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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Wargaming Big Brother.

I have yet to receive my copy of Miniature Wargames, but I understand that Henry Hyde has written a piece about a project on Kickstarter regarding a film about wargaming.
 I have included a link so that people can check out the blurb featuring several wargame personalities in order to drum up some financial support, and having watched the link I am a bit ambivalent about the said project.
 In some ways it may be a good thing, because any publicity is a good thing, right? But in other ways I am a bit confused about who the film is actually aimed at, ie what is the audience that the director is hoping to inform and entertain.
 Past attempts to create media interest have had mixed success, with obviously Tyne Tees Television programme, Battleground being the first real attempt to reach out to the uninformed public.
 Personally I loved the series, but they were preaching to the converted, but re watching the episodes, even I fast forward certain pieces of the series, because it is frankly, dull.
 But then wargaming is a very personal thing, involving in the main the players and the odd umpire etc.
 Clearly this new project is attempting a more populist bent, with dare I say, drama, tension and the like.
 I am not certain, that the poor chap talking about his trauma, and thoughts of suicide when he was in the forces is conducive to selling the idea of wargaming, and neither am I certain that the chap who is clearly under severe financial pressure as a wargame dealer talking about his worries about how he will feed his family will make for good viewing either, but who can say, especially in this day and age.
 The biggest drama in my wargaming life, is whether I will throw a one on my white dice, or a one on my red dice, which I dont suppose would make for great viewing.
  I suppose I could spice it up with the odd crying jag, followed by some Turetts outburst, and a bit of talking to myself. [ which I do anyway]
 Or we could go the whole hog and have a Wargaming Big Brother programme filled with the flotsam and jetsam of the wargaming world, which would certainly make for interesting viewing.
 I can just imagine having to intensively live with some of the folk I have met over the last forty or so years of wargaming, it would make Made in Essex look like a normal night out, and thinking about it, I suppose that would include me.
 Anyway, I hope they succeed and make a decent fist of it, but somehow I cant see it winning a Palme D'Or.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Muster on the Parade Ground 2016. A Good Start, to a good idea.

 Tom Davidson and David Clemmet, have been organising wargames shows in the Cleveland area for well over 30 years, the pair are well known for trying different ideas in an effort to spread the popularity of wargaming to the general public. The gents have always encouraged different groups to put on a display at their shows, and I have always tried to either put a game on or attend their days.
 The pair kindly invited me to put on a game at their latest show, where every game had to be a participation game, but to be honest it is something that I have never attempted and didnt think I could carry off. However after today's show, I think I could succeed and actually would like to make the effort. The pair, recognising that there is a need to find new, younger wargamers put their skills to putting on their show at a pretty large venue,with 16 participation Games and 27 trade stands. A pretty good start to a new show.

 Charlie Wesencraft offering his advice to John as his planes burst into flames.
As a show I would give the event 6 out of 10, but one should recognise this is the first year, and having now been to the event, I think the lads have a good idea that needs positive support from the wargaming public and beyond. The gents have plenty of experience to know how to tweek the day, and make it grow I am certain. So now all I have to do is paint a load of very large plastic soldiers to put together a game.

Brian and Gobby John from the Westerhope Club put on a Kamikaze game which I had to have a go at. Enrolling a young conscript, we hammered John's American pilots and sank his aircraft carrier, showing once again, that years of experience count for nothing against Eastern cunning.

John looking tearful as the Japenese planes crash onto the deck of his aircraft carrier.
 Dave Docherty and Guisborough Gamers staged his Sudan Game, which is a brilliant game, with loads of beautiful figures painted a la Gilder. I really wanted to play this game, but had to leave which was a real shame.

 I was impressed by the standard of games on show, and thought this Gothic terrain was great.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Demise of Sheffield Triples.

So it looks like the Sheffield Triples Show has gone the way of Northern Militaire and is no more. 
Posted on the Sheffield Wargames Club site;


Sheffield Wargames Society wishes to announce that sadly, the 2017 Triples wargames show will not take place.  This decision was taken reluctantly but is the result of waning interest and increasing costs.
All deposits taken to date will be returned and the club secretary will be contacting competition organizers individually.
Sheffield Wargames Society would like to thank everyone; traders, competitors and the general public, who have supported and enjoyed the event over the past 35 years.

I am sad for the loss of this show, which after Northern Militaire went the journey, became the show that John and I HAD to attend, and it became a yearly event to look forward to.
 I must admit I never liked the new venue, which for me lacked the character of the Sheffield University building. I know this is a daft view because the later shows were easier to find and definitely easier to park at. Maybe it was the perverse enjoyment of driving around the crazy road system of Sheffield looking for the venue that added to my excitement.
 To be honest I can remember the original venue for the Triples,which if my memory serves me correctly was somewhere near the railway and I  thought that was a good place as well. It just shows you how excitement gets the better of sensible thought.
I never attended this year's show, and instead had saved my pennies for Salute and a weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre, times change. 
So will this be the precursor for other wargames shows to go the distance and pass into the wargames Valhalla? I would like to think it wont be, but who knows for certain. I still think the trend will be for less shows, but bigger affairs that dont compete with each other, I hope I am wrong because there is also a need for small intimate wargames events that offer the paying public more than just a glorified trade show.
 Anyway, a big thank you to all the people who over the years devoted their time to running the Triples Show.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Warning; This is not a Safe Space!

Before I return to the more pleasant subject of wargaming, I would like to make a final observation about an interesting but very sad, well in my eyes, trend.

Safe space is a term for an area or forum where either a marginalised group are not supposed to face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalisation, or in which a shared political or social viewpoint is required to participate in the space.

 Donald Featherstone ran his magazine, Wargamer's Newsletter for many years, and a key feature of the periodical was his Editorial where he passed comment on many subjects that in his eyes, affected wargaming. Now I appreciate that we are talking about the 1970's and 1980's, but the editorials never backed down from what Featherstone felt were relevant to the hobby and in some cases to his view regarding the United Kingdom.
  It was clear from the letters that he received regarding these views, that a lot of wargamers did not agree with them,  but he printed their objections,sometimes commented upon them, and then carried on providing his view of wargaming. His view was I think,'this is my view, you have your view, we can agree to disagree, but we all love wargaming.'

 Unfortunately in the 21st Century, this is changing rapidly, debate is no longer looked upon as desirable or encouraged, and instead is being replaced by the stifling of alternative views. Although I never attended university, I always thought that these places were where diverse views could be discussed, debated and argued freely,  naively I thought it was where free thinkers went to to get an education and learn to debate.

 I know this is not the case anymore, and unfortunately and has been replaced by young people, behaving like sheep and allowing themselves to be cajoled and bullied into not questioning what more vocal groups are insisting is the correct way to behave.
 So what has this to do with Wargaming?
  I accept I can be an awkward bugger [ or blogger ], and I also accept that I will call a spade a spade if I believe it deserves that name [ a digging implement by the way ] but I do this with the best intentions and not to upset people, well not too much.
 However I think that tossing your toys out of a pram, in response to a counter view is frankly very, very, sad.
 So to the followers who took themselves from my humble blog I feel only pity, for the wargames clubs who ' de friended me' or whatever they call being booted off Facebook, I feel only contempt, but I can promise that alternative views are welcome here, and if one doesn't agree with my posts, then please feel free to provide a counter argument at any time.
 Sorry for this post.  

Friday, 24 June 2016

Enough is enough.

I wasnt going to comment upon the referendum and its result, purely because we wargamers should be more interested in wargaming or three dimensional games, or whatever is the name for playing with toy soldiers nowadays. However having watched and listened to the news, read the comments on the Guardian and now read some of the posts on various wargaming blogs I have decided to have my threepence worth;
   I am immensely proud of the people of the British Isles who went to the polls last night and voted to leave the EU. It is a giant leap in the dark, and would have been very easy to take the easy option and vote to stay in the EU. I would argue most of the 17 million plus voters did so after some careful thought about what the risks are for voting out.
 Today like all the other people who voted out I have been accused of being, old, racist, selfish, ignorant, Little Englander, hateful,liars, stupid, a baby boomer who took everything and left nothing for the future, etc, etc;
Oh and apparently 75% of the youth of this country were betrayed because they voted to stay in Europe?
 well one question I would ask is how do they know that, considering the voting slip is meant to be an anonymous document, but of course that cant be a lie, because the leader of the Liberals, and a keen remainer said it. He also asked for a second Referendum! clearly he cant grasp the concept of people power.
 Perhaps if the remain campaign had offered up some positive arguments as to why we should stay in Europe, people would have supported them, instead all we got were the negatives of what could happen should we leave. Apparently immigration was too complex an issue to discuss, and if anyone attempted to talk about the elephant in the room, a scream of RACIST would be leveled at them, the final nail in the coffin for remaining for me was the unedifying sight of Eddie Izzard beret and all, burbling on like a demented old maid, but not actually saying anything about the most important decision this country had to make in 100 years.
 So please all you remainers, you weren't cheated, or lied to, I wasn't influenced by some giant News International Conspiracy, I dont hate foreigners, and sit in a White Van planning some lynching, I merely recognised that enough is enough, I love my country and know it has many faults, but clearly courage is not lacking when the chips are down.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Sojourn nearly over.

  Late May and June have been extremely busy times for me, both in a wargaming sense and from a social point of view, so what has suffered has been my ability to update my blogs regularly.
  I can only apologise for the lack of posts, and hope by the end of this week to be back in the saddle as it were, health permitting.
  I cannot complain as I have been lucky enough to have experienced several things that I otherwise wouldn't have done. One, was two weekends ago when I attended the AMG 2016 weekend at a hotel in Warwickshire with 20 other wargamers from all parts of the United Kingdom.
The AMG stands for A Military Gentleman, a lavish book created by John Ray,containing images from his beautiful collection of 30mm SYW wargaming figures, and by owning the book one is entitled to be a member of the forum on the internet.
 Several wargamers who were there have already recorded their views and respective images from the weekend. I thought I would come from a different angle regarding the whole event.
  For me the forum has allowed me to come into contact with some very talented wargamers who possess a lot of enthusiasm and knowledge of not just the Seven Years War but also wargaming in general.
 I was unable to attend the first meeting of the AMG due to holiday commitments, so this year was my first opportunity to physically meet fellow members and get to know them through playing wargames, eating, drinking and talking, [which in my case is usually gibberish].
 The last couple of years I have attended several wargaming events meeting wargamers for the first time to play a game and as I have always been a people watcher, and take great interest in how people behave in various social gatherings, I think a wargaming weekend is a great way to suss people out.    This is nothing sinister, but I just find meeting people very interesting and enjoy seeing how they behave and react to being with other total strangers playing in what can be a competitive wargame.
  I was not disappointed in that it was a great weekend with a group of 20 other wargamers from all walks of life intent of having a good time, the only complaint? that it had to end.
 Perhaps that was just as well, given just how tired I was after helping oversee the re fight of the Battle of Soor twice, staying up drinking until late, and talking the hind legs of a donkey.
  I found it very interesting how other wargamers interpreted Honours of War, which were tested very thoroughly during the refights, and frankly stood up well to the test. To fight the large battle to its conclusion twice with wargamers who in the main had never used the rules shows how good the rules are, well it does for me anyway.
 The weekend took its toll on my health in that I have ended up with another bout of bronchitis, not helped by a trip to Munich straight after the weekend, which entailed some heavy drinking at more late nights [ 60 is the new 40 apparently? ]
 Anyway back to the weekend, was it worth it? definitely. Would I do it again? most certainly.
 What can be a better way to wargame,than eating, drinking, talking and playing quality wargames over a whole weekend.
 As for the refight of the Battle of Soor, well the Austrian/ Saxons wargamers, played a blinder on both days, with comprehensive victories, especially on the Sunday when the devastating use of a well timed flank charge by Austrian cuirassiers against the Prussian infantry caused the collapse of their attack in the centre.
  A detailed account of both battles is on Colin's, blog, Carry on up the Dale, but who said history is written by the victors?



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

More SYW Saxons, etc.

 The months of May and June have played havoc with my painting programme, and to be honest when the sun actually shines it can be difficult to sit at my painting table.Anyway I finally finished a few figures for my Saxon contingent. The infantry are from the Eureka 28mm range, which are expensive but are very good figures. Again I painted the figures in the pre 1756 uniform, with coloured trousers.

  This Hinchlffe cuirassier unit are more figures from my secondhand store, which I have repainted as Saxons, still one of my favourite wargaming figures.

 Finally a company of French Garde du Corps supplied by Graham at Crann Tara Miniatures, a lovely figure, with only another 18 to paint up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating