AMG16 – A Wargaming Weekend

Two weekends ago saw about 20 members of the A Military Gentleman forum get together at a very nice spa hotel in Warwickshire for 2 days of gaming (and the inevitable 2 nights of drinking). What a superb way to spend a weekend. Lots of friendly banter, superb games generously put on and run by some of those attending, and a great time all-round.

I’d met quite a few of the forum members at last year’s Partizan show where we put on a couple of display games. This year we went ‘private’ and Graham Cummings demonstrated his flair for organising by putting together an excellent conference-like event where the facilities and arrangements were excellent and very smooth-running. Everyone got along very well and it was a pleasure to see familiar faces as well as meet new people. There had been some serious journeys to get there on the Friday (people coming from as far apart as Plymouth and Scotland), and the horrendous weather and traffic problems didn’t help anyone much. Still, the bar was there to help people de-stress!

So, all good, but what about the games? Well, these were a treat for anyone with an interest in 18th and 19th century wargaming.

There were four games going on simultaneously in the same room, and the effort that their organisers had gone into in getting everything there and set up, let alone the demands of running them at least twice over the weekend, cannot be overstated.

The Cold North

On the Saturday I played on the Swedish side in Paul’s lovely GNW game. It was a challenging scenario with both sides starting with only advanced guards on the table and receiving significant reinforcements shortly after. This created an excellent battle in which, somehow, Will and I achieved a close victory over Paul and Angus’ stoic Russians. The figures and terrain were excellent and the Grimsby Club rules provided a fast moving game, were easy to pick up and gave plenty of GNW feel. Paul’s knowledge of the period runs deep and made for a informative, educational and fun experience.

Some pics from the game:

 

 

 

Under pressure from the assaulting Russians:

The Swedes go all Ga Pa:

Final positions – the Swedes hold the key ground:





Into the Desert Heat

On Saturday afternoon I migrated a good distance south, and forward by about 180 years, to join the second running of Dave’s superb Sudan game. Dave has the full-on collection and terrain to play big games of the recently published Sands of the Sudan rules, and he’d prepared a fun scenario for AMG16. I took command of the beleaguered Sudanese garrison, charged with protecting the General’s daughter, while under siege and running low on ammo. Will, Angus, Chris and John were the plucky Brits, leading the relief column – or rather columns, as there was little in the way of co-ordination or co-operation going on!

With Dave running the devious Dervishes who turned up left, right and centre, we were under the cosh but steady fire kept most of the enemy at bay. At the garrison end of the table, though, it was happening too slowly and in the end I had to break out and send the damsel racing towards her rescuers, who happened to be John’s Black Watch who had snuck through the mayhem, avoiding the general nastiness, to arrive in the right place at the right time.

Great game, full of entertaining events and banter. Thanks Dave!

 

My view at the start:

The action hotting up, with the various British contingents dashing about and taking pot shots at anything that moved:

Frederick has an off-day

On Sunday I played in Steve and Mark’s very impressive Chotusitz game, using hundreds of hand-cast Prince August 40mm figures and a period-specific version of the Piquet rules. The rules were totally new to me, but I think I got the gist of the core concepts and appreciated most the subtleties by the end of the day.┬áVery clever stuff that provided a real generalship challenge (unfortunately for me!)

I took command of the Prussian right flank cavalry, with Chris manning the centre and left. Graham, Angus and Leigh took the initiative and came on in style, pretty much wiping the floor with us from the start. My cavalry crumbled very early on, and only Chris’ tenacious defence of the village gave us a chance to turn things around.

When Frederick arrived with the (supposedly) excellent Prussian infantry, we managed to stop some of the Austrians in their tracks but it wasn’t enough. A lot of bad rolls, coupled with the effect of Angus’ piling in with the victorious cavalry on the flank, and it was over. Freddie fled the field in the traditional way and we shook hands and revelled in an excellent and enjoyable game. Mark and Steve really knew their stuff and made it a memorable experience all-round.

I only managed to take one picture but there are plenty of others online that do much better justice to this stunning game. Here’s Steve on the left, with the enemy commanders plotting another devastating round of combat..

The one game I didn’t get a chance to take part in was the Battle of Soor game presented by Robbie and Colin. I did wander over whenever I could and marvelled at the superb collection that was in action. The guys clearly presented an excellent experience for the players, and were using the Honours of War rules which seemed to give a very good game. Shame I missed this one!

The weekend was so good it even took the edge off the end of the England v Russia match, and I think I’ve sobered up now, which is a bonus.

Mustering A New Regiment

With the big game weekend at Ayton now looming (in a good way) at the end of the month, it’s time to return to my 28mm 18th century forces and get everything ready for this year’s adventure.

I am making some modest additions to my Medetian and Fleurian armies (which inexplicably put their centuries-old differences aside and unite to fight foreigners in Henry Hyde’s on-going campaign!)

The first of these is on the workbench at the moment – the Savoy Regiment of the Savoy/Piedmont army of the mid-18th century, which I am increasingly using as the inspiration for my Fleurian forces. These are figures from Crann Tara, with a couple of Minden battalion gunners waiting for their gun. They’ve been blessed by the talented brush of Dave Jarvis, who previously painted for me the La Marine regiment who are lined up behind them. When the flags arrive from Mark Allen, and I’ve added the gun and finished the basing, these units will combine to make a rather stunning brigade for action in Grenouisse at the end of April.

I’d better get cracking then!

 

 

John Ray AMG Vignette

At Partizan in May, where members of the ‘A Military Gentlemen’ forum put on their game, John Ray generously gave each of us a vignette he’d sculpted and had cast specially. This was made up of a superb pair of figures, with an officer being helped into his uniform coat by a servant, and naturally it was going to need painting so that it could get onto the table at some point.

I managed to get mine done towards the end of September, and here it is – presented as an officer of the Medetian Braganza regiment finishing his preparation for battle..

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to John for this gift, which I hope I’ve done justice to. Also to Jim Purky, who brought everyone a ‘Spirit of ’76’ vignette from his Fife and Drum range, which I have primed and ready to paint shortly.

 

The Savoy La Marine Regiment

After a fairly long break, a new regiment has joined my 18th century collection. This is the first of the Savoy regiments from the War of the Austrian Succession that will be part of my Fleurian imag-nations army of the same period. The reason for my choice of regiment is hopefully fairly self-evident; the red and green look superb together.

The figures are from the new Crann Tara Savoy range, plus a couple of battalion gunners from Minden Miniatures. The battalion gun is a Minden Prussian 3pdr. I was fortunate to have Dave Jarvis paint the figures, while Mark Allen did the flags, both hugely talented guys. I only did the gun and the basing, which still seemed to take me an age!

I’m reverting to 30-figure battalions for this period, having dabbled with 36s. Lots of reasons; flags in the middle, less to paint (when I actually do some myself), etc, etc.

Some more pics:

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to have another regiment completed over the winter and I’ll be adding a few things myself at the same time, all being well.

AMG Game at Partizan

I’ve had a fantastic day at the Partizan show today. Normally I just turn up, wander round looking at the games and buying stuff for a couple of hours, and go home fairly happy. Today I was participating in the ‘A Military Gentleman’ forum group game with about 20 other members, and had an excellent time. It was also nice to have a catch up on the Saturday with Iain, Andy and, briefly, Simon. We visited the new Civil War museum in Newark, which was interesting, and enjoyed a fairly sensible (we had early starts!) evening out and a good natter.

At the show, Graham Cummings had organised things very well and, with the help of others, put a lot of effort into making the game a big success. Members of the forum (which is run by John Ray, and comprises people who have bought the book of the same name) came with their figures from far and wide; from Scotland to Plymouth, and Jim Purky came from the US to be part of the event. Everyone seemed thoroughly delighted to be there and I think lots of fun was had by all. There was a social side too, with people meeting up in their various hotel locations and we all had a chance to put faces to names we’ve become familiar with on the forum.

There were actually two battles being played out at the same time on adjacent tables, effectively re-fighting Ligny and Quatre Bras but using our 18th century armies. The rules were Charles Grants’ ‘The Wargame Rules’ and we had a pre-game briefing on the rules and scenarios by the man himself, who was chief umpire for the day and a pleasure to meet.

The tables were laid out with a teddy bear fur terrain, prepared by Graham and the best I’ve seen done. Other features included extensive streams, roads shaved into the ‘grassland’ and buildings from Phil Olley’s collection. With the figures in place, and some gorgeous collections were represented, it all looked superb and seemed to go down well with show attendees.

 

As ever, Kelham Hall was very dim inside, so taking decent pictures was a challenge. My phone did OK, but hopefully there will be some better shots appearing on the web at some point.

I played on the larger Ligny table, holding the right flank of the ‘Prussian’ army, which was in fact largely represented by Prussian mid-18th century forces. Alongside me were Jim Purky from the US (of Fife & Drum and Minden Miniatures), who was a pleasure to meet and fun to play the game with, and John Ray, who’s figures graced the table and held the centre. Colin and Dave (Jarvis, who painted my hussars for me and which fought as well as they look) formed our left flank, which they held in style throughout, fighting the hordes of French that were thrown at them.

 

Although we all spent a lot of time welcoming and talking with people who came over to see what we were doing, we actually got through a lot of gaming. I think we managed 7 full turns, which considering the number of players and figures, and a general lack of familiarity with the rules, was quite good going. There was certainly plenty of battle, and everyone seemed to have a fair share of highs and lows. I fought opposite Guy and John (who fortunately knew the rules and guided us through, which was hugely helpful) and they were very gentlemanly opponents.

 

Overall I think we held our own, having some good musketry successes and, after a very poor start (a 6-0 drubbing!) even started to get the better of the enemy cavalry in melee. Our position was finally imperiled on the last turn with the arrival of D’Erlon’s corps (or at least some tricorned fellers standing in for them) who had actually made an appearance in this re-fight – unlike in the real thing. Charles declared a good defence by the Prussians, but an inevitable (though orderly) withdrawal. We’d be intact to fight another day, so honours were pretty even. On the other table the allies held back Ney’s French after a bloody fight, and the players had a good game there too.
I did get to have a quick wander round during a break in play, and managed to buy a few bits and pieces. A few more boats and small bits of scenery, so not too much lead. That said, I did pick up a few Minden cavalry from Gary, so they’ll go into the schedule for later this year.
After over 30 years of wargaming, this was definitely a high point for me, The spectacle of the game, the camaraderie and friendliness among the group, and sheer enjoyment of fighting the battle, all contributed to an unforgettable day. There were even some thoughtful gifts from John and Jim as mementos of the day, which was much appreciated. I also met Mark Allen, a very friendly and talented chap whose work I have admired over the years, and we agreed a plan for him to paint some flags for me.
Fantastic all-round!

 

Introducing His Imperious Eminence

Just finished, the mighty Lippup Fatti II, the Bey of Bizcay:

 

This is my irregular force commander for when the army marches forth in far flung places like Byzarbia and Phetraea. The figures are from The Assault Group’s Ottoman range and I bought them 3 years ago to take to a previous game, but didn’t get them painted in time. I’ve just managed it this time around, and I’ve added the flag I did last week.

That’s everything done for Ayton now, and off to war we go. I’ll report back after the big event!

Irregular Cavalry Commander

Although I went to Salute last weekend, and enjoyed it a lot, I haven’t posted about it specifically because other bloggers do it very well and very thoroughly and I don’t really do show reports (and because I only took about 3 pics).

Post-Salute the day improved even further with beers, pub lunch, beers and an excellent curry. A good day all-round. I did buy a very few figures (8 actually) at the show and although it wasn’t originally my intention, I decided to finish one to take to Ayton. This is the commander from the Rif War range by Gringo 40s. I saw it on their website and thought it was ideal as a cavalry leader for the big game at Ayton, and as a Big Man for Sharp Practice in the future.

 

 

Bashi-Bazouks

More delights from the brush of James Roach – a group of Perry Miniatures Bashi Bazouks. Great figures painted superbly.

For me these guys will see service from the 17th to the 19th century, from skirmishes to big battles, and under several sets of rules. I believe it’s called ‘sweating your assets’!

I’m sure it won’t be long before I post some pics of them in action.