Once again, Northleach's premiere annual wargaming event took place on the 25th of September. Thirty-two elite wargamers crowded into the Westwoods Centre in Northleach's leafy Eastend to have fun, and contend for the prestigious Stuart Asquith Trophy.
By the time I arrived at the centre at 08.30, there were already some keen gamers waiting for the doors to open. Soon there were games being set up, whilst my wife (bless 'er) and I finished getting the tea, coffee and biscuits ready, and I distributed welcome leaflets and flyers for Caliver Books. Many thanks to Dave Ryan of Caliver for coming through yet again and contributing books to be awarded as prizes to deserving gamers.
So, let's check out the 9 games that were being played. With most games I'll be giving the name I had from the booking emails, which sometimes differs from the guy who put in most of the work. Please forgive any errors or ommissions - remembering names has never been my strongpoint.
Ian Bailey and colleague brought along a cracking 28mm AWI game set in 1776. They were using the British Grenadier rules. Plenty of action at this 12 x 6 table all day, which looked quite a task for just 2 guys. The quality of the terrain and figures was top notch - and all set up within an hour.
|Still setting up, but the banter has already started...|
This was a 20mm WW2 game using the Battlegroup Kursk rules, put on by Paul and Matt James. They were using the 'Death's Head at Andreevka' scenario from the rulebook, set in 1943, and using an 8 x 6 table. Paul was also good enough to start the day by taking a couple of hours with one of my other gaming buddies (Jon), to play through the same scenario using the current version of my WRG 1973 Armour and Infantry revision. All very useful. The game featured heavy nostalgia value with Airfix Churchills much in evidence (operated by the Russians), and the old Airfix 'Waterloo Farmhouse' (a.k.a. La Haye Saint) forming part of the village.
|Aaah... Airfix Churchills. |
Does anyone remember glueing all those bloody bogie wheels?
|Jon on the left, Paul on the right.|
|The old Airfix 'Waterloo Farmhouse' was recognised by many.|
JP returned to CWD with another lovely 28mm Napoleonic display using the General de D'Armée rules. The game used one of the scenarios from the rulebook, the Battle of Möckern, 1813. A great looking wargame with more excellent figures, all painted by JP himself. Table was 12 x 6.
|Now That's What I Call A Cavalry Melee (1).|
Dave Kenyon and friends brought over a Sharpe Practice game set in the Peninsula. A 6 x 4 table, and once again, excellent terrain and lovely 28mm figures. There seems to be a pattern emerging here!
|Looks like an important dice roll.|
Time For A Break.
Around late morning I decided to have a go shooting a little bit of video, designed as a tour of the hall. I was surprised by the result - everyone was so involved in their games! No bored gamers munching sausage rolls here. And no waving or posing either, just wargamers intent on what they were doing. They didn't seem to notice me pointing the camera at them. So check out a quick tour of the 9 games and the feeling of the hall. Go full screen. You deserve it.
On the subject of taking a break, well known Cotswold wargamer Chris Gregg was present. He didn't bring along a game, but he enhanced the day by bringing along a collection of his artwork and some welcome refreshment.
|What a gent!|
Will Harley is an old friend of the CWD, and brought along his magnificent collection of Spencer Smith SYW miniatures. His re-creation of Charles Grant's Mollwitz game from 1971 has featured on a number of blogs recently, and it was great to be able to see the game 'live'. Table was 10 x 6.
|Steve, Jon and Dave.|
|The redoubt was a real problem for the attacking Prusskian forces.|
|"Just hang on a minute..."|
Nigel Vye, with the help of other members of the Cirencester Club, brought along a fine Nine Years War clash set in 1689, representing the real Battle of Warcourt and set on a 12 x 4 table. The Allies under Marlborough are fighting the French. The gamers were using Beneath The Lily Banners to guide their manoeuvres. Again, the beautiful and colourful 28mm figures caught my eye.
|That must be Marlborough amongst the English battalions.|
|Now That's What I Call A Cavalry Melee (2).|
|Intense gaming! No sitting down here.|
|The phrase 'hammer and tongs' comes to mind!|
Stuart Surridge led his colleagues in a re-fight of the Battle of Qadesh - or something very similar! They were using the Infamy, Infamy! rules with an 8 x 6 table - and yes, a lot of lovely 28mm figures, including lots of chariots.
|Stuart (right) and his team.|
|Outstanding representation of the Egyptian camp.|
|More gaming gadgets. A nice way to track the progress of the game.|
And Finally - Game 9
Last year's winner of 'Best Game', Tim Cull, returned to the CWD with another cracking game, entitled 'The Destruction of Yamhad'. This was set in some of the earliest years of what we gamers call the 'Ancient' period, c.1615 BCE. Tim provided a fascinating 2 page background history to this period, concerning which, unsurprisingly, detail for wargaming is usually hard to find. But Tim had constructed a fascinating 2 part scenario around the little that was known, with the result of the first part affecting the second. Tim was using the club rules of the Farnborough Wargames Society, which apparently still lack a snappy title. More top quality 28mm ancients figures were in evedence - and lots and lots (and lots) of chariots. I very much fear Tim and his friends significantly out-charioted the Qadesh game, which was in the same side room. Bad luck Stuart.
|Part 1 in progress.|
|And more chariots.|
|You guessed it.|
|Gaming gadgets again! Tim's 'chariot swerve' device. Nice!|
|Part 2, from inside the walls of Yamhad.|
|Outside the walls - a great wargaming scene.|
Yes, no CWD would be complete without the prize-giving, which is really just my way of thanking all the gamers who have taken the trouble to bring and set up games for us all to enjoy. I make no apologies for giving another shout-out for Dave Ryan and Caliver books who made these prizes possible - order some stuff from these guys immediately! The company is a great supporter of the hobby.
And so, without further ado...
|Nigel Vye and his Cirencester compatriots won Best Game.|
Keeping 7 gamers involved for around 5 hours is no mean feat.
|The winning team, with the Stuart Asquith Trophy.|
|Best Models - Paul James.|
Building six Airfix Churchills has to earn you something.
|Best Terrain - Ian Bailey. |
A fine looking game all round, but it was the flashing gunsmoke that clinched it...
|Honourable Mentions - the other 6 gamers that made the day what it was.|
Everyone gets to choose a book.
And Finally, Finally...
Well, all the biscuits were eaten (the sure sign that Real Wargamers had been present), and it was time to pack up and go home. But some people were enjoying themselves so much they didn't want to go home. This is Paul and Matt refusing to leave until their WW2 game was resolved. Well, I guess I did say 5 o'clock. I salute your stalwart dedication to the cause, gentlemen!
And So We Say Farewell...
... to another Cotswold Wargaming Day. That's 4 in all so far, and I count all of them as definite successes. Always a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, with excellent games on offer. I continue to be struck by how attendees conjure such fine games from the back of their cars - the terrain is up in 20 minutes, the figures set out in another half an hour, and voilà!, a game that anyone would be proud of. Well done everyone - and I'll see you next year!