Regular readers of this blog will know that the odd break of a couple of weeks is nothing new. However, looking back at the last post - urggghhhh, sorry, it really is from 2018 - I do feel an apology is in order. Although I managed a couple of posts in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge over the course of the winter, it was far 'below par' by contrast compared to what I managed in Challenge VIII. “Real Life”, as they say, got in the way with a couple of pretty intense work assignments.
It was a great shame, especially as I had some fun things to paint. But, please don’t despair! In our time-honoured tradition at Roundwood’s World of never letting work distractions get us down, I hope to be making good on those missed Challenge IX projects here, on the Blog, during 2019, now that “Real Life” has become normalised again.
And, as a sign of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the return to lighter evenings, and as a way of re-starting the blog for 2019, I thought I’d kick off with an “On The Road” report of a couple of recent gaming events I’ve been to recently.
First up - “Come and Have a Go if You Think You’re Lard Enough!”. No, not a late night exclamation around our wargames club tables on a Tuesday evening, but a cracking day of gaming and camaraderie in Southampton, England, staged by friend-of-the-blog, and all-round wargaming superstar, Mark “Peaches” Backhouse. Setting up any hobby event from scratch takes a certain amount of vision, and insanity. Setting up a wargames event, for 50-odd gamers takes even more vision and insanity. But, on the 23rd March this year, that’s what was happening in Southampton with a great days wargaming in a local community centre featuring 11 games with the theme of the TooFatLardies rulesets being used throughout.
A fine event, faultlessly organised by Mr B, and even featuring a fair few wargaming celebrities including Henry Hyde, Guy Bowers, Rich and Nick (my co-hosts on the TooFatLardies “Oddcast’) and Neville Dickinson from Minifigs, back in the mists of wargaming history. Yes, dear readers, wargaming royalty and glitterati right there.
The event more than lived up to expectations. I had two wonderful games of Sharp Practice, the first set in the exotic world of Boshin War Japan, and the second set in the more familiar surroundings of the Shenandoah Valley, circa 1863. The iPhone photos don’t do either game justice, both of which were umpired to the highest standard by Colin and Bob.
Colin's Boshin War action was a pretty close run thing. Playing the Japanese, my first instinct was to think we didn’t have a chance. Facing British regulars and a Naval Detachment of jolly Jack Tars is not a pleasant early morning surprise when you’re commanding Japanese ashigaru only recently acquainted with a musket. However, being able to defend their own patch, using interior lines, and having the help from a (frankly terrifying) company of Japanese police armed with katanas meant that the action was a very close run thing. Our Japanese forces captured the fiendish British and European merchants (no doubt confiscating tea, high quality writing paper, fountain pens and other vital European weapon systems), and almost held out behind improvised barricades until the last moment. Deeply enjoyable, and my thanks to my fellow players!
After a good lunch, I ended up helping (or, as is so often the case, hindering) my fellow player on the Union side in the second of my games at the event, staged in the Shenandoah Valley in 1863.
Tasked with removing a supply column from the clutches of Johnny Reb, things were not going too badly about half way through the game. We had successfully extracted our supply column from the table and were then poised to gracefully withdraw our fighting formations to the union side of the river, out of harms way. Meanwhile, Union engineers carefully prepared the bridge for demolition.
What could go wrong?
Well, there are two fateful words in the previous paragraph - “bridge” and ‘demolition”. The dice Gods had their entertainment making the Union roll uncharacteristically highly, accelerating the speed of the demolition preparations, right up to the point the the bridge prematurely exploded, with the Union forces on the wrong side. As tactical disasters go, this was up there with the best of them.
We managed a 'fighting retreat', but as swimming the rider was not something the union troops had prepared for, honours were deservedly taken by the Confederate side!
So, two fantastic games, both played in a fine spirit, and a wonderful event all round. A huge thank you from me to all the players, umpire, attendees and a big shout out to Mark for organising the event. And, since we were interviewing a few hardy souls for the TooFatLardies "Oddcast", a big shout-out to Charlie also, who very gamely agreed to be interviewed by yours truly.
Next up on the newly spruced-up blog, I'll take a look at Salute 2019, before cracking on with some details of what's been on my gaming and painting table recently. Hope you can join me for that!