Friday, June 26, 2009

St Helens 20th June

Phalanx 2009
--> --> Another excellent trip to Sutton Leisure Centre. Martin Charlesworth once again volunteered to put on his DBA quick fire participation game - so Chris and I just had to take the Shows North Society stand up to complete the SoA pitch. Many thanks also to former president Phil Halewood who also helped out, running a fair few of the games. Great stuff - and much appreciated. It's easy to volunteer ... and everybody gets a great day out... Being well manned on the stand also means I get to take my camera for a walk - to capture a flavour of the show for those of you who couldn't make it.

Not quite so many ancients games to photograph this year. But a good variety of themes and
scales nonetheless.
--> Thanks to Martin's DBA participation table, we had one of the busiest areas - and I'd be surprised if any of the other games were able to put through quite as many players as the Society of Ancients
--> (Phil Halewood runs the DBA game)
--> (Italian Wars game by Steve Ayers)

-->Quite a contrast perhaps … I must admit the big Nappies game next door was very beautiful (it had as many hangers-on and we had youngsters playing, at one stage) – and once they’d won their trophy, they did try to blitz their way through a few turns .. probably so people like me couldn't say it was static … Ho hum. Quite a few Colonial games on show (Peter Pig has clearly sold a lot of his Sudan range …): quite intriguing as I was staying over with the gentlemen Pensioners again this year (forsaking the rush down to Farnborough for Valhalla on the Sunday for a leisurely ‘annual’ big game in Salford): this year somewhat vainly attempting to rescue Gordon from Khartoum. It was great - I'm sure you will indulge me a picture.
OK - for more about the DBA stuff, look back at the previous file ... (link)
Meanwhile here's a few more views of what went on at Phalanx 2009. Many thanks to the Spartans ... Great Show, Helpful hosts, free parking and (proper) northern prices in the cafe ...
We all had a good time and we'll be back next year.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alexandria USA 22nd to 24th May


Wow - so that's the view from the Crowne Plaza up the Potomac to Washington. pretty good. It wasn't the cheapest room we got on our two week holiday to the states (I suspect that was a slightly dowdy motel near Chickamauga ... 'ready for refurbishment' would be a polite way to describe that one, and it was not overpriced ...)
Yes, great and worthwhilebattlefields and culture tour round Georgia and South Carolina, then a whistlestop into Washington for the IWF's tournament weekend - and half a dozen games of FoG with my currently favoured Condotta Italian (Hawkwood's 'Florentines')

I had a great time in Alexandria (indeed a great visit to the US over all...).
I got to play 6 non-Brits (big reason why, as a middling sort of player, you
would travel ...).. and all of them good opponents and nice players ...

So a special thanks to Ricky Jones, Bob Andriola, Peter Contos, Jeff Fletcher,
Marc Crotteau and Steve Ladanyi (FoGsters familiar with 'names' will know what a
good set of games that was)...

Mostly tight games and results, but a big win against Peter (thanks), a big
defeat to Ricky (er .. thanks ... no, you can't call me 'Ricky's bunny' ...) and
I could not roll dice against Steve. And all of them a worthy challenge and a
good natured contest.
Well done to the competitors in all the other ancients competitions too, and thanks to Dan for pushing the Society of Ancients at every opportunity (and providing some space for slingshot, dragooning the undecided to take out a subscription - you know it makes sense) ...

Lots of trophies and prizes - nearly everyone got something to take home. Even David Dietrich of NASAMW gave me copy of the current edition of Warrior (which I will review for Slingshot, though it still seems like 7th edition to me)

A day off in Washington

The monday after the tournament was a public holiday - Memorial Day... parades and
ceremonies, and an ecellent day for a visit. I thought this was a great day to visit the city and was pleased to be a part of it. Here's my postcard. I have more at ... (link)

Milton Keynes 9-10 May

Campaign 2009 - The Great Commanders

(click on the images to get a bigger p

For Campaign this year, regular contributor Graham D Evans suggested an ambitious but tempting project to follow his successful Trebia game from last year. (Look back ...)
(Sunday scoreboard in the background: Alexander ahead 7:1 on the Granicus table; Hannibal behind 3:4)
Convinced that Neil Thomas's ancients game is the way to go for a participation game at a show ... and wanting to capitalise on how well the Trebia game worked last year ... the 2009 idea was to run Alexander at the Granicus alongside the Hannibal game, and offer participants a choice - we supply the other side, they get to try their luck as either Hannibal or Alexander. Graham promised to complete an extra board and manage a series of playtests if we would put the bodies around the table.

(Will mans the Trebia table, Graham mans the Granicus table)
Superficially, the two battles seem quite similar: both coming early in the commander's great campaign (had either been defeated the career likely would have ended early), and both featuring river lines. Much of the similarity stops there, of course ... Granicus does seem to have been a decisive victory for Alexander, whereas the outcome and impact of Trebia might be argued - the Roman centre is victorious and drives its way off the field (an ominous portent - for both armies, perhaps) .. and awesome or not, it is also the last we see of the elephants Hannibal so painstakingly brought across the Alps.

It has to be said the wargames rather ran to that pattern also: the Society team (seasoned wargamers or not) were hard pressed to get much out of the Granicus for the Persians, and their cavalry heavy army struggles either to defend the river or cross it in the face of superior heavy infantry; at the Trebia, however, the onus is more on the Carthaginians - Rome's heavy army and competent legionaries are hard to beat whatever the circumstances ... so Hannibal needs to get an edge quickly and (see last years notes) get Mago into the action pretty quickly.

The results show those characteristics .. Alexander well ahead throughout, but with Hannibal neck and neck with the Romans and, Trebia table regular, Will (ever waving a sword for the Romans) determined to see the invaders off! We hope, of course, that wargaming was the winner - certainly we managed to keep both games running almost simultaneously throughout the weekend, with most of the Great Commander players being complete novices, and that was a big part of our objective - and a big part of why Campaign is a public event in Central MK.

London (Excel) 28th March

Some Images of Salute 2009

-->Unusually, there was no stand stuff for me to take in, so I went by main line rail and DLR. No complaints. For me, it was efficient and very quick. It also meant there were no complications with having a drink after the show was closed.
This year’s game at Salute was Zama from the assured team of Philip Sabin (game - umpire) and Eric Cruttenden/Alan Waller (figure collection – player assistants). The game was very well received and drew a lot of attention – from photographers and participants alike.
It was also a very good prop for explaining the ancient wargame (and, yes, there are visitors at Salute who are not wargamers but come because it is on and they are intrigued) … The combination of a big display with figures that are easy-on-the-eye is good to get people’s attention (and Zama does have it all … Romans, Elephants, Hannibal, the plains of Africa …) … Lost Battle’s clear layout makes the game and structure easy to understand (and as the game gets played, it is possible to refer to what the players are doing when explaining how it all works).
Good to see the battle of St. Albans being represented. We featured Mike Elliot’s very useful book on the battle here after he ran a session at COW last year.
-->Salute is always a good event for participation games and there is always a lot to do. That said, the display games can be quite breathtaking too … -->
Came across these paper soldiers – the man was making them up there and then. They do look good. Not sure what I might use them for though – and no ancients yet IIRC
More good things to look at

-->. -->A good variety covered. In my time off the stand I did manage to get round most of it - and play WD's 30 minute Solferino with Richard Brooks (what a mess I made as the Emperor …).

Thanks to Julia and Alison, while I was on the stand, I was able to spend most of my day chatting to visitors about the game, advising the Carthaginians and encouraging them to roll big numbers (yes, that tactic applies to most Carthaginian commanders who end up at Zama ..)

-->Great to pack all that into one day.

Some Images of Salute 2009

A good start to 2009

Winter/Spring shows 2009

2009 kicked off with the usual string of busy days out for the Society - Vapnartak in York, Alumwell, Cavalier (helping the southern shows team out in Tonbridge), and Triples where we again sponsored the DBA Northern Cup on the Saturday and ran through Welcome to Jerusalem on the Sunday. We also visited some tournaments ... including the ever popular Godendag weekend in Usk.

(FoG at Usk - Patrick's infantry push up as some Latin mercenaries appear on the enemy flank)
We were pressed for space at Vapnartak, so made a popular return to the Society of Ancients stand-by, Gladiolus (the big figures version). This always seems to please the visitors and we played some entertaining games, and recruited some new members to the fold.

Cavalier is another worthwhile 'early' show, this time at Tonbridge. Actually it has become quite a big event with plenty of traders and a good choice of games. It was also a good chance to catch up with people or renew old acquaintanceships - Neil Thomas, Bob Cordery, Martin from PP ... even Gareth Simon of Pallas Armata (and former editor of Slingshot ) ...

Philip Sabin ran the scaled up display version of Roma Invicta ..

At Cavalier, Gareth passed me this old copy of Miniature Wargames with a collage of pictures from the Devizes show, way back. Full of Society of Ancients personalities. Hmm. I wonder if you can name them?

(MW back cover - who can you spot)
Yes indeed. Plenty of other stuff to look at, too.

(Some other attractions from Cavalier)

Alumwell saw us back on the road with the Jerusalem (FoG) siege game ..

(WMMS 2009)

Welcome to Jerusalem at Alumwell

This time, in order to give a broader taste of the basic Field of Glory mechanisms, we opted to include a 'what if' sally by the defenders from the side gate in the Kidron Valley ...

(Sally party - a BG of Turkish cavalry)
This worked very well, and allowed the Crusader nobles to get on their horses for a fight. FoG does Knights vs heavy horse archers very well, I think, and the scenario provided a good tour through the game's charge, evade, impact, shooting and melee mechanics ...

At Triples this year, we offered the usual mix, sponsoring the Society of Ancients DBA Northern Cup on the Saturday, and taking our regular show game on the Sunday. This year's DBA event was won by former SoA Treasurer, Graham Fordham (he's not from Sheffield, but I suspect that still counts as a 'home win') ....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Getting Back in Step

Sorry for those of you who have followed these bulletins in the past - there has been nothing up for ages.

Yes, the sheer volume of stuff to be done in the Autumn overwhelmed me ... just about got round to everywhere, but hardly had time to write about it. Actually, a lot of entries mounted up here - but as unpublished drafts (a picture missing here, the prize winner list there etc. etc.). All of these will get tidied up (and such is the mechanism of Blogger, they will fall into place behind this post in the order I started stacking them).

2009 has not got going well, with some family bereavements forcing everything else lower down the priorities list. Again, we pretty much got round everywhere and a review of the year so far will follow shortly. Then we will be back on track I hope.

The next event this year is the Birmingham Games Expo on Saturday/Sunday. Be great to see you there. We will be doing a bit of FoG, and would love you to join in.

Good things to come: ...

(Show Reports)
(Doubles Masters round up)