500th Post! AAR Ayton 2019 finally…

Usually I get the Ayton games written up and blogged within a few weeks of the event while the ‘stories’ are still fresh in my mind. No idea why writing up Ayton 2019 (2019!!!) has taken so long. Partly, ‘stuff’ happens to distract me and lots of pictures get posted on the LAW forum as well and then everyone moves on to new projects. If there is a delay then the impending next Ayton usually spurs me to get it done but this year…Coronavirus…so no Ayton…

I’ve also been doing daily updates on Facebook and Twitter and kept this up from the start of the year, through lockdown and right up until last month when I had two weeks off for a holiday in Cornwall. And that killed it. Nothing done since and no real desire to paint… I’ve consoled myself with buying boardgames…which I’ve not played either (bar a couple of goes at The Hunters…). There was a plan for a mini-Ayton meet/game next month but new lockdown rules and other complications have scuppered that. This is going to be the 500th post on my blog. Not a HUGE number considering how long I’ve been going but a milestone nonetheless. I’d thought actually getting a game in (even solo) and writing that up would be good. Even an ASL game as that is how my blogging started. But time/space/will preclude that… So the best I can manage is to finally write-up last years Ayton games. There will not be much in the way of narrative as my memory of events is clouded by age and time (and alcohol…) but hopefully a good few pretty pictures.

So what did the weekend entail? The Main Event was to be a huge 28mm AVBCW (A Very British Civil War) themed game set IN Ayton. More on that anon. But there were also a few side games on both days. On the Saturday myself and Essex Boy (Iain Burt) decided to roll out my 15mm AWI collection. This prompted a mini painting spree for me finishing off some guns and odd units, a little re-basing, and Iain was good enough to paint a Hessian Brigade and a French Brigade! This gave us quite a large force. After a few debates we ended up using Black Powder. I’ve played (and like) British Grenadier but they are not the rules for a quick, fun game where one player doesn’t know the rules and the other hasn’t played them for nigh on ten years! So Black Powder it was with the added benefit of several other players at the event well versed in them who we could hassle for advice when needed.

I bought a load of my scenery and Iain a load of his (mostly trees) and we came up with what I thought was a rather splendid little table. We tried to allow a decent amount of open ground and felt that the woods at either end helped to define the space.

The battlefield prepared

The main course of the game was as follows. As the American player I pushed skirmishers forward in the centre to try and slow the British advance and move my line forwards to the fence lines. On my right the British advance down the road was to met by my French troops moving forward to try and catch them before they had chance to deploy. And on the left my Continentals pushed slowly forward to face the Hessian brigade advancing towards them.

The Hessians had some success on the left, gradually pushing back my troops but the line was holding. On the right the French did not fare well… The main push seemed to be in the centre and although the line seemed to be holding the British were gradually gaining the upper hand. With the French pushed back this threatened the flank in the centre and it looked only a matter of time before that began to tell and the centre would be in big trouble. Fortunately, at that point, we ran out of time! So a draw was declared! 🙂

The resident Black Powder experts pointed out that we had played a few things wrong, missed stuff about brigade morale etc. but it didn’t really matter as it was great fun! I’m sure Iain’s memory of the events and outcome will concur with mine…

On Day One Tim H and Norm and others had an excellent 28mm Modern African ImagiNation game. It looked excellent but I only managed a few pictures.

Although there was a Day One to the big AVBCW game I didn’t really get chance to take pics. But when the BIG table was set up for the next day I did take a few of the calm before the storm in Ayton….

The Big Game

And so we come to Day Two. Day one saw three games played to set up the big game for the Sunday. The forces involved were rather varied…

It is May Day weekend, 1938 in the sleepy village of Ayton.

Unbeknown to the inhabitants going about their daily fetishes erm rituals erm no.. chores, the village and its surrounding area have become strategically important to commanders of two of the major sides in the eruption of civil unrest across the realm.

The Royal High Command have tasked the commander of the local militia (NADGER), to rally support with sympathisers and ensure possession of key objectives that control the main routes between Scarborough and York, thereby ensuring that the King will be able to travel for a morale-boosting donkey ride photo shoot for the Daily Mail on the beach during the forthcoming Whitsun Bank Holiday.

As local area commander, Burton Coggles put out a call for the bravest, fiercest warriors aligned to the King’s cause. Since they were unavailable the following militias have gathered to carry out his orders to the best of their ability;

Northern Auxiliary Defence Group (Eastern Region), NADGER
Bury Unionist Militia, BUM
Local Scarborough Constabulary (Violent Section)
East Yorks Motor Services and allies
HM Royal Navy
Plus rumours of a Scottish mobile intervention force (assuming they aren’t distracted going past the Irn Bru and Tunnocks factories)

The North Yorkshire branch of the Republican Workers Dietary Policy Bureau have similarly identified the region with strategic significance. The plan is to establish a supply chain of alternative lifestyle foodstuffs between Scarborough harbour and the sweets and chocolate factories in York. It is essential that the main roads from Scarborough are kept open to allow the free flow of hummus to the proletariat.

Chairman Mauve of the Vegan Alliance Group has been ordered to mastermind the seizure of key objectives. His assembled forces represent a the whole range of military capability from amateur to incompetent.

Vegan Alliance Group (VAG)
Bury Regional Association of Police Officers (BRA-PO)
The Gateshead Curry Company
The Burgraviate of Altefritzenburg
Belgian Expeditionary Force
South Wales Borderers Re-enactment Society

Both armies have strict instructions to avoid civilian casualties or damage to personal property or buildings. The support of the local population will be crucial in the coming months.

Rules used were Went The Day Well with a few amendments to cope with the varied troop types. I paid scant attention to the meticulously worked out scenario and only knew that I was bringing my combined Altefritzenburgers (Germans in green) and my Fallschirmjaeger on to the west of Ayton and facing the implacable Local Scarborough Constabulary (Violent Section) under Peeler! Never a fun prospect… 🙂 But I had a surprise planned! Hidden in the ruins of Ayton Castle were my Native American Pathfinders. My ImagiNation has always had a Native American contingent of some kind so these were based on US Paras with bits nicked from the Warlord Woodland Indian set. Anyway… my troops advanced and were met with stiff resistance from the Plod… And then my glider was guided in and dropped another section in the thick of the action! On the left the Altefritzenburgers were struggling to make headway and taking quite a few casualties. The arrival of an armoured car caused concern as my AT rifle was out of action! However, as this drove headlong into my defences the vehicle malfunctioned and was unable to stop or steer! Although it got a few passing shots off it then drove off romantically into the night never to bother me again!

We had restrictions on the number of MGs we could deploy so rather than the mass of MG32s my FSJ should have had they only had the one. This did well until finally malfunctioning and I failed to repair it turn after turn. And then, as a section of Scarborough’s finest marched manfully down a country lane to do battle…I finally got the thing working again…and guess where it was pointing? It didn’t end well for the constabulary…

And that was the tipping point. I was able to move out and advance at pace and flank the troops holding up my Altefritzenburgers and the flank and victory were mine! Despite the protestations of Superintendent Peeler…

The pictures should appear in the order of the action. The one with the line of ex-coppers should be obvious. It was great fun. Well, I enjoyed it!

There was obviously a lot of fun had on the rest of the table but there never seems to be time to take pictures and follow the action. Hopefully the following give a flavour of the action elsewhere!

So, what else happened on the weekend. Mark Dudley popped in and laid out some of his excellent shiny Old School Napoleonics. Lovely, lovely figures.

And in case it hadn’t twigged the game was set in Ayton near Scarborough. Where we were playing the games! You can see the model of the village hall we use and other local landmarks. Thanks really must go to Goat Major, Levied Troop and Purps for the outstanding work on the terrain. It was awesome! And here are the chaps… We don’t always make Iain stand on his own…

And finally, Peeler was adamant my pathfinders wouldn’t have been able to guide my glider in to land close to the Castle. I took some pics of the landscape and I reckon if the Ox and Bucks could manage it at Pegasus Bridge I’m sure my chaps could!

So there we have it. My 500th post and last years Ayton finally written up! This year has been rather weird to say the least and looks to continue being so. After some great painting progress up until August I definitely stalled. Decluttering prior to an intended house move won’t help either but hopefully I can drag myself back to the painting table and take brush in hand.

Thanks for reading this far.


3 thoughts on “500th Post! AAR Ayton 2019 finally…”

  1. Excellent write up, Andy.

    Our AWI game was exciting from first to last. In fact, it was quite literally decided on the very last roll of the dice………remember the British Grenadier charge? Your penultimate photo shows it just about to happen. If the Grenadiers had prevailed, the Rebel army morale would have collapsed. Sadly, the Yanks survived. Bugger!

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