Saturday, 14 October 2017

More on Derby worlds

I've had this round robin email from the DerbyWorlds organiser as well as being asked to join some possibly non-existant Farcebook group to "present a cohereant front" or somesuch. Now when I followed the suggestions to join said group nothing happened and I've had nothing back from the emailer of the invitation. However here is the text of the DerbyWorlds organiser email in full

Hi All,

Here is a summary of the Derby Worlds 2017 show.  We appreciate all the efforts made by traders, tournament players, demo games and participation games to help ensure the show was a success.  As you are all aware, in March this year, Donington, with no notice cancelled our booking (which was made in March 2016!), and we still have not given the deposit back.  We were faced with cancelling the show or getting something underway.  Options were limited as we needed a large enough venue which also had that date available and as the only viable option was Hangar 42 we elected to go for that rather than simply cancelling the show.  A show rarely recovers from a missed year.  Whilst the new venue certainly has improved lighting, parking and overall facilities, the 20% less usable floor area compared to Donington was always going to be an interim challenge.  Many people think we chose to move venue, but I can assure you we did not want to.  It created a massive amount of unplanned work and substantial cost too.  For clarification, Donington no longer host events, and even the car boot sales, antique sales etc have been left in the same situation as us.

Overall the show went well with the vast majority of attendees both enjoying it and appreciating that it did in fact take place.  As anticipated, the total attendees were slightly down compared with 2016, and that was expected with the venue change.  Total number of paying visitors were 16% down at 1458 over the weekend compared to 1728 in 2016.

We advertised heavily in the press in the 6 months ahead of the show and on Facebook, Twitter and gave out over 20,000 flyers with the new location and details on there, as well as adding direction signs at all major junctions heading to the venue.

The main challenge in regard to space on the day, is that a small minority of traders took a very selfish line and for example having booked a 12ft x 6ft stand, took a 12ft x 10ft space and so reduced the aisle width as well as taking space from other traders, forcing further issues.  Others with a 24ft x 6ft booking ignored direct requests to them (and us physically moving their tables back to the stand size they had booked) and created a 26ft x 9ft stand, again compromising the aisles and other trade stands. The vast majority of traders were hugely supportive of the event continuing and were extremely helpful throughout the weekend, and a number of them even compromised their stands in light of others actions of others.  We are truly thankful to those.  Some traders and demos already have booked for 2018.  Two of our staff members who were key to running the event did not turn up for work despite having those 3 days of the show booked in their work schedule.  That situation has been resolved.  The company setting delivering and setting up the tables were scheduled to be finished at 12.00 and did not finish until after 14.00 which compounded the issue too.

The feedback on the catering was positive, especially in comparison to Donington.  Likewise many visitors liked the fact they could pay their entry by card and keep cash for the show.  The cash machines with free withdrawals were relatively popular, and enabled many to take cash out for show purchases.  The vouchers given out for the tournament entrants worked well and certainly ensure a good flow of sales from the tournament players.

As is the way of the world, it is easy to post negative comments on internet forums and I am sure you have read some of them.  Sadly none of them have taken any time to find out the background or future plans, and indeed contain inaccuracies.  Surprisingly some traders have also made posts too rather than establish any facts.  Some of you have written in, or phoned in, and given us constructive feedback for 2018.  The actions we can put in place are key to the show continuing in 2018 and beyond.  It is nice to note that there is a balance out there and some have taken a more positive tone, with a clear knowledge of the issues that Donington created for us at short notice.

Certainly for 2018 the following actions are being implemented, and I am sure further ones will too.

Marquee outside for Tournaments to allow us to create 8ft trader stands plus 8ft aisles in the main hall.
Marquee outside for Tournaments with booking-in to reduce the tournament entry queues.
Additional signs for the toilets (as although on the plan some were unaware of the 2 toilet blocks on the far side of the hall)
Even more signs at junctions leading to the venue.
Increased Derby Worlds staff.
Look at how we can have the 2nd roller shutter accessed for setup/breakdown too.
Revise the setting up of the tables to increase the start time available on Friday for setting up from at least midday.

Derby Worlds 2018 will be on the 6th and 7th October 2018.  We anticipate with the actions in place as above that the event will run much more smoothly in 2018, though any thoughts and directions appreciated as ever to ensure that Derby Worlds continues to be a key event on the Wargaming calendar.

Kind regards

Now if they put this lot into practice some of this years teething problems will go. Though I didn't need a sign to find the loos. As I said in the previous post on this subject as a new untried show it was OK . I was well aware of the short notice problem and none of the actual practical difficulties really gave me the hump other than up to a point the overcrowding of the trade area-
 So lets see if they can do what they want to do. Hope so 

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Battle of Bumbletown September 1777

So there were were a mere 4 T.W.AT.S. for our September game. A  game which had been put off until the 30th for various reasons- on the 29th it looked as if 7 or 8 members would turn up but last minute work and  a case of the Squitters put paid to that!
  Therfore Gentle Reader  there were only 4 stalwart fellows for this engagement.
 to wit- Myself ,Jim the Builder , Andrew the Tekkie and Mechanical Shaun. Jim was in the chair and he elected to run a 15mm AWI game with his rather tasty collection of newly painted Blue Moon. Rules would be the  AWI  set British Grenadier.
 The stage was set for a bit of a bloodbath.....
The Battlefield a few moves in . The British navigate past the pond, The Patriot redoubt on the extreme right.Bumbletown on the left. 

 The Patriot Forces- this time commanded by yours truly were a mixed bag as you would expect . Some decent regulars and some iffy militia backed up by good artillery, This lot faced a somewhat larger British force of all regulars including Grenadiers and Footguards with a German Brigade of Hessian mercenaries and slightly less artillery than the Patriots.
 Aredoubt containing our 4 guns dominated the right and much of our centre and funnelled the British somewhat o n the left the hamlet of Bumbletown (founded by Jedidiah Bumble in 1763 pop 69) was defended by the Bumbltown Minutemen. The main American battleline was a bit stretched and despite fence lines and redoubts this was- eventually- a serious matter.

View from Bumbletown across the field.. Their are an awful lot of British. 

 However all started well for the  outnumbered Patriots with their artillery performing particularly well. The German Brigade- commanded by Shaun  however began an advance on Bumbletown whilst in the centre the British Brigade hung back somewhat because of the havoc being caused by the Patriot guns in the redoubt . Also - after hanging back for a while a unit of Patriot backwoodsmen advanced from the redoubt into the woods to their from with the intention of taking the British guns in flank and subjecting them to accurate rifle fire. This took time but eventually was to neutralise the British guns as well as seeing off a small infantry unit.
The Bumbletown minutemen resist the Hessian onslaught.

On the Patriot left the Hessian bundled the minutemen out of Bumbletown but were brought up short by the fence line and a battalion of regulars. Taking heart the minutemen saw off the Hessian Jaegers and the regulars eventually broke a musketeer battalion - with help from the militia.
 However in the centre the deluge was about to appear- no less than 4 British battalion including Grenadiers and Footguards descended upon the Patriot centre.. Enfilading fire from a militia battalion was not enough (odious cubes!) nor was a first volley from a battalion of regulars(odious cubes again) and after a brutal melee the regulars broke finding British Grenadier bayonets just too much.(odious cubes yet again).
 It is starting to go just a bit pear shaped..

With a gaping hole in the centre and the left engaged with the Hessians it was time to go - so standing not upon the order of our going we went ....

Allover me like a rash. Time to be off home I think.

The extra 2 British units were crucial here giving them a powerful reserve to which our mixed bag of regulars and militia ultimately had no real answer- yes we bloodied them and at one point Andrew was ready to pack it in, in despair but Shaun stiffened his resolve and shouted  "Vorwarts" in crusty  Germanic accents !  Guzzeling his diet Coke the while(well he was driving so his beer was imaginary)

So it all went pear shaped at the end for the Patriots.. Nevertheless a pretty good game. I do like British Grenadier despite a few foibles it is the best commercial AWI set I've come across - and would work well for the War of 1812 and possibly- with a few amendments 18th century India as well.
 As always thanks are due to Landlady Jean for excellent Beef Butties and the White Hot was very drinkable as well- cos I wasn't driving .

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Derby Worlds 2017- A traders view.

Last weekend saw the latest incarnation of the Derby World Wargames- now called "DerbyWorlds"  at the new venue of Bruntingthorpe in the middle of Rural Leicestershire.
 The high trade stand price (20% rise on last year)  gave me to decide on a smaller stand and only take the 15mm lines- which currently outsell 25/28mm by almost two to one. Customers could of course pre-order anything we  have in stock of whatever size- so chaps orders 10mm and 25mm and even some 40mm - without these pre-orders  we would have been dead and buried. Most of the other traders I spoke to said the same.
 Now I doubt not that other bloggers will heap coals of fire upon the heads of the organisers - and yes some are possibly deserved - but equally some are not.
Bruntingthorpe is 10 miles away from almost everything  but once you get there it is not a bad venue at all. I've been in worse many times- any sweaty jock-strap and wee wee smelling sports hall for a start. In theory access was pretty good and unlike some we had no problem unloading on Friday. Though loading up at shows end was a bit like wacky races.

 Blaming the actual venue  for a poor show is of course nonsense the venue problems were all caused by the show organisers- well the new one anyhow. You can't get a quart into a pint pot. This venue was about 30% smaller than Donnington yet  the same or greater numbers of Traders games and competitions were shoe horned in- like a fat bird trying to get into a size 10 frock.  So the show was cramped and oversubscribed for the size of the venue- not the fault of the venue. Lighting was a bit average but at least part of that was caused by the overcrowding and the height of some traders advertising banners.
 Trade was not exactly brisk but over the whole weekend we did OK but no more than that. Frankly not awful for a new show in a new venue- which despite its ancestry this event was.  Catering was well above normal show standards  but as is often the case at these "event venues" not exactly cheap. Mind you the roast pork butties were excellent..

 My biggest bitch with the whole affair was the tone and attitude of  Kaiser Rushforth Ltd- who now seem to own the event.- It was they I paid my stand fee to rather than as previously Derby Wargames Associates. It was obvious from the printed show guide that this event was no longer the Derby World Wargames - to present a showcase for the whole hobby- but rather a showcase foe the owning company to promote their view of the hobby and to make a few quid(nothing wrong with that last bit but  the tone wasn't half laying it on a bit thick) Indeed I'd go further the whole tone of the organisers emails was rather like a workshop junkie on speed - continually telling we traders how exciting it all was and how wonderful it all would be- as if they were trying to convince themselves or manipulate us and the customers.- and assuming we were all 10 year old boys. I could small the  patronising corporate BS  from some distance. Not only was it slightly unpleasant it was not needed.
 None of that really impinged upon the actual show but may have helped to make it rather less than it should have been.
 However taking the show as a new event with the associated teething problems of such then overall it was not too bad sort of a 5 out of 10 maybe a 6 - just(the last point for the Pork Butties alone really)

Will I go back- probably . Will I take a larger more expensive stand- no chance. We will stick to a smaller stand and take only 15mm lines for the day sales. Other sizes will once again need to be pre-ordered..
 Do the organisers need to up their game? Damn right they do for the wedge that the traders and the punters are putting out somebody needs to be less patronising and a little bit smarter.
 We'll see what next year brings

Friday, 22 September 2017

A Perfect Storm(ing)

 The appearance of a photo of Todd Fishers amazing Storming of the Tuiilieries  game in the most recent WI causwed me to dig out my one and only copy of the now defunct US magazine Historical Gamer with its article written by Jim Purky on that splendid game.
 Now as I've said previously I was involved in that I built Paris.... well 36 square feet of it  for that game. Ian Weekly built the actual palace and 2 other chaps whose names escaped me until I re-read the article also supplies building and scenery for the game namely Duke Siefried who constructed the gardens and Herb Gundt who provided the posher bits of upper crust Paris that I didn't do . No my job was the festering slums of the Sans Cullottes and it was a far far better thing than I ever did - up to that point anyhow.
 But rather tha go on  here is the picture that started this current trian of thought and following is the article from Historical Gamer

The photo which appeared in the current Wargames Illustrated- no 360. The picture is at least 26 years old.
 We knew how to wargame back in the old days !!

  It is now over a quarter of a century since the game was played. Now as it happens I didn't play but I know cos I was there- with paint and glue all over my fingers.
 Wouldn't have missed it.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A Pair of Magazines

It has been a while since I looked at the various magazines on offer. This has been mostly because of simple time pressure. It has been pretty busy here for a showless September. No complaints though! It simply means that I don't have much time for extraneous activities  such as reading the magazines.
 However the hubbub has slowed to its normal dull roar so I can find enough time to take at least some notice of the rest of the wargaming world .
 So first off Miniature Wargames
 This one is no414 so it has been a year since John Treadaway took over.
 Now if you are a Sci-fant dude this is a good issue indeed. Not only does it have the Darker Horizons section which has some readable reviews but also in the body of the mag a nice piece by Roger Dixon on building a "Customs Office"  since this was a follow up from the previous issues"Landing Pad" there is a definite Sci-fi vibe. Yet it is not in "Darker Horizons"  The creeping insidious anti- history crusade continues?
 Nevertheless Mr Dixon knows what he is about and it would not take a great brain to simply miss out the obvious sci-fi elements and make this a scruffy border post for any era from say 1914 onwards.
 Now as regular readers will know I'm not really a sci-fant chap. I do have a small sci-fi collection and yes they may come out of their boxes once in a while for the odd silly lightweight game but Fantasy is another matter. I admire the sheer artistry of some fantasy miniatures-see those on page 37 of this issue-but my problem with Fantasy is twofold,
1/, It is so much more expensive than historical stuff. Sometimes massively so. Therefore beginning from scratch is going to cost a good wedge of bunce.
2/, The killer-  I'd not want to simply copy someone else's fantasy but have one of my own as it were- in much the same way as the fictional countries afficianardos do . The idea of  simply pulling another fantasy skirmish-a -like out of the box and being merely a rules slave just knocks the whole idea  of Fantasy Wargaming on the head for me. (As an aside my preference would be more Hyborian than Middle Earth with perhaps a few shades of  Cabot of Gor... but it is not going to happen despite the plethora of splendid figures about.)

 Anyway back to the mags
 Despite the foregoing there are a couple of decent historically based pieces here Jon Sutherland continues with his revamping of old Ancients rules. I actually played "Hoplite Warfare" back in the day and recall enjoying it simply because it WASN'T W.R.G..
 Dave Tuck's piece on "Wargaming my Way- or rather as he puts it "our way" for his group had me nodding in agreement.
 The show report on Claymore was very useful. I was there but too busy to see most of the games- never for instance saw the Nordlingen game at all .
A second part to his Solo Colonial by Chris Jarvis also appeared but solo just does not float my boat- does NOT mean that this was not- like it's first part- a useful piece.
 Back this up with a good slew of reviews- including some Old Glory and Blue Moon product- even if the Editor did have bother navigating the OGUK site ( Sorry John that is the problem when you have almost 5000 different products most of which are not your thing .... ) and you have a pretty rounded issue.

 Included with this was the Show Guide for the Derby Worlds- which is of course nowhere near Derby this year, It is pretty obvious that the new owners want to turn this show into a Fantasy heavy  competition heavy event. Most of the infomercials are from fantasy outfits as are most of the adverts. Yet to counter that I'm happy to see that SSAFA have a stand. This is a charity worth supporting so I will again.
 Only a couple of weeks to this event now so we'll see. Just a reminder that OGUK will only be taking 15mm to the show- so All the Blue moon we have plus Command Decision. If we have any room left we will add some 10mm  but  no 28mm (except maybe Drabant) and no 40mm will be coming to the show. Pre-orders are welcome- see the Old Glory Newsdeak on

Wargames Illustrated.
 As usual a very slick issue concentrating on"Revolution- wargaming revolts and uprisings"- or so the cover says. In practice this means the AWI and the Russian Civil War. However there is a good selection of other articles tow  including the rather bizarre idea  of using the "Rampant" system for Bronze age warfare- another bloody skirmish-a - like then . Yes another skirmish -a- like appears in the form of a "game" called "Forager"  in which - so we are told "the deeds straight out of a  Sharpe novel can come to life"- what again!!  Been there done that. I wonder who actually buys all these neverending revamps of yet another skirmish game. There are so so many about. Does the tedium never end.
 Now none of that is the fault of the magazine but the massive number of similar skirmish games really is becoming so samey- can't the games designers find another bandwagon to jump on for next month?
 The rest of the articles are actually not half bad if a bit samey to look at- though the James II article was a bit of a stand out for me.  Historicon looked good. I must get over there again as it has been a few years now. Indeed I got a bit of a shock on page 15 of the mag was a picture of Todd Fishers celebrated "Storming the Tuilleries "game . I hadn't seen that for years.  And yes it brought back memories as I was involved more than a little.Now as it says Ian Weekly built the palace itself but the 36 square feet of Revolutionary Paris was built by your Gentle Author.
 The only other pictures I have of this massive game appear in the now defunct US magazine "Historical Gamer" from October 1992 where unlike WI  I do get a mention. Mind you the WI staffers simply may not have known who built what if was over a quarter of a century ago....

Other articles cover the Helder campaign of 1799 - interesting this - one I've looked at myself in the past as well as a visit/interview with Sarissa Precision- another of those lazer cut building outfits- with some nice looking gear.
Its is a full magazine and I've missed stuff out- a wonderful looking "Camrai" game at Partizan for instance- again I was too busy to see the bloody  thing at the show so photos have to do.
 Ah C'est la Guerre!

I'm still not that keen on the layout of WI to be honest but this issue was a good bit less "in yer face" than some previously so perhaps it is getting better.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The waiting will soon be over....

It has been a bit of a thin time here at OGUK the last week or so. I've been waiting for my next shipment from the USA for what seems forever.  Well it should arrive this coming Wednesday, according to UPS. There will be 11 boxes/crates with an awful lot of soldiers in them. Some of this stuff was actually ordered in Mid-July. Indeed some was ordered in late June but didn't get into my last shipment.That would be the new 15mm Boxer Rebellion from Blue Moon. However more of this range has come out since then so I should have almost all of it in this shipment.

 Local readers of this might wonder why I'm writing on the same day as the Border Reiver show- well chaps I'm not there nor will ever be again. For details see earlier posts or indeed contact me directly

 Anyhow on to more important matters- well anything at all really. I'm also hoping to have at least some of the new Blue Moon Napoleonic Russian Cossacks in this shipment though probably not all of them as some were released too late to go in I think. Likewise the newest British Napoleonic release but any that are missing from this lot I'll get in next time which shipment will hopefully be timed to arrive in time for the Derby Worlds at the new venue in rural Leicestershire on 7th and 8th October
 Now as I have said previously I'm only taking a 12 foot stand at this event so will only be bringing 15mm and possibly 10mm to the show. The only 28mm we will take for certain is Drabant  Raven Banner and just maybe our remaining discounted unit packs. All other stuff will need to be pre-ordered although we will be offering our "pay at the show and get it post free" service for items we don't have with us.

So that is all the news that is fit to print this time around More info as I get it
 The Old Glory UK newshound .....

Dateline September 7th 2017
 11 boxes arrived yesterday- finished unpacking them and have sorted much  but not all
 I now have stock of the new Boxer Rising range and the new Russian Napoleonic Cossacks as well as a bundle of Mad Anthony Wayne.
 These will be added to the website in the next few days- some are already there but need to be activated.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Other things that Shine.

Regular readers will notice that I'm quite taken with my "Shinyloo" project  which finally is almost table ready. Indeed if all goes to plan the next but one T.W.A.T.S   game should be their first outing. The whole project is so different from my other periods- not just in terms of look but also in terms of approach and yes style. In theory this will also change the "gaming experience" though that awful phrase was never part of the original idea.
A Stadden AWI British General, possibly Howe, bought in the 1980s already secondhand.
Repainted at least once and possibly with as many as 3or 4 coats of varnish!

 Indeed  most modern gaming jargon leaves me cold as it is frequently gobbledegook and often put in to confuse and obfuscate the lack of actual content in the latest skirmish-a-like. The "rampant" series being a perfect example of this (though by no means the only one) 3 or 4  books containing mostly the same rules trying to get the punters to believe that they are different. The startling thing is that some of you fall for it. Indeed I did myself and only AFTER purchase did I realise I had bought a pig in a poke.

However the foregoing is not to the point  caveat emptor thinks I, moving on...

 So getting back to the shine and the main thrust of this piece. "Shinyloo" has caused me to re-think quite a few of my smaller wargaming periods- especially those where the collections have older figures in them.. Now the ECW collection is already split into two distinct groups and is not small having both older Hincliffe and Garrison  units- most bought from DC of the splendid "Unfashionably Shiny" blog but also additions of my own - most notable my single regiment of Les Higgins Jason 30mm and a single troop of Jason cavalry but also more recent additions from this year of Hincliffe,Essex and Foremost cavalry. All of these are shiny dudes simply because it seems to fit the style of the models. Equally I have more "modern" ECW forces- almost entirely Old Glory given a matt finish and again added to as recently as a couple of months ago. Now I've no objection to using all of these on the same table for a big game but with around 1000 plus figures to move to the pub it is not likely to happen soon. Nevertheless the point  here is that - for certain periods- shiny has taken my fancy.

Shiny scenery. All of the hedges, fences and haystacks are at least 60 years oldand have been repainted and repaired as well as being based up for wargames

So  given that some of the first Stadden 30mm I ever bought- sometime in the late 80s were AWI- all secondhand and including a steal of a 30 plus man unit of SYW Prussians for a mere two quid at a Durham wargames group auction , you'd think that my AWI forces would be as shiny as can be. But no gentle reader, you would be wrong. When I first painted them yes they were shiny but for reasons which now escape me I matt varnished them in the noughties. Gawd knows why, upon reflection - possibly because my modern AWI units were matt and indeed still are.. Anyhow digging out the AWI forces for a future game I realised that the matt varnished Staddens were a bit dull and chipped and could do with a bit of TLC  which they are now slowly getting- along with nice new shiny coats of fresh varnish. Now since I was also restoring and repainting some 1950s Britians and Timpo fences and haystacks at the same time then they received a coat of gloss varnish as well  so we now have shiny scenery!. Some of these -bought for just a few quid- scenic items are actually for 54 mm figures but don't look out of place with 30mm or 40mm. They did need a good bit of restoration- one of the hay haystacks had a hole in it- being hollowcast it was a bit obvious. However filling and re-texturing was no problem and now the only way I can tell where the damage was is by touch. All the items needed repainting but that was a doddle- even trying to make the flatish hedges look a bit like a theatre backdrop was not too difficult- though I may need a tad more practice at this.

Stadden 30mm American riflement skulking behind hedges and fences 

 I've thought for some time that I wanted a somewhat different look to some of my collections and games. I don't know about you but these days many show games look so samey- especially from more than 6 feet away. Green blocks of terrain tiles  ready made scenery - often those laser cut buildings- which not infrequently look like  flatpack furniture for the wargames table unless some chap has put in the extra effort needed to make them look like model buildings. Of course it depends on the when and the where but I do find myself surprised and indeed rather pleased when a demo- game LOOKS different from the herd. Newark- this coming Sunday is always a respectable bet for games that stand out as it has not, so far, been infected with samey-gamey 4 feet square skirmish -a -likes to the same extent as other shows I've been to over the last few years.

Stadden  AWI British grenadiers with light Infantry doing their own skulking.

Now I'm not altogether sure where this is going  but if I get a retro look to the scenery that fits the retro look of the figures- both AWI and Napoleonic then my work here is done.......

More Stadden. . Units will grow as I repiant and restore these old figure.