Sunday, December 15, 2013

7th December, Pudsey, Leeds

Recon 2013

So, that was the 2013 shows season ... a blink and it rattled past.   

The reception by the wargame audience has been great, the shows have been well organised and the weather has been pretty favourable all through (so relatively free of dramas getting there and getting back) ...

(Recon ... upstairs-downstairs: downstairs, behind the baubles and tinsel is the trade and societies; upstairs there are more games plus the Bring & Buy ... something for everyone)

I put on Bosworth for what is its last scheduled show outing - it may well reappear in a DBA context, and the Battlefields Trust have asked me to do it at the Bosworth Festival next year - but from a Society perspective it has now had its year in the limelight.

(Bosworth - I'm very pleased with how these 54mm soldiers have shaped up in 2013)

We were fortunate to be adjacent to our friends at the Lance & Longbow Society and made some good new contacts too.

Anyway, let's have a look round ...

(Deepdale from the Lance & Longbow Society)

Steve, Will, David and Bob were back at Deepdale (1315) in a revised and very good looking version.   I recommend Will's and David's accounts of the action (and some excellent photo sets): a feast for the medievalist, as you would expect ...

Bosworth and Deepdale were the main interest within the SoA remit, but we also liked ...

(Clockwise from top left: Stingray; LRDG sub Adhoc game; Napoleonic smalls; Bolt Action 'somewhere')

I liked the Stingray toys, but the game itself looked very wooden (note I didn't say 'fishy' - it's Christmas, after all) ...

(DBN Battle of Albuhera ... nicely explained and supported by leaflets)

(More 15mm DBN detail)

(more non-historical fun stuff ... don't say I'm not in festive mood)

Yes - that was Star Wars and Stingray in the same blog ... but it gives you a flavour of the variety of participation games you can try at Recon ...

(Wings of Glory carrier game)

... and finally, this WoG Pacific game: I'm no fan of Wings of Whatever, but the ocean did look splendidly wet and the little ships drew my attention.

So a good selection of nicely turned out games I thought - and some that had not been seen before (by me, at least)

It was a little quieter for us in the afternoon, so having spoken negatively about Glen Foard's ambivalent interpretation of the deployments at Bosworth (he's great at the at the archaeology but neither clear nor convincing when it comes to reconstructing the lines of battle) ... I decided to try out a Foard interpretation ...
(Foard's Bosworth: the 'North of the Road' array)

Foard has two possible arrays on the correctly identified field ... both of which differ from Ingram's 'line astern'   ... one has the King's army in line, roughly perpendicular to the road, and straddling it.  The other has the army as in my photo, broadly North of the Roman road.

Both assume Henry approaches from the West and swings North of Fenn Hole to make his attack - avoiding the marsh and leaving it to his flank.

The guns are spread out in the line, not concentrated as Mike Ingram argues.

(Foard's Bosworth: Richard's army arrayed line abreast North of the Roman road)

Line abreast does not embrace Norfolk's battle engaging first, which is how the sources appear to have it, and requires Northumberland to be where he will be unlikely to be engaged (he isn't simply 'at the back' as he is in Ingram's interpretation) - I got that bit wrong, and putting Northumberland in the natural position, got him unavoidably engaged in the early phases (which is historically inaccurate)* ...

(Foard's Bosworth: Oxford attacks Norfolk)

The marsh does skew the attack, however, leaving Henry and his kin dropped behind, and plausibly opposite Richard's cavalry (so that bit works well enough) ...

With both armies arrayed in line, the natural first contact was not Oxford vs Norfolk but the Mercenary French and Scots against Northumberland ... an unequal fight in which the continental pikes quickly did for Percy's mix of retinue and levies.

(Foard's Bosworth: Oxford attacks in the centre and suffers some losses)

In the centre Oxford lacks the firepower at Norfolk's disposal (this part follows the orthodox narrative) ... but the King's line is overwhelmed without need of either commander or the Stanleys ...

(Foard's Bosworth: detail)

(Foard's Bosworth: end game)

I was surprised that this array actually performed worse than the Ingram array - I also need to resolve some of the inherent problems before being convinced it is likely.

The scenario notes will follow in a separate post.

Farewell 2013 ...

*assuming Norfolk's Vanguard takes the middle of the line, Richard therefore the left wing with the main battle (stationing him on the same wing as the marsh where his final melee occurs) and Northumberland the right.   Foard must have the Van on the right wing, Richard in the centre, and Northumberland on the left, hidden and behind the marsh (so not in a position to engage) ... But that would then not put Norfolk in front of Oxford's attack - so remains problematic.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

1st December, Birmingham

Just a few turns from the M6 (if you take the advice), Wargamer is a friendly local show in a sports hall that marks the end of the Midlands shows season.

It is less well supported that the range of attractions would merit and I can only assume that as the Midlands is so well connected to the rest of the UK, catchment enthusiasts can attend all the other shows anyway (so are just about 'showed- out' by December)

Although the Society stand was relatively quiet, it gave me the opportunity to talk through next year's plans - and begin to develop an idea where Montaperti might fit in (to a year where I may scale back still further due to costs escalating and volunteering being out of fashion - but where I had hoped to look again at Chariot Racing) ...

(Reivers show team checking out the Society of Ancients Bosworth game: 54mm)

(my longshot of their Al Qadisha game: 10mm)

Beautiful sculpted terrain, I guess the 10mm Al Qadisha game was the Alpha to my big figure Bosworth's Omega.   It is difficult to do small scales well at shows as they tend to get 'shouted over' by bigger scales (especially the 28mm sprawls that are de rigeur for public events these days) - but terrain and basing are crucial (whereas, with the big stuff, the figures dominate, with smaller scales people see the whole world you are creating ... so if it is to work, it has to be good) ...

(Al Qadisha AD636 ... Arabs and Sassanian Persians in splendid 10mm)

Exhibits at the show covered most popular periods and a range of scales, rules and approaches were represented (something for everyone) by friendly teams who had time to chat and explain their take on wargaming.   Most of the games were historical, and most were clearly captioned - but it always pays to ask.

(clockwise from top left: 28mm Alamo; WWII Pacific; Isandlwana; 28mm ACW)

I particularly liked ...

(vast phalanxes of Napoleonic Russians)

(more 28mm Nappies, this time a beautiful layout on which to play some Sharpe Practice)

But my favourite was the Wyrley Retinue's Kirkburn Bridge game.   Oddly enough, 28mm again ... and not actually a historical battle (kirk-burn-bridge ... think about it ...) but and amalgamation of features from several prominent events in the Anglo-Scottish wars.

Some further details (click on the images for the bigger picture) ...

And of course there's always Dave's bookshop (without which no wargames show is complete these days) .. I took some nice stuff home (if there is ever anything you need - especially those wargames classics you forgot to buy 30 years ago - ask Dave Lanchester ... he'll track a copy down for you).

Very nice little show.  Nice to meet people ... and home in time for tea!   As a Midlander from the other side of the M1 like me, anyway ...

(more scenes from the Society of Ancients Bosworth game, created by Phil Steele, flags by Fluttering Flags)