Sunday, 19 November 2017

Warfare 2017

I don't suppose I am alone among the wargame community in having favourite shows that I attend become like landmarks through the year and indeed years as one starts to look back at shows remembered from past times when chatting with friends having similar memories.

I have been coming to Warfare now, on and off for too many years that I care to remember and have reported on a couple of them here on the blog.

Warfare 2016
Warfare 2014

Each time is an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the hobby with friends, get inspiration for ongoing and new projects and just enjoy a day spending time in the company of like souls passionate about a great hobby.

The traders hall seemed not as busy as last year, and as a punter made the 'retail experience' a much more pleasurable one with time to browse and see what was new without being elbow to elbow with fellow shoppers.

This year, following last year's difficulties getting parked before the show, Steve Vince and I set out from Exeter good and early which saw us arrive a good fifteen minutes before doors open and thus we managed to get parked and into the traders hall right from the start.

I had ordered up a Roman Fort from Martin at Warbases which will be part of the Roman-Dacian project next year and will form a nice back-drop to one of my planned games which will see battle before the walls of Sarmizegetusa.

In addition to the Roman stuff I am in the middle of getting my Dux Bellorum Saxon/Viking collections done and with the Viking Hirdmen on the painting desk as I write, I picked up the LBM shield decals for them and my remaining Dark Age Warrior box, plus this very nice Viking banner man complete with banner from Gripping Beast

Moving swiftly on whilst the hall was relatively open and easy to get around I worked my way over to the Perry Miniatures stand and also picked up a box of plastic Continental Infantry as part of my contribution to getting some figures put together for this year's Devon Wargames Group Xmas big game, now re-named the Gus Murchie Memorial Game in memory of a great friend and fellow club member no longer with us.

I will have to get these ready for a Muskets & Tomahawk game but plan to incorporate these into a future new Maurice collection for the AWI in 28mm.

So with all the purchases done and dusted the remaining part of the day was freed up to go and chat with friends at the show and to wonder around the display games so as to give you an impression of the day here on the blog.

The display game hall seemed as busy as in previous years but lacked a little in terms of the games that had been seen before
You will know my normal routine is to give you a very personalised perspective of the shows I visit and the games that grab my attention.

This means that I tend to linger around tables that fascinate my eye as a modeller, appealing to the aestheticist in me or a game that has my interest from an 'historical' or 'rules being used' perspective where the look of the game used to display that particular action or set or rules really interests me.

So what follows is the collection of games that ticked those boxes at yesterday's show.

Gettysburg, Lee's Right Hook, ACW 28mm - Earlswood Wargames Club

The first game pictured here should need no explanation as to why I spent the time lingering and finding new views to hold in the viewfinder.

This particular game stood out heads above for me as an example of a great display game with attention to detail, lovely terrain and a feast for the eye.

As you will know the American Civil War has never really 'floated my boat' but that took nothing away from the pleasure I had in photographing this game and the Earlswood chaps are to be congratulated for adding much to my day and I suspect a few others with this lovely table.

Battle of Stoke Field 1487 - Newbury & Reading Wargames Society

This particular game grabbed my attention because I was stood on the edge of this very battlefield with Mr Steve earlier this year on our visit to Wargames Foundry and Partizan with the battlefield being situated right next door to the Foundry shop and premises.

Battle of Stoke Field
Wargames Foundry & Battlefield of Stoke Field

The weather on the day which saw the rain coming down in stair-rods prohibited any serious exploration but it is on the list of planned places to see next year.

Arguably the last battle and spluttering end to the viscous Wars of the Roses, the armies and key positions were nicely captured in this 28mm display game.

Battle of Raphia 217 BC - Newbury & Reading Wargames Society 

With my focus very much on my own 28mm ancient collection going into next year, my eye is immediately drawn to ancient games in this scale and the look of the games created, no matter if the period is outside the parameters of my own.

Elephants and massed ranks of pikes is always likely to draw attention and the Newbury and Reading chaps seemed to be deeply engrossed in play when I wondered up to take pictures of their game.

Prince Rupert's Blue-coats, Victory without Quarter - Sealed Knot

I love the English Civil War period and the sight of musket and pike blocks going toe to toe, and so was immediately drawn to the sight of a few chaps from the Sealed Knot Society dressed in appropriate period garb overseeing this very nice collection of 28mm figures doing their stuff.

Occasionally you don't have to spend a fortune on rule-books lavishly filled with wargamers-porn to acquire a really well thought out and entertaining set of rules.

Among examples of this would be 'A Cost of Steel' for playing Wars of the Roses games and in this case 'Victory without Quarter' for the English Civil War.

Victory without Quarter rules.pdf

I was really interested to stop and watch this game being played with my favourite mechanism of random activation, but also to enjoy getting these pictures of the game in play.

Ancients 28mm (Possibly Malvern Old Wargamers) 

With my eye out for ancient collections on show I took a look at this 28mm collection which I assume is the Malvern Old Wargamers, which if mis-attributed, please drop me a comment for a re-edit.

The game had Warlord Romans and Dacians on the table so I was really interested to see how the units were modelled and displayed.

Forager - Stand to Games Ltd

Adrian McWalter and Quinton Dalton were present yesterday displaying their lovely new range of characterful 28mm Peninsular War Napoleonics designed to compliment their new skirmish level rule set 'Forager'

The chaps not only had their display game up and running to show how the rules played but also had an additional display to announce a further development with Forager 2 for wars in North America.

Of course Adrian and Quinton are the inspiration behind Over the Hills, Napoleonic rules, a set I am very much involved with at the moment, developing a collection of Peninsular War battle scenarios with my good friend Steve M, so it was really great for Steve and I to chat with the guys about the games we have played to date and ideas around the rules in general.

Aylesbury Wargames Club - Team Yankee

When I were but a lad and the Cold War was very much a reality rather than a period in history I spent quite a few hours playing BAOR Cold War games in 1:300th using Wargames Research Group rules.

I was struck then by the increased potential of massed destruction offered by weaponry rapidly increased in its effectiveness in the post WWII era with lines of massed Soviet armour rapidly turned into a pyre of smouldering steel.

I am afraid the period lost its appeal for me in those early years in the hobby with the realisation that models didn't stay active for very long on a Cold War battle table and the games became a rather sterile affair of who could kill who the quickest, with one campaign game I remember culminating in a nuclear mine being let off on the outskirts of Exeter providing the final full stop to that particular game and I think my interest in the era.

That said, having lived through the Cold War, and enjoying driving a Chieftain Tank over Salisbury Plain for a 40th birthday treat, I am fascinated in the new interest in the period and Battlefront's lead into modelling it in 15mm with all the implied scale distortion that inevitably entails.

That said the figures, models and terrain can be very effective in the look they create and although a period I would not get into, still can draw my eye with fond recollection of games and collections past.

So that's Warfare 2017 and another year in the hobby nearly concluded but with lots of inspiration and thoughts garnered for future games and collections.

Congratulations to the organising committee and members of the Wargames Association of Reading for pulling off another great show, 38th in the history of the show 'Warfare' and with the club celebrating 39 years in the hobby, hitting their 40th anniversary in February 2018.

The Devon Wargames Group are not far behind with our 37th anniversary this year and well aware of the club traditions that an established club creates.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and spending time with friends and look forward to Warfare in 2018.


  1. Thanks for the photos and your thoughts on the show, which I enjoyed reading.

  2. Thanks for the review - I live in Reading and normally go but was away this year

  3. Thanks for putting this together.

  4. Great selection of photos. The show seems vaguely familiar and I'm sure I went to this back in 2001 or so at the Hexagon(?) or somewhere similar. It looked to be well-organised with just the right number of attendees to look busy without being uncomfortable.

  5. Thanks for the excellent report JJ - wonderful looking games and figures everywhere.

  6. Thank you for an excellent photo report JJ.

    Will Harley

  7. Looks like a good show, I went to colours this year, it looks like warfare is the better show in that neck of the woods.
    Best Iain

  8. Like the native american in the river...