Wednesday 28 February 2018

New Dice, same old throws.

I have been remiss in not posting as often as I should but sometimes I struggle to think of something that may be of interest for any wargamers who pop in. To be honest since the hiatus of finishing my ACW project I seem to have painted my self out.
 John and I have managed three games however and all have been brilliant affairs. Very tense and hard fought as only wargamers who have known each other for a long time can be.
Two of the games were a rare affair for us. Matching Normans against Vikings.
 Only John would have kept a set of rules printed in Miniature Wargames and painted two armies up to use the rules.
 The actual rules were in issue 370, February 2014 and were written by a Stuart Smith. They were titled Invader 1066, Rules for the Norman Conquest and Beyond.Funnily enough the same magazine contains the last article I submitted to the MW, serendipitous.
 Anyway I found the rules very easy to follow and was very impressed by how well they worked. What I particularly liked was the use of some event cards to throw some friction into the mix. Mr Smith did a cracking job of creating a set of rules that seemed to capture the flavour of the period. Shield walls, berserkers, mailed knights and housecarls.
 We managed to fight two games in one session, swapping sides to try the armies out. The battles were one of those days where I could do no wrong. Need a six,check. Need a double one, check. Wipe out the guard housecarls, easy.
The games were coincidentally  the first time that I was able to use my 'new' dice commissioned by Stuart Mulligan for the renaissance period. So although the dice were an anachronism I was determined to try them out.... And as I said I could do no wrong.

 Last week we managed to fight a big malburian game using Black powder with their Last Argument of Kings supplement.It was back to normal for me I'm afraid. Blunders seemed to appear at the least appropriate moment, my British cavalry had no stomach for the fight and were scattered by Bavarian cuirassiers? I foolishly thought I could march through the French centre whilst ignoring a large brigade of dragoons sweeping around my rear. It was still a great game and the British nearly succeeded.
 Three great wargames, no arguments, some gentle sledging and lovely colourful figures to move about a great set up. Whats not to like.

Monday 5 February 2018

Vapnatark 2018

As most followers will be aware yesterday was the official start of the wargaming show season with the Vapnatark show at the York racecourse.It is probably the show I most look forward to simply because it will have been a couple of quiet months prior to the event.
This year I was even more determined to attend after missing last years due to unforeseen circumstances. So I tipped up early to the start of the season and 'suffered' for the privilege of being through the doors first. Well actually that isn't correct as although John, Neil and I were officially the head of the long queue, three lovely 'mature'  [as in over 50 ] people decided to somehow crowd themselves into pole position by engaging in a very lengthy conversation with the guy on the door. In the end I couldn't help myself and interrupted their in depth conversation about some crucial 40k matter and explained to the woman? or was it a transgender that if she/he was that keen to be in first they could have my place in the queue. Unfortunately my wit didnt register and he/her carried on wittering to her dwarf like partner about his shop. Okay,I admit it, I am Victor Meldrew.
 And sadly that is how I will remember the show.
 The event has become a victim of its own success and like Salute several years ago has simply outgrown its venue.The show to put it bluntly was mobbed. Now this should be a good thing but it wasnt to be honest, well not for me.
 So how was the show overall.
The positives first; Well the trade was very good and very varied with several new companies popping up for the first time.The building which normally is light and airy except on race days or wargame show days is a good venue with easy access normally to all three floors.
 There is a decent amount of parking and the food is of a decent standard if a little pricey. It is a very good wargames show and for me better than last years Salute by a country mile.

 Usually as most bloggers do I take a fair amount of images of the games but I will be brutally honest and state that you can refer to last years or the years before to check on the standard of the games on the ground floor given that they are derivatives of the same games.
 Absolutely nothing wrong with them, they are very good examples and of a high standard, but they are simply the same games repeated.
 The second floor had some very nice smaller games and I only wish I had taken some photographs of them because the wargamers had clearly put some effort into them. As for the competition games, no doubt they were very exciting for the competitors.

 And then we had the Table Top Sale. This has definitely outgrown the venue with long queues to not only book in for the 45 minute spots, but even longer queues for the actual buyers. Mix in two false fire/bomb alarms that caused the place to be evacuated and any residual pleasure simply slips away.
 I enjoy table top sales, and for me they are the way forward to offload surplus stuff but if one more rotund smelly troll decides to squeeze into the heaving mass carrying an overly large rucksack on his back and think its okay then I forsee some bother in future.
 What is in their rucksacks? A change of clothes? Soap and aftershave? A photograph of their mother?  Just think of other people for a change eh? especially the poor bugger who kept getting twatted in the face every time they swung around.
It was great to see wargamers that I hadnt seen for a while and its always nice to do some retail therapy albeit on a smaller scale this show.As for the demographics as our American cousins would say, I think the age of the crowds was dropping by a good 20 years or so.

Now the negatives for me anyway: If the York club cannot find a bigger venue then I think they should consider selling limited tickets certainly for the morning with a return to pay at the door after 1pm. The venue was uncomfortably mobbed until about 1.30pm.
The table top area needs to be expanded which would no doubt be at the expense of some other thing, but it was very very successful.
 Finally the organisers should re consider what they are attempting to achieve with the demonstration? games on the ground floor. If they are to showcase the hobby great, but you cannot keep recycling the same periods ad infinitum. Big games yes, different periods /scale yes, but they really need to think about what for me is a big part of a show.
 My abiding memories of yesterday were John Treadaway locked out of the show and banging on the windows of the first floor viewing gallery before forlornly walking away to look for a new way into the event and Charles Stewart Grant who I literally bumped into four or five times muttering, 'this is madness.'
 Sorry for the negativity and truthfulness. 


Saturday 3 February 2018

Dave Clemmet and Tom Davidson.

I received the following e mail from Dave Clemmet and Tom Davidson this morning announcing their retirement from organising wargames shows in the North East of England. Both men took on the dubious pleasure of organising wargames shows in the North East of England from the early 1980's and through their hard work built up their Stockton shows into a must go to event. 
  Tom and Dave were always looking for new ways to sell wargaming. They provided a top quality painting competition, and excellent tombola with all the funds going to their local disabled persons organisations, they introduced low entry fees [ other shows take note ] and were always keen to invite groups who wanted to stage a new way to publicise wargaming. One of my favourites which I will always remember was the wonderful 54mm Historex Napoleonic wargame with hundreds of figures.
 Dave and Tom very kindly allowed two keen wargamers to stage games at their show, and their kindness helped create the Independent Wargames Group.
  These two men never spoke of or complained about their own personal battles and always were keen to be involved in growing the hobby. Wargaming is lucky to have individuals like Dave and Tom and again I would like to thank them for all their enthusiasm and hard work in promoting our hobby and also raising a lot of money for less fortunate individuals. Well done. 

'It is with a tinge of regret that Tom Davidson and I have decided to end our wargame show organising career and are thus closing our website – – in the very near future.

We began our wargame show organising career with what we thought at the time (1981) would be a one off event. Models, Wargames and Boardgames 1981 was our way of celebrating the International Year of the Disabled Person but we were persuaded by a range of people to organise another show – and what followed is history.

Between 1981 and 2016 we organised 41 wargames shows staged in four different venues (3 in Stockton on Tees and 1 in Middlesbrough) – and between 1997 and 2006 we organised two shows per year. The proceeds of all 41 shows was donated to charity (the amount being in excess of £15,000) and while that was an important reason why we staged the shows it was not the only one – we wanted to promote the hobby that has given us so much pleasure over the years.

Our proudest moment came at our 2007 show – Parade Ground 2007 – when we were each presented with an engraved silver salver by the Durham Wargames Group and we have always been very grateful for this public recognition of our efforts. Photos of the presentation and of my salver are attached below.

We still intend to support the hobby that has given us so much pleasure – by attending as many shows as possible in our region for as long as we are able and supporting our favourite traders with our purchases.

Finally we would like to record our thanks to everyone who helped us to make our shows such an enjoyable experience for us over the years.

David & Tom'

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