Category Archives: shows

SMOGGYCON 28th November 2009

Today saw a trip down to Middlesbrough (my first!) for SMOGGYCON – the show that is replacing the Stockton Parade Ground shows. So, new show, new venue. The guys from my local boardgaming club (and some of my ASL opponents when I was playing the game) were putting on an ASL demo with a large scenario from the Stalingrad module, Valor of the Guards, another East front scenario and a small ‘pick-up’ game for passers by to try their hand. As I had a few things to do at the show and was expecting a summons home after lunch, I wasn’t partaking of the ASL but I travelled down early with Andy, getting there for 8.30!

The new venue, the Southlands Leisure Center, was a bit hard to find (especially as we had no map and were asking for the Lakelands Leisure Center!) but was a modern, airy venue, with a smaller hall next to the bar and the main sports hall hosting the show, a decent size room for the Bring and Buy and a small ‘cafe’ area. The latter was for me a point of contention as the ‘caterers’ operating out of the small kitchen were way over priced for what was effectively a captive audience. Coffee was £1.60, bacon butties £3, sandwiches £3. Although the food was OK it was not really worth the money and someone had commented that you could see on the price board where they had rubbed out the old prices and written in the new (double) ones! In a proper cafe I’d have paid it, but for a couple of people with a table operating out of a kitchen it was taking the piss! Rant over…

I’ll apologise in advance for the photos as even by my phone’s standards they are crap!

The main hall:

ACW game by Steve Ord:

The Old School Wargames 30mm SYW game by the Independent Wargames Groups (I think!):

Tyneside Wargames Club Battle of Neville’s Cross in 15mm using Great Captain rules:

A rather nice WW1 Trench game:

This looked nice and I eventually sussed that it was associated with a nearby stall but the whole time I was there I never saw anyone actually AT the table! Was apparently by Game of War.

And finally, the ASL guys, Neil, Andy, Brian and Tim:

Bring and Buy

This was located next to the ‘cafe’ off the smaller hall and was rather disappointing. The space was good but I don’t think the tables were ever more than two thirds full. And there was nothing there to take my fancy. Again, maybe first show and uncertainty of turnout so why bring stuff that maybe won’t sell? Hope it is better next year.

And I also met up with Peeler having missed him at the last couple of shows!

Purchases: the important stuff!

This was less than planned. I’d been hoping to pick up the river sections from Brian at Mutineer Miniatures but he still had another coat of varnish to apply so they will be arriving by post next week. I did buy some short grass tufts though. And was very tempted by their new 28mm Indian Mutiny range. From Dave at Caliver I picked up a copy of Lasalle. This is very nicely produced and I’m looking at how to do some figures to fit with this as it’s unlikely anyone at the club will follow as there is a firm Empire V group and the growing Grande Armee team. I’m vaguely tempted to try something in 6mm that I can adapt to use in Grande Armee as well. We shall see.

I did a search for a suitable Demon type figure for my AWI Witch Scenario but nothing suitable could be summoned forth. I was tempted by Sommerfields books on the Prussian Army but at £30 each they may have to wait! Maybe a suggestion for Santa?

I managed to resist the Pendraken 10mm – at least for the moment – and the only lead purchases were some Irregular 6mm Prussian generals, some guns and some casualty bases. With the latter, such is my deteriorating eyesight, that I had to take his word that there were actually some dad figures on the base! I was very tempted by a Baccus Napoleonic Starter pack that Gateshead Gaming were selling. Originally c.£90, it was going for £40 with only a few figures painted/undercoated. Although I’d probably not have used all the bases or the rules it would still have been a good price. And here lies the moral. Buy it when you see it! Went back 10 minutes later and it had gone! Fate…

Apart from a pot of Humbrol Prussian Blue and some dice and markers for Grande Armee, that was the lot! I’m sure my wife will be grateful for that with Christmas approaching!

It was, all in all, a good little show. Close to Christmas with the current economy there was always the potential for a slow day, but I felt the turnout was good. A couple of traders/demo games failed to show but generally the turnout was good. The Middlesbrough club staff were enthusiastic and helpful and also seemed to think it went well. For a first show it was good and deserves to do well next year. Given the number of other shows on at the moment I wonder whether they’d be better taking the old Spring Parade Ground date? Either way, congrats to them and good luck with the next one!

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Off to SMOGGYCON tomorrow…

In the early hours of tomorrow I’ll be heading to Middlesbrough for SMOGGYCON, the show that is effectively replacing the Stockton Parade Ground show. I’ll be helping out with an Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) demo which hopefully will remind people what a great boardgame system this is and that it is still alive and kicking! The plan is to have one of the big Stalingrad scenarios playing and maybe a another as with the big maps and a lot of counters they look quite impressive. I know they’re not quite as photogenic as a figures game but they have their own appeal and it is a great system. And a lot of people who bought and played it in the 80’s and early 90’s often don’t realise the system is still going and being added to. Hopefully this will draw in new blood!

I’m also hoping to pick up a copy of Lasalle as well as my rivers from Mutineer Miniatures – assuming Brian is recovered from his virus and has finished them! 🙂

Other than that it wil be the usual cae of wandering around and looking for new toys! Hopefully the bring and buy will be good but to be honest I need to be sensible what with my daughters 4th birthday, next week followed by Christmas and then my wife’s 40th on New Years Eve!

I’ll also hopefully get to say high to Peeler as we’ve managed to miss each other at the last couple of shows! I’ll try and take some pics and post a report over the weekend.

See you there!

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Derby World Wargames 2009

On Friday I made my annual pilgrimage to Birmingham to travel across on the Saturday morning for the Derby World Wargames, my main (only) big show of the year. This time I managed to get away early so arrived in Brum at 2.30 with a few hours to spare before meeting friends. Upon recommendations my first call was Ian Allan’s bookshop just off New Street. I could have spent a fortune here, especially on WW2 stuff, but as that is not my main focus at the moment and I didn’t want to eat into my show budget, I refrained. Partly on the grounds that anything I saw and wanted would probably be at Derby the next day anyway! Still, definitely a recommended visit if in Brum.

Next call was to Wayland’s Forge, a new (to me) game shop in Fletcher’s Walk shopping arcade. They have a good range of Euro type games, fantasy figures and a small but respectable range of historicals. Highlight for me was them selling packs of Old Glory 15mm Ancients for £5 each. There were the old style packs with the 48 figs so were an excellent deal. I managed to be restrained and only bought 5 packs: 2 of Gallic Cavalry, 1 Lusitanian infantry, 1 Oscan Javelinmen and 1 Belisarian Heavy Cavalry. Bargain really but totally unplanned!

The evening was passed with a curry and visit to the far from salubrious Feller and Firkin in Erdington – a classy establishment we left once we’d ID’d the guys obviously looking for a fight! An early start saw us in Derby before 8.30 and in time for a good breakfast! I had a bit of running around to do for friends first – swapping stuff from the Newcastle Show – but then spent the day wandering round the show.

So what was it like this year? Well, the usual good selection of traders with the only problem for me (and a few others) was the lack of East Riding Miniatures (due to Tony having a leg injury) and consequently the main source for MDF bases. I’ve ordered mine online now so hopefully they’ll arrive this week.

Demo games were generally of a high standard, with a couple of good 6mm games on show. I had been looking forward to seeing the Guilford Courthouse game (by Barlaston Club – Stafford) but to be honest I was a little disappointed. Nice 28mm figures but the faux fur terrain just looked the wrong length and shade/s of green to me.

They were using Rank and File rules and I still have reservations on the suitability of generic horse and musket rules covering the AWI.

Had quite a long chat on this theme with Paul Marsh who was helping out on Flashing Blade and is a fellow 15mm British Grenadier player from the General de Brigade forums.

Other games that caught my eye? The Raid on St Nazaire was excellent and the 1st Corps/Curteys Miniatures Battle of Magnesia with very nicely painted 28mms looked the part.

And I had a nice chat with the guys on the Society of Ancients stall who were doing small participation games based on Neil Thomas’s Ancient and Medieval Wargaming rules. I had intended taking my good camera – but forgot – so the only pics I have are from the less than stellar camera on my phone!

It was also good to see Donnington there. Having just finished some of their Celtiberians it was nice to see the whole range on show and VERY nicely painted. Donnington always look a bit static and basic figures in their unpainted state. But with a few bent arms and a good paint job they look very good. Donnington offer a painting service and having seen the quality of the figures it’s one of the first I’ve been really tempted by!

I also picked up my copies of Extra Impetus 1 and 2 which Lorenzo had brought over from Italy as he was playing in the Impetus tournament. This was secreted away in the North Tower and took some finding. They all looked like they were having fun anyway!

There was obviously a lot more there but I was a little slack taking photos and spent a lot of time just chatting. The Bring and Buy was disappointing as well for me (the curse of eBay?) and I bought nothing. There was a large 15mm Polybian Roman and Spanish army but it was £140 and to be honest with the standard of the paint job I’d have thought twice at paying £40!

And so to the damage. What did I pick up on the trip?

  • The five packs of Old Glory 15s the day before.
  • Ospreys: Celtic Warrior, Rome’s Enemies: Spanish Armies, Late Roman Infantryman and Cavalryman.
  • Ancient Warfare magazine on Rome’s Conquest of Spain
  • 2 packs of Xyston Gallic Archers
  • Freikorps: Rep. Roman Infantry command, generals and casualties.
  • 1 pack of shield transfers
  • 3 Museum Miniatures Spanish cavalry and 4 wagons
  • a load of Baccus 6mm for the start of my Early Byzantines!

Although I’ve been trying to decide on scales etc. for this for a while I finally decided to give 6mm and Impetus a go. Baccus don’t do a specific range but a mix of Late Roman, Hun, Sassanid and Sarmatian figures will do the trick (especially in 6mm!) and I’m quite looking forward to putting these together. Pete at Baccus was very patient and helpful in sorting appropriate figures and I’ve just ordered another couple of packs and some of his ‘short’ static grass. This is not to say I won’t do an Early Byzantine in 15mm with Khurasan at some point, just that I want to focus my 15mm painting on Punic Wars and back to AWI for a while.

So overall it was a good day. Only marred by hitting Derby Station just as the Sheffield Wednesday supporters were leaving town! Once they cleared the train at Sheffield it was a good trip back, reading through my Ospreys and answering questions on Roman and Celtic Gods from the bloke sitting opposite who’s daughter was doing a school project on them!

Oh…and I met up with Eccles and Levied Troop from the WD3 Forums for the first time and was relieved to see they didn’t look anything like their avatars and were fine chaps to boot! It’s always good to put faces to the online persona’s and even better when you don’t regret meeting them! 🙂

Next up? Well, I’ll be finishing the basing on my Celtiberian BG in a day or so and they will appear here. And then I’ll sort the Balearic slingers and commands stands while planning how to do the Byzantines and what technique I’m going to use to paint them. I figure if I’m going to do anything 6mm then it better be now before my eyesight goes altogether!



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Border Reiver – 5th September – AAR

So, with cash in hand I entered the Arena, Newcastle for this year’s Border Reiver Wargames Show. I’ve missed the last couple, mainly due to kid type duties but was keen to go this year. And for me it was a good show. The lighting level in the Arena was, as usual, bloody awful and with my failing eyesight it made close investigation of anything hard work. But there seemed to be more traders this year and more representation from local clubs.

Tyneside Wargames Club were running a large 10mm Malburian game. I only have a couple of pics from my not brilliant phone but they give a good idea of the games scale and look. Hopefully the Club Blog will have a fuller write-up soon.

From South Shields, the Shot and Shell Gamers ran an impressive Bloodbowl game with an excellent arena. The club meet on Sundays but it’s unlikely I’ll have a free day to make it over for a visit. There is also a very active club in Blythe. Local suppliers Under the Bed Enterprises and Gateshead Gaming were also present.

The Bring and Buy was a little disappointing, maybe the eBay effect again, but there were a few bargains to be had. There were 4 boxes of 15mm AWI at £50 a box (c.130 figs in a box) which I was very tempted by but I have a good few AWI as is and there were Old Glory which I felt would not fit in well with the predominantly Essex, Freikorps and Polly Oliver I have. Also the painting style was not a good fit. So I resisted and someone else got a bargain!

So what did I buy? Lots of odds and ends really…

three Ospreys. Cannae, Romes Enemies: Gauls, The Hun, Scourge of the West.
a copy of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy with stuff on Numantia and Saguntum
the latest Ancient Warfare with lots of good Punic War content. Very impressed.

figures: very restrained here. Just a single battle pack from Lancashire Games of their Republican Roman Legion. However, Pete from the Club had bought down a bag of 15mm Early Byzantine Cavalry he’d sculpted a while back and cast a few for me.

terrain: a couple of unpainted TSS field castings as an alternative to making all my own from scratch, and some Silfor grass tufts. These latter were from Mutineer Miniatures from West Lothian who also do some rather nice terrain pieces. I’m planning on getting some of their river sections as they offered to match them for color with my own terrain. Their website is still being fully populated, but they were friendly, helpful and I shall be putting some business their way. The tufts I’m hoping will add to my marsh terrain and maybe make a few figure bases a little more interesting.

So not that much really, but then I am planning on going to Derby next month so will need to preserve a little cash for that!

And finally…there is a boardgames club meets just down the road from me every fortnight. They seem to mostly play Euro games but there are a few with more historical interests. My regular (but not for a year or more!) ASL opponent Neil has been going down with his new opponent and playing ASL there. Today, the club had a few tables and games running and Neil and Andy were playing a Valor of the Guards Stalingrad scenario. Neil had brought down relics from his recent trip to Stalingrad (including his rat!).

Although he keeps winding me up about my apparent abandonment of ASL and move to figure gaming he did buy a 20mm ruined Stalingrad building and 5 packs of 20mm Russians! I’ll have him figure gaming yet!

So that was my show. I’d hoped to meet up with a couple of guys from the WD3 forum but it didn’t work out. All in all a good day and I look forward to next year!

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Well, made it to York on Sunday. My first time at Vapnartak since it moved to the racecourse. The old venue was ‘characterful’ but not ideal in terms of space and lighting. The new is excellent. Not as spacious as say Derby but good none the less. We arrived about 10:30 to be greeted by cars stuck in mud in the parking area but got a spot and headed in. I’d arranged to meet Eccles from the W3D Forums to hand over some Polly Oliver AWI Brits but he texted to say he couldn’t make it.

I’d also arranged to meet Mark who I’ve been negotiating buying some 15mm Polly Oliver AWI from. These were very nice figures: 12 DeLancey’s, 24 Grenadiers, 30 Light Infantry and 18 Casualty figs. There’s a part pic of Delanceys in the post above and I’ll post more when I get them rebased.

Other purchases included:

Pre-cut mdf – both bases and random shapes for woods etc.
Some flock and ‘field’ material
British Grenadier Scenario Book 1
Armies of the Seven Years War: French and Reichsarmee
GMT Monmouth boardgame for £12 on the B&B for £12
Some more Basetex

And for the first time ever I think, NO unpainted figures!

Saw most of the display games but nothing really grabbed. Not to say it wasn’t nice stuff, just not in my interest area – I’m a bit funny like that 🙂

We ended up leaving about 2pm, partly to avoid the impending snow. Enjoyed it though andwill be going again next year, wife permitting!

I’d bought one pack of pre-cut mdf bases which I really like the idea of but they are twice the thickness of the card I use and for my AWI I think the difference shows in 15mm. May use them for my next project, whatever that may be!

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