It's that time again.
Although I remain essentially an ancient/medievalist who collects toy soldiers, plays wargames and explores historical battles, much has changed over the years, and my commitments have evolved away from what many consider 'mainstream' hobby games towards battlefield heritage and historical reconstructions. Likewise, the Society of Ancients has become far less concerned with public engagement (as in promoting through 'shows' - my forte, perhaps) and more uses online resources to support its worldwide (but these days, smaller) membership.
So I suspect, year on year, the this, the Shows North blog, will have fewer specifically anc-med outings and wargames to report on. Although tallying 2018, it turns out that I am wrong.
2018 delivered 28 actual outings (so still in the region of 2 a month): 6 tournaments (all, this year, from the Society sponsored UK DBA League); 4 conferences; 8 heritage type events and 10 traditional wargame shows. All of those are up on last year except tournaments (which lacks the Mercia DBA event, Alton pairs - and any ADLG as there was no Derby show in 2018).
Unlike a decade ago, all these events are in Britain - indeed, England. That's a pity but also a fact of life*.
Here are the postcards ... click on them and you will be taken to the report:
6 Tournaments (9 in 2017)
4 Conferences (3 in 2018)
An East of England Battlefields Trust study day plus:
Which included a visit to the battlefield at Otterburn, and ...
8 heritage and/or battle events (Conferences and Events combined: 8 in 2017)
... and BBC Radio's Northamptonshire day (this year on our battlefield at Delapre Park)
(we put on wargames at nearly all these events)
and 10 wargames shows (9 in 2017)
These days the Shows North stand is as much about Northampton Battlefields Society as The Society of Ancients and, for manpower reasons, we are often in concert with the Lance and Longbow Society and/or the Battlefields Trust. So no longer purely a society and/or wargames presence but a healthy symbiosis with like-minded military enthusiasts.
So ... in addition to Hammerhead and Britcon (which I primarily attended for the DBA League events):
If you like the tallies, then, out of the ancient/medieval period, I did 4 further events,. I was out battlefield guiding 8 times and I gave 4 talks on military history/battlefields (at Towton, Kettering, Northampton and Naseby). I walked the battlefields of Bosworth, Edgcote, Naseby, Northampton and Otterburn and visited Fotheringhay and Barnard Castle.
In all, that's involved me in 97 games. Mostly ancient and medieval ... DBA being the most common (with all those League events plus several runs through the Double scenarios for Zama and Pharsalus). That compares with 76 in 2017 (so is up from 3 a fortnight to nearly 2 a week**) ...
The earliest (I think) was Middle Kingdom Egyptians and the most modern game was a multi-centred game about the Yom Kippur War. Plus most things in between but no Fantasy or Science Fiction, of course.
I didn't use my 6mm figures or larger sized Medievals or Gladiators, but made extensive use of 10mm and 15mm, put a lot of work into the 28mm Medieval collection for Edgcote and, as usual, used 54mm figures for Bosworth.
Projects-wise, I have mostly been working on DBA refurbs and on the Edgcote project which will go live in 2019 for the 550th anniversary and a big 28mm game touring the shows.
My thanks to Graham, Chris, Matthew, the other Graham, Paul and other volunteers for their help at various shows over the year. It is impossible to do these things solo (even though I got away with it a few times in days past - that was 30 years ago and things were different).
Indeed, it is increasingly hard for any one organisation to manage to keep a show on the road - so thanks are evenly apportioned to the Battlefield Society, SoA and L&L - plus recognition is also due to the Naseby Project and Battlefields Trust.
As for the blog ...
I updated 30 times this year - which is the most since 2013, and a big increase on last year. I added 8 more DBA army specials, and created a new page where they can be browsed at the click of a picture.
* family, cost of travel, value of £ and the current dominance of 'big brands' wargaming all being factors that can discourage self-design historical enthusiasts from grand ventures these days.
** we wargame locally most weeks so the games played at the roughly '2 weekends a month' fill in the gaps and adds another 4 or so per month).