David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


...and Wargames Shows in General. Phil collected Jon and I this morning for the short hop from Wolverhampton to Great Barr as we had planned to attend Wargamer, the final show of our wargaming year before going into winter quarters! Wargamer makes an interesting contrast with the much larger two day show, Warfare in Reading, which we'd attended last month, but, in its own way, it was a more satisfying venture this year. The latter is a show I've always enjoyed but which this year was a real disappointment, not to mention a hazzard in the large hall with the 'interestingly laid' carpet!
As a former organiser of the Alumwell club's WMMS show in its early years, I've always felt it important to support smaller local shows whenever I could, although in truth I always thought the £4 entry fee to Wargamer a tad steep, even though now I get in for £1 as an over 60!! This year I would not have carped at the price: there were some interesting games and the traders provided me with the things I had on my List!! Wargamer is clearly at the cusp of growth into a more significant show in the year's roster of events here in the Midlands. Another plus for me with the show is that I get to meet some gamers I've known for a long time, but who don't travel so widely to other shows around the country as we 'GHQ Irregulars' always have. The show does suffer though from one drawback, being held in a school's Sports Hall of a certain vintage ~ "The Curse of the Yellow Lighting!"

There were games I really enjoyed looking at today, and I'd like to share two with you first of all because, for me, they neatly encapsulate the different approaches folk in our hobby take to the look of their game. First up, the Shrewsbury Wargamers' French & Indian Wars game. These chaps can always be relied on to have splendid looking terrain and buildings, together with well painted figures and equipment, always making an effort with their presentation to draw in the passing gamer.

The second game is a different creation altogether, staged by Dave Page from Kinver. Dave is a life-long gamer who attends a number of local shows, always accompanied by Erica his wife, with his wide ranging collection of 20mm games. Dave's games have that decidedly Old School look to me, but they never fail to interest me with the vast selection of items on display to catch the eye. Dave's terrain is always functional as well as clever in its simplicity, very game friendly, but always looks somehow 'right'. His offering today was a SCW game, making the anniversary of the Battle of Jamara. It looks very different from the first game, but is equally effective as a display I feel and has the added advantage to passing gamers in looking immediately more achievable for a solo player or a small group like ours. It has suffered in my photo more than most from the yellow lighting!!


 Now both sorts of games have a place in the hobby: too often the 'Gamers Porn'  offered in the hobby magazines and some Forum Boards must act as a deterrent to some entering our wonderful hobby or from offering their own games for our delectation at some future event. For the really Old School gamers there was even a WRG Ancients game on show, almost a museum piece in a way as a Display Game in a modern show, but perhaps important in that it shows once more that gaming and gamers are a very 'broad church' hobby indeed! 
Now, I have something personal I'd like to say. This short blog entry has taken me over three hours! Neither Blogger nor Photobucket work for me: both softwares will freeze or simply refuse to do what you direct. Until and unless the folk who manage these disasters can sort that out I have better things to do with my time! And anyway, hardly anyone ever bothers to leave any sort of comment, so my posts are clearly not really of interest to many folk.


  1. Thanks David for tour report and photos. The SCW game looks impressive.

    I hope you can continue with your blog, but I can understand if you don't.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks for the posts on your blog. They have been fun to read.


    1. Thank You, Helen! A Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

  2. WE had a good trip down exploring much of south Staffordshire on the way - and we now know in person where Phil either lived or worked and where most of his relatives lived as well - Little Bloxwich will never be quite the same again - thanks for the lift Phil!
    Unfortunately Phil & My ploy of taking Mr. B along and acting like his carers to gain entry at a discount failed rather miserably. We have to be careful because Mr.B now has a weapon (his stick) with which to beat people with. Funny thing though, we were ALL showing a noticeable limp by the time we arrived at the door .... weird!
    Show was quite good - met loads of folk I hadn't seen since the last Wargamer and had several jolly festive chats.
    Some nice games on show, I especially liked the SODs massive Napoleonic game BTW using Grand Manner rules which showed how BIG games should be done.
    MR.B lead me astray (as he often does) I ended up purchasing some more Foundry Caesarian Romans from Colonel Bill's and The Thin Red Line (Fosten) from the B&B - We perused one the military book sellers and I am somewhat reassured the my book collection is worth almost £1,000,000:00 ;-)
    And home in time to catch the FA Cup draw .... a good day out.

    1. That's a longer post than mine, Jon! Glad I did n't spoil your day out! Painted those Romans yet? No? Slacking again!!!

  3. Looks like a grea show. I've missed too many this year

  4. Good report, and yes folks the lighting is like that, I certainly couldn't put a game on and be there all day. I echo your sentiments re. blogging, hence my updates are even more few and far between these days. Might blog our Back of Beyond game next week though.

  5. I'm not so much disheartened by Blogging, more by Blogger software which is too tempremental! Looking forward to the BoB game on Saturday though!

  6. David
    I am a constant reader of your blog and shall endeavour to leave comments in the future. Do you check your blog stats for page views? It may be people read but dont comment. My own blog rarely attracts attention or comment but it is a nice diary of my hobby and musings over the years. I dont really care if people follow me or read what I write. Its for my own enjoyment of this great hobby of ours. Please continue as I do enjoy your posts, much like I enjoyed your pieces in WI over the years.

    1. Thanks, Sean! It just seemed so much effort and so little feedback, the count could after all be just folk who arrived by mistake and departed in haste...

  7. I always look forward to your post David, software problems are one of the burdens of the modern world. Hope you over come the Blogger gremlins and keep posting. Have a good christmas and all the best for 2013 to you and yours.

    Love the "going into winter quarters"

    All the best


    1. Thanks for your best wishes, but not perhaps for the rather downbeat assessment of software!! Happy Christmas to you and to yours and may 2013 be peaceful ~ except across the tabletop battlefield of course!

  8. Good sir, if you fail to continue with your blog I'm afraid I'll have to organize an invasion and come looking for you...wait, wait, wait, threats aren't what is wanted here. How about some gentle persuasion...

    Actually, having taken up blogging myself, I can understand your frustrations but I've found using blogger and posting photos pretty straight forward - but I do use a Mac and iPhoto and don't bother with photo hosting sites at all which might make my road easier than yours.

    Yours is one of my favorite blogs and would be much missed if it went away.

    Greg - from across the pond and across the patch (that being the whole of the continent, well almost, got another 50 miles or so to go as the crow flies to get to the Great Pacified Ocean. (or as I once hoodwinked some back east tourists by telling them it was one of the larger lakes in California! They looked so astounded in their gullibility I had to disabuse them that you could swim to Japan across the lake with sufficient stamina))

  9. David I have read your Blog - both this one and its previous incarnation on and off for about three years. You have given me much pleasure and hours of entertainment over that time and I for one would be much poorer without your blog to visit.

    I am sure you have many legions of 'lurkers' like me. Please KBO!