A Saturday in Durham featuring several games using various rules from the TooFATLardies. There were on offer two games of Sharp Practice 2 (one Peninsular, one Russia 1812), one game of Chain of Command (Spanish Civil War), a game of Dux Britanniarium (Trojan War!), a game of the forthcoming What a Tanker! and something else which may have been a more traditionally-rooted game of Dux, but I’m not certain (I was too busy trying to escape Cossacks to notice).
The Trojan board was extremely impressive having a beach on one side and Troy itself at the other, the plains between. I’ve never really taken to Dux, but the table alone made me regret not signing up for this. It’s a perfect setting for Dux too. I didn’t find out if Achilles knocked Hector off his dancing feet, nor how many innards gushed as on a dusty table, but there were heroes in their chariots and, I think, interventions from the gods to help their champions. This was definitely the most impressive table because of the commanding presence of Troy itself.
However, my first game was nearly two thousand miles from the Troad, and set a couple of millennia later. The Spanish Peninsula c.1812 . . . I was cast as one of the fearless protectors of liberty and scourges of the ancien régime, the French. Against us were Fondler’s light company and some rather odious, and odorous, guerillas.
The table was really quite lovely with buildings mainly from Grand Manner.
As the French we had to uncover the whereabouts of the British spy, Major Stereotype, and had the assistance of Colonel Laroux, daringly disguised as a young woman, who would seek out the major and signal his position by giving us a quick flash (with a silver plate she had somehow acquired for the purpose).
As things turned out we also had the assistance of a monkish potter (pictured above), who became so incensed by Rifleman Dawkins’ pot-pilfering that he set about Dawkins and his comrades with fury (and a big stick), laying several of the grasshoppers low and sending the rest running in confusion. This allowed Sergeant Petain and his voltiguers to flank the British, wounding Fondler on the way and further decimating the ranks of the rifles into the bargain.
A heroic stand by Sergeant Paisley and some volleys from Cost’s light bobs caused the French line some concern, and sent French morale sinking fast, but a well placed gun and Petain’s forceful thrust into Fondler’s rear made British defeat inevitable as soon as Laroux had identified Stereotype luring well ahead of Cost’s line in the windmill.
Above you can see El Incontinente and his Guerillas with Hogan and Laroux on the hill by the windmill. Cost, joined by the wounded Fondler, has taken a group of lights towards the rear to try to head off Petain. Paisely is holed up in the field. French dragoons are skirmishing towards the guerillas. De la Merde’s line has recoiled a long way and is now behind the gun that has dented Cost’s previously impressive line. A French Lieutenant’s line by the church has been joined by the mad potter and the French are taking great delight in conveying the fact that a heathen Protestant lay preacher is leading the rifles in the field.
This was a highly amusing game, helped along by Rich’s splendid comic turn as umpire and Mick’s overwhelming desire to charge the windmill with mounted dragoons (he very reluctantly abandoned the idea when faced with the hard facts concerning cavalry charging up a rocky slope . . .). The models, mainly Perry Miniatures were beautifully painted by our British opponent, Matt, who is the evil genius behind Glenbrook Games, they’re a superb advert for his painting services.
During lunch, Rich ran a game of What a Tanker! on a very nice Normandy-looking table, which attracted a large audience and seemed to go down well. As it was a very sunny day, I chose to sit outside instead so got no pictures. The Spanish Civil War game was in that room too and its board looked very impressive indeed. I got no pictures of these though, sorry.
After lunch it was a swap from the sweltering sun of Spain to frozen Russia. Another two thousand miles but no real change in time this time. This game was run by four chaps from Harrogate, and I had been wanting to play this ever since first seeing pictures of the award-winning game.
The scenario involved a French column having to fight off Russians to either flank. There were militia with some Cossacks quite close to the right flank and regulars with some Cossacks a long way up the board on the left. These latter, except the Cossacks, were deep in some woods and would take time to emerge, which was handy.
I was paired up with Mick again, and was French again. Espousing the concept of equality we split our leaders three each. I took three groups of line and two of voltigeurs, Mick had two groups of line, a group of dismounted dragoons and a group of mounted dragoons. Once again we faced Matt, who took the Russian regulars and Rich, who commanded the militia and gun.
The dismounted dragoons saw off a Cossack charge. Mick charged his mounted dragoons straight at Matt’s Cossacks, took some fire from the Russian skirmishers and was routed by a Cossack charge. Meanwhile my line got bogged down in a duel with militia and cannon while my skirmishers decided that supporting the routed dragoons was a lost cause and crossed the board in two turns of astonishing rolling to support the fight against the militia. They could do this because Matt had terrible trouble getting his men out of the thick woods. Only his Cossacks played any further part in the action bar some erratic fire from his skirmishers.
Unfortunately I got no more pictures, but Matt has posted some on Facebook. But injuries to French leaders and the eventual destruction of both units of dragoons saw French morale collapse before enough damage could be inflicted on the militia. Very good game and very atmospheric. The only thing that was lacking was names for the leaders – a minor thing but it does add a hell of a lot to the game for me.
Afterwards was some discussion of modern wargaming and some of its defects, a few pints in the nearby pub, a decent curry and then more liquid refreshment in another pub with karaoke. This last reduced my morale to zero, so I made by excuses and left. Great bunch of folk and two really fine games on excellent tables.
I had a really good time. Thanks to everyone who organised, turned up, umpired and played.