Sunday 25 October 2015

Battleground 2015.

Just a quick plug for what is a really decent wargames show which I will be attending, where Colin and I will be staging Rossbach in 30mm, and John and Neil will be fighting a 10mm Blucher/Napoleonic game, so if thats not enough incentive what is?

Leon from Pendragon Miniatures states;

Battleground 2015 will be taking place on Saturday November 28th, at the Queen's Campus Sports Hall in Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6BH, running from 10am until 3pm.  
Hosted by Pendraken Miniatures along with Middlesbrough Gamers Club, this show was formerly known as Smoggycon, but from 2014 became Battleground!

Entry to the show is only £3 per person, and we'll be keeping our successful free entry policy for SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) and free entry for the kids as well (Under 14's)!

We've slightly increased the trader selection this year, with 37 companies currently pencilled in, covering a huge variety of genre's and scales.  New traders for 2015 include:

Grubby Tanks / Britannia - Bringing a huge selection of 20mm goodies and filling a definite gap in our previous trader selection:
Studio Miniatures - 28mm Zombies, Sikh Wars and Northwest Frontier, plus more:
Cozzmic Cakes - After they were unable to attend last year, Cozzmic will be bringing their sugary fun to the day with some cool themed cakes:

All of the traders can be found here:!traders/c24i2

We'll also have a fantastic selection of display and participation games lined up, encompassing wargaming, modelling and RPG'ing, which we'll be announcing closer to the date.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Fame at last, local media reports a wargame show without any comedic element!

 At the local Stand To show on Sunday, a very nice chap took some photographs of our game. I always refuse to allow my mush to be spread about too much, not because of modesty, more to do with my former life. Anyway, poor Neil was press ganged into doing a bit of page three work. The bloke was a reporter for the Newcastle Journal. These are images from their website. Fame at last.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Stand To report Shildon 2015.

A brief report with photographs of todays show at the Shildon Railway Museum is on my other blog, Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil. Please have a read.

And for something totally unrelated; I knew I had seen John Coutts, of Westerhope Wargames Group before. Here he is looking remarkably like the guy that used to present Police Five, all those years ago on Tyne Tees Television.

Monday 12 October 2015

Stand To 2015.

Everyone loves trains, well at least I do. So when you put real steam trains together with Wargames, whats not to like. This is a reminder that I will be attending Shildon Locomotion Railway Museum this Sunday for the Stand To Wargames Show.
 We will be putting on a 28mm Renaissance battle between the Ottoman Turks and the Venetians.
 There are 20 plus traders attending, so with me, the traders, a lot of old steam trains, a cafe, and minimal entry fee its a win win situation.
 I have even heard that Pete Waterman and Rod Stewart are attending.
I may actually have made that part up, but you never know.

Sunday 11 October 2015

A Great Day out.

  Probably the best thing about wargaming after the toy soldiers are the actual wargamers themselves. Most wargamers have stories about some idiot/wierdo who they have a chance meeting with at a show or game, a bit like meeting the nutter on a bus experience.
 But actually the vast majority of wargamers want nothing more than spending a day throwing dice, giving and taking banter and generally looking at their toys.
 Yesterday was no exception when John, Neil and I took the trip to play in the Westerhope Wargames Group re fight of the Battle of Ramilles.                                  
 I would again like to thank the group for the invite and willingness to do all the hard work, especially John Coutts and my co general Brian Irving for a great day out. It was especially nice to be facing the great Charlie Wesencraft who was the French Cin C whilst I was designated the role of Malborough. Unfortunately that was where the comparison ended for me.
 I have fought against Charlie on a number of occasions now, and for a man who should really be thinking about retirement, he is a sod to fight against.
 For a more detailed account of the actual battle, I would ask that any readers check out the Westerhope Wargamers blog, especially as John actually knew what was going on, whilst I spent most of my time 'working' the opposition [ for which I can only apologise] and generally getting in the way of my co generals. In particular I feel I should apologise to one of Charlie's generals, who was in charge of most of his cavalry. Poor Mel, must have been convinced that I was psychic, as everytime he went to throw a dice, I predicted he would throw a 2, which frighteningly seemed to happen all the time. Not good for a persons morale Im afraid.
 Anyway I had a great day out, and would like to thank everyone for the day, in particular, Paul, Dave, John and Brian of the Westerhope club, and thanks again for the wonderful cup cakes, Paul.

Thursday 8 October 2015

'Bright lights shazam Kapow ! '

I  can always rely on Andy of Old Glory fame to write up a post on his blog that gets me thinking. 
 Its sad that I need someone else to prompt me into writing, perhaps it's my lack of original thoughts.
   Anyway, Andy wrote about his view of the Derby Weekend show, which he praised, and also wrote of his views of some of the games etc.
 He also mentioned me in person and my critique of the show. 
   Its funny how everyone has a different take on events, but it would be a boring world if we all agreed with everything, or in some cases with nothing.
 I know John, my longtime nemesis thoroughly enjoyed the show, but then he was on a buying splurge so was well happy.
 Anyway, Andy in his post mentioned that I wanted a  'Bright lights shazam Kapow ! ' type of show.
 I think I understand what Andy is describing at least I hope I do.
 But having had all day to consider what I want at a Wargames show like Derby, and without wittering on too much whilst repeating myself ad infinitum.
 I have been wargaming for too long now not to hold a view about all aspects of the hobby that has been at times a way of life for me.
 In that time I have traveled to some God forsaken places where a Wargames Show was being staged.
 I even went to a one in Milan which I came upon by accident, honest.
 Anyway as we are now in the 21st Century I would have hoped that wargamers and the shows they attended would have developed into quite slick, well produced affairs. [This is not a dig at Derby by the way.]
 By this I mean the following;
   A clear purpose as to why a Wargames Show was being held, whether to commemorate a specific military event, to raise money for a military related charity, ie the British Legion, or to be based around a specific period in history, ie Ancients, Seven Years War, or the Anterian Invasion of the planet Plod.
Derby obviously was based around the competitions, fair enough.
 It also doesnt have to be as clear cut as that, it could purely be to sell wargaming, [that old chestnut ] to the public. But a purpose just might add some focus to what is then organised.

 Wargames Shows cannot be purely about tipping up to trawl around a badly lit hall, [ and this includes Salute ] to buy your latest goodies, that you will never find the time to paint, grab a crap overpriced sandwich, and then leave by 12.00 midday.
 If the shows have this purely as their purpose then they are in trouble.
 Wargames Shows need to leave a person enthused, questioning the whole event and frankly wanting to go home, grab a tape and throw some dice.

So getting back to the main point of this rambling bollocks, a Wargames Show needs to be more than finding a cheap venue, cramming as many traders as they can into the hall, finding a few clubs and individuals and getting them to stage a game that could just have easily been played at home in a badly lit garage.

 In defence of the World Championships, I saw that the Derby Group had taken the trouble to award cash prizes to the best games at their Show, now that should be applauded as it is a clear incentive to get a finger out and put together a game that could just snare a new wargamer or even two. But that was a one off. 

So now onto some fantasy. 
  I find it amazing that wargaming has never been able to find a way to create a central body that could just perhaps drag the hobby kicking and screaming into the digital age.
 Think about it. How does any professional military or historical museum get in touch with a group of enthusiasts in order to get them to stage a re enactment of a set battle, using miniatures.
That's right there isn't any means, instead its down to, ''Oh I know someone who plays with toy soldiers, he might be able to round up some weirdos to help''.   
Now attempting to organise wargamers would be like rounding up a load of cats, it isnt going to happen [ever] 
 Too many individuals, too many own agendas and frankly we're just an awkward bunch of middle aged men that ''just want to play a game'' and dont want to get involved. ''I wont even buy the magazines you know. Its never been the same since Duncan stopped being the editor'' mentality. 
  That's fine, to a certain extent. It probably describes me perfectly,but it still makes my piss boil at times.
 We make jokes about the expensive crap food, we complain about the toilets, the venue, the smell but do we ever do anything about it?

 However instead of a load of dire wargames shows, what if there was perhaps only 12, well organised nationwide shows each year. Each one, in a decent well lit venue, assisted by some funding from a central body, whose only input was to act as a coordinating group with the express aim of making certain that the hobby not only thrived but also gave out an image of professionalism.
 It would have no involvement in imposing specific wargames rules, scales, periods etc, it would really be there to assist in funding, advertisements, sponsorship, and a myriad of ways to make certain that each show was a success, both financially and in selling the hobby.
 It would not be about legislation or heavy handed administration, it would be about making certain of success.  
   South London Warlords I would argue are the nearest thing to a professional wargaming group. They have the cash and they have the members, but even their show is in danger of becoming a giant trade affair, with little purpose beyond spending your shekels as quickly as possible. 
  Nowhere else comes near their organisational ability. 
 But how many groups and individuals are there in say Scotland, the North East, the North etc, that's correct there are hundreds if not thousands. Would it be too much to hope that 12 regional wargames shows could be created out of all the wargamers in the United Kingdom, and each one would show the best of the hobby, at the most suitable venue, supported by  the largest and most diverse number of traders in each area. Guest speakers, discussions at each table regarding the game on show, explanations of a new set of rules, anything that could lift a wargames show into becoming an EVENT.
 So if thats Bright Lights and Kapow, bring it on.

 Here endeth the rant..................I have just realised that I have become Jeremy Corbyn!!!!

Some things have never changed............................................ My group at a show back in the very early 1980's, and I would still argue it is better than some of the games I've seen this year in 2015.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Derby World Wargames Show, Saturday 3rd October 2015.

 Well I decided to make the long drive down to the Derby show after a lay off of two years. I wanted to see a couple of the games on show at the event just to get some inspiration [ copy any ideas ]
One was the Battle of Marignano and the other was the Battle of Kunersdorf.
I have always admired the way James Roach aka Olicana painted his figures and always try to check out his games. I certainly wasnt disappointed with his figures which were pretty damned good as usual. The most annoying thing Ive found about James is the fact he paints so damned quick, and the paint effect he uses is so very effective. 

 I was to be disappointed about Kunersdorf, because the game wasnt there, Celle a vie. The venue for the championships is very good in one sense as it is easy to find as it is just off the M1, the problem is that the cavernous plane hangar is so dark inside, and well pretty bleak. I am not going to slag off the organisers [honest] but the venue is pretty shitty really. But then a lot of wargames shows seem to end up in crap venues. Probably due to cost. [Or is it? Maybe its to keep the public away from the events?]
 Games wise, there were some decent games, but none that really stood out.  The Lance and Longbow had a decent 28mm game on show, in fact it might have been Bosworth but I never did find out. It was okay.
  The Derby club had a nice War in Ireland game on show, with some well painted figures. I only wish the lighting had been better to show off the colours of the figures.

 The Burton club put on a decent ancient battle staged in Germany, with some nice terrain.

 I paid particular attention to the 6mm Napoleonic wargames, due to my renewed interest in the scale and period. The Redditch club staged Waterloo in 6mm which looked fairly decent to me. Im sorry Im being a bit non enthusiastic but the game was okay, but for a bit more effort it could have been so much better.

 Unfortunately I didnt find out which group staged this 6mm Napoleonic game, but I did like the way they had based their figures, and recorded their casualities on the bases. Neat and effective.

 The Boondock Sayntes? staged a 28mm Zulu game, or actually a static display, which was very effective. Clearly the gents had made the effort to locate some mess uniforms which did actually add to the display, so well done in that respect.

 The Westbury group staged a game of the Battle of Poltova, which was nicely done, with some good painted units on show.I can only apologise again for the poor photographs, I blame the lighting, bearing in mind I actually bring along extra lighting myself.

               The struggle for Hougemont displayed by L'Ordre Mixte club. A decent model of the buildings, and well presented. I think any readers can sense my lack of enthusiasm for the day. Most of the games were fine, there certainly was a lot of trade on show, and there appeared to be a steady footfall through the doors, but somehow for me the event didnt have that extra something. Its probably me [ not you] On a positive note they did do a good fry up which I checked out. On a rating out of ten, I would award the show a six, could do better, but not too bad.

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