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.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Farewell to Arms

Yes, its yet another Partizan post! And, its one with no relevant pictures, not even one of the horde of things I bought home with me. Last Sunday, bright and early ~ well, bright and early for we retired chaps ~ Phil and I tootled over to Kelham Hall for The Other Partizan. These shows are in their 25th year and have been from the outset synonymous with high quality games staged by a whole host of talented chaps {and chapesses too, before the PC police strike!}. In its early years even Phil and I were known to stage a game or two. I wonder how many I've attended since that first show? Certainly it must be more than 40. Over on Phil's Blog, News from the Front, he reminisces about those years of rising at 'What time do you call this?' and traipsing over to Kelham, crawling through Derby, being held up by roadworks on the A453 and even being stuck behind a column of vintage buses one year. The things folk do to bring a game to the show! Always worth it though, always provoking really interesting discussion as it did with fellow gamers of all ages, shapes and sizes! Perhaps even being 'rewarded' by a slot in Wargames Illustrated when Duncan added to his catalogue of photos over the day. Then, packing up and returning home tired but happy usually ~ only one year when four ACW Dixon Zouavre units were lifted from the B&B sticks in the craw really. Then, back to work the next day! How did we do it? How do those splendid folk still doing it manage? We should all be really grateful that there are still such a band of dedicated folk willing to give so much of their time and talent, not to mention cash, to bring us entertainment such as the Partizan games provide, not to mention the inspiration! So, to this year's offerings. Well, any comment on a game or show is nothing more than a highly subjective opinion ~ one man's meat, etc ~ so take anything I say now in that context please and don't be offended if I miss your favourite or, heaven forfend, diss something you really liked!

Arriving about 10.10 we found a very short queue, so we were not long before entering the Stygian Gloom that is Kelham Hall. A chat with Andy at The Last Valley and a brief detour to Colonel Bill's to pick up a pre-order and it was into the maelstrom of trade stands, traders, wargamers and wargames that is any successful wargames show. First into the Cafeteria though to discover, wonder of wonders, they had food and coffee this time around. Were the venue's management stung into action by criticism of their staff and service after May's catastrophe? Who cares, I enjoyed a sausage bap and a coffee to set me up for the day. Simple soul, are n't I? Then off to see the Newark Irregulars double header of Arthurian games, and very splendid it was too. Always enjoy the spectacle of humongous numbers of 28mm little chaps on a game, so I was well pleased. I can't comment on the rules, 'To The Strongest' as I've not tried them, but the game seemed to be moving along smoothly whenever I popped back during the day. Then into the Dome where many other splendid games were offered to us. I spent a good deal of time chatting with Dave Andrews at the Bodkins game, a rather spectacular Medieval offering with loads of figures in pike blocks on effective terrain. Highly recommended if you get the chance to see it elsewhere! Next the Derby Wargamers with a very effective game set in one of the early Lace Wars periods. No good asking me, they all look the same really, but it was well up to their usual standards. I think Phil may even have painted some of the figures in the game for Will? Now, I must confess something: although I only dabble on the periphery of the madness that is the Very British Civil War genre I am always a great fan of the games the Forum group put on. This latest offering was no exception to their stable of eccentric and spectacular games. Games featuring armed Morris Dancers, Militia, Regular Army, LDF types and a whole plethora of weird and wonderful vehicles, all on a table which looks quintessentially 'English' ~ think churches, churchyards, cricket pavilions, the local Pub and so on. I spent a good deal of my time viewing getting up close and personal with their game and I'm sure I still missed many wonderfully wild elements! While on the theme of weird, there was also a Very French Civil War game, the first I've seen, which was equally off the wall and really well presented too. Of course, there were many more wonderful efforts on view, all worthy of comment I'm sure, but these were my personal favourites.

Amongst the time spent taking in games and chatting to chums, and even finally discovering the gallery in the Dome, I managed some shopping too! By the standards of many my spend would be modest, but three grandsons does rather dent one's wallet I'm finding! The haul then: two 28mm early FRW Austrian Hungarian Infantry units with skirmish elements and the missing bandsman with the Jingling Johnnie from Trent Miniatures; 4 mounted Norman Knights by Foundry from Colonel Bill's ~ ones Matt made for Foundry, for our Saga meets Lion Rampant Robin Hood games later in the year; a set of Shaken markers from Figures in Comfort for our Black Powder games; an ACW Command Tent from Old Glory; 105 30mm round MDF bases from Warbases; and, finally, three packs of Gamers' Tufts from Great Escape Games. A good day I thought from all aspects and I look forward to next year's shows in the new venue, though I'm sure I shall miss the Gothic splendour of Kelham, sometime...

Since I returned home life has been back to its normal round. A WWII BGK game at Phil's, which I lost of course; painting Hanoverian Infantry for my Wars of the French Revolution project; cleaning up Norman knights so Phil can paint them for me; sorting through my returned Anglo-Danish army which I'm hoping to convert into some Saga sized forces to fight the Normans Phil has painted for me, when they are n't fighting Robin Hood et al of course! I' m also waiting on the first of a 15mm project which has been two years or so in the making, but I'll return to that at a later date when the figures are based and ready for the table top! In the meanwhile, back into GHQ now to set up the table for next week's Wargames Illustrated photo-shoot. More on that anon of course. Oh, and more Hanoverians of course! Toodle Pip!

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