Thursday, March 15, 2012

11th March, various locations in the UK

(Hawkwood's English mercenaries occupy an orchard in Manchester)


The Northern Doubles, WMMS and Skirmish in Sidcup all happen at the same time and there were good things going on all round. The Society's Shows North stand went to Wolverhampton ...

Will and Graham F volunteered to do the Alumwell event and took along Will's developing Armati II contribution for this month's Plataea BattleDay.

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by ... we recruited some new members and Will got to network about the game with other Plataea contributors.

(Plataea - in Armati 15mm)

It sounds like it was a great show. Thanks to Graham for sending me some pictures.

(more good ancients stuff from WMMS captured by Graham Fordham's camera)

Meanwhile, I caught sight of an interesting ancients Participation Game in Bob Cordery's coverage of the Sidcup show ( Wargaming Miscellany )

(Let the Dominoes Decide on Heroscape terrain tiles: photo by Bob Cordery)

The Old Guard had this Gladiators game using the Society of Ancients game Let the Dominoes Decide. It uses (and includes), of course, Graham Hockley's combat mechanism Anno Domino - the same mechanism used in last year's popular Domino Double Header (GitS and The Elephant in the Room).

Both publications are still available through the website (webstore: games ) - and are great after dinner games ... just add a few packs of dominoes!

Thanks Bob ... you can see more of Skirmish by visiting Bob's blog on the link above.

Meanwhile, I took Hawkwood's Florentine Italian Condotta troops to Manchester:

(Florentine Elmeti press forward: Field of Glory Ancient and Medieval)

Thanks to everyone for two enjoyable games giving my Italians their annual run out. We got a bit tangled up by some tough and aggressive Anglo-Danes in the first game, but were back on warm Mediterranean ground tackling some Spaniards (Crown of Aragon) in the second.

Nice opponents and a draw that didn't take us too far out of period ...

(in 'open' competition, we were very fortunate to draw as appropriate opponents as these Medieval Spanish caballeros)

Having muddled up the first game - it was a good game, but I messed up the list - we were all sorted out for the afternoon, and got in a good, see-saw, chivalric stand-up fight which eventually resolved itself in our favour.

(The Florentines in pursuit: photos by Phil steele)

Some mistakes by our opponents and some luck by us were embraced in the best possible spirit and we came out about par after the 2 games. Within NDBML's 3 level handicapping, this was our class 3 army (1 being good!) ... so we were pleased with our day's work ...

Here's a quick line up of the FoG glitterati ... Mike and Colin enjoying the limelight for a change.

There were also FoG-R and DBMM divisions, and full results can be found on the MAWS site.

All that was on Sunday - we are blessed with choices these days, that's for sure.

I hope you enjoyed your's as much as I enjoyed mine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3rd-4th March, Bournemouth

Armati by the Sea 2012

(I have edited the title onto the deployment screen in my first game: this how Armati-by-the-Sea begins - in anticipation of what what will be revealed)

Many thanks to host Peter Barham and sponsors The Society of Ancients for another excellent Armati scenarios tournament. 5 great games; great company and everything provided; followed by an optional Monday excursion for those on longer trips (Fort Nelson, this year) ...
The organisers lend everything you need ... armies, dice, rulers, hit markers, the lot (a special approach developed in the early days of the Armati League with particular regard to those travelling by air, and so restricted on what they can transport) ...
The armies are mostly from Roy's huge collection (with a little help from scenario editor and event umpire Mark Fry): 46 armies to cover the 23 scenarios (and that's quite a pile on the army pool tables)!
Here are some of the toys ...

(all 15mm figures, of course - I fought against these warriors)

(lovely Assyrian army: maybe I'm biased - I won with this one!)

(French Crusaders being outflanked by Mamluk Egyptians)

(one of many favourites in the Armati-by-the-Sea draw)

All the games are drawn at random from a series of fixed scenarios (no choices allowed other than dismounting etc.). A coin with the scenario number on it is drawn from a bag by one of the players, then flipped to see who has which army.

The players then collect the armies and specified terrain, lay up the table and set the screen ... then (more often than not) scratch their heads trying to decide how to deploy an army they may never have commanded before ...

(the screen is lifted!)

It is a great leveller, of course, as the other player is no more likely to be practiced with his army!

It also allows the scenario devisers to throw in balanced games between less fancied armies (as they control both sides): I have not seen either Transalpine Celts or Etruscans taken to a tournament, for esample - but, against each other, they made for a great game ...

(Pete plays Craig)

It's a formula which attracts a couple of dozen players - a mix of familiar faces and newcomers, locals and overseas visitors ...

(Bruce plays Matthew)

(President Roy Boss presents the prizes on behalf of the Society of ancients)

Vincent Auger won, followed by Malcolm King and Craig Tannock (with me a distanct fourth ...) ... they all got book tokens along with their trophies - Mick Owen killed the most generals, and Richard Shilvock got best newcomer ... and an army pack for his efforts ...

(tournament winner, Vincent Auger (France) relaxes after the event with a game of DBA!)

Those of us who stayed over enjoyed a relaxing evening and an excursion on the Monday to one the Palmerston forts ringing Portsmouth - Fort Nelson - restored and run by the Royal Armouries ..

(a postcard from Fort Nelson)

A brilliant event, well-conceived and well-organised. My thanks to all involved. If you have even a passing interest in Armati, you really ought to do this one!

There is an extensive post on Fort Nelson and a selection of pictures from the gunnery collection on my P.B.Eye-Candy blog ( Fort Nelson ) ...

Friday, March 9, 2012

26th February, Tonbridge

CAVALIER 2012Parking seemed easier than usual at the Angel Centre/Sainsbury's car park this year (has the recession hit Tonbridge, now?) ... A better than usual start to what is always a good show.

This year we were parked back in the Jubilee Room rather than the main Hall. Have we upset someone? I surely hope not - the Society's mix of enthusiast meeting point and tabletop exploration of ancient history certainly seemed as constantly popular as ever.

This year, the Sabin-Cruttenden-Waller team was reconstructing the Lost Battle of the River Bagradas, the catastrophic First Punic War defeat of the consul Marcus Atilius Regulus at the hands of Hadsrubal and the Spartan mercenary Xanthippus.

(click on it for an enlargement)
I was invited to play Regulus in the second game, and did my best to thwart the in-built (on table) advantage the bullish Roman took on.

In Lost Battles 'points' the Carthaginians have an edge of around 15% (for what it's worth*). That's enough to mean the Romans are outnumbered, in particular on their flanks, where it is almost impossible to hold the ground.

(Big, big, trouble for the Roman flanks ...)

The Roman strength, of course, is in the Legions - but the battle sets a real challenge in how to bring that strength to bear before everything collapses around it.

(Roman and Italian infantry - the heart of the Roman array)

In the following photo, I have marked in the sweep of the Carthaginian flank under Hadsrubal - almost unopposed. You can see how much trouble the Romans are exposed to:

(this was the position after a couple of turns in both of the first two games)

My instinct is that when, earlier in the campaign, the Carthaginians wanted to make peace on reasonable terms, Regulus should probably have given it more consideration.

Historically, of course, this is the Regulus who was captured by the Carthaginians after the battle, then subsequently released on parole to argue for peace and prisonner exchanges: he argued strongly at Rome for war, then kept his word and returned to Carthage. They put him to death.

You'd have to call him inflexible.

Also in the Jubilee Room Loughton Strike Force presented a good looking Alamo Participation Game with appropriate gusto all day. It seemed much appreciated by a good mix of veteran wargamers and yougsters. Excellent

(storming the Alamo)

In the Bring & Buy hall, more good games on show, including the HOTT mini campaign in Bronze Age Mesopotamia ...

(Kingdoms in the Dust - SEEMS)

I often don't get much in the camera on these great show pieces ... so here's a couple of 28mm eye candy shots ...

Otherwise, there were some good WWII games, amongst them Staines/Tim Moore's 'Climb mount Niitaka' Pearl Harbour raid (a follow up to the successful Taranto game) ...

While in the main hall 'Defending the Bridge at Obourg' featured a very popular (but appropriately fragile) flying machine ...

(there are more flying machines on my 20th Century blog P.B.Eye-Candy)

(a typically chatty moment chewing the fat over the crowded Lost Battles table)

Meanwhile Bagradas got played throughout the day, very much to the satisfaction of those with a soft spot for the infanticide Carthaginians ... indeed Professor Sabin rattled through a final game taking the role of Regulus himself - he did better than me, but he didn't beat Xanthippus ...

A very enjoyable day out - as always at this well-organised middle sized show.

South Coast next ... Bournemouth and our annual Armati event ... I'm sure you can't wait.

*about half the advantage Alexander enjoys in his battles against the Persians, since you ask ...