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Mark Fry goes to Plymouth P.A.W.s

PAWS: 28mm LadG CompetitionLast weekend (4th & 5th February) saw the first PAWS 28mm LadG competition. PAWS has become a ‘must attend’ event over the last few years for the Berkeley Vale crew. We’ve found a nice B&B near the Waterloo pub that is the watering hole for a number of the local PAWS players, with a good selection of real ales, a tolerance of crazy card games (don’t ask Steve Price about Condottieri!) and also a commitment to screen 6 nations’ rugby games in the evenings. The PAWS show is equally good, with a wealth of interesting local traders but also a bounteous Bring & Buy, and yes, yours truly is now the proud owner of yet another painted 15mm ancients army (& some more terrain).

Previously we’ve played either 28mm FoG ancients or 28mm Warband (fantasy) but this year whilst the FoG event drew the usual crowd, a LadG event proved equally attractive, even to some of the die-hard local FoG gamers. At the kick off on Saturday morning the LadG competition had 12 players with the following selection of armies (all pre 1040AD):

• Nikephorian Byzantine [#128] x 2 – one with a Georgian ally [#205]

• Late Roman [#86 ] x 2

• Ghaznavid [#193] – nice to see 28mm armoured elephants on the table

• Early Achaemenid Persian[#64]

• Alexander the Great [#40]

• Kushan [#107]

• Viking [#150 ] + Breton allies [#145]

• Middle Imperial Roman [#85]

• Classical Indians [#79 ]

• Sub-Roman British [#101]

The event had drawn some LadG grandees, such as Steve Hacker, Phil Mackey and even the great Keith McGlynne himself … not to mention Colin Cavanagh and Andy Unwin (& I will try not to mention either of them again unless I have to). It was set up in the usual way with200pt lists and 4 games over the weekend, 2 per day with plenty of breaks to ‘do the show’ and keep an eye out for goodies on the Bring & Buy.


My “no allies for me” Nikephorian fought its 1st game against Colin Evans’ Achaemenid Persians, which ended up as a winning draw in my favour. There was far too much terrain on the table for my liking and after one brief (& unsuccessful) combat with my Tagmatic Kavallioi (HC elite impact/bow) Colin’s Persian Noble horse (HC elite bow) disappeared off in a cloud of dust, leaving me … not going into the rough with my cavalry and Colin … not coming out of the rough with his MF mixed swords/bow, and who can blame either of us!


Game two was a tougher opponent altogether … Keith and his Arthurian Sub-Roman British. I had by now raided the Bring and Buy and was the proud owner of a rather good, cheap, road, which made an appearance in all my subsequent PAWS games (not that I actually used it at all tactically you understand – it is just one terrain choice that has little or no effect on anything). Keith won the toss and selected a mass of terrain, with woods, hills, fields etc. most of which fell on his side of the table. This mislead me into thinking that he’d play a defensive game, what with all those HF spear and MF spear but not at all, he was down my throat challenging me hard from almost the first move. As is so often the way with the Nikephorians, this game I couldn’t hit a barn door with my horse archery and when it came down to the combat between my Kavallioi and the ‘knights of the round table’ led by Arthur himself … my combat dice deserted me and Keith destroyed 4 of my HC in 2 rounds of combat (I’ll get my coat). My mixed HF spear/bow units and Cataphracts did sterling work against the Sub-Roman HF spear in the centre, but it was all to no avail and as time was called it was a winning draw in Keith’s favour. As I hurried off to watch the French nearly hammer the English at rugby and Gordon & Mike pull a cracking move in Condottieri on Steve in the pub … I contemplated the distinct possibility that my Byzantines might be destined for a weekend of draws (if I was lucky).  


Sunday dawned crisp and wet, and I was facing Gordons Kushan – so that will be Elephants, Cataphracts, mixed Indian MF swords/bows, plus Pikemen and horses of LC bow … what a treat!

Again the terrain fell favouring the Kushans as the Indian mixed MF and Elephant commands can trample through the rough like it is just not there. So I deployed as best I could with a cavalry wing facing the Kushan Cataphracts, my HF and Cataphracts facing the enemy infantry centre and a sacrificial HC holding force defending my camp opposite Gordon’s mixed Indian division (gulp!).

Things did not go to plan initially, as Gordon conducted a rapid redeployment, using an attached general, with his 6 LC bow from one flank to the other, and then wheeled to shorted the table frontage with Pikes and Indian MF swordsmen. As my HC and C-in-C crashed into the Cataphracts, the Indian division and LC bow were starting to make very short work of my left flank holding force. Would this hang on long enough for my Cataphracts to ‘do the business’ on the Kushan Indian MF swordsmen and flank the Pikes??? Well, yes and no. My HC (or rather just my integral general) held out until time was called, but my Cataphracts stunningly failed to do any damage and then got flanked by an Elephant mounted General … hmmm.

But equally Gordon’s Kushan Cataphracts were being slowly destroyed by my HC and general, which then swung in menacingly on the right flank of the Pikes … but time was called and to my utter surprize I appeared to have a winning draw. Which was totally undeserved, as Gordon had me on the ropes for most of the game, but this is where quality (all those elite HC and Cataphracts) payed off, and whilst my combat dice were pretty average, my rallying dice were on cracking form.


Sunday afternoon and it was a Byzantine civil war – I was facing the Colin ‘formally known as Prince’ Cavanagh, who had gone for augmenting his Byzantines with Russ HF spearmen and a Georgian HC impetuous ally. As we both needed as little terrain as possible, the table was pretty bare but my road made its third game appearance. I deployed traditionally – a centre of HF and Cataphracts and two equal wings of HC on each flank. Colin deployed in similar fashion, but his infantry outnumbered mine and by having less elite Byzantine HC he also outnumbered me on one flank. The game was hard fought, but Colin’s combat dice went totally to pot and I destroyed his entire allied Georgian cavalry flank in two rounds of melee giving me 10 victory points. My centre held and my combined Cataphracts and HC started to slowly dismantle Colin’s HC. Deserted by his dice and having failed to smash my HF centre Colin’s army finally broke. So I had a victory (at last) … phew! Colin’s Georgians had let him down in his previous game against Steve Price, when they went unreliable whilst on a flank march … probably a double risky strategy, especially against a ruthless opponent like Mr Price. But fortune favours the brave … sometimes.

Colin berates his Georgian ally!

It was a cracking competition – Steve Hacker came 2nd with his Alexandrian Macedonians and the event was won by Steve Price, funnily enough using a 28mm version of the same Late Roman army (with all those legionaries and 3 medium artillery) that he fought with as half of his 15mm Godendag doubles army the weekend previously.

Andy Unwin umpired with Andy Whitby on the scoreboard. So a great weekend of LadG gaming with a show and a nice pub thrown in. Maybe you’ll join us all next year?

Ah the fruits of victory!

Mark Fry


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About the Author

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The wild ramblings of an infamous wit and wargames guru. One of nature's true gentlemen who devotes his time to the care of his two sons, i.e. watching episodes of Peppa Pig together, and recreating great moments of military history using toy soldiers. Currently a leading light in The Collectivo Despertaferres wargames and duelling association who meet regularly at Firestorm Games ( formerly Ali Baba's Carpet Warehouse). Find me also on Facebook "Despertaferres"!


  1. I wholeheartedly agree that it was nice to see armoured elephants (Irregular Miniatures) on the table. It was just a shame that I managed to kill the rest of the army around them. Ah well there is always next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mark

    Do not dispair Phil , Ghaznavids just need lots of practice. I have them in 15mm and am now inspired to emulate you in 28mm as well, but maybe with a Hindu Indian ally (including a pair of additional elite Elephants).
    I cannot remember if you fought Gordon’s Kushan? Now that would have been a game to watch with interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann

    Never let them hear you use the “undeserved” word. If you won, then you are a brilliant general and your loyal subordinates and worthy troops enjoy their fruits of victory! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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