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L’art de la Guerre Tournament- The Don’s B.I.G. Bristol Bash

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Twelve uber competitive tournament gamers met, last weekend, in the confines of an industrial unit off the A4, to manfully wrestle with 28mm high metal heroes and a number of personal and psychological issues……

Don’t be fooled by Perkin Warbeck’s youthful features, just like Mark Fry, there is solid steel behind those watery blue eyes. See how the cad hides his deployment behind a horde of unnecessary boxes. Wince as the charlatan pretends not to understand the deployment rules- as if he hasn’t surveyed the field at Stoke and stumbled upon a route to the restoration of Yorkist fortunes. Mark is in fact much bigger than the photo suggests…

Amongst his scouring pad “brush” , the Pretender Fry hid an ambush. My guess was a large contingent of Irish but he also had spent his ill gotten gains on mercenary horse and noble Knights.

Warning- his joke about “brush” and “scrub” will not be published in consideration of my readership

Hint: Fry may not even have placed units with his marker. They still can slow and distract a nervous opponent!

In his centre, Mark placed his longbowmen and bills. If I was disrupted by his archery, hillmen would in all likelihood make short work of my brave pikemen. Using the old maxim, ” the best defence against pikemen, is pikemen”, Martin Schwartz commanded his own false- Swiss mercenaries.

But, Mark wasn’t facing any old Tuwdwr assemblage, I formed echelon and prepared to attack.

The losses to Marks missile fire were heavy. He urged his pikemen forward to flank my leading pikeblock. My brave halberdiers leaped into the woods in order to flank our false friends.

The kerns raced out of the “brush”( I did warn you). More Swiss halberdiers leaped to the defence. Neither Irish kern nor noble could get through the halberdiers. But, almost all of my central corps of pikes had at least two hits. It was time to retreat….

A few minor command and control problems

Rumour soon spread that the Swiss were retreating…shameful I know!

My second draw with this army? Was I not being aggressive enough? Should I have invested in more rough terrain halberdiers in order to contest the forests and win the central struggle? My severest test was upon me, Big Don McHugh’s Scottish independence voters…..

Although nearly fifty, Don has been an inspiration to us “younger” gamers. He is a painter without peer and a rules guru. His Scots army had a flank of longbows and dismounted Knights beefed up his mediocre pikemen. On his left, Don posted his irregular feudal Knights. I expected his bows to be in the rough terrain so refused my right. Don however placed his longbows on the hill on the opposite flank, and they weren’t going to hang back……

 The longbows came forward and I risked three units to push them back against the flank. My God, it worked! Don threw in his pikemen and a strange thing happened- the causaulties markers blossomed on the Scots. 

I could have spent all afternoon looking at Don’s army but it disappeared back to Bonney Scotland! Mediocre pikes could not handle elite Swiss and victory on the flank allowed me to roll up Don’s line. What a memorable game!

Thanks for reading . More in the next post on game three, the tussle with Mark Clarke’s easterners, and the final most miserable game of toy soldiers in the world ever. The game that is already being called ” Concede-gate”😰😓😤😅😂😰

Filed under: Wargaming

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. giving realistic tactical advice in Fortnite games, and recreating great moments of military history using inch high toy soldiers. Currently a leading light in the Cardiff Dice Studz who meet regularly at Firestorm Games ( formerly Ali Baba's Carpet Warehouse), Trade Street, Cardiff, sunny Wales, U.K.


  1. Martin Schwartz (aka Mark Fry)

    Twas a pleazur to draw and be drawn against yea … all be it that yea did run away from me fierce bowmen and raggedy arsed Kerns (that’s a medieval technical term dear reader).

    But it was a historical situation … just like the little know Swiss defeat at the Battle of st.Jakob an der Birs:

    Come back I cried – tiz only a flesh wound – yea cad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bows my bottom! Machine guns- I was facing machine guns!!!!!
      Great game my old pal- come on , switch to L’art at Devizes!!!!!


  2. Louen

    Well, I was afraid that a shooty army would be your undoing, but I’m very happy to hear about your your victory in the 2nd game.
    I hope you didn’t let my fellow Swiss get massacred too badly in the 3rd game, but it sounds like you did …

    Liked by 1 person

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