Monday 19 September 2016

'The Battle Of Trimsos'

When I write 'The Battle of Trimsos', I somehow feel I should add © Donald Featherstone, or maybe ® Tony Bath. For me this is a trademark of early wargaming, and very much a classic encounter. As Mr Featherstone's War Games (1962) was the first wargaming book I ever read, and Trimsos is the first battle described in that book, it follows that this was the first wargaming battle report I ever read. As such it holds a special place in my heart. So when Stuart revealed he had a collection of ancient figures and suggested a re-fight of the Battle of Trimsos, using the original rules, I answered 'yes' immediately.

On arrival at Stuart's, he first showed me a couple of flats which he was given a while back, and which he believes belonged to Tony Bath. Quite something to have.

The map below, scanned from the book, shows the original battle setup. Stuart's dining table is 6' x 3', and so exactly matches the dimensions of the table as used in the book.

And below we see how Stuart had set up the game. The figures are basically 20mm plastics, mainly Airfix and HaT, whilst the horse archers are Tradition 25mm and the generals are Hinchliffe figures. The river is from Pegasus Hobbies, with 'New Bridge' being a Bellona model and 'Old Bridge' a find in a garden centre, originally destined for a fish tank! The wall is a bit of Britain's terrain. The elephants are adapted, in true Old School fashion, from Schleich 'baby elephant' models. The palm trees are from Poundland - another typical Stuart find. The hills are home-made MDF shapes.

The keen eyed reader will see that the units are a bit under strength - 12 figures in the infantry units, only 4 in the cavalry units. And here our problems began. To cut a long story short, we found ourselves discovering that not quite enough figures meant that the original rules didn't work properly, and so we embarked on an 'in game' adaption of the rules that quickly meant we spent more time pontificating than playing. Thus the game was not the nostalgic success we had hoped, but did set us off on the path of developing a set of simple old-style ancient wargaming rules, which promises to be an interesting project. Anyway, a few photos can't do any harm...

The Hyrkanian war elephants thunder over Rat Hill. Hang on a minute - could that be
Roman legionaries co-operating with Ancient Britons in the foreground? Sacrilege!
The 2nd Imperial Archers prepare to defend the New Bridge.
General view of the action after 3 moves.
A close up of the Imperial Archers.

Stuart and I share a high regard for the inspiration that Old School wargaming provides, regardless of any nostalgia value. One great thing about this project will be that it will be designed for the use of any ancients one might have - in fact, being able to mix favourite units from any part of the ancient world into one's army is part of the attraction. So I guess you might call this an imagi-nations project, along the lines of Tony Bath's original Hyperborea and Hyrkania. Our basis will be the rules from War Games, as well as the even more basic rules in The Don's Tackle Model Soldiers This Way (1963). Sounds good to me...


Els On said...

Lovely, I remember playing the battle 30 years ago.
Cheers for prodding a great memory

Ross Mac said...

Delightful troops and a great idea. I started with Featherstone's Battles with Model Soldiers only finding Wargames years later. Still I did try my hand at Trimsos 5 years ago, Trimsos

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

" Sounds good to me..." Me too!

We share a starting point - that was my wargaming read as well...

Keith Flint said...

Ross, thanks for the link!

David Cooke said...

Wonderful to see this sort of gaming. Hope to see more and perhaps your new rules?