It was time for a first run-out for my newly painted Saxons. I’d painted two points of SAGA warriors and two hearthguard. My gallant opponent Chris lent me another points worth of levy archers and another points worth of select fyrd. Elite heavy infantry would… Read More
Take a leisure centre, take over three halls with modelling goodness, add ninety degree heat, close all the doors and windows. Here, in this cauldron of hobby related capitalism you have the annual Avon Modelling Show. But, to you and I, it means the Berk-ley Vale L’Art de la Guerre Competition, hosted by the Batman and Robin of West Country Wargaming, McGlynn and Unwin. It was a one hundred and twenty points competition, an interesting variation on an old favourite. I brought along another old favourite, Patrician Romans. My thoughts were that four units of federatii impetuous swordsmen could do the damage, whilst ‘decadent’ legionaries steadied their flank. Two commands usually means a smaller supporting corps, mine was filled with two units of heavy cavalry with bow and lots of skirmishers.
The modelling displays are always of interest. The great thing about Thornbury is that one gets to see many dealers who aren’t part of the regular wargaming fayre. Mr Lane’s group put on an epic refight of Maleme airport, replete with three JU-52s, and Big Don was in attendance with an awesome WW2 display of Goodwood.
Two things stand out about the competition for me, namely the overall quality of the painting and the atmosphere amongst the gamers. It’s been a few years now but we appear to be approaching a real golden period in terms of the quality of the games and the manner in which they are played. Keith and Andy kept us all organised and amused in their own unique fashion.
Like myself, Ian Speed is frequently kept from competitions by his sporting commitments. His painting is really top notch as you can see above. Many of the Berkl-ley Vale crew have armies painted by Jimmy and these are particularly note- worthy too. 28mm figures really are a joy to behold….
My first game saw my Patricians taking on those pesky Parthians whose “tin-men” would be steered by Colin “lady killer” Evans. I really wanted to avoid his cataphracts and assault his rather large number of supporting archers. My cavalry would have to slow the ponderous assault whilst my Federatii got to work.
With my skirmishers holding the field on the flank, the cataphract impact was delayed but to my horror, the Parthian archers were devastating my assault troops.
Arminius had to shout stern words to get the Goths to attack through the archery. And, when they did charge, the wily Partians had already vacated the hill. We did catch some though and this ended the game with honours just about equal. An hour and a half goes very quickly.
Game two was against one of the younger players who attended. L’art de la guerre is an excellent gateway game and it made a refreshing change to talk to five or six younger people who are getting into the hobby. John of course is the son of Jimmy so taking on the Spartans would be no push over. To be fair though it was only John’s second ever game , in his first he had held that old reprobate Mr. Mackie to a draw.
This particular group of Spartans certainly had loaded up on their pre- battle blood soup! Facing elite spearmen is never pleasant but my skirmishers had done stirling work in weakening the scarlet tide.
John had unluckily left a gap for my heavy horse to exploit and after some tense exchanges, the Spartans were sent packing. I do hope John enjoyed his game and will be joining us again. Next up was his father with Triumvirate Romans. The solid core was the most expensive I think I had ever encountered- heavy swordsmen impact, elite and Armoured. The very table sank beneath their weight! He had already torn great holes in two earlier opponents(below)
However, it was my lighter corps that first felt the pressure. My Huns held up well but they were soon overwhelmed. My foot skirmishers were feeling very nervous as I committed my cavalry, one unit of which contained the commander.
The clash swung back and fore but the German mercenaries of my opponent were gaining ground. When Jimmy’s legion arrived it was all over. It was time for the horns to blow and the Patrician foot to charge.
The cavalry victory allowed the German horse of my opponent to flank my line but on the other end of the line, Jimmy’s Greek javelinmen weren’t up to facing my own legionaries. I had to commit Arminius but we held Jimmy to a draw. I could afford to lose just one more point as the heat ( and sweat) ended the competition. Seventh place out of eighteen was more than acceptable for yours truly.
It had been a great day, the atmosphere was relaxed and a very strange thing happened at the end- the army of Steve Price was in the corner of a battlefield. No change there, I hear you say, but, it was his opponents corner! Steve Price was actually in the other half of the table at the close of play. Miraculous!
The very worthy winner of the Nigel Poole prize for aggressive play went to Eddy. In the heat-haze, and with Andy Unwin’s speech impediment ( he’s publically educated) , it was just possible to work out the worthy winners. Andy Whitby and his immaculate Samurai stole the honour of first place. Steve Hacker ground down his opponents for second with Ian and Paul and his warlike Ostrogoths sneaking into third. Ian deservedly picked up the prize for best painted army. Amazingly Richard Walker, he of Macgoo Driving School, steered the Italian fairies of Bruttia into last place. A superb day out! Look out for the 250 point 28mm competition in the Autumn! It will be a must attend event!
My old grandfather used to call television, “the idiot’s lamp”. That was why perhaps he lost his job as Director of Programming at Welsh Television. When my youngest son sent to Hong Kong for #StikBot Zanimation studio, all I was worried about was the eight… Read More
It was Sunday and the faithful were worried. A victory over the Byzantine infidel had been followed by a loss to the barbarian Vandals. Next up came the heretical army of Al-Abbas ibn Adb al- Muttalib, a.k.a. Steve Hacker. Regulars will know the name, he… Read More
The modern trend for smaller, skirmish style games has much to recommend it. Within a relatively short space of time, the gamer is up and running. Outlay costs are less and compare favourably with alternatives like drinking heavily or taking an evening class. Two weeks… Read More
It’s been too hot to do much hobby related activity but you forget that there remain five days of my wife’s Birthday Month! I did try and show an interest in matters non-military but it is difficult. The article that follows is not my usual… Read More
“I see that these people know nothing about war!” Devizes Wargames Show marks the start of Summer for yours truly. It’s a first class, characterful venue, despite being a school. Mr. Mackie and chums do an excellent job in organising the event, and I wouldn’t… Read More