Monday 7 March 2016

Overlord 2016, Abingdon

Following a couple of very pleasant visits to the Abingdon Wargames Club recently, there was a very kind offer to make a table available for an Honours of War display at the forthcoming club show, Overlord 2016. So it was my privilege and pleasure to turn up last Sunday at the venue in Abingdon (a local senior school) to put on a quickly devised demonstration/participation game.

Having made the commitment, I suddenly realised I faced a lonely vigil at my wargames table, having failed to arrange any sort of team. Luckily, my old wargames buddy Paul was free, and a couple of guys from the Oxford Wargames Society promised to pitch up and lend a hand when they could. Thanks Bruce and Peter.

This was my first time at Overlord, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this a well-attended and friendly medium-sized show, with about 30 traders in attendance. Local intelligence sources told me that generally around 300 punters turn up (excluding traders, participating gamers and helpers), and the Abingdon club are to be congratulated on this fine contribution to the wargames show circuit, all made possible by the hard work of club members. I should mention in particular the Overlord of the Overlord show, Simon Davies, whose suggestion led to my attendance.

The Photos

As you can see, this was a very basic presentation. The scenario was one I had developed a few years back, designed to pack a good number of units on a standard 6' x 4' table. Austrians vs. Prussians in 28mm, of course.
The Austrians were faced with a weaker Prussian force, which they intended to attack. However, Prussian reserves in the form of a grenadier brigade were on their way.
That's Bruce and Paul. The Prussian cavalry threw themselves into a reckless charge to buy time,
 as you can just see in the centre of the photo.
Our presentation came equal second in the "Most Junk Food Consumed' category.
My Twix and cup cake were sadly eaten too rapidly to make it into the photo.
This was the first time the recently modelled Count von Lenzbourg had seen active service in a wargame.
Here he berates his dithering cavalry commander for lurking in a cowardly manner near the Austrian baseline.
There is nothing like burger and chips to cheer up a wargamer.
My own quickly knocked up display was surrounded by games which had been the result of rather more hard work, and were consequently a bit more impressive. This was an ancients game using the 'To The Strongest' rules.
Right next to us was this impressively modelled naval game.
It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to find my old friend Craig was at the show running a participation game of Skirmish Sangin. As usual, his great-looking terrain and professional display kept him busy with interested gamers all day. 
Another great looking game across the way from us was this Rapid Fire desert game in 20mm.
It is good to see how these rules have lasted and still have plenty of adherents.

The Austrians lost (again) in a re-run of the result from 3 years ago. Perhaps the scenario needs a bit of tweaking. If you check out the old post, you will see the Austrian right wing is composed of cavalry and light troops. If the Prussian grenadiers get across the bridges, there is not much that can be done to stop them. And the frontal assault by the Austrian main body against the Prussians on the ridge needs to be very well managed in order to succeed. The impetuous tactics of myself and Peter failed with high casualties.

During our adjournment for lunch I was able to get around the traders and the excellent Bring and Buy. There was plenty on offer, but my only purchase was a pot of black acrylic paint for £2. This was not really evidence of good self control - rather it resulted from all my recent wants having been satisfied by online purchases.

To conclude, we had a very enjoyable day. I chatted to a number of people interested in the rules, some who had already tried a few games and some who were intending to get started. There was more than one tale of an old collection due to be revitalised as a result of Honours of War - this was very rewarding to hear. I tried my best to engage anyone who came up to the table in conversation, rather than just ignore them and get on with the game. This was, of course, the point of the day, but it is easy to have a one track mind when gaming pleasurably with friends. I only managed to get one gentleman to actually join in with us for a few turns - I wish I had managed more. But I reckon many gamers who attend a show are rather like me - they like to stroll round, soak up the demo games, check out the traders and chat to friends in a relaxed manner. They have perhaps decided to leave active wargaming aside for the day. And sometimes, joining in a game with a bunch of people you don't know isn't a particularly relaxing or inviting prospect. All this is very understandable.

'Til the next time!


Steve J. said...

Glad you had a nice day out Keith. If it hadn't clashed with Mother's Day, I would happily have travelled up. Maybe next year...

marinergrim said...

glad you had a good day with some positive comments 9which the rules deserve).

Jason said...

Hi Keith,
I saw your game there and it looked very impressive. I wish I had stayed to chat but I had a shopping list to get through which had accumulated over the winter and Abingdon is my first show of the year! I do love that show - the commitment of the club to everything that makes it special (signage, car parking duties, etc etc) is first class.
Best wishes,

Delta Coy said...

Good overview of the game and show. I envy you poms sometime (but not often), having so many opportunities to go to local wargaming events.


Delta coy

Chris Gregg said...

A very nice account Keith, good to see HoW in action.