Category Archives: ayton

Ayton 2016 – Day 1

What a great weekend! This was our 6th Ayton gathering and it is testament to the pleasure it brings and the friendships that have developed that we all keep coming back. Occasionally ‘Real LifeTM’ gets in someone’s way and they miss a year (this time it was Essex Boy’s turn) but we’ve had a core of regular attendees. EB was much missed (we told him that at least! :)) as were his fine Gateway Alliance troops. And last year our Ayton host Mr Peeler was carted off to hospital and so missed the weekend. Good to see him back this year.

The last couple of blog entries detail what I painted for this years game and this year the size of our forces was restricted and there were no sillies or exotic troops.

This year’s participants were:

The Grenouissian Alliance comprises:

  • Paul ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Bright, Lord Drumcharry, with the forces of Dal Riata
  • Ken ‘MarshalNey’ McGarry, Viscount Gascoigne of Gateshead, with the forces of Whyeydia
  • Andy ‘Count Belisarius’ McMaster, Oberstgeneral Seamus Gunter von Donovan, with the forces of Altefritzenburg
  • Gary Phillips, General von Slivovitz, with the forces of St Paulin  and in overall command.

The Army of Granprixian Revenge consists of:

  • Mark ‘Peeler’ Phillips, Lord Peeler, with the forces of Aytonia
  • Peter ‘Purps’ Mark-Smtih, Marèchal de Camp le Duc du Flappe, with the Margraviate of Cress
  • Dave ‘World2Dave’ Hall, General Amore, with the army of Medetia
  • Dave ‘Buff’ McClumpha, Otto von Weeze, with the expeditionary force from Borscht
  • And Simon ‘Goat Major’ Tonkiss, Generalmajor von Hauptzeige, with the Diplomatic Enforcement Corps from Prunkland(Prunkländischediplomatischedurchführungskorps)

And Messrs Hall and Waudby (The Two Tims) were doing their own 54mm loveliness. I would have loved to have taken more pictures as both their games looked lovely (especially the AWI game) but you can see a few here: Ayton 2016 Other Games.

This year we returned to the C18th and Henry Hyde ran a campaign following on from the previous games and placed within his Wars of the Faltanian Succession Imagination milieu. You can read about the build up and see they lay of the land over on Henry’s blog along with Henry’s very pretty map. Hopefully later this year/next year Henry is releasing a book on Wargames Campaigns which I look forward to.

Depending on the map moves for the campaign we usually have 2-3 games on the first day which gets us back into the flow of the rules and sets the scene for Day 2. My opening game saw myself (with the forces of Altefritzenburg), allied with Ken’s Whyeydian army assaulting the army of Dave Hall’s Medetia as they marched East along the hills while we marched West in the valley and then faced off when we spotted each other. We initially had slightly confusing orders from our CinC sending us West. Which to me seemed a good plan so I penned orders to that effect and was joined by Ken and his Army. Unfortunately our CinC meant East! But the die was cast and battle commenced! Simon (Goat Major) was to take command of some of the Medetian forces as he awaited his own troops arriving on the other table.

I’ve created a big gallery with lots of photo from all of Day 1 but this is how our game went.20160430_105051

The forces of Whyeydia deployed on the left. While my infantry took the centre with my cavalry on the right, supported by a small but very useful Grenouissian contingent. The Medetians chose not to deploy their cavalry on our right. Although fairly evenly matched they would have been isolated from their main force by the intervening wooded high ground. This however left them facing Whyeydia who only had one (admittedly very pretty) hussar regiment. I deployed the famed Savage Swans in the centre to assault the right side of the town while Whyeydian took the left, and the blue coated Braunschweig troops would cross the river and attack the Medetian troops on the hill.

20160430_105126First blood went to neither of us! As we had been scouting the area prior to the enemy arrival we had Jaegers in the right hand woods. Unfortunately they immediately fell foul to an annoyed bear! Losing two figures before acquiring a new rug for the officers’ quarters!20160430_113239My batteries were deployed along the line to support all attacks but as the Medetians had two batteries of heavy guns covering my infantry assault I engaged in some counter battery fire. This was to prove most effective as by game end I had driven off two of his three batteries with heavy loss!

20160430_15363420160430_122419 20160430_153654In the woods our assorted light troops were to spend the entire game skirmishing to no real advantage to either side. As my cavalry had no real opposition I began to manoeuvre them towards the centre to try and support and exploit the infantry assaults. However, on turn 5 a contingent of local Borgenmark troops arrived (along with my remaining light troops and lancers) and they were forced to re-deploy to face this threat. Although my lancer squadron launched a charge against the superior enemy they were driven off. But the flank was secured and both forces faced off to no clear conclusion.20160430_140759

20160430_142436The real action was to take place in the centre and left. Emerging from the town in the centre the Braunschweig brigade advanced across the river screened by their Jaegers. They took some casualties from the enemy guns but these in turn were silenced by their own guns who were to inflict much punishment on the waiting Medetian infantry.

20160430_105227The Jaegers swarmed across the bridge to harass the enemy and cover the battalions crossing the river. As a unit of hussars appeared they were forced to evade and the hussars crashed into the first battalion and suffered heavily as a result. This delayed the river crossing and by game end the Braunschweig troops has just started exchanging close range volleys. Medetia still held the high ground.20160430_12154520160430_12153820160430_14550820160430_151652Once the infantry had advanced the famed Braunschweig Kuirassiers advanced into the centre, taking some casualties from enemy guns, but once these had been driven off by their own guns they advanced rapidly to assault the newly exposed infantry to the right of the town. Unfortunately, the losses suffered advancing, charging uphill, and a volley as they went in left them a little weary and a fine defence by the enemy infantry saw them thrown back in disarray! Sorry Tim! 20160430_12223720160430_161818My main force advanced in four lines, the Swans leading the way. They took casualties from heavy guns in the way in and a fine first volley from the defenders saw the first battalion retire. The second exchanged volleys at close range but the wall was to be the decider and they too retired to redress the ranks.20160430_11272120160430_143329_00120160430_150425It was now the turn of the Altefritzenburgers but they were to fare little better. Often taking fire from two enemy battalions the first battalion was to retire as well and at game end the final full strength battalion was ready for its turn, with the Swans now reformed to its rear.20160430_15170020160430_165144

However by now events on the left meant the day was not to end well.

The massed infantry of Whyeydia advanced valiantly but artillery and heavy volleys were to drive them back from the assault on the town.

20160430_105432Meanwhile on their left the massed Medetian heavy cavalry descended on the them and although they fought valiantly they were gradually driven back on the far left.

20160430_14582520160430_105140The hussars attempted to rescue the flank but were no match for cuirassiers!20160430_151718With their left flank driven back this expose their centre to cavalry charges and as they day close it was clear the assault had failed…20160430_154551The Medetians had put up a solid defence.

Their guns had taken a battering but they held the high ground and their massed cavalry, with room to deploy and no cavalry to oppose them were to decide the affair on the left. And if I learnt one thing about assaulting infantry behind walls it is this: NEVER let Ken roll any of your saving throws!!! 🙂

At that point we declared. Battle still raged on the other table and again did not go too well for our troops. We were eventually driven back and our combined forces were to meet on the open plains north Lit de la Rivière. But that tale will be told later…

We were using Henry’s Shot Steel and Stone rules (as we have always done for C18th games) but this year both myself and Dave were using smaller battalions. Mine being five stands with an added battalion gun to bring them up to six. Six is the minimum for a Normal size unit as I needed to avoid any Small unit reaction test penalties. What we found in the first couple of turns were that a two gun heavy or medium battery firing at advancing infantry were hitting on a 5,6 with 10 and 8 D6 respectively. And the target needed a 6 to Save. Once the heavy guns got to medium range they only needed 4,5,6. Despite a new rule giving a -1 if you have just changed target in covered arc with an additional -1 if outside this often saw a unit taking 5-6 casualties in a shot! One casualty per base triggers a reaction test with potentially a -6 for casualties that turn at least! This saw my first unit recoil quite swiftly! Myself, Dave and Ken decided to halve the dice for guns. Work them out as normal and then halve and round up. We found this made the guns still quite effective but not a killer for our smaller units. It also meant I had a chance to get across the open ground before I lost a stand and became a Small unit. This worked so well that we adopted for our second game (of which more anon) and on Day 2 Henry adopted it generally for all players. It made a BIG difference to our games. We also agreed not to mass guns against a single unit.

So that was Day 1. A most excellent a fun game and played in great spirit. I can’t really comment much on the other game other than that it looked good, had massed cavalry and flank attacks!

The evening, as tradition demands, was spent feasting in the Forge pub and then trying to stay there all night! They eventually kicked us out at 2am….

More soon…



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‘Twas the night before Ayton…

And for once I am NOT painting and basing!!!

I had fairly modest plans for adding to the forces for this years C18th ImagiNation game that Henry Hyde is running for us (see Henry’s Wargaming Journal for the campaign build up) . Henry had placed some restrictions on the size of our forces to curb the Ayton Arms Race. This was also going to be a more traditional Horse and Musket game so less ‘exotic’ units – my Indians will be there but the Altefrtitzenburg Anti-Elephant Battery are in barracks breeding more pigs!

To make up a suitable force in terms of number of units I decided to field my ‘half’ regiments – splitting my 48 figures units and adding an extra command stand. This gave me a 5 stand unit under Henry’s Shot, Steel and Stone rules which is a little fragile. So I decided to add battalion guns to each unit to give something like:


I also needed to do the second command stand for my ‘split’ Braunschweig regiment. The original flags were done for me by Tim Hall – seen here:


But I wanted to do the new ones myself. I had the required Minden command figures (French I think) and spent some time with the GIMP and a template from Not By Appointment to come up with my plan for Braunschweig standards that fitted in with what Tim had already done. Each regiment carries a national flag with the central emblem with the national blue colour. The second standard, regimental, carries a I or II for the battalion (when split) on a background of the facing colour. Tim had reversed the colours of the cross which I think I wish I had done too – and may still do! Anyway, here they are:

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Way back last year as part of the excellent AMG game at Partizan I added a unit of Kuirassier to my Altefritzenburg forces. This was only 12 figures plus an officer. I had hoped to do a full 24 figures unit but time, work and family…


For Ayton I really wanted to finish this unit. It’s only 12 cavalry I thought! Plus a couple of officers. And a two figure command stand! And cavalry take AGES to paint!!! Lots of little bits and when you think you are nearly done there is still the horse to paint! 🙂 But I got them done. The original squadron had red shoulder straps, hair bow and red cockade. I wanted to differentiate the other unit so again, if I split them and do another command stand, they will be a little different. So instead of red the new squadron is green. Quite enjoyed doing the flag as well! Big is good!

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Annoyingly I forgot to add the main officer figure (seen with the original unit above) in these pictures…

And finally, the first action of this year’s campaign was a brisk cavalry action  which Henry has written up on his blog – Ambush at Ubbynedre and fought as a real action with figures and all! As part of this Henry created a commander for my cavalry – Brigadier Weisswurst – who performed rather well. So as a last minute thing I decided I needed a figure for him. I wanted someone dashing so used the Fife and Drum Tarleton figure. And I may use the uniform for my next unit of cavalry!

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And now the troops sit in their mobile barracks as I await doing battle with sleet, rain and snow to get there tomorrow!


It promises to be yet another excellent weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.

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Battalion Guns!

In preparation for Ayton I needed to paint up five battalion guns to add to my ‘smaller’ battalions. I already have one gun with the Savage Swans but needed another and two each for the Braunschweig and Alterfritzenburg battalions. My existing gun was based on 50x50mm to match the infantry bases which was fine when the gun was more of an attached gun rather than integral to the unit.

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Iain Burt (Essex Box), the Picasso of basing, suggested that a narrower base, matching the four figure command stand (33mm x 50mm) would make the integral gun more a part of the unit. Less space in the line. Seems to work.

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Having recently seen pics of John Ray’s battalion guns I wish I had done them with crew pushing them along as it looks very good (assuming I can find the right figures!) and I will probably do this with the next lot.

And the Workbench currently has four command figures in progress and 14 kuirassier. Not long ’til Ayon now! 🙂


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Ayton 2015 – at last!

While working on my review of the year I realised that I have posted NOTHING about Ayton 2015! I posted some images over on the LAW forum but that has been it. This is most remiss and I feel I should get some galleries up and some comments on what was a most excellent weekend!

After getting the tables set up on the Friday Buff ran a couple of quick pigsticking games. I’d painted up a 30mm Tradition 21st Lancer for the proceedings. I have several more of these that will be added to my C19th forces. The game was quick and fun!

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I did manage a few successful ‘sticks’ before getting unhorsed and gored to death!

The main event was a C19th colonial affair where our multiple factions were vying for control of a region of assorted diamond mines. There was treachery, nuns, restless natives and lots of marching in the wrong direction as despite Iain (Essex Boy)’s excellently put together campaign lots of us failed to spot the hidden messages and really had no clue who was on who’s side! Eventually things settled down and we managed a huge Day One game which although on the big table was really divided into three separate areas with distinct objectives. I held the one end of the town and the small harbour and buildings with my valiant (newly painted) Altefritzenburgers and yet again faced the evil and devious Medetians! I’ve got no chance of remembering a detailed narrative now but… my Indians hid (as always) in the rocky area and ambushed (rather unsuccessfully) the advancing Medetians before being driven back to the Customs House. This then became the centre point of the battle as my valiant chaps threw back all comers! Finally the sneaky Medetians launched a river assault (which seemed to come from nowhere!) but despite several assaults by their marines my chaps held fast and with support coming from the town we held our objectives and the Medetians withdrew…

I’ve no idea what happened on the rest of the table but there was a wide range of Colonial types on display! And the rules (written for the day by Paul Bright) worked well. You can see plenty of pictures in the gallery.

Ayton 2015 Day One Gallery

Overnight various campaign machinations took place and this time saw our side moving up river to assault prepared defences. It was an excellent game. Lots of figures. Good fun. Things were looking bad for our side until one player had to leave, his part of the table secure and under no threat. His command was taken by our erstwhile umpire, Essex Boy. Faced with a weakened enemy, from a solid position of huge strength and assured victory, he managed to oversee the collapse of the entire flank! Which handed victory to the forces of good! Lots more pics in the gallery!

Ayton 2015 Day Two Gallery

A truly excellent weekend, as all the Ayton weekends are, and coordinated by Messrs Burt and Bright with much capability. Said capability being sorely lacking in some players as we missed clue after clue! It all came together in the end and was great fun.

And finally, not everyone was partaking of C19th 28mm Colonial goodness. The Two Tims (Hall and Waughby) spent the weekend with their 54mm ACW collections. Lovely painting and a good fun to watch. In 2016 they will be rolling out more 54mm goodness.

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So there we have it. That was Ayton 2016. The usual. Excellent games. Excellent figures. Excellent company! Apologies for taking so long to post!


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Ayton 2013 – The Big WD3 Game

The May Day Bank Holiday Weekend saw the gathering in East (and West) Ayton of assorted WD3 members for the ‘Big Game’. This was the third year. The first two were run by Henry Hyde (editor of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames) and were ImagiNation games, firmly set in the mid -C18th albeit with a little warped imaginations applied! Here are reports on those games, here for 2011 and here for 2012. This year, although maintaining the ImagiNation theme saw us move forward to the American Civil War but with assorted forces (some conventional and some far less so!) joining in the fight. The scenario was devised and run by Tim Hall using his own rules and the bulk of the troops on the table were from his quite stunning ACW collection. But everyone involved brought their own contingents and some of these were a little ‘unconventional’! We had steam tanks, airships, tunneling mole machines and even an (alleged) vampire! And Russians, Turks, Brits. All sorts! It does Tim credit that the scenario worked so well and that the rules (stretched to breaking point!) survived the ordeal.

But all the above was helped by the participants. As with the previous two years, the game was played in the best possible spirit and the evenings, spent in the Denison and the Forge, were great fun, even if I couldn’t face drinking anything by the third night!

So here is the venue:


And these are the fine fellows who did battle:

From R to L; Tim.W, World2Dave (in front), Count Belisarius, Essex Boy, DarkLord, Paul, Valleyboy (front), Marshallney, Buff Orpington, Goat Major, Norman D Landings (on the spiked fence), Peeler, Tim Hall, Purple. These all being their WD3 names of course!

And this is the game in full flow (picture by Goat Major):


I had a bit of a disaster with pictures as my phone decided to ‘lose’ about 800 of the photos on it! I managed to recover some but by no means all. And I think I’ve nicked a couple taken by Goat Major.

The report is broken into several parts.

1. The Silence of the Lamms – the action on my flank told by one who was there!

2. The Mercenary Gallery – pictures of the troops people brought (minus the ones my phone lost!)

3. Union Gallery – Tim’s Union troops

4. Rebel Gallery – Tim’s Confederate troops

The latter two galleries don’t really do Tim’s collection justice. It was a pleasure to play with such lovely troops. And Mercenary gallery is missing pics of a few peoples troops for which I must apologise and blame my bloody phone!

So that was Ayton 2013. A great weekend. Great company. My liver will never be the same….

Next year the plan is for a return to the C18th with Henry running the show. I have a LOT of 28mm SYW troops to paint for this and I really best start now!


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