Saturday saw myself, Daren and Dan take the Neustadt game out on the road again for its final outing, this time to Colours at Newbury Racecourse. Getting to the venue and getting set up was quite straightforward, with no traffic problems on the way down to Newbury and without the one-way system hell of Sheffield to contend with, and pretty soon we had everything set up. After the usual cup of tea/coffee and bacon roll (not the best it has to be said!) we started the game just as the first waves of people rushed past to stampede toward the Bring and Buy.
We were short handed as neither Warren or Jonathan could make it so we were not expecting to get much done with regards to finishing the game at all so Dan and I decided on a new tactic of chucking everything on the table as quickly as possible to see if that worked. It did, and even though we only played around 4 or 5 turns we had managed to capture half of the supply convoy and destroy all of the defending Chieftains and secure a win as Daren admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to stop us from reaching the river with what he had left. We are planning on having one last go at this game at the next Big Game Saturday at the club so that we can really do it justice which is fitting I think.
The game seemed to go over quite well with lots of praise for Daren’s terrain, especially for the river which received praise from a few chaps I spoke to as to the simple ingenuity of it being suspended between two tables. Unfortunately we did suffer from a couple of know it all types who loftily told us their opinions on what we were doing wrong and how it was all totally unrealistic as they were in Germany and it wouldn’t have been like that – funny how bell-ends like that never seem to actually give the rest of us the benefit of their superior knowledge and put games on themselves aint it. Fortunately they were vastly outnumbered by the well wishers and so, overall, we enjoyed the day from a game point of view. The one slight gripe we did have was that the tables did seem to be a tad close together. Once you had a few interested people round the tables it was very tight space-wise: add to this the occasional bad mannered, more well timbered and backpack sporting members of the gaming fraternity barging through and the chances of someone getting knocked onto a table was quite worrying.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to check out the show all that much but I did manage to slip away for a bit to pick some kit up from Heroics and Ros (which I have already posted about) and to have a good shufty at the games. Most of the other games were well presented and there were one or two which were ingenious – the one next to us that involved an underwater adventure was particularly good, we all agreed that the way the boat was done on a plinth to get depth was cracking. It also seemed to have a gone over very well with the constant stream of people joining in, particularly the younger ones who were having a hoot which was great to see. Unfortunately the pics I took of this game were absolute rubbish, so I can’t show any and I lost my note about who put it on – apologies!
The only two games that I was interested in seeing before we went was the Franco-Prussian game being put on by Bruce Weigle as I’d seen plots of pictures of his fantastic terrain before and was keen to see some ‘in the flesh’. I wasn’t disappointed as the snowy battlefield was expertly depicted, with the snow being realistically muddy where it should have been and the contours of the hills beautifully sculpted. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to speak to Bruce himself but it was a pleasure to see it, maybe next time he is over at a show I’ll be a punter and will get to have a go myself.
The other game that I was interested in seeing was the Eisenbach Gap, 1985 another Cold War game being put on by the Berks and Bucks Occasionals. I had seen some pics of this game on the Wargames Website and was intrigued as the game is a boardgame that has been changed into a miniatures game. I must say, I thought it was done really well with both the 1/200 Skytrex kit and the Kallistra hex based terrain fantastically well done. The miniatures and terrain complimented each other very well and was a great example of the board/miniature game crossover I thought. Hats off definitely chaps!
The largest, and to my mind, most impressive game on display was the ‘The Assault on Ali El-Muntar, 1917’ put on by Adrian Shepherd and Friends. A true work of terrain artistry I thought with the trench systems being particularly well modelled. Apart from the terrain on show the figures were also amazingly well done and chuck in the aircraft and tanks into the mix it made for an absolute cracker – the chaps involved seemed to be having a blast playing it too. Unfortunately my photo’s suffered from the weird light in the venue and only a couple came out well – hopefully John Treadaway managed to get some good pics for MW and has done the game the justice it deserved!
As for the other games, I liked Dave Brown’s Marengo game which was being played with his new ‘General d’ Armee’ rules. There was another WWI game from the early period which included Belgians which are a firm favourite of mine from that period using ‘Through the Mud and the Blood’ rules, (again I’m sorry as I can’t remember who put it on if you let me know I’ll edit this!). There was a cracking table which, although seemingly simple, was very effective by the Battlegroup chaps which had a hilltop German defensive position that had clearly been the attention of some heavy Soviet fire. The trenches and battle damage modelled was top notch. Also one of note was the Palestro 1859 game by the Friday Night in Crawley team which, apart from the period being of interest – 1859 Franco-Austrian, had some well painted figures and a fantastically modelled castle.
Well that’s it for our ‘away days’ for this year, we’ve been talking about what we will be doing for Joy of 6 next year and you never know we might have a go at one or two more shows too but it will be nice to attend as a punter to a couple!