First a tour of the games then I will dwell on Phil Olley's 1704 game in which I was privileged to control the Astrovian army.
SYW Imagi-Nations with Spencer-Smith classic miniatures
William Harley and Steve Pearse came all the way up from Plymouth once again to put on a lovely looking game with Willz's mid 18th Century 30mm classic Spencer Smiths which have had well deserved airings on this blog before. Willz is still using Jim Purky's two-page rules which give a very good game
|Who can resist Hussars in Light Blue? Not me!|
|Oops! Where did this gratuitous painting of Natalie spring from?!!!|
Oh well, I'm sure Willz won't mind........
|Always drawing spectators for what must be one of the nicest looking SSM collections in England|
|left to right: Steve Pearse. unknown (sorry), Willz Harley, Dillon Browne. Dillon told me he was impressed with the rules and is likely to give them a tryout in his new project - Jacobites from Crann Tara Miniatures (see my sidebar for CT blog link)|
Haitian Revolution in 28mm using Sharp Practice rules
Another lovely looking game with plenty of Caribbean character for this unusual subject from 1791. The armies were very mixed containing lots of regulars and irregulars including armed females, always a weak spot with me.
|Those musket-armed women crossing a bridge|
|"The other Stuart" won the Stuart Asquith Trophy for this one|
- overall Best Game
Wars of the Vaubarian Succession by Phil Olley and Steve Gill
The main attraction for me, and more on this game later. This is Phil's latest project using mainly Front Rank Marlburian period figures for his two Imagi-Nation states of Vaubaria and Astrovia. This was the first game he and Steve had ever played with the rules and it was a kind of "live" playtest before they took it on the road to Shows. As Phil's classic approach and superbly presented games were among my chief inspirations about 10 years ago for my own armies this was like being a "roadie" helping your favourite group prepare for a world tour! How special does that make my day?!
I had plenty of time to talk to my hero and it may surprise some to learn that, despite our friendship going back to 2010 when Phil welcomed me to be part of the "team" contributing to his Classic Wargamers Journal, we had never rolled dice across the same table before. I hope it won't be so long before the next time! For now - a selection of photos I took before the pair had fortified themselves with a bacon roll breakfast.
|Phil gives me an initial briefing on the game|
|Well equipped with posters and notices for the tour|
|Yes this is the famous Phil Olley windmill with battery operated sails |
that twirled silently all day
|The statue in the town square is a fantastic detail|
Western Gunfight by Shaun Mutton
I did not see this in action but suffice to say Shaun of Dreamholme Scenics, who is fairly local to me, won the prize for best terrain, and I hope you will see from the fantastic vignettes and buildings in my photos that it was a worthy choice
Roy and Matt entertained me in spectacular fashion this time last year with "Talavera" using "20mm" Hinton Hunt figures. This year Matt had brought along more classics in 25mm and a scenario from the relatively little known French excursion in Mexico in 1862. I think they were once again using the Napoleonic-themed "Muskets and Marshals" rules. Terrain was by Roy and certainly looked the part. From what I saw in gaps in my own action this was pretty fast moving with some sweeping flank moves.
Bombing run over Berlin by Bruce McCallum
I'm afraid I know nothing about this game but if you are an aircraft fan I imagine you would be well impressed. Even I can appreciate the effort that must go into presentation and execution of a game like this.
Crimean period in 6mm by Dave Fielder
Not really sure if "Crimean" is right but you can see for yourselves from the description handily on display by Dave and his mates from Exmouth. Nicely presented 6mm figures from Bacchus and Adler I believe. We discussed "big heads" versus Heroics and Ros human proportions and an event like this does give you a chance to see another perspective. Personally I prefer proper proportions every time and paint your figures accordingly.
|They won the prize for "Most Gentlemanly Wargamers"|
Time now for a deeper look into Phil and Steve's lovely (and lively) game. My opponent, Martin, and I found ourselves with a fait accompli on opening dispositions so we both had to decide how to manoeuvre from there to complete the mission to "command the crossing" of the Elbaubach river.
Martin had the beautiful Vaubarians, in their Bavarian style light blue uniforms, and I had the white coated, but equally splendid, Astrovians. I'll let the photos tell the story.
|Opening move and both sides get nearer the river. I decide to give overhead cover fire from my battery on the hill while limbering the other to command the bridge at close quarters|
|I formed my grenadiers into column to march behind the front line and hope to contest the bridge - that's what it was supposed to be about after all!|
|On my left both sides had light troops and I wanted to make use of those woods with mine|
|Martin was moving his guns up now and the infantry were in musket range.|
His three battalions to my two was beginning to tell
|Stuart A came calling on his game judging round|
|On the left I have calmly waited in the woods with my wild and woolly light troops and again Martin has decided to charge in with his smart dismounted Dragoons rather than stand off to fire|
|The dragoons suffered fire as they charged in and were repulsed. |
Martin, not surprisingly somewhat miffed, and Phil suitably sympathetic
|The windmill still twirled as Martin began a withdrawal from his riverside position which had suddenly become very vulnerable with cavalry on both flanks. My artillery and Grenadiers consolidated control of the Elbaubach bridge|
|Phil won the prize for "Best painted figures", though Stuart A had to admit he was torn|
over these or Willz' SSMs
Phil and Steve thanked us for being "guinea pigs"; well the trial was painless for me at least and extremely satisfying, I had good dice but I also think the more cautious tactics, hopefully reflecting this period of firefights over melee, paid off. Whatever the results had been the chance to have the "Phil Olley game experience" was an ambition I have held for 10 years and I was not disappointed. Thank you both. So if you see "The War of the Vaubarian Succession" on tour at shows do have a go, you will enjoy it and find the game hosts very friendly and modest.
Being the perfect show host Keith had to have a go at this beautiful game in the afternoon......and beat Steve at his own new rules!
|No Keith is not annoyed, just listening intently|
|Some smoke had appeared for the afternoon game - it would be a shame not to show it|