Thursday, September 28, 2017

4th September, Peterborough

Our main September show this year was Hereward in Peterborough.

We attended as Northampton Battlefields Society with the game and the kit and our publications.

Hereward is very much a traditional local show with plenty of time to chat, browse and sit down and play.  All very good.

Not much in the way of historical 'not 28' so not much to detain me and again not all my cash was needed (no need to fret though - pleny will be spent online ... ) ...

After a leisurely start we got quite few games played and some happy fellow enthusiasts equiped themselves to explore the battle of Northampton at home ...

Hereward had a very relaxed and friendly feel and attracted the whole family.  People enjoyed trying out the equipment and handling knightly weapons.


These  musket balls were found by a local metal detectorist.  They are 17th Century though, inevitably the location was not properly recorded ... the best we can say is '17th Century, Northamptonshire - thought to be Civil War, probably from Naseby' - useful handling exhibits.

 (17th Century Musket and Pistol balls: thought to be Civil War, probably from Naseby)

The standard of games around the show was very good.

Oppy Wood was amongst the best of them and won a prize ... an attractive and well though out display.

 (Hereward 2017: Oppy Wood game and historical display)

I keep promising to update you on the new supporting publications for Medieval enthusiasts.  Maybe the will be the next post.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Wade continues to watch over us.  Ours for a year - presented by the Guild of Battlefield Guides for our work at Northampton Battlefield.  Previous winners include TV companies and the Belgian Tourist Office.  So good company to be in.

We have to give him back in January ... but at least he is much travelled with us.

Friday, September 22, 2017

20th August, Newark

The day after Bosworth (well, Bosworth is a weekend event so, really, 'taking the Sunday off from Bosworth') saw us in Nottinghamshire for 'The Other Partizan' ... traditionally the start of the autumn season but now shifted backwards in the calendar, and definitely now a summer show.

For the Partizan shows we ship a lot of gear into the History Zone and form something of a cooperative comprising the Northampton Battlefields Society, the Society of Ancients, the Lance and Longbow Society and the Naseby Battlefield Project.  We join the Pike and Shot Society, Civil War Centre and The Battlefields Trust.  There is a lot of overlap between these associations.

embracing the wonderful weapons display ...

 ... and everything you could possibly need to interpret the battlefields of middle England ...

 ...  Phil's ubiquitous detailed model of Naseby...

... and a participation game of Northampton 1460 ...

That kept us busy for most of the day ... if you aren't a 28mm enthusiast there really isn't much for you on the trade stands at Partizan (I've never really understood that quirk of the show so I struggled to spend my pocket money and will have a big splurge later in the year when there's a more inclusive selection of traders) ...

But Partizan probably wins these days for its selection of games and displays.

Not all of them 28mm of course (the better ones, indeed, far from it) ... although the ancmed ones generally were and the were very good ...

Crecy won the most plaudits but Lincoln did a good participatory Battle of Lincoln ...

 (inside the walls of course) ... and, in the classical period, Simon's TTS game was very impressive

... and, comparatively understated, I also enjoyed this Italian Wars set up ...

... with some big buildings ...

OK here's an out-of-period collage from the Naseby game ...

See ecwbattles for much more on that project ... and here's a glorious eye-level shot of some of those Greek Hoplites in Simon's game ... 

(the Spartan Phalanx)

Aren't the cameras on today's mobile phones splendid?

I won't make lots of comments on Partizan ... it was a nice day out and useful for the Societies ... It was only a short gap before Hereward and I hope we'll all be back at the Showground in the new year.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

12th August, Manchester University


In the midst of all that Summer/outdoor fun, there was a trip to Manchester to play DBA ...

I stopped doing Britcon a while back for all sorts of reasons (mostly about competition culture and narrowness of focus, but that's another story) but I like Manchester and I do enjoy the cameraderie if only the timetable will release people for long enough to socialise.

DBA is a good add to the programme but the scheduling needs to ease up a bit (there is plenty of time at this venue!  We were the earliest to finish and nobody needed the tables) ...

(Britcon DBA ... lovely prizes, a diverse player base and a destination city to dine out in!)

The theme was 'armies,enemies and their enemies' of the Teutonic Knights (or something like that) ... I guess I'd better just say up front that it didn't work (most of the eligible armies weren't selected, the top 3 all picked the same list - and if you strayed from the obvious you fared quite poorly) ...

I took Seljuq Turks as I thought it would be 'different' and was one of only two armies on the shortlist that I had been tinkering with of late.  There were some other projects I'd have prefered to give an outlet to but they weren't on the list.

Anyway, it was fun and it did OK against the other Steppe army in the tournament.

Here's some of the Heavy Metal I came up against:

The other skirmishing army had more Light Horse than I did ... He put his faith in the depth rule, I gritted my teeth, stayed wide and exploited the flanks.

Thankfully the Cumans generally rolled lower scores than the Seljuqs ... so envelopment prevailed over punching through.

Tamara experimented with terrain and did very well overall.

Graham was a bit miffed by a late clarification that we would not be applying the dismounting rule as written in the book.   He had already picked and smartened up a Lithuanian army that benefits from the rule.

I see his point - but I also think we need to bear in mind that UK tournaments play a stripped down DBA.   As a 'non dismounter' my Seljuqs weren't allowed to vary amongst options available in the list, but had to stipulate the exact 12 elements at the start of the day ...  

I am able to 'tweak' the army if I know who I'm up against - but only if we allow the players to select which elements to employ once the opponent is known.   Other than the time and cross-checking, we could easily allow this.  Other armies can 'tweak' by e.g. dismounting. A few, of course have both a rich choice of options and some elements that can dismount.   I can't see any reason why you should prevent a player picking any 12 off his list (it is only 12 picks, after all ... ) but allow another player to vary his by dismounting.

And vice-versa, of course ... It is what it is.

Personally I would just eliminate the dismounting armies from the theme (so you don't need to make a ruling because the armies in play aren't affected) ...

The again, I'm not that keen on themes (as most of them seem pretty abstruse and don't seem particularly balanced) ...

If you are still with me ... such were the debates around Britcon 2017 ... a jolly little day's wargaming but some points to ponder.

 1st Mark Skelton III/83b Early Polish 
2nd John Saunders also Early Polish 
                                         and 3rd Colin O'Shea also Early Polish

Plus ... IV/18 Lithuania - IV/13b Early German - IV/28 Prussia - IV/36b Muslim India - III/79 Early Russian - III/74 Seljuk Turk and - III/80 Cuman 

Of course some of that apparent imbalance is because the shrewder sort of player can spot the optimum sort of army.

Anyway I enjoyed meeting up with everyone, had a 'learning experience' and didn't come last (just!) 

UK DBA League

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Summer of 2017 ... Middle England

Shows and Battlefields Heritage

It's been a while since Bakewell and mostly that has been the heritage events and shows trail ... we've been out and about a lot.  Here's a quick update (letting the pictures tell most of the stories) ...

The Battlefields Trust weekend Conference and AGM had a ECW theme but was staged in Newark and featured a day out to East Stoke for the Stoke battlefield celebrations.

The anniversary event was hosted at Stoke Hall, which some of you will know is home to Wargames Foundry, and the event included a wargame of the battlefield as well as a walk (in temperatures and blistering sunshine not seen again over the rest of the summer) and military displays by the Beaufort Companye ...

(Stoke Field - the steep river bank where many fleeing the battle met their end)

(Stoke Field - last gasp of the Wars of the Roses)

(Stoke Field/Stoke Hall - indeed lots to explore)

(Stoke Field - played as a wargame in the hospitality marquee) 


CoW 2017 is the first I have attended in 2 decades where I haven't been putting at least one session on.   I like to contribute as well as enjoy other member's sessions but it has just been one of those years.   None of my 'back burner' projects looked nearly like being ready by July and I had no spare time in which to turn up the heat.

There were some ancient and medieval options ...

(Tim WDDG North Gow's simple Hollywood Agincourt  game used 54mm toy soldiers)

(John History of Wargaming Curry presented an old school take on triremes)

(John Armatys hosted a card game version of Roman Careers: Cursus Honorum)

In addition I played a in black game exploring 20th Century terrorism, and in a strange Warsaw Pact game that involved drinking a lot of neat Vodka.


A few days later it was back home for a battlefield anniversary.

 (Northampton 1460: commemoration at the Eleanor Cross)

(Northampton 1460: battlefield interpretation)

We had our usual evening walk and wreath laying on the actual day (10th July) followed by the Delapre Family Heritage event at the end of the week.

We had the new game together with the battle model, period equipment and tours of the field ...
(Graham introduces youngsters to the joys of military history and wargaming)

Meanwhile, in the arena, Harrington's Companye acted out a number of tableau illustrating episodes from the battle.

We enjoyed a great turn out from members of Northampton Battlefields Society and everyone helped run the stand and displays ... So much so that I was able to host a meeting of the Battlefields Trust on the Saturday and show young Imogen around on the Sunday.

By the end of the month we were at Northamptonshire's other WotR battlefield, Edgcote ..

There is much more to say about this battle and Northamptonshire Battlefields Society has announced an Edgcote Project to look afresh at what we know in advance of the anniversary in 2 years time.

(Edgcote battlefield - medieval ridge and furrow around Job's Hill) 

Middle England's Summer battlefields tour finishes at Bosworth in August.

(On Saturday, The Battlefields Trust tent featured my 54mm DBA reconstruction of the battle)

We had Partizan on the Sunday so I could only do Saturday and by now 2017's washout Summer had taken a grip.   Even so, plenty of stalwarts braved the variable conditions and we did a lot of proactive campaigning.

(Bosworth 2017 - massed reenactment)

I bought a Warhammer for the waving about at talks ...

... but for the time being, other options are out of reach ...

By sunday we were off to Partizan and an early start to the Autumn shows season. 

 (Trustee Harvey Watson talks about Bosworth)