Partizan 2018

Made the annual trip down to Partizan today. Had to get a hire car as my lad was doing the Gregg’s Cancer run so my wife needed the car. This delayed setting off as I spent five minutes reading the car manual trying to find out how to open the bloody fuel cap!! It’s a nice run south at that time on a Sunday so after a brief coffee stop at Blyth Services I arrived at 10:15. The queue had dispersed and I walked straight in.

The new venue is excellent. Plenty of space but it did get a little warm at times today. I had no great plans to buy anything. I’m trying to be sensible and rationalise projects. I’d ordered some green stuff from Minibits to be collected from Eagle Figures and I had a few 15mm Japanese buildings to collect from Brendan Morrissey. So apart from the odd pot of paint and some bases that was all I expected to come away with. The best laid plans…

I know it doesn’t look a lot but… As I want to do some 28mm Sharp Practice (I now have a couple of Conflix pre-painted buildings from EB at Ayton) I thought I really needed some tree so Last Valley provided my first 28mm scenery! Not a lot but a start.  And as I’d been reading a bit about SAGA v2 and have some Normans AND now have some 28mm scenery I cracked and bought the new version! And the Viking boards. And some dice… You can see the buildings there as well. Brendan convinced me to buy the extra Russian types he had a well and as two were nicely painted it seemed churlish to refuse! I suppose I better paint some Saxons now…

So…the rest of the time was spent meeting and chatting with Simon, Iain, Graham, Gary, Kerry, John, Jeremy, Jamie, Phil, Henry and numerous others at different stalls and games. All in all a good social event! 

There were some excellent games on show and as I spent a lot of time chatting I didn’t get to do an extensive set of photos so I’ll just pick a couple for here and the rest will be in the Partizan 2018 Gallery.

For me the highlight game was the 28mm Stalingrad game from Earlswood Wargames Group. An outstanding table that looked like a WW2 battlefield should look!

The League of Gentleman Anti-Alchemists The Biscotti Wars – Garibaldi in Sicily 1860  had some lovely figures and an outstanding centre piece:

The Perry’s put on a lovely 28mm AWI game though I suspect all their games look like this!

And the large Zulu game from North Hull Wargames Club – Battle of Islandwana looked excellent!

And too many others. I’m sure when Henry Hyde posts his official show report his photos will do them all justice.

Thoughts on the games – There seems to be a increase in the use of printed mats and cloths and fur as the base terrain for games. Fur done well looks great (Graham’s Crann Tara game) and the pre-printed mats look really good nowadays (The Biscotti game and Simon Miller’s ECW game) but a couple of games used home made cloths and I thought they just didn’t work and distracted from otherwise lovely figures and terrain. I’ve tried colouring my own mats and it’s not easy so I’m not claiming any superiority here! And other games set the bar really high.

Traders – I was listening to the recent chat from the organisers on Henry Hyde’s podcast/battle chat. It was good to hear some background on how the show developed and the plans for the future. I like the focus on the separate areas (participation, trade and demo games) but I’d really like to see a few more traders let in. I understand there is a waiting list (and a long one for some traders!) but some traders seemed to have a LOT of space.  I wouldn’t want to see traders crammed in with no room to browse but I really feel a little adjustment would allow a couple more of the well know traders in. I did wonder if there could be a ‘new traders’ area. Just small stalls with new and upcoming companies having the chance to show stuff off. With advance orders they could bring stock to cover those and a sample stock to entice new trade.  But what do I know. I’ve never organised a show and I doubt any decision would keep everyone happy…

I’m not really complaining. It’s a two and half hour drive for me and if I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it I wouldn’t go! I left about 2.15, more because I wanted to be home for the kids in a reasonable time. I could happily have stayed ’til the bitter end and chatted away – it’s that kind of show. And long may it remain so.

A

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Ayton 2018

And as the first May Bank Holiday passes we complete yet another excellent Ayton gaming weekend! This was our 8th gathering and this year, as we often do on alternate years, we returned to the C18th with our ImagiNation forces. The background and pre-game campaign was run by Henry Hyde and you can see related updates on this, the weekend itself and Henry’s excellent maps of his new ‘Indian’ subcontinent over on his Twitter account: https://twitter.com/battlegames

The crux of all the pre-game shenanigans was that myself and Purps (the armies of Altefritzenburg and Cress) had secured the pass at Currybad having spotted a large enemy force to the north. This force was commanded by Jeremy and Jamie – the Ayton Virgins! Jeremy in particular has made a huge effort painting up a large ‘British’ force just for the event!

The main area of conflict (used by permission)

Day One

We took up defensive positions behind the crest of the pass, hiding our strength and deployment from the approaching enemy light troops and cavalry.

As the enemy approached the crest our forces gradually became visible.

As the enemy approached Purps threw forward three regiments of hussars! 

And echoing Purps past reputation for valiant charges, they all died horribly!

Slowly as the advance continued our full forces came into view.

I had managed to place the heavy and medium guns of the Legion on a hill to the far right and there were able to pepper the enemy advance throughout the whole game.

It then transpired (for various campaign reasons) that the Two Js were joined by the Big G as Gary P joined our table and started marching on battalion after battalion of fresh troops…

The table was getting very full and the prospect of a successful defence was looking less promising… The upshot was that the weight of Gary’s massed troops and those of Jamie were just too much for me to bear and the elite Guards Brigade was to be the hammer that finally pushed me back and prompted a withdrawal back down the pass. 

Highlights (or not 🙂 ) of the game were my valiant Jaegers skirting the rough ground to take up post in the woods on a steep hill to threaten the advancing enemy. Only to be thoroughly dislodged by heavy cavalry who in one move advanced, changed from column of march to line, and charged uphill and into the woods! I may have felt a tad aggrieved! 🙂

A similar fate was to befall my native Indians. They executed a perfect ambush of a passing cavalry column but refused to charge home! They at least had the chance to run away!

And in the centre one of Gary’s Highland units hit two of mine and rather upset them!

So that was the end of Day One. Much fun had, even if if the odds were stacked against us! Having just about held on ’til nightfall we retired back down the pass to Fizzipop where we rejoined the main army and dug in to await the assault. There are a pile more pictures from Day One in the Gallery Ayton 2018 Day One.

The other game on Day One saw the invading forces marching and assailed on all sides by native troops. I was too busy to take many pics (the odd random one in the gallery!) but there are plenty in the links at the bottom of this post.

Day Two

Day Two is the BIG ONE! 35ft table and a LOT of figures! In the past we have often faced off across the table using our own forces of infantry, cavalry and artillery. This year Dave Hall came up with the suggestion of massing the cavalry on the one flank for a huge cavalry ding dong! The central area was the fortified city of Fizzipop (which myself and Simon (Goat Major) were defending, and the right flank had more massed infantry and light troops.

As you can see, a big table with  LOT of troops. I had the pleasure(?) of defending the old part of the city with its crumbling walls against the argumentative might of Peeler(Aytonia) and Essex Boy (The Gateway). My cavalry were deployed to the left as part of the cavalry wing but were actually facing Aytonian infantry and guns.

My infantry and guns were deployed on and behind the walls and towers and in the buildings in the town.

The general flow to the left (while Dave and Gary fought massive cavalry melees!) was that my cavalry advanced. It was either get peppered by guns of try and run them down while the rest of the force engaged what cavalry were there. The glorious Braunschweig Cuirassiers charged and were met by Peeler’s tripled barrelled organs of death and one volley saw them reduced by more than half!

I sent the flaming pigs forward to try and disrupt the enemy cavalry but they were intercepted by Peeler’s Savage Nuns!

The Legion cavalry (lancers and dragoons) charged to engage Aytonian heavy cavalry. Despite getting in first strike the dice were well against me and both units were heavily defeated!

The highlight of the defence were the Medetian rocket battery who managed to not blow up and despite some very random trajectories inflicted a good few casualties on the enemy!

The defence of the town was a grim affair as the might of the Gateway began to pummel the walls (destroying a tower and gateway) and advanced en masse. My light troops (Grenzers, Jaegers and ambushing Indians) bought valuable time for the defence with the Grenzers in particular dying to a man!

But then the assault began. The Gateway light troops advanced to the two breaches but both were driven back with volleys from the Altefritzenburgers and Legion infantry.

And as darkness started to fall the Gateway infantry made their attack. In the centre they were held.

But on the right the famed Bolyn Regiment withstood a devastating volley and then charged home across the rubbled walls. Despite being outnumbered they pushed back the Legion! And gained a foothold inside the defences!

But darkness would save the day and defenders. With no success in the other side of town the assault was deemed to have failed and Fizzipop was held!

The cavalry battle to the left of the town was a bloodbath! Very few units left on the table! Jeremy was assaulting the toughened defences in the other half of town defended by Simon but wave after wave was repulsed! And on the right the massed infantry of Medetia and Cress (under Purps) stood their ground against the massed enemy commanded by Jamie.

It was a massive game. I think another couple of turns of daylight might have seen victory in the town as the assault from Peeler was about to commence (he never rushed really! 🙂 ) and I just didn’t have the forces to hold them back. All good fun (as Ayton always is) and some excellent feeding and drinking on the three nights though not to the excesses of earlier years (some of us take longer to recover now!).

The rest of my pics are in the Ayton 2018 Day Two gallery. You’ll get some idea of the scale of the cavalry battle and the sheer number of troops on the table

There are some excellent pics of both games (and the excellent modern Africa skirmish game) from Simon over on the LAW forum:

http://www.looseasswargamers.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=281

http://www.looseasswargamers.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=282

And a huge collection from Henry himself on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/battlegames/sets/72157666714688727/

As ever, thanks to all concerned (especially Henry and Peeler) and to my opponents on both days. It was a pleasure (even against Peeler and EB!).

Roll on next year.

 

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