Thursday, September 29, 2011

17th September, Stoke on Trent

THE 2011 Stoke Challenge

The Stoke Challenge is an annual wargames event which raises money for Services charities (and so is a good thing). Originally just a one-day tournament, it has grown into a viable regional show.

One of the features over recent years has been an Armati Doubles competition, but this year, due to date juggling, not everyone could attend.

(adjacent to the Society stand: the Armati tables)

Nevertheless, we decided to go ahead and run a couple of Armati tables for those who could make it, a Hellenistic table by the locals, and a Romans v Goths table that I would provide.

(Red hit markers pile up behind the Romans as the Gothic cavalry pile in)

I was pleased to do this as I find commitments help get projects finished. I had 'cobbled together' some Goths for Britcon - but the army played quite well and looked like that long sought viable opponent for the Romans (who can be 'all conquering' in Armati)
(trayed up and ready to play: Phil's finished 'Goths of Totilla' armati army)

Inspired by this, I placed a small order of those new Lurkio figures to see what they were like. I suspect that without the commitment to field the troops for the Stoke Challenge, the new figures might still be on the work table ... experimented with ... based, even ... but not finished.

And viable they were ... winning both their games. In the afternoon 'Fire at Will' joined us for a sample game of Armati (and was one of the Gothic winners). He liked to think it was luck and some guidance from me (here) ... but in truth he advanced on the Romans with preparatory skirmishing, then put his faith in the cavalry, launching impetus charges with Totilla showing the way.

(splendid Lurkio Goths - mixed in with Gladiator and Chariot figures ... finished and in play)

Now I wouldn't say it will always work, but as a Gothic tactic it is fine. At Tadinae, Narses was so fearful of this tactic he dismounted the bulk of his army and 'dug in' (which suggest there was a real prospect it would work). The rest is history.

And the Lurkio figures are great. Just what I wanted.

(the Hellenistic table: Alexander against the Persians)

On the other table a Macedonian army took on a Later Achaemenid Persian force in an impressive encounter that eventually went the historical way.

As well as Dave Lanchester Books, Stafford Games and an interesting selection of smaller traders, there were a number of display tables and non-tournament games in progress ...

(a very inspiring 10mm WSS game at Stoke Challenge)

The main competitions this year were Flames of War and a well attended DBMM ...

(scenes from the Stoke DBMM Challenge)

It is also worth noting that in addition to the sponsored head shaving and other fund raising stunts, there was a raffle in which both I and Lance & Longbow stalwart Steve were winners. Yes, winners (and not the opposite of that, as some allege ...)

I passed the Victorian Sci Fi loot I won into Chris's eager hands (a generous bag of 28mm hokum ...) not my thing at all but its the thought that counts - and like all wargamers, I'm happy to be a winner.

I hope the Army Benevolent Fund did well - they deserve our support.

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