Three months have passed since my last tournament, so it was with some trepidation that we entered the lair of the Beast, the Tudor Arms, Slimbridge, for a three round L’art de la Guerre competition. 120 points gives you a decent sized game that can generally be completed in about an hour and a half. The variant is available from the L’art de la Guerre site. All the usual heroes were in attendance so after some preliminary insults, we were once again playing our favourite competition ruleset as the sun rose above the canal bank.
First shock of the day, the Don with his Early Arabs. This would be painful. He knows the rules inside out and is one of the few on the circuit who can talk more than me. I positioned my Franks in the centre, with skirmishers in the central plantation. Big mistake! Don had a secondary command of medium foot and the undergrowth would soon resonate to the soft tread of Arab sandals.
It was time to draw breath before the inevitable. Chris was manfully pitting his Vikings against Mr. Glew’s Early Germans. Martin was meanwhile busy trying to prise the coins out of the little invalid statue in the carpark.
The overall standard of painting is so good now, and this combined with quality sculpts, makes for great looking games. Paul had the new Ostrogoth cavalry which are superlative but Adrian stole the prizes for best army painting with his Huns.
Back to my game and the Sarmatians remained unreliable and therefore uncommitted until Don’s desert dwellers smashed into them. Only my single skirmisher held the plantation as the Sarmatians folded. I made a half hearted attack in the centre but it was too little, too late.
Game two was against Adrian’s Hunnic host. This army is one of the best I have ever seen! Muted colours but such an eye for detail. From the moment he put down his camp, I knew it would be a delight to look at. While we recounted tales of football hooliganism from the Eighties, Adrian lay out a strong line of bow and lance armed nomads, but who was lurking in the woods?
This time my Sarmatians were feeling more warlike and sprang the ambush. It wasn’t Ron Davies lurking in the woods, but a large number of Slavic foot. My Black Sea Knights were up to the challenge and dived in. Working in conjunction with their light horse, the Hun right was faltering.
Adrian wasn’t trying to shoot me to death anymore. He ordered his horsemen into my waiting warbands and heavy horse.
Alaric and my Franks held the charge and countered magnificently. The dice gods were indeed kind but it also helped that my foot could take four losses to the Hun three. It was that close. The Hun lost heart and routed.
A short lunch break was nearly ruined when Steve was intent on parading around the tables, nipples to the fore, recounting the uncommon occurrence of occupying his opponent’s half of the table at the close of play. Viewers of a nervous disposition may need to look away now.
Early Germans were my last opponent and thank God, he’d chosen medium foot. My Sarmations were once again unreliable but that just made the Germans even more aggressive. Medium foot in the open, against my heavy lancers were doomed. Medium cavalry against heavy horse were similarly impeded, despite being elite.
Andy stole first place of course, with Steve “nipples” Price coming second. Tears were shed as I stumbled to the rostrum to be handed the champagne and trophy for Third place! I’d faced three great opponents and full marks to Keith and Andy for putting on such a great event. We look forward to the next West Country 120 competition at Thornbury in August. Get your entries to Keith McGlynn ASAP ( Facebook or snailmail- Master K McGlynn, 69 Furze Cutters Lane, Badger’s Tarp, Berk-ley. Please note that postal orders are not acceptable pre- Brexit.