Sunday, April 30, 2017

1st April, Blectchley

The 2017 SoA BattleDay 

This year was Arsuf 1191 and the event was supported by eight different game/presenter combinations.

I had previously developed an Arsuf scenario for Armati but was very impressed with the reconfiguration I tried out as the show game at Claymore 2008 ... so, after a bit of tinkering, I decided to go with that.

This was therefore a mature project and benefited from having all the components available - Richard's fleet, personality figures for all the commanders, bespoke baggage for the marching column etc.

Here's a quick tour around the tables (I'll complete the captioning when I have fuller details - I was pretty much imbedded in my own game so haven't got complete notes) ... 

This was a lot more intimate a group than we have had for some of the Hellenistic/Roman fight days - which gain support from the 28mm big beasts - nevertheless, the room set aside for the introductory talk session was full (so we probably had fewer games but more player/visitors per game) ...

I had planned to 'workshop' the battle in episodes, trying bits of Impetus, FoG, ADLG maybe ... but as it turned out one of my volunteers wanted to try out Field of Glory (so that's where we started - it worked very well, so we decided as a group to stay with FoG and play it out).

Here are some scenes from my game:

(Arsuf - phase one ... Richard's army emerges from the defile into the open ground on the road to Arsuf)

(Arsuf - looking down Richard's column towards Arsuf, Saracens massing in the hills)

(Arsuf - phase two ... the Turks advance and engage the Crusaders with continual archery)

(Arsuf - phase two ... the Crusader foot are forced to turn and face ... )

(Arsuf - phase three ... Crusader knights charge out of the lines and a general engagement ensues)

In our battle, the Crusader column was successfully stopped and bodies of knights were drawn away from the protection of the close formation ... gaps appeared in the lines and Mamluk cavalry were able to burst into the box, even as far as Richard's personal standard.

Although there were a number of routed and exhausted enemy, many Crusaders fled towards the beach and cliffs, tumbling into the sea (presumably hoping to reach the sanctuary of their ships but certainly lost for the purposes of our game) ...

Luck was not with King Richard.

Historically, it had been a different story ... though many Crusaders did drown in panic, charges from the line had been more controlled and had caught sufficient of the Saracens to disperse Saladin's army beyond immediate recovery and Richard was able to claim a victory.

Operationally Arsuf was something of a stalemate: though claiming victory, Richard lacked the resources to strike at Jerusalem ... Saladin's field army was spent, however, and he could not exploit Richard's predicament.  The two commanders were forced to come to terms.

After the battle, though, Richard held the field and was able to complete his march to Arsuf in triumph ...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

12th March, Wolverhampton

March also saw us at ...


The first real show of the year in central England was always Alumwell and it still seems to feel like the start of the season even if it now follows a number of other events.

This is another combination show for us ... teamed up with the Battlefields Trust and Northampton Battlefield Society ... this time presenting NBS's newly published narrative game of the 1460 battle.

Northampton Battlefields Society ... and ...

The Society of Ancients ... present ...

The Battle of Northampton 1460 ...

This is a blown up chunky version of the boardgame which is now available as a cut out publication from NBS ... it has been played at a number of shows and goes down a treat (you really need a copy of this game ... and - as luck would have it - it has now been published so you can buy one *but there's more* all the proceeds go to helping to protect the battlefield so it's a double win) ...

Northampton 1460

OK promotion done, but it will be reviewed in Slingshot and I'll give contact details in a follow up blog for those of you who want to get one.

We played a number of games and everyone had a good time.  Graham was signing copies for autograph hunters.

We were right next to the WWII vehicles ... a regular feature of this friendly Midlands show ...

West Midlands Military Show

Indeed, reenactment/living history is well represented within an old fashioned mix of military history and modelling interests and there is usually something for everyone ...

Wars of the Roses ...  Civil War ... Napoleonic ... WWII ...

... and if the show had a sub-plot, it was The Great War ... a number of splendid interpretations 100 years on from 1917.

Not much for the pure ancients enthusiast I'm afraid but some very good historical games in other periods, nicely presented and generally engaging the visitor ...

WMMS 2017

... and did I say 'scale modelling' tables ... yards of them ... a nice mix of shopping, things to play, things to look at ... and folk dressed up ...

And Societies to join and good works to support ...

The Battlefields Trust and a few items available at WMMS 2017

Meanwhile our participation game went on pretty much all day and introduced a few people to wargaming, a few more to the Wars of the Roses, and a fascinating range of plausible historical variants.

A good show and a good day out.

Thanks to the organisers and thanks everyone who joined.   Make sure you don't miss Alumwell 2018.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

4th March, Newark Showground

HAMMERHEAD 2017 and the SOCIETY of ANCIENT DBA Northern Cup

With no Triples this year, the Society sponsored DBA Northern Cup moved seamlessly over to middle England's 'up and coming' Hammerhead - and a very successful move it was.

Hammerhead has established itself at Newark showground which now hosts the two Partizans as well.  OK it lacks the charm of Kelham Hall but wins on parking and convenience.

The main hall at the showground is, shall we say, spartan in its appeal - but the DBA event was in the gaming annex in a building across the way and had a number of advantages (shh or they'll all want some ... but lets just say 'carpet' and coffee without queueing ... ) ..

So ... a good venue, and, as always, a well managed event by Paul and Tony.

(The SoA DBA Northern Cup: my first four games)

The format for the Northern Cup is preset armies and tables provided by the organisers ... attack/defend specified for the game but otherwise free deployment.

It works very well and is a great leveller.

All the limited spaces for the event were sold, so we were 'full' (come along next year but book early)

The armies were all from the early periods.

(The SoA DBA Northern Cup: the morning session)

Also in our annex was this very appealing try-out game of the new Helion Armada game (simple Andy Callan rules and print-cut-and-glue paper ships).

Very tempting ...

Elsewhere in the show there was not a lot for the ancients enthusiast - but a good range otherwise and again, a lot of modern, some naval and some colonial ....

We were back for a couple more games after lunch (in which I fell from needing a miracle to no chance at all) but overall had a a great series of games and met some new players (as well as old friends) ... Indeed we had a nice mix of players including newcomers and youngsters (kudos to V3 of DBA for this encouraging trend and another full house).

And so to some worthy prize winners ...

(Dennis, Mark Johnson in First place, and Patrick)

A grand day out ... in support of which I took along the 54mm participation game of Bosworth which is also, of course, run to the latest version of DBA ...

Hammerhead and the DBA Northern Cup - I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

26th February, Tonbridge

The day after Alton I was down at Cavalier helping the shows team with the stand in support of a Lost Battles demo of Cannae ...

 (The Society of Ancients - the lost battle of Cannae BC 216 - Tonbridge 2017)

The game was ably run by the author Prof Philip Sabin of King's College (and a long standing SoA Committee member), together with regulars Eric, Alan and Mark ...

A vibrant game ...

and an excellent collection of figures ...

Hannibal's greatest victory.

Elsewhere the show was well attended and featured an attractive mix of games ... WW2/Modern and Naval seemed to be the trends ... Perhaps something we will see during 2017?

(Cavalier 2017: other stuff)

Look out for Hammerhead and WMMS in March and Salute in April.