Sunday 29 May 2011

Life, the Universe.

Sad news to report that after a 9 month battle with cancer my mum died on Wednesday. Difficult to describe how much this has affected me but true to say life just doesn't seem the same once your mum has gone.
Last weekend saw me spend a couple of hours at Triples. I did take some picture s of the excellent Englsih Civil War game put on by the Mosborough boys, Mick, Danny and Trevor. They were using the excellent Regiment of Foote by Peter Pig and playing out a game from their campaign that has been going for 12 months. Find details of the Regiment of Foote range at
For some reason I cant upload the photos I took to blogger so have put them into my Flickr account at
A lovely game and a group of very friendly blokes who clearly know one end of a paint brush from the other. I hope to catch up with them at 2nd Partizan in September.
Speaking of which I went to 1st Partizan today at Kelham Hall. I have been going to this show for more years than I care to remember and I can never recall it seeming so quiet. Possibly a result of Triples moving to the weekend before, but also several traders spots were empty and at least two games were missing. Odd really as Partizan has always been a 'showcase' event, with some of the finest demos from the circuit on display. One trader made mention that mid morning felt more like 3pm when they would normally be looking to pack up. Another large trader looked around and commented that there wasn't a single customer in the room (although I was there hiding behind a rack of figures!).
Hopefully this will be a blip and come September normal service will be resumed. I spent a pleasant day forgetting the outside world and enjoying not being bumped by backpacks and struggling to get to the stands to see what I wanted. I played in Graham Evans' "The Elephant in the Room" , the development of which can be seen on his blog Wargaming for Grown-ups (link off to the side). Basically you play a group of Roman Velites trying to bring down an elephant before it hits the Roman battle line. A clever game using dominos which has made me think about how to use dominos as a random number generator in future games.
I enjoyed it so much I took advantage of my new Society of Ancients membership and bought it for £5.00 from the SoA stand. Included is Phil Steeles 'Greyhound in the Slips' game recreating the Shakespearian account of Henry V's assault on the walls of Harfluer. Really looking forward to giving these a go.
A book on the Balkan Wars, a book on the War of 1812, plus some markers for Hammerin Iron, a few trees from S&A and one pot of paint was the sum of my spending.
So a nice day getting away from it all. Mums funeral is next Friday and lots to sort out in the mean time.
More whenever....

Friday 6 May 2011

Salute and Fisticuffs

Two shows to report on. I was due to go on my good mate John B's stag do to Ypres but due to being unable to get leave and family issues I was unable to get four days free. I did manage two though and myself Lisa and Ava drove down to my sister in laws place in Balham on the Friday prior to Salute.

As usaul it was held at Excell in Docklands and is a wargame show on a different scale to any other. I suspect Games Day has more attendees and has a larger floor space, but that is for dedicated Gw fans and not really a wargames show as such. I am told by those in the know that Salute is the largest historical wargames event in the world. I can believe it. This is my third time at Excel and again I have come away thinking I wont bother again. It was really only due to the fact I got my hands on a badge for early (and free) entry combined with seeing my sister in law that swung it for me this time.

The above photo doesn't really do justice to the size of this event, but safe to say no other shoe comes anywhere near. But thar doesn't mean it is any better. Several traders had stands that covered a large floor area. One in fact, Wayland Games if I remember correctly was virtually a wargames shop transported and dumped in the middle of the venue.

Some very nice games and some not so nice. It was at times difficult to find a trader or game due to the layout and the crowds but on the whole most games seemed to have plenty of space for bystanders to hang around and chat. The one above was interesting. English Civil War with nice 28mm figures on an oval table. Not seen this before but makes sense in a way as the far corners of most wargames is wasted space used for casualties or cups of tea.

This was my favourite display game. Again English Civil War in 28mm with lovely figures but it was the terrain that blew me away. All purpose built by Dave Marshall from TM Terrain. Including the buildings some of which had small lights in them! He told me that if I wanted to comission him to do one for me it would be around £2,000. Alot of money to be sure but somehow I thought not a bad price for all the work. There were rolling hills, streams, delicate fences and beautiful hedges, all integral to the boards. The guy who it belonged to had bespoke boxes made ot cart it all around in.

Just the one photo of a Towton game. You may know I have a thing about this battle. Well this is a demo of the battle on a scale unlikely to be repeated. 6mm Baccus figures. Around 17,000 of them! Incredible effort by the guys who did this. The table was around 14-16 feet long and was an impressive sight. Not only that but they played a few moves too! I think Poleaxed from the Lance and Longbow society is their chosen ruleset.

One of the draws to the show for me was the launch of the reworked Hammerin Iron from Peter Pig. I have been involved in the playtest group and again get a name check, but in truth due to real life concerns I had minimal input. I was somewhat sceptic when the idea of playing on a printed hex sheet was first discussed. I enjoyed the original game with ships moving on the table by laying hexes down to represent movement. However I was converted with some playtesting and now own one of the Peter Pig produced hex sheets which can be seen in the above picture. The yellow hexes are sandpaper cutout to represent sandbars. There are a couple of islands too, one with a fort on it.

Here is a closer picture of the new mat with a game in progress. Leslie Beilby Tipping and Rob Roriston are taking some newcomers through a game. For the demo purposes, several pre planned scenarios were used so players could play one game and return later in the day to have another go with a different scenario.

Martin is shown here explaining the finer details (and possibly encouraging somebody into a suicidal attack!!). The rules work brilliantly and improve on the original by bringing more structure to the game. All the ships have been reworked and there are now no invincible ships. Forts work really well and opportunity fire has been introduced. With the rules comes a playsheet and a couple of sheets of very nicley laminated order cards. I really think this is a winner for fans of Hammerin Iron.

Minimal purchases on the day as I was travelling light. I picked up my shanty town from Wilson Miniatures but left them with Martin to pick up from him down in Weymouth. A nice day then but again left with the feeling I may not return.

Two weeks later saw me travel down to Weymouth for Fisticuffs, the local show hosted by the Levellers Wargames club.

There aren't too many shows with this view outside of the front door! I again travelled down on the Friday and stayed over at Martins. Got to see the new PP HQ building. Very impressive indeed. We played a game of the new Squarebashing currently in playtest. I won using late war Germans which was nice. I'll discuss this more once playtesting is a bit further on, but suffice to say that the Peter Pig classic is having a radical makeover. Still using squares though!

Here we have Les B-T again demonstrating Hammerin Iron. I think i played in 4 games and had a great time.

I have been down to Fisticuffs before but a long time ago back when it was a two day show at a local college. This year it was held in Weymouth Pavilion right on the sea front. A good venue with plenty of space. There was a good mix of traders and some really nice demo games on display. A very friendly atmosphere and it was nice to catch up with Miles Milton from the STaB club as well as Stewart Meecham and Chris Cunningham of the Levellers.

This was a large Indian Mutiny game in 28mm. Some really nice figures and the guys seemed to be enjoying themselves.

This was a 28mm Samurai game using Killer Katanas on some lovely terrain. The figures were very nice and the action was bloody!

This was 30 Years War as previousley seen at the Yeovil bash. This time loosley based on Lutzen using Fields of Glory Rennaisance. Very friendly chap running it but again I forgot to get his name! next time maybe. I did take more pictures of this one but for some reason they came out blurred.

Finally a couple of pictures of Stewart and Chris's excellent Square Bashing game using the playtest version. Over a 1000pts aside on a 6'x4'. Lots of nicely painted Peter Pig figures with a smattering of Minifigs.. Terrain was well done with trenches from Ironclad Miniatures and most of the template type scenary from S&A scenics. I think Chris as the attacker with Germans won this one.

A few bits from Hammerin Iron purchased on the day along with a couple of books. I am in no doubt that I will reutrn to this show!

Back home I have started to tart up my Hammerin Iron ships and have a few other bits and bobs ready to paint. I have also at last finished a unit of Loyalists for Washingtons Army which I have been struggling with for a few weeks. Not sure why but I just couldn't get the motivatiob to get them done. Now they are done i am pleased with them and feel rejuvenated to paint a bit more now. Typically though we are way in the morning for a few days so no painting until I return. If i can get a signal I may post a blog entry or two with some thoughts I have been having regarding my hobby.

Despite one or two temptations leading me astray I am now more than ever committed to my Peter Pig style of gaming. This year is promising to be a good one for events with the STaB PBI day coming up followed by a Washingtons Army day in June, AK47 competition day in September and a RFCM weekender in Novemebr. And who knows what else?

Finally I collected 'Traitors Blood' by Michael Arnold from the library for some holiday reading. Described as Sharpe during the English Civil War I have heard some suprisingly good things about this. I shall report back.

More soon...