Monday, 11 June 2018

'Operation Market Larden' - #OML6 - 9 June 2018

 

Over the last few years, one of the dates which is an ever-present in my wargaming calendar is the day in June set aside for ‘Operation Market Larden’. This is a great, informal gathering of friends in Evesham, in the UK, where all the rules being played are published by, or developed from, the stable of wargames rules from TooFatLardies.

Run by Ade Deacon (@AdeDeacon on Twitter : and very ably assisted by Ade’s wife, Patsy, and sons, Liam and Connor), the OML gaming day has grown from a venue filling a small local village hall to one commanding a large function room at one of Evesham’s Hotels. It’s a great event for meeting old friends, making new ones, and trying out familiar and newly-developing ‘Lard’-focused games in a great atmosphere. I’m sure you all know the kind of thing – an event which you’re looking forward to for some time, when you can simply relax and play wargames in a relaxed environment.

This year’s ‘Operation Market Larden’, or #OML6 as we enjoyed calling it, was no exception. Each of the tables was of a very high quality, with lovingly painted figures and often spell-binding terrain. I had the privilege of playing two games from very different eras and worlds. 

Up first was a game of “Seven Spears”, a Dux Britanniarum version set in Sengoku Japan, authored by Dick Bax and Thierry van de Burgt (in the TFL "Summer Special", 2014) run by podcast-host supreme and all-round Gentleman, Neil Shuck. Neil had crafted some great terrain and wonderful Senjoku-era troops, complete with cherry trees, a Japanese village and groups of samurai and ashigaru running around with sashimono banners streaming behind them. All extremely Kurosawa. 






I had a super game with Ralph, a great friend of Lard who was one of the players of my Verdun game at #OML2, way back in 2014. We had a good time trying to bash the heck out of each other’s army, while the target for my forces (a group of monks carrying secret intelligences) stole their way away from the points of my katanas and yaris towards their own baseline.



The second game featured Jim Ibbotson’s stunning low-fantasy figures, both converted from Games Workshop Empire figures and assembled from Fireforge Games’ medievals. Jim and Mike Hobbs have been working on the rules for a fantasy version of Sharpe Practice for some time, entitled “Swords of the King”. 




I was very impressed with Jim and Mike's rules so far, and they gave a well balanced game, with just the right about of mystical magic, braced throughout with combat mechanics which seemed to work well. Phil H, a great friend from previous OMLs and Curt’s annual ‘Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’ was my opponent for the game and, before long, we were busily activating warlocks and leading our forces forward across the battlefield. 




Jim and Mike have created some excellent rules for “warming up” your warlock to ensure they can effectively cast spells and weave mists of terror across the battlefield, together with launching lightning bolts, spreading terror and various other wizard-ly antics.  They can also be struck dumb, confused or teleported to a different plane of existence if they get tremendously over-worked, which is perhaps a lesson for all of us who spend our working lives reading thick books with very small print. At the same time, both Phil and myself locked combat between our forces in a manic, bloody combat which swayed one way, and then the next, before Phil’s forces eventually came out on top in his well-deserved victory.



So a thoroughly enjoyable couple of games, umpired brilliantly by Neil and Jim and with rules which were both familiar (from their respective starting points within the ‘core’ TooFatLardies’ games), but which added on some great new ideas and mechanics.

Also on display were many other stunning games, including a fantastic winter attack on the village fo Foy in 1945, taken from the "Band of Brothers" book and TV series, staged by Ade Deacon and Al Sherward.....







A cracking game of the Indian Mutiny was run by Simon Walker.....








.....with Geoff Bond running a brilliant game of a Japanese attack on a U.S. Navy escort carrier in the Philippines Sea in 1944.






Rich, Nick and myself also managed a podcast episode in the car on the way to, and back from, Evesham. We were joined for the podcast this time by fellow St Albans wargames club chum and great friend, Dougie Train – which was great, as it will have resulted in less talking from me into the microphone when the podcast finally drops into your podcast-picker of choice.

***

I should add at the end of this blog post an apology. I’ve not been posting during April and May owing to some work commitments which saw me in the office far more than I would ideally have liked. Hopefully I can get back to a more regular posting schedule. 

Many thanks, everyone, for hanging in there and being patient with me!

14 comments:

  1. Living out here in the Colonies I'm deeply envious of all the Lardies who can attend the events. Stunning terrain there, especially Foy. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Wonderful looking games! What fun this must have been to attend.

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    1. It was great fun, Jonathan - thanks for dropping by!

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  3. Thanks for the photos, there were a host of great games on offer again. It’s become a stalwart entry in my gaming calendar. Unfortunately I had to skip the post-game festivities again.

    Was Verdun way back in 2014? It remains my favourite wargaming experience, though Ade and Al came very close with Foy this year and Stalingrad last. Artisans the lot of you.

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    1. And thanks for the game of sorcerers and dastardly Nobles. A neat twist on Lard rulesets

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    2. It was indeed 2014 when I brought the Verdun game over to Evesham. Time really flies. I'm so pleased you've good memories of it, Phil ! You were very greatly missed at the post-game entertainment, but there is always next year (or some other event) for that. It was a great treat to meet you across the table and cross swords, lances, halberds and spells on the Field! Looking forward to the next encounter!

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  4. Wonderful images of impressive games. That Swords of the King base mat, is it cut down teddy bear fur or something else? Looks superb.
    Cheers,
    Chris (Canada)

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    1. Hi Chris. Thanks very much for the comment. The base mat in the Swords of the King game is, indeed, teddy bear fur. It was prepared expertly by Al Sherward (@alcal50 on Twitter). Al told me that he had purchased a large quantity of the fur mat, and then ran a pair of hair clippers over it. Then, the fur was painted with an airbrush using ONLY water-soluble water-based/ acrylic paints. Starting form lighter colours, and building to dark colours, Al airbrushed the mat very much as you would paint a water colour picture.

      The result was fantastic and looks wonderful in real life. Perfect for a meadow, prairie, pastureland field of battle, and great to play on.

      Hope that helps, Chris. please let me know if you need more details!

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  5. Ooh, that looked to have been a fantastic time. Great recap Sid - I'm so envious. Last year I had the distinct pleasure of playing a Sharp Practice game with Ade, Phil and Jim - great gentlemen, the lot of them. I hope to make it out for this in an upcoming year.

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    1. Curt, you'd have loved the day. A fine selection of games played in a great spirit of camaraderie. Needless to say, you would be welcome anytime!

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  6. Now, that looks like an excellent time out!

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    1. It was a very good day indeed, Nick. One of those wonderful days, like Crisis in Antwerp, that you really look forward to in the calendar!

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  7. Great post Sid, and I'm glad you haven't given away the real name of SotK as we are keeping that secret 😁

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