Two weekends ago saw about 20 members of the A Military Gentleman forum get together at a very nice spa hotel in Warwickshire for 2 days of gaming (and the inevitable 2 nights of drinking). What a superb way to spend a weekend. Lots of friendly banter, superb games generously put on and run by some of those attending, and a great time all-round.
I'd met quite a few of the forum members at last year's Partizan show where we put on a couple of display games. This year we went 'private' and Graham Cummings demonstrated his flair for organising by putting together an excellent conference-like event where the facilities and arrangements were excellent and very smooth-running. Everyone got along very well and it was a pleasure to see familiar faces as well as meet new people. There had been some serious journeys to get there on the Friday (people coming from as far apart as Plymouth and Scotland), and the horrendous weather and traffic problems didn't help anyone much. Still, the bar was there to help people de-stress!
So, all good, but what about the games? Well, these were a treat for anyone with an interest in 18th and 19th century wargaming.
There were four games going on simultaneously in the same room, and the effort that their organisers had gone into in getting everything there and set up, let alone the demands of running them at least twice over the weekend, cannot be overstated.
The Cold North
On the Saturday I played on the Swedish side in Paul's lovely GNW game. It was a challenging scenario with both sides starting with only advanced guards on the table and receiving significant reinforcements shortly after. This created an excellent battle in which, somehow, Will and I achieved a close victory over Paul and Angus' stoic Russians. The figures and terrain were excellent and the Grimsby Club rules provided a fast moving game, were easy to pick up and gave plenty of GNW feel. Paul's knowledge of the period runs deep and made for a informative, educational and fun experience.
Some pics from the game:
Under pressure from the assaulting Russians:
The Swedes go all Ga Pa:
Final positions - the Swedes hold the key ground:
Into the Desert Heat
On Saturday afternoon I migrated a good distance south, and forward by about 180 years, to join the second running of Dave's superb Sudan game. Dave has the full-on collection and terrain to play big games of the recently published Sands of the Sudan rules, and he'd prepared a fun scenario for AMG16. I took command of the beleaguered Sudanese garrison, charged with protecting the General's daughter, while under siege and running low on ammo. Will, Angus, Chris and John were the plucky Brits, leading the relief column - or rather columns, as there was little in the way of co-ordination or co-operation going on!
With Dave running the devious Dervishes who turned up left, right and centre, we were under the cosh but steady fire kept most of the enemy at bay. At the garrison end of the table, though, it was happening too slowly and in the end I had to break out and send the damsel racing towards her rescuers, who happened to be John's Black Watch who had snuck through the mayhem, avoiding the general nastiness, to arrive in the right place at the right time.
Great game, full of entertaining events and banter. Thanks Dave!
My view at the start:
The action hotting up, with the various British contingents dashing about and taking pot shots at anything that moved:
Frederick has an off-day
On Sunday I played in Steve and Mark's very impressive Chotusitz game, using hundreds of hand-cast Prince August 40mm figures and a period-specific version of the Piquet rules. The rules were totally new to me, but I think I got the gist of the core concepts and appreciated most the subtleties by the end of the day. Very clever stuff that provided a real generalship challenge (unfortunately for me!)
I took command of the Prussian right flank cavalry, with Chris manning the centre and left. Graham, Angus and Leigh took the initiative and came on in style, pretty much wiping the floor with us from the start. My cavalry crumbled very early on, and only Chris' tenacious defence of the village gave us a chance to turn things around.
When Frederick arrived with the (supposedly) excellent Prussian infantry, we managed to stop some of the Austrians in their tracks but it wasn't enough. A lot of bad rolls, coupled with the effect of Angus' piling in with the victorious cavalry on the flank, and it was over. Freddie fled the field in the traditional way and we shook hands and revelled in an excellent and enjoyable game. Mark and Steve really knew their stuff and made it a memorable experience all-round.
I only managed to take one picture but there are plenty of others online that do much better justice to this stunning game. Here's Steve on the left, with the enemy commanders plotting another devastating round of combat..
The one game I didn't get a chance to take part in was the Battle of Soor game presented by Robbie and Colin. I did wander over whenever I could and marvelled at the superb collection that was in action. The guys clearly presented an excellent experience for the players, and were using the Honours of War rules which seemed to give a very good game. Shame I missed this one!
The weekend was so good it even took the edge off the end of the England v Russia match, and I think I've sobered up now, which is a bonus.