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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Real PP Wargaming at the Wartime Experience

What a busy wargaming weekend.  Saturday Carronade.  Saturday night a boardgame with Brian.  Sunday down to the National Museum of Flight to take part in their Wartime Experience event.
Following on from the successful wargames participation at the Viking exhibition in Edinburgh we, along with SESWC, were invited to take part in another Museum event.  The only problem was that we did not get much notice and it was the day after Carronade.  Not wanting to miss out we managed to field 7 members and Brian from Washington also came along to help out.

We got there in good time to enjoy a buttie from the burger van, which promised such delicacies as ostrich and springbok burgers for later in the day.
The wargamers were in the ‘Concorde’ hanger along with ‘civilian’ reenactors – we were treated to the vocal talents of the Blitz Sisters and the Flyright Dancers showcased the dances of the period and encouraged public participation.
Outside there were a number of military reenactors of varying nationalities.  Once gain the weather was not great and I was still in recovery mode so I didn’t actually see that much, but enough to want to go back and have a proper look around some of the permanent exhibits.
The Falkirk club put on a Wings of War table and a WW1 naval encounter, South East Scotland a WW2 Bolt Action game.  All were popular with the public, but Wings of War (or should that be Glory) went down particularly well primarily but not exclusively with sons and fathers.   I am sure that online retailers of the system will have seen a sudden burst of activity on Sunday night from addresses in Scotland.
I did my best to help prospective pilots but John, Doug and Brian had much more patience with the youngsters than I could muster.  You know it is often said that computer wargaming is a real threat to the miniatures hobby, but after this experience I disagree.  All the kids are used to playing a variety of different games within defined sets of rules and I was amazed how quickly they picked up the basics of WoW.   I think there is a ready made set of potential wargamers out there if only we can tap into them.  
It was busy almost all day and once again the museum staff seemed very pleased with the contribution both clubs had made to their event.  We are hoping to get further invitations to future exhibitions to continue to spread interest in the hobby and also frankly to have a fun time playing wargames in new and interesting venues.
This is a bit dark but you should be able to see the three games with Concorde there in the background towering over us all.

SESWC Falise Gap game.  The WW2 equipment on display also drew a lot of interest.

Wings of War being explained by Doug, John and Brian (hidden again).

A Camel v a Tripe.  We bought the Wings of Glory mats to help bring the game to life and they are certainly very good, although they could really do with one  showing trenches and no mans land.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Carronade Charitable donation of £411.84

This year we decided to support a charity as part of the show.  One of our members works for Shelter and he gave us the attached information on a project they are running

Shelter is running a three year project to provide a Housing Support Service in Partenrship with Scottish Verterans Residences and also provide support to Scottish Veterans Residences to help them improve the housing advice provided to ex-service men and women.

The main aim of the work is to support tenants in the Scottish Veterans' Residence at Whitefoord House in Edinburgh to successfully re-settle into permanent accommodation and also to imrove their resilience, living and coping skills and to avoid future episodes of Housing Crisis/Homelessness. We would also assist veterans to access the residence where appliciable to help stabilse their lives with a longerterm goal of independent living. Many of the ex-service personnel we help have been out of the service for 20+ years and only started to suffer health or mental problems later in life. These grousp of ex-service personnel are not well recognised or catered for and while some help was available it was scant and patchy and not aimed at providing longer term stability in their lives. Shelter feels that the cornerstone of stability is a home to call your own and that remains our overarching aim.

This work is funded entirely by donations so every penny helps and thanks for giving this work your consideration for support.

A total of £137.28 was raised mainly from the members of clubs who were putting on games with some contributions from members of the public as well.  The Falkirk Club have matched this on a 2 for 1 basis, hence the total donation was £411.84 to this very good cause.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Personal Impressions of Carronade

First off I must declare an interest – I am on the organising committee so may not be totally unbiased.
Having been involved since the start back in 2006 this was rather a strange event for me.  I had caught a dose of the lurgey on the preceding Wednesday and things were not much better by the Friday when we get in to the venue to set the halls up and welcome the first traders.  I had some stuff to drop off which I managed to do but then felt rather guilty at leaving when I then left the guys to it. 

Old friends Mark from Under the Bed and Graham from Graham's Wuerkshoppe always set up on the Friday and then come over to our house stay.  A night out at a local hostelry is the tradition and although it was maintained I was on tap water all night which was not so good for the morale!
The next day I dragged my sorry arse along to the show, once again later than usual.  One of my jobs is to do the rota for club members.  I had left it very late and although I had posted it on the club forum no one had seen it.  Cue fumbling attempts to retrieve the list via my blackberry.

The show then opened and we were absolutely mobbed.  Only one of the three people I had planned to be on the door was actually there but another volunteer stepped forward and I also took a place and helped out.  There were 300 in by the end of the first hour and I felt my spirits start to rise.
Having handed over door duties I then went for my first proper look around the show.  It really did seem to be buzzing by that point.  We had a record number of traders (42) and games on (39).  Well over half the games were public participation and most of them had attracted a good selection of players which is great and once again adds to the atmosphere.

I picked up a copy of Check your 6 which I have been promising myself for a while and also made some purchases at the flea market.  We helped pioneer flea markets (where the seller rents a table and sells his stuff himself) and it has been a great success over the years.  It is interesting to see that more and more shows are adopting this approach over the traditional bring and buy.  From our perspective it is much easier to organise and means we do not have to worry about that perennial problem of theft.  For the seller it is cheaper (we only charge £2 an hour) and they have the freedom to display their wares and manage their prices as they wish.  The great advantage for the public is the ability to haggle!  Another benefit is that as table hire is by the hour the offerings are refreshed a number of times.
It is always good to have a chat to wargames chums and although the organisational side can make that a little difficult I did manage to speak to a few people.  Brian (see post on Washington Wargames Club) had made it up for the first time and enjoyed the experience.  He stayed the night  to make a weekend of it.

I decided that it was to be kill or cure and purchased Scotch Pie and chips from admittedly rather basic catering facilities.  I took them upstairs to give Gary a spell on the flea market desk.  In three quarters of an hour a sold one table so it was not overtaxing.  I left not cured but at least still alive!
I had planned to play a couple of games and the Lechars kamikazie set up together with Kirriemuir’s charge of the light brigade both caught my eye.  I passed however and in fact bailed out before close of play at 4pm

Overall impressions?
Like I said at the start I am obviously biased but I do honestly believe that for a show of it’s size it is very difficult to beat.  What really makes it for me is the games put on by the clubs.  They are always of a high standard and generate a lot of interest.  It is great to see so many people taking part in the participation games.

Of course without the traders we would not have a show and we are very grateful to their support over the years.  The flea market and the painting competition both add an extra dimension to the show.
Any areas for improvement?  I would be grateful for any comments to that effect as we are always looking for new ideas.  The catering is pretty basic (although acceptable) but that comes with the hall.  We are starting to reach the limits of what we can do in the space but I don’t think there are any better venues in the area.

Anyway another great show – thanks to all the lads from the club who make it so but most importantly thanks to the public for turning up.
A few photos

The main sports hall.  There is another slightly smaller hall that also has the canteen in it

View from the stairs of the passage between the two main downstairs halls

The flea market

The painting competition

The other upstairs hall - we may be able to make more use of this
The organisation for the 2014 show starts next week!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Antonine’s Folly 2013

On the 28th April we held the first of the Scottish Impetus tournaments of the year at the Falkirk Club’s venue in Grangemouth.  12 players took part in total, 9 from Falkirk and 3 from Dunfermline.  There were at least 4 new to Impetus tournaments but such is the easygoing nature of tournament wargaming up here none had any issues.

I organise this tournament and being a simple sort of chap I like to keep things straightforward.  The first round was done on the principle of historical matching and thereafter the Swiss chess system.  There had been a certain amount of discussion on the Impetus forum for and against the 2013 competition amendments so I decided we should stick to the 2012 version.  Then there was the matter of terrain.

To be frank I don’t like the Impetus tournament pick your own terrain system.  I think it gives veteran players, who ponder these things, an additional advantage over novices.  So I decided to go with fixed terrain.  I have an old book of maps done by tabletop games which I find works well.   There are 100 of them with each giving the option of close medium or open terrain.   I get a club member who is not taking part in the competition to roll, firstly a percentage dice to pick the map and then with a 25 % chance for open or close terrain and a 50% chance of medium.  On the day tables are allocated randomly.  To make it easier to avoid anyone playing on the same table twice we set up an extra board, so in this case 7 rather than 6.

So the tournament was held and, for the most part, much merriment ensued.  We have in our number the current world champion and he was expected to sweep the board as usual.  However going into the final round my luck had held (playing two novices) and I found myself a rather distant second to the great man himself, but nonetheless in with a chance.

Dax was using a Lithuanian army filled with javelin armed light cavalry which had earned him two 130 to 0 victories.  My cunning plan was to face him on the close terrain board and after 3 attempts to pick a table sure enough a rolled a 2 to choose the ‘table from hell’.  Stage 2 of the cunning plan was to split my force in 2.  I was worried that my infantry would prove too easy for Dax to pick off so I hid them in the right corner as far away from the action as possible.  Stage 3 of the cunning plan was to funnel my 4 units of impetuous knights, led by the general, around the hills and woods on the left, pin his cavalry against the terrain and if possible take his baggage.

How did it go?  Well I at least gave Dax a run for his money.   The terrain did hamper him significantly and I got pretty close to breaking his last line of defence and having a chance to take out the baggage as well.  In the centre my general got in some lusty bows against the Lithuanian C in C.  On the cohesion test Dax threw a 6 for his unit.  This then meant there was a threat to the general.  A throw of 10 or more on 2 dice could have been enough to win me the game but sadly that was not to be, and Dax finally ran out a 120 to 10 winner.  At least I had succeeded in taking some points from him!

As always I was more interested in playing than taking photos but I did manage to get one shot of all the players in the second round, so here goes.  The squeamish may wish to look away now …(just kidding guys)
Frazer v Dax, Yuan Chinese v Lithuanian
My Feudal English facing off against Marco's Eastern Romans

Marco surveys the scene

Richard C's Berbers v David's 100YW English

Russ's Patrician Roman's v Richard B's 100YW English

Chuck v John, both using British and Welsh Kingdoms (on table 2). For some reason I can't add the shotof the game between Doug's Samurai and Andy's Teutonics but there they are in the background. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Three posts and some snow

I have been involved in three events in the last few days

The Antonine's Folly Impetus tournament on 28th April

The Carronade show on 11th May

The wargaming element of the wartime experience at the National Museum of Flight today the 12th May.

I will post a report on each by this time next week (says he with great conviction)

I will leave you with a recommendation.

I recently played my first board game in over ten years 'A few acres of snow'  depicting the tussle between the British and French colonists of North America.  Highly recommended by me- but for reviews by people who know more about board games have a look here