The first meeting of the year is when we hold our AGM – we try to keep it brief, and no more formal than is absolutely necessary. It’s generally a good meeting since we get more attendees than normal and this more games are put on. So rather than dwell on the thrills of the treasurer’s report on the club’s finances (healthy, by the way), here’s a gallery of the gaming highlights of the day.
Photos by Tony Francis and Andy King
During the AGM, John Legg collected the trophy for last year’s Field of Glory tournament from Paul Lymath, the 2018 winner.
Alan Kirk hosted a large 1940 Chain of Command game.
Tony Francis and Jeremey Claridge put on a Celtos game (but didn’t play in it themselves…)
Instead, they both took part in some aerial combat over the Sinai desert in 1956
As always, there was a Field of Glory game going on – the first of the 2020 tournament
And Jon Roche and John Lambert took to the seas in some ancient galleys
I needed another eight figures for a Dux Bellorum game at the club recently, so dug into my boxes of Gripping Beast plastics for suitable figures. I decided to split them half and half, four armed with spears and the rest with sword or axe. These figures are made up of four parts: the body including left arm, right arm with a number of weapon options, head and shield.
They were assembled and painted these up in about a week; black undercoat, followed by shades of grey and brown for the tunics and trousers. A variety of hair colours were used. The paints are mostly Vallejo acrylics, with the odd bottle of Army Painter used. Once dry the figures were treated with appropriate shading paints from Army Painter.
The shields were painted white, and Little Big Man Studios transfers applied. All then given a coat of matt varnish
This year’s Field of Glory tournament started with a 3-a-side game on the first meeting of the year. From the scores it would seem to have been a very close game, with the triumvirate of Paul, Pete and Brett just edging out Colin, Jack and Chairman John 11-9. The FoG league page has now been moved to the blog from the club website – the page can be found here.
At the last meeting we had a game of Sword & Spear – Romans against Germans.
Jeremey took control of the Romans and Stephen had the Germans (we were joined half way through by Andy (Romans) and Tony (Germans) once they finished their Saga game). We did the River Crossing scenario from the rulebook, with the Romans on the attack. Victory conditions meant that if the Romans had half or more of their units on the opposite side of the river during any End Phase of the game they were automatically declared winner.
The Germans deployed first with their warbands stretched out facing the river to oppose any Roman crossing. On the left flank they had the cavalry and skirmishers.
The Romans had their legions facing the river with auxiliaries on the Roman left and the Roman cavalry on the right, having to make their way through rocky ground before getting to the river.
Both armies moved up quickly (we realised after a few turns that we read the group move rules incorrectly, but at least it got us stuck in quicker!). The German (lack of) discipline made moving up in any kind of order difficult and it turned out enough tribal leaders hadn’t arrived, so they also had a few command and control issues since the warbands on the further edges were out of command range (you can see I’m getting in the excuses early).
It reached that point – the Romans lined up on one side of the river and the Germans on the other. There’d been some desultory bow fire but it was quite clear how this was going to be decided. The Romans were on the attack and the onus was on them to win. So Rome’s finest did what they had to do and started wading across the river…
The main fighting was in the middle between the legions and the warbands. It started going the Roman way. They created a bridge head and units were crossing the river. It looked like this was going to be over quicker than we thought. The Germans brought up their cavalry to plug some holes. Out on the right flank things were going a bit slower – the Germans struggling to bring enough troops up and the Romans refusing the flank with their archers pouring fire into the tribesmen. Meanwhile, on the left, the Roman cavalry also took time coming up through the rocky ground allowing the German archers to advance to the river with bows at the ready once the cavalry came into range and sight.
The centre wore away. In one clash the Germans managed to destroy one of the Roman units taking the Roman general with it! The tide of battle was starting to turn and it looked as though the Germans may have a chance of victory. This had come at a cost though – the German units were starting to get weak and fragile from the battle. Realising they would have to be bold and daring to secure victory the German right flank finally managed to get to the river and decided to charge across it at the Roman archers and auxiliaries in the woods on the opposite bank. A bold attack, indeed, and one that was repulsed.
And there things came to an end. In that brief glimmer of hope the Germans had taken enough of a pounding to force them to quit the field. It had been no easy victory for the Romans – they had taken the river crossing but they had also taken a serious drubbing to achieve their goal. A pyrrhic victory at best. But a victory nonetheless.
The club is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday June 23rd (11am to 4pm). This when we put on many games and open our doors for all to come and visit and get a much wider idea of what we do and the games we play. We try to put on a good variety of games across all the popular periods and scales, all of which are open to visitors to join in. We offer a special discounted membership rate for anyone who joins the club on the day. There’s also a prize draw sponsored by local manufacturer Brigade Models for all visitors.
This year there are seven games, including one put on by Milton Hundred Wargames Club, our nearby friends and neighbours. The six club games are as follows:
The Fall of the Ramas Echor – a 28mm Lord of the Rings game set just before the Battle of Pelennor Fields, TA3019.
At the last meeting we had a game of Sword & Spear – Romans against Sarmatians.
We decided to do one of the scenario games listed in the rules: Attack A Prepared Position.
The Romans (Andy King and Dave Sime) were defending which meant the Sarmatians (Tony Gibbs and Stephen Tucker) had to break them or they lose by default. After the sixth turn a dice is rolled each turn and depending on the roll that could be the end of the game.
So there was no time to lose.
The battle field was set up with a hill and wood on one flank, and on the other was another hill, an area of rocky ground, and a villa/farm. The Romans also had a fortified camp which they put in the middle of their table edge.
Since the Romans were defending they had to deploy first. They used their legionaries to form a strong line linking the farm and camp. They kept their cavalry in the rear as a mobile reserve, and put their auxiliaries in the farm with the wall to protect them. Their skirmishers – some light cavalry, slingers, and a few archers – they had out front in the open.
The Sarmatians deployed with their cavalry in the middle. On their left they put the light cavalry archers, and on the right they had a few skirmishers with bows and some Gepid mercenaries.
The game started with the Romans remaining stationary. There was no need for them to advance after all.
Tony’s Sarmatians on the left made good speed, advancing to threaten the Roman skirmishers and light cavalry. The right flank was somewhat tardy in its advance – the rocky ground and poor activation dice making progress difficult.
First blood went to the Sarmatians, who made short work of the Roman skirmishers. It was never looking good for them out there in the open against all that cavalry. There was a desultory exchange of bowfire between the Roman auxiliaries in the farm and the advancing Sarmatian skirmishers.
With the Roman light troops routed the Sarmatian left flank advanced on the Roman line. The Romans feared a mighty cavalry charge and moved their own cavalry into position where they might plug any gap should the inevitable happen. The Roman legionaries around the villa wobbled back and forth, unsure whether to make a charge or to hold their line (they chose to hold the line) and the Gepids finally managed to move up.
The turns ticked by. The Sarmatians were ahead on points but this game wasn’t about who killed most – the Sarmatians were against the clock and if they didn’t break the Roman line quickly that would be it. So in went the Gepids and in went the Sarmatian cavalry!
The Gepids delivered a whallop, but the Romans paid that back with interest. The cavalry charge wasn’t all it could have been and the Roman line held and pushed them back.
It hadn’t been enough.
Dusk fell, and time was up. Game end!
The Sarmatians had destroyed more Roman units but had failed to break them before the last turn.
Though bloodied, the Romans held the field and were declared victors.