm eye candy, so here's a couple more shots of Phil Hendry's stuff ...

Watch out for the Shows North stand at Phalanx, where we will be running a DBA participation table all day (your chance to beat the team!) ...

*that said, a number of people complained that there was nowhere to sit down and eat the lunch they had bought from the cafeteria - something the hosts are going to have to sort out: Hammerhead, in the same venue, had a room given over ... Partizan can be almost as bad as Britcon for this.