Open Day 2024

Our 2024 Open Day is just over a month away and there has been lots of  progress on this years games. The Open Day is on the 22th June this year. We’re open to the public from 11am – 4pm on the day.

This is a great day to come and see the society in action and maybe throw some dice at one of the various games we will have on the day.

This year we have a good selection of games, which might just be the incentive you need to either get back into the hobby or to find a new home for your own armies and games.

We will have a game of Barons War complete with scratchbuilt castle.

There will be a game of Project Z for some post-apocalypse fun!

The Elephants will be on the rampage in a battle between Romans and Carthaginians

The Soviet/Afghan war will also be covered this year

Along with a big World War 2 battle somewhere in Europe

And last but not least the magical treefolk will be fighting their ancient enemy the rock warriors in an entirely scratchbuilt fantasy game.

Details of where the club meets and location of the Open Day can be found on our About the Society page.

The (Roman) Empire Strikes Back

A ‘Massed’ 28mm Skirmish Game Report, by Peter Merritt


Somewhere in Germany, © 1st century AD, after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest….

The original idea behind the game was how to stage an increasingly large-scale ‘skirmish’ using quite a few very nice early imperial 28mm figures which I had acquired via eBay. Although it started off as 1:1 scale, the idea (and collection) soon grew so that we could actually stage larger conflicts but still retain some of the unique tactical flavour associated with each very different side. To achieve this in a fast, playable form, I turned once again to a fabulous old hybrid board/figure game, “Star Wars Epic Duels” by Hasbro (see links at the end).


The key features of this design are that each player controls a small team, with one main character (say, Darth Vader), plus one or two little helpers (Stormtroopers in Vader’s case). Normal movement is fairly standard, although some variability is introduced by means of a die roll. However, the design really scores because teams also get a dedicated pack of cards which are used for both combat and any unique ‘special abilities’ – such an elegant, simple way to reflect widely varying attributes, and without resorting to thick books of charts and +/- tables!

Although the original Star Wars game was very 1:1 oriented scale-wise (and thus fitted extremely well with early LOTR games featuring the Fellowship), I have also adapted the concept in the past to much larger affairs, with masses of Orcs, Wargs etc vs varying amounts of opposition from the Riders of Rohan. Whilst having so many figures would render a normal ‘skirmish’ unmanageable, by nominating so-many groups per player turn this can both speed-up the playing cycle and reflect the rather hap-hazard nature of combat before the advent of truly drilled and ordered units in the later gunpowder era. But to retain an element of massed if not co-ordinated movement, a simple movement rule addition allows an ‘active’ unit to also drag along a number of those adjacent groups, sometimes more so if enhanced by a special card.

I really cannot stress how much the use of such dedicated card packs adds so much to the ‘period flavour’ of the game, hopefully reflecting the different combat options and other unique actions of the various Roman forces – legionaries, auxiliaries and stirrup-less cavalry – vs the massed ranks of fearsome tribesmen.

Roman Cavalry

For example, the Barbarians can gain advantage by deliberately sacrificing figures in massed attacks or an ‘active’ leader dragging one or more adjacent ones with him (at some personal risk).

Barbarian Druid and Warriors

On the other side, the Legion ability to reorganise and their close-in pilum-throwing are deadly. Whilst your immediate choice of tactics may always be affected by the cards in your hand, like any ‘real’ historical combat, victory will go to the side which can maximise their peculiar advantages whilst exploiting the weaknesses of the enemy.

Legions advance with skirmisher support

Each turn consists of two phases per player, movement then two actions (Romans can do in any order, Barbies guys must move then do one action). Normal movement uses a grid or in this case 4” hex cloth and a die roll to generate movement points; however, some ‘special moves’ via certain cards are also possible, such as reorganising all adjacent bases adjacent to a standard-bearer, or signalling an ambush! Play alternates in a random manner between one Roman then one Barbie group (hex), so it can be that not everyone is quite in the right place at the right time. This has had interesting effects in multi-player games, as the ‘current’ player can choose which groups to ‘activate’ – including any previously organised by a colleague! Finally, once a group has been activated and finished it can only thereafter defend itself until either (a) all players have moved, or (b) the current player uses their turn to ‘rally’ their forces rather than move/fight, removing 1d3 active markers from units/groups. This was especially useful in the game as it allowed for maintaining a degree of offensive.

Combat was computed by hex vs hex, with a small list of +/- factors. Factors were either ‘straight’ card numbers or ‘specials’ which could seriously affect your day. Things like ‘arrow shower’ or ‘pilum charge’ will be long-remembered… Hits were then converted to actual kills (removing a base), or ‘disorder’. The latter sounds easy but units with too much disorder were then increasingly rendered ineffective and vulnerable to a follow-up assault – thus the advantage of having a 2nd wave or reserve handy to blow-away that otherwise formidable unit.

As we had long departed the original 1:1 skirmish idea, the figures were organised with four figures per base for the regular Legion or close-order Auxiliaries, and single-figure ‘clouds’ for skirmishers. Roman heavy units/groups were normally 4-6x bases, which fitted very nicely in a 4” hex! To me, this looked about right for a typical 80 to 90 man century. For the Barbarians, many of the figures I had were already on massed bases, so 2-3 of these constituted a ‘unit’ in one hex. Especially nice were the chariot units which their creator had turned into mini dioramas – the sort of thing which makes our toy soldier games a real pleasure, especially as you’re getting hammered into the ground.

Speaking of the games….


 In the end I had two players fool- I mean, kind and raring to give this experimental version of the system a go, so I thought that they would be best deployed together as the Roman forces with me running a large but disorganised Barbarian opposition (this also fits my style of generalship). I had long decided on an overall plan (“Ok, men – go get ‘em!”), which as sole umpire made it easy for me to both control events and make a hopefully convincing ‘fist’ of a tough time.

Opening shot of initial deployments, with beautiful chariots to the fore!

The scenario, such as it was, had a Roman punitive column probing the territory of the German tribes near the frontier of Gaul, trying to establish if another major incursion was being prepared. As such, Eric and Mark were suitably impressed by the initial set-up with the Romans marching on and suddenly facing an edge-to-edge arc of extremely unfriendly-looking tribesmen.

The hairy barbarian battle line

However, although it certainly had the appearance of a tidal wave of terror about to engulf them, they gradually began to discern one of the key differences between the armies – the Roman organisation meant that units acted (fairly) smoothly in concert, whereas the Barbarian units were much more, ah, ‘individualistic’ let’s say, requiring frantic interventions by leaders to get any sort of co-ordinated action!

Early-on the chariot units thundered in from each flank, creating some wobbly moments for the Roman generals as they overran some outlying auxiliary units and routed a cavalry force which had scouted slightly too far ahead.

Roman Cavalry on their way to a messy end

These chariot units – especially using their rapid speed and special attacks – surprised everyone (including me!), and ended their initial run threatening the flanks of two Legionary units in the centre.

Chariots and escort

With no support to hand, however, the chariot attacks tended to run out of steam as they approached the main line, and as primarily offensive units, Eric quickly marshalled enough counter-force to ensure that they soon took so much disorder that they effectively fell apart. This was repeated on the Roman right flank by Mark, although the chariots here came in in waves (mainly due to terrain, not my planning), and thus caused a few sweaty turns as Mark’s forces had to keep an eye on their own flanks. The downside for the Barbarian efforts was that the sweeping to and fro of chariots tended to block some warband units from advancing together (not that there was much risk of this as it turned out!).

Barbarian centre begins its ‘lunge to destiny’ (ignoring the left flank)

By now the Roman players were getting into both the system and the specific opportunities afforded by each card in the deck, so tactics and plans started to get more ‘subtle’ (as befits the early Empire?!). So it was that what should have been the main Barbie ‘follow-up’ punch by the full weight of centre warbands quickly disintegrated into a hap-hazard race towards the solidifying Roman line! True, several auxiliary units were overwhelmed or brushed aside, but the Legion, with a few awkward moments, held their ground and developed a really nasty-looking right-hook…

As the Roman centre and left hold, the Roman right advance begins to advance…

As the central slog developed and the Barbarian flanks signally failed to get their act together (the chieftain/leaders were a might busy at this point, making some awful activation rolls or, err, dying at really inconvenient moments), it was then that two key factors began to sway the tide of battle:

    • The Roman generals co-operated in using the ‘pause to rally/re-organise’ option for units which had already been active.
    • These ‘reorganised’ units were then quickly thrown-in with support from those ‘brushed-aside’ auxiliaries in two-front attacks, converting disordered units into panicking mobs heading for the forest!

As it became clear that the central assault had failed and the core Legionary units had only been ‘dented’, with no sign of a pincer move from the flanks I thought it time that the tribesmen would consider they’d done enough for today and head home for some serious bardic singing and drinking, thus ending the battle.


 I think I’m correct in saying that the players, once they had mastered the system and individual cards, certainly seemed to enjoy themselves – which is a great end point for any game! Both players – not normal ancients types – seemed to like the idea that the system and cards were so tailored to that specific period and the armies concerned, rather than a ‘generic’ set spanning many hundreds of years which required the player’s experience to supply the realism. As I understand it, dear old Bob O’Brian (one of the key developers of WRG rules) only used to play strictly historical games – no Yorkists vs Egyptians etc.

As the designer I was also pleased with how ‘balanced’ the overall game was, both in terms of forces deployed, and my extremely amateur development of the various cards. It also validated the concept that the core system was so amenable to other ‘asymmetric’ situations, now covering subjects from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Roman Empire and (soon) Seven Samurai. A truly classic system, in my view.

Finally, the fact that my lightweight design had at least as much to do with a reading of Tacitus and Agricola than it did to a rewatching of ‘Carry On Cleo’ was not lost on the players, with one card allowing a bonus action for anyone who could name the actors playing certain supporting roles in that fabulous film…

My tremendous thanks, as ever, to a fabulous bunch of guys at the Maidstone club.


Rules and Card Decks:

As with almost all my games the rules are home-grown stuff and, as such, possible to extend or amend as you wish (the mark of a good product/system in my view). Hopefully these will appear on the blog site ‘real soon now’. If not, come along to the club and try it some time!

Original game:

Details of the original HASBRO “Star Wars Epic Duels” by Craig Van Ness (with assistance from Rob Daviau) can be found here:


Thanks to the advent of so many superb plastic 28mm ranges, the web (eBay etc) is now awash with old and 2nd hand extremely units which can be had for quite reasonable amounts. And if, like me, you can barely paint the side of a house, many of said units come pre-painted. If you prefer the ‘look and feel’ of massed forces, however, the core system is quite happy as (like a boardgame) it is base-oriented, so you can put shed-loads of 15, 10, 6 or even 2mm strips on said bases.

Other previous outings:

    • ‘One Ring’ (Weathertop or Amon Sul): 4+ Ring Wraiths vs pre-Fellowship
    • ‘Fords of Isen’: ambush of Prince Theodred by massed Orcs & Wargs
    • ‘Pelennor Fields’: the charge of the Rohan cavalry vs besiegers, including 1/24th Mumakil!
    • ‘Mines of Moria’ down in the claustrophobic setting with 1:1 Fellowship trying to escape Bernard the Balrog!

(for more pics and other rules, see here: )

There is a great fan-following on the net as well (for this and the original Star Trek game), with lots of suggestions for other card deck, scenarios etc.

BTW, I am also in the process of using the wonderful character-specific card system for such diverse topics as:

    • ‘Seven Samurai’ (final battle in the village); objective for the bandits is to kill as many peasants as possible as these represent the resilience / surrender level, thus making it a challenge for the deadly, professional samurai to protect them!
    • ‘Ranks of Bronze’ is based on the fab David Drake book of the same name in which a captured Roman Legion is sold to aliens! These creatures then deploy the Legion on various worlds which they wish to exploit but are forbidden by the Galactic Council to use any technology higher than the locals! By creating card decks for the alien races, a very interesting mini-campaign can thus be created.
    • ‘The Four Musketeers’ will see a return to fully back to 1:1 ratio, as we can now have card decks specific to the main characters, as well as more generic decks for thugs, mercenaries or of course the Cardinal’s Guard (boo, hiss…..).
    • Really Super Heroes is another 1:1 scale effort, this time featuring the various comic-book heroes and villains such as Batman etc. We may not stretch to Superman, as any character who can alter time and spin the planet around is a bit out of the ‘biff!’, ‘pow!’ league…

 Stay tuned to this blog……

DBA Tournament 2023

The DBA Tournament returned for the first time since 2019, with a new champion – the two headed hydra of new members Mark N and Bob, both new to the club and the rules, who teamed up together because Bob had to go early and they thought it would be a good idea to team up to learn the ropes. Tournament organiser Dave S loaned them his Anglo-Norman army and after a shaky first round, they soon built up a head of steam.

Three Knight and Heavy Chariot armies dominated the scoring leaving the other four trailing. Mike and Mark/Bob both finished with 22 points each, however the Mark/Bob pairing was declared the tournament winner. This was because there was an uneven number of entries and a “bye” result had to be awarded to those who had not participated in a given round. Before the start of the tournament, Dave made a ruling that in the event of tie for first place, that the non bye player would be awarded the trophy. As Mark/Bob had not taken a bye, they were deemed to be the winning contestant(s).

If there is one lesson Dave took away from the day, it is not to loan your Anglo-Norman Army to the newcomers !

Marian Roman v Marion Roman, one hard slog with Colin eventually prevailing.
Sassanid Persians getting a pasting from Mike’s Anglo-Normans
Minoan & Early Mycenaean’s teaching Mark/Bob’s Anglo-Normans why you do not let your Knights get outflanked (A lesson they did take onboard !)
Three Kingdoms & Western Ts’in Chinese just after they have destroyed the Marian Roman General element with their outflanking Cavalry just before the Gladius line could get into contact.

Society Meeting 13th May 2023

A short round up of games played at our last meeting.

The usual FOG suspects staged a 6mm game, Mid Republican Roman vs Later Selucid.

Mark ran a 28mm Judge Dredd game, with virulent scenery, you may need your sunglasses.

Close up of the tower block

Jeremey and Stephen continued their refight of the War of the Roses, this time recreating Towton.

Each were “assisted” by two sub commanders this time, on the Lancastrian side with Stephen were Andy and Tony G, with Tony F and Peter joining the Yorkist commander, Jeremey.

Andy & Tony F both switched sides since the last campaign game (not unusual in the War of the Roses). There will be a full report on this game written up by the victorious commander.

Armies deployed, Yorkist on the left, Lancastrian on the right
Yorkist Centre
More Yorkists
Stephen’s victorious Border Horse.
A truly dismal roll by the Lancastrian’s French crossbowmen, three 1s
Lancastrian centre, what’s left of it.
The Lancastrian dead. Units with red dice were Andy’s, blue dice were Tony G’s and black dice were Stephen’s


Society Meeting March 25th 2023

We had a very good turn out at the last meeting, 5 games in progress with over 20 members present.

First up, John and Alex were play testing John’s Border Reivers game.

All quiet at the Bastle house, for now.
Action at the ford.

Mark ran another Dungeons and Dragons session, taking his adventurers to sea and then deep into the dungeon depths.

The dungeon master looks on as the adventurers ponder their next action.
Action at the Quayside
Dungeon delving
Who let the dogs out?

Paul ran a 6mm FoG Ancients game, Late Bulgarians vs Ottomans.

Light cavalry on the right somewhat outnumbered
The centre of the battle seems a bit empty
Clash of cavalry

Stephen and Jeremey continued their refight of the War of the Roses, using Sword and Spear rules, this time recreating the Second Battle of St Albans. There will be a write up of this game shortly.

The Yorkist camp, artillery and cavalry await the approaching Lancastrian vanguard.
The artillery has fallen to Lancastrian archery, but the first Yorkist reinforcements are now approaching the camp
A Lancastrian pike block about to dispose of some Yorkist archers, but Yorkist Men at Arms are waiting behind the archers.
Towards the end of the battle, the Yorkists have pushed the Lancastrians back from the camp
On the Yorkist left flank there are few Lancastrians left.

Finally, Mark H ran a War of the Spanish Succession game, using his own fast play rules.

Cavalry advance
More Cavalry
The armies line up
Cavalry wings clash
The infantry engage



Society Meetings 24th September and 8th October 2022

A photo round up of a couple of recent(ish) Society meetings- August 27th and September 10th

Here’s the second of our catch up posts for a couple of our recent meetings.

24th September

A good turn-out for this meeting with 5 games in progress.

We start with Pete’s 10mm Vietnam “Charlie Don’t Surf” game.

A quiet hamlet in Vietnam
US Infantry
NVA troops advance
M113 ACAVs

Then on to some 3D printed and scratch-built Galleys & Galleons, part of the Mediterranean Galley Campaign being run by John.

Galleys advance
Fleets engage
The battle continues

Then on to a 6mm Napoleonic game, Poles and Saxons vs Austrians 1809 using Mark’s Home rules. (Forgive any errors in troop attribution).

Russian Cavalry advance
Russian Infantry and Artillery
Polish Infantry
Polish Lancers

Andy and Steve had another SAGA Crusades bash:

Andy’s Crusaders
Stephen’s Mounted Saracens
Stephen’s Assassins
SAGA Warriors, foot and mounted

And finally for this meeting, Alan ran a 28mm WW1 Blood & Valor game:

French Infantry
German Infantry
German A7V tank
French infantry storm a ruined house
French Infantry

8th October

More games but fewer periods for this meeting.

We start with a BattleTech game, a bit of an introduction for thee rules at the Society, only a couple of photos of these I’m afraid.

Six members contested the Trevor Pearless Memorial DBA Tournament, we managed to run five rounds of three games. There’s be a write up of this in due course, but for now here’s a few photos.

Trojans vs Anglo Danes
Trojans vs Anglo Danes
Trojans, complete with Horse, vs Anglo Norman
Anglo Normans vs Caledones

And finally, some 6mm Filed of Glory action

Light cavalry surrounding the heavies
Light Infantry clash

Society meetings- August 27th and September 10th

We’ve been remiss and not posted a photo round up of several of our meetings held over the last three months. Here’s the first of these covering the first two of the missing meetings.

August 27th

Three games ran at the meeting, first up a 6mm Ancients game using Field of Glory rules.

Alan ran an Eastern Front WWI game in 15mm using “Battles with Brusilov” rules.


And finally for this meeting, Stephen ran a very wet Stargrave game, Waterworld. We should have a more detailed write up of this game soon, but you can find an article about the boat building endeavours of our members here.

Andy’s crew approach a tower block
Tony’s crew encounter a Kraken
The view from orbit

September 10th

We had another three games at this meeting, firstly a 2mm Strength & Honour game.

Stephen and Jeremey ran another game in their refight of the War of the Roses, using Sword & Spear rules. There’s a full account of this battle (written by the victor, of course) here.

Lancastrian defensive position
Yorkist right flank
Yorkists advance

And finally, Eric ran a series of Gaslands races.

We’ll round off the other two missing meetings, September 24th & October 8th in the not-too-distant future.

Society Meeting, October 22nd

It’s been a while since we posted any pictures of society meetings, but here are some from our latest meeting, which had a good turn out with five games in progress and around 20 members present.

First up we have a 2mm Ancients game using Strength and Honour rules, Republican Romans vs Germans.

Marcomanni & Suebi Warbands clash with the Auxilia
Same clash, different angle
Close up of the Suebi Warband
Line of battle

Our second game was a clash between a 100 Year’s War English army and some Ottoman Turks, this time in 6mm using Field of Glory rules

Archers flanking Men at Arms
Close up of Archers
Archers holding the hill
Cavalry charge the Men at Arms
Men at arms punch a hole through the line of Archers

Slightly later historically we turn to the War of the Roses, and a game based on the Battle of Wakefield, this time in 15mm using Sword and Spear rules.

Battle of Wakefield, starting positions. Jeremey feeling somewhat surrounded.

In the background you can see Stephen’s representation of Sandal Castle, you can see an article on its construction here.

Close up of the Yorkist right flank.
Lancastrian Left Flanking force
Yorkist Archers, the small dice show the remaining strength
Uneven archery duel, all units started at strength 3.

Our fourth game, chronologically, takes us to the East End of London, where things go bump in the night. A Victorian Gothic Horror game using “A Fist Full of Lead” rules in 28mm.

Just another day in the East End
A bit of a barney
Hello, hello, hello, what’s going on here aaarghh
It’s not even safe indoors
A Hansom Cab
Police raid a house of ill repute
They’s big n hairy & I be afraid of ’em

And finally, we go to Vietnam, with a 1:600 scale Air game using Thud Ridge rules.  Only a couple of photos of this game unfortunately.

SAM-2 site protecting a vital bridge as a Skyhawk attacks.
Close up of the Skyhawk, pursued by MiG-15s


Society Meeting 23rd July 2022

A short roundup of the games at our last meeting.

Four periods/genres were staged at the last meeting.

First up, a couple of games of Field of Glory, using 6mm figures, Early Alans vs Selucids.

Stephen, Tony & Andy played three, three sided SAGA Age of Vikings games, using the Battle Royale scenario from the Book of Battles. Victory is normally decided by Survival points in this scenario, and that’s how we played the first game. In the second game we decided to use Slaughter points, and in the third reverted to Survival Points, but with 5 points for controlling the central objective (the building) and for each charge made.

The first three sided battle.
Stephen’s Hearthguard
Tony’s Vikings
Vikings and Scots clash
Tony’s Viking Warriors vs Andy’s Anglo Danish Hearthguard – battle joined!
Tony’s Viking Warriors – the aftermath, where did the Hearthguard go?
More Scots and Vikings

The first two games finished with the same result, Stephen won, Andy came second and Tony came third. The third game was a tie between Stephen and Andy, with Tony bringing up the rear.

Alan staged an Early WWII game using the I Ain’t Been Shot Mum! rules.

Germans advance through the woods
British Anti Tank Gun
German combined arms
German advance

Finally, Peter ran a 75mm Lord of the Rings skirmish game. This is a participation game set in the Mines of Moria, with players controlling one main character and one Hobbit each. They must buy time for the NPC Gandalf to cast a delaying/blocking spell on the escape route – before the Balrog turns-up! There will be a more in depth report on this game in the near future.

The initial onslaught, “They have a Cave Troll”
They had a Cave Troll!
Gandalf concentrating on his spell.
The Balrog arrives.

Society Meeting 9th July 2022

A tad late, but here’s a short pictorial round up of the games staged at our last meeting.

Stephen and Tony G ran a game of Sword & Spear (Romans and Germans) in 15mm.

Paul also ran an Ancients game, using his own rules for 3mm figures.


And finally, Marcus and Eric played a game of Marcus Sci Fi adaption of What a Tanker, using 15mm tanks. There will be an article by Eric on this game shortly.