Sunday, 16 November 2014

Warfare 2014

Yesterday was spent having a very pleasant day attending Warfare, the Reading Wargamers show, in Reading in Royal Berkshire.


Wargames Association of Reading

Reading is about a five hour drive in the car there and back so it was nice to travel up with my son Tom, and two friends from club, Nathan and Vince. In addition we were meeting other club friends up at the show Mr Steve and Steve M, so a lot of opportunity for immersing oneself in everything wargaming.

I should say that my typical year for many years has been interspersed with wargame shows throughout the South of England usually starting in February with Plymouth, May with Legionary, Exeter and then September with Colours at Newbury. Occasionally we would make the effort to do Salute in London, which had been a regular venue until the move to East London adding more time to travel and with an ever increasing cost to attend, particularly in parking.

This year with the demise of Colours we were looking to plug the gap towards the end of the year and to vary the circuit a bit, so we went to Attack in Devizes in the summer,
and our trip yesterday to Warfare.

I have to say it was busy yesterday, with the main traders hall jam packed in the morning and with traders seemingly doing a roaring business when punters could get anywhere near them. We arrived at 10.45 am and Tom and I wondered round the venue just getting a feel for what was going on, picking up some Roman cavalry at the Warlords stand and a few Warmodelling Spanish from Stonewall. On our wander round we met up with and chatted to Henry Hyde and Guy Bowers, checked out the bring and buy stall and then it was 12.30 pm and time for a bite of lunch.

In the afternoon, Tom wanted to get a look at the new Jugula game, which he is tempted to dabble with, but he resisted and is focusing on getting the Roman collection together, hence the Roman cavalry. I purchased some paints for both of us and not being able to get all the Spanish I was hoping to pick up, treated myself to a couple of books.

As you know, when I wander round a show I like to take pictures of games that caught my attention and I found two that kept me standing watching the action and chatting to the organisers. The first up was this lovely reconstruction of the Battle of Falkirk from the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, presented by the Border Warlords and using the rule set featured in a new book on the war from author and wargamer Mr Martin Hackett.

I love this period of the Seven Years War era that saw the last battle fought in Britain, at Culloden. and I have travelled to Scotland a few times to visit sites from that period. Martin's passion for the subject is obvious when you speak to him and as a wargamer he brings a wargamers eye to recreating the battles that took place and are detailed with all the information you would need to set them up on the table, together with ideas about running a campaign. Not only that but the book is a great reference and guide to walking the sites and getting a feel for the terrain and that ticks another box of mine.

Needless to say after seeing those beautiful Front Rank figures, I was looking forward to reading this book last night when I got home and my comments are based on that. It has definitely reinvigorated my interest in the period and if you are interested in it to, then I would get hold of a copy of Martin's book.

Front Rank Jacobite-Rebellion-1745

Next up was a lovely English Civil War demonstration game featuring the new rule set specifically for the period "To Defy a King". my mate Mr Steve (left) can be seen below finding out more about them from the author Keith Johnson, before purchasing a copy. So I am looking forward to messing about with these in the near future courtesy of Steve.

I have never really found a rule set for the English Civil War that I like and seems to capture the feel for the period for me. The sight of this beautiful game yesterday using a very nice Teddy Bear fur mat certainly fired my imagination.

And last but by no means least. I have been eyeing up this little book since it's recent release this year and as it meets a particular interest of mine, thought I would wait until I could flick through a copy to see if I would add it to the library. Needless to say I decided to buy it and on first impression find it an interesting little read. The book follows the time line of the Peninsular War illustrating key battles as it goes using scenarios set up for the Grand Battery Rules from Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. However, as the text makes clear, the battle orbats also have battalion detail to enable other rule sets to be used.

The battles covered are Valls, Vimeiro, Corunna, Talavera, Almonacid, Tamames, Ocana, Coa, Bussaco, Sabugal, Barrosa, Albuera, Fuentes de Onoro, Saguntum, Salamanca, Vitoria, Castalla, Sorauren, Orthez, Tarbes.

It also has chapters looking at the armies involved, and a view of the war as a whole, considering things that are useful to wargamers such as campaign rules, seasonal weather, setting up one off scenarios and tabletop terrain. As an experienced gamer in this period, there is content that I will not use, but there is information that I will and it is handy having it all put together in one book.

We really enjoyed the show yesterday. The guys organising Warfare are very friendly and helpful and obviously put in a lot of work getting a show like this together. The only problem I could see was the venue. The show is in a sports centre using the centre's car park which on a Saturday morning is near impossible to park in given all the people who are just using the sports centre. The turnout was very high particularly in the morning and the hall was too small to cater for the number of people trying to thread their way between the stands. This was less of a problem in the afternoon as people left the show. I know getting suitable venues can be problem particularly the nearer you get to London, but if Warfare continues to be as well attended as yesterday, the Reading guys may well have to consider other options.

A very nice day, spent with interesting like minded people and I got a few toys - living the dream!


  1. Can I add a few points from the show : The traders were being passed booking forms for Colours next Year, same place and time but only the Saturday .
    I spoke to Timecast and their plan is to start shipping across the remaining figures from Old Glory 15mm to complete all the ranges . Good news for my 7YW era Turkish as that's one of the early ones and I asked if the Biblical range could also be moved nearer the front of the list.
    More news on the ECW rules above, First read through completed and they look promising , time to find and refurbish those 15mm ECW armies ready for a game.
    A snippet from the Melee section:
    Score 8 on 2 dice to hit +/- any factors , each stand has to throw to hit ( hence the use of coloured dice to speed things up) , then throw more than total hits or lose a base.
    Army generation is novel and looks fun.
    A Good show with the same problem with parking as always, still I suppose in a few more years everyone will have their own Blue Badges.

  2. JJ - much quieter on the Sunday I think... the car park is usually rammed but there were plenty of spaces to be had this time... I agree with you re. the ECW game - that was my number one - I also agree re. the Jacobite game which was my number 2! PS. Excellent news in the comment about Colours.... I do wish they'd pick Sundays rather than Saturdays for one day shows though.... :o)

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. I attended Warfare a couple of years ago and saw a driver ram a car waiting for a space to become available. After scraping the side of this chaps car he drove off out of the car park. I gave my details to the injured party as a willing witness, but heard no more about it. That experience has made me a little wary of the venue. We were very happy to hear about Colours, fingers crossed that it is resurrected. I agree entirely, Sunday would make much more sense.