Thursday, June 20, 2013

15th June, St Helens

Phalanx 2013

A good turn out from the wargames Societies saw SoA, Pike & Shot and the Lance & Longbow all pitching in for Phalanx ... for us, that meant Martin C. and his 'Dirty DBA Challenge'.

Staying over in Salford also meant a comfortably early arrival and time for a bacon barm, HP sauce and a strong black coffee.  I appreciate blog aficionados need to know these things.   The Sutton Leisure Centre CafĂ© is notoriously unhurried but does offer Northern prices ...

(Pictish warriors take on the DBA Challenge)

'Dirty', of course, as in the expression 'quick and dirty', so an even simpler approach than orthodox DBA.    This year the challenge was to beat the Persians - with a number of historical (and some more generic) opponents.   In a number of entertaining tussles, most failed.

(Dirty DBA Challenge: that Classical Indian box deployment)

From the familiar mix, I enjoyed, in particular, the Classical Indian box gambit.   It worked better than I expected and was one of a number of games that saw us busy for much of the day.

More 25mm over at the Lance & Longbow's stand ... where they refought the Battle of Deepdale - which I understand was the climax of the 1315 Banastre Rebellion using modified Warhammer Ancient Battles.   I'm no expect on this sort of thing but am happy to hand over to Wargames Amateur (who has some of the heraldry up, too)

(Lance & Longbow do the Banastre Rebellion)

Also of interest to ancients enthusiasts, there were a few games played in the Gladiatorial arena (I understand the 'colosseum' was home made), and the Liverpool Wargames Association had a great DBA Romans and Celts game (which looked to me a bit like Boudicca's last battle)

(I didn't get a chance to capture this game in action although it did get played while we were equally busy on the SoA stand)

(28mm Imperial Roman DBA army)
(... and their Celtic enemies ...)

I liked the extra large bases that have been employed here (100mm IIRC) which just gives the 12 element forces an extra chunky look.  Worked well, and together with the SoA games meant newcomers had some helpful stuff to look at.

Out of our period, I was impressed as ever by the big East Lancashire club's 15mm Renaissance table ...

... there was a very convincing Battle of Cross Keys by the Stoke Challenge lads

... the Pike & Shot Society showed off some nicely turned out Baccus ECW Scots

... and there was an excellent Napoleonic display by Garry Wills promoting his book on the 1794 campaign in the Netherlands (more on the Caseshot blog) ...

(worth clicking this one for the larger version)

(detail of the excellent Napoleonic table)

I did a spell on the Pike & Shot Society stand, had a chat to some of the other exhibitors and hardly had time to visit the busy Bring & Buy (where apparently large quantities of books changed hands at bargain prices) ... The day had passed very quickly and we were soon onto take down duties.

Phalanx ticks all the necessary boxes and seemed quite busy this year.   All in all a great little show, and worth queueing up for the canteen.

I will be at Naseby next weekend and then at COW and the Stoke Challenge.

 ('all in all a great little show')

On Sunday we had a big ECW game at Steve's

Friday, June 7, 2013

2nd June, Kelham Hall, Newark


Some troubles on the home front meant I was lucky to get to Partizan with the Society gear and game ... Tired, lucky and pleased to relax amongst enthusiasts at a highlight show.

(Kelham Hall and gardens bathed in English summer sunshine)

Those who saw the pre-publicity will know that the venue was organised differently this year ... the far end fully opened up with a new entry door for the show and some of the traditional rooms no longer available for game tables (being a new restaurant area) ...

Actually it all went together well, although we were more than a little cramped for space.  The entry worked well, however ... the new end seemed nice too, and the day showed the establishment off at its best.

We took along Bosworth as part of a combined Society of Ancients/Lance & Longbow pitch, and had several engaging refights of the battle as well as representing the two Societies and chatting to fellow enthusiasts about ancient and medieval warfare (amongst other things ... ).

(Bosworth refought: Richard gets desperate)

There is a new (May 2013) version of DBA 3 available (the definitive version?: Phil told me at Campaign that his work with it was complete) and this was our first time with it.  a number of things seem simpler and clearer and the game seems to play the same and just as smoothly and plausibly.

It is probably worth saying that unfamiliar bits like side support are now second nature and merge perfectly well into the game.  The characteristic movement rates certainly give a better game than 2.2 and it seems right for this period that mounted troops are not able to race to hot spots on the battlefield (generals need to work to a more consistent plan these days).

We were in something of a rich zone for the ancients enthusiast ...

(Lincoln's dramatic and clever impetus game)

The Lincoln club had a spectacular snowscaped Impetus game using wintry sabots to convert DBA elements into Impetus units ...

(Miller & co's vast Raphia successor show down)

Simon miller's big game this year was a sprawling 28mm Raphia ... much anticipated and very warmly received, Simon has been painting pikemen for a very long time this year ...

And ... not quite ancients, perhaps ... the Skirmish Wargames folk had a 60mm Pavia game with even bigger figures than my game!

There were also a couple of Saga style (Saga, even) 28mm skirmish games in the room, but typically, they weren't really doing anything much when I was on my photo break (so were just the usual empty boards with single figure contingents lined up on the sides).  

I hope, one day, the enthusiasts for this very popular game will work out the presentation dynamics so we can all get as much from it as they clearly do ...

(more games from Partizan 2013)

Here's a bit more eye-candy from those great games ...

(a closer look at those Impetus sabots ...)

(clashing phalanxes in the vast Raphia refight ...)

(some of the other soldiers at Raphia)

(Del Prado figures from the Battle of Pavia game)

A noticeable feature of this year's show were the winter landscapes.   Readers of my P.B.Eye-Candy (20th Century) blog will know I have been working on this sort of scenery too - maybe co-incidence, or maybe it is just how we respond to several long icy winters in a row.

Out of our period, I know, but I thought the snowy Carlist battle worked very well - pretty much just normal terrain with snow powders dusted over (an interesting contrast to the Impetus game's dedicated 'white out') ...

There was also a freezing winter theme to the Fetterman Fight Indian Wars game which also was well supported by information boards (so I was able to work out what was going on) ...

I must say I liked the new layout of Partizan, and particularly liked the dining room (no dining room has been one of my criticisms of Partizan over the years): it was a real bonus to sit down away from the stand with a snack and a friend on a break, and not have lunch debris around the stand and game.  Much improved.

Not enough 15mm and similar (or too much 28mm/skirmish ... however you like to see it) as usual - but otherwise a great show - very well attended and great to have the extra facilities.

Here's a few more pics.
(WWI airplanes ... I really liked the battlefield however ...)

(WD's Display Team North with their Great War participation game)

(more aeroplanes ... this time German bombers on peculiar tripod flight stands)

Well, that was Partizan as seen from the Society of Ancients stand ... We will be at Phalanx on the 15th where Martin C will have his annual DBA participation game challenge.

The summer is here!