Thursday, 25 May 2017

Wargames Foundry - Devon Wargames Group Day

Last weekend the Devon Wargames Group and friends, Panjo and Andy, went on tour with a trip up to Nottinghamshire to take in the delights of Wargames Foundry on the Saturday and Partizan on Sunday interspersed with a bit of merriment and battlefield sight seeing.

Lots of eye-candy at Patizan last weekend in the link below
Partizan 2017

The trip up to Foundry based in Newark took just under four hours, so setting out at about 07.00 we were up to their show-room/shop/games-room for about 11.00 in time to get started on our game before lunch, provided by our hosts mixed in with a bit of occasional retail therapy.

When Tom, Vince, Steve M and I arrived the other guys were already there, so once the table was set up and the respective forces laid out, Mr Steve M our Gamemeister for the day briefed the players on their objectives.

The cat herding begins
Our game was a French Indian War 'big bash' using Muskets & Tomahawks, with Steve overseeing the card deck to herd the cats that playing a big game in our club can sometimes feel like, especially with the added distraction of all those lovely Foundry figures in close proximity just asking to be given a new home.

We were looked after during the day by Diane Ansell and her team who kept our strengths up with liberal lashings of tea and coffee together with other sustenance as well as dealing with our purchases.

French Coureur de Bois lead the advance across the river
British Rangers move forward to contest the French advance
The premise of our game was a fairly straight forward encounter mission between the two opposing armies with each player commanding a different mix of three or four units of Indians, Regulars, Militia and Ranger/Coureur de Bois types but with each player also having an individual task to perform during the play.

This mechanism meant that as well as dealing with the threat posed by the enemy opposite each player had an eye on an objective close by that had to be kept in mind as the forces tried to grab control of various parts of the table.

My motley force are led across the river by a screen of Indians
The early moves were a rush to get forward and grab the terrain
As an example I ended up commanding a group of ten Militia, eight locally raised Irregulars and eight Indians, with the task of securing a wagon in the opposite half of the table and dragging it back into French lines.

British Regulars and Colonial Militia could chuck out the fire
Tom's regulars and light infantry on the advance
My particular task was made extremely difficult as the open space between my occupied barn opposite my objective was covered by Tom's British light infantry and regulars tasked with searching the buildings around to safely escort a party of officers ladies to the rear.

No matter how much fire I laid down on the cover close by the wagon, his light infantry held firm and I ended up taking my frustration out on "Mr Steve" in the sector next door by continually showering his Rangers with a barrage of arrows that took out four of their number over the course of the game.

As the two lines closed on each other as each side sought to grab the best terrain from which to run their battle, the game settled into a struggle to wear down the enemy opposite to allow more freedom of movement to do the tasks each of us had been set.

Bob manoeuvres his regulars down to the river 
A pause in proceedings, perhaps due to a shopping foray
Some rules are not particularly suitable for these kind of large friendly games, but Muskets & Tomahawks were a perfect accompaniment and kept the play flowing very well as the variation in card draw made sure that play from one turn to another was never in the same sequence.

Dress those lines
Search everything and then burn it!

My militia can only observe the wagon, my objective, over in the copse of trees opposite as Tom's light infantry and regulars refuse to budge

Indians hugging the terrain and sniping at favourable targets
My Indians, probably my best performing unit on the day, 'darkening the sky' with their arrows
British fire-power was a constant threat to troops in the open

I get some much needed support but that wagon in the trees opposite still looks a long way away
 As our game progressed some player objectives began to be achieved as the battle started to swing in different directions across the front.

The ladies are found and Tom's regulars provide a close escort as they make their way to the rear
Virginia Militia and regulars hold the cover
Another British objective achieved as French property goes up in smoke
With two British and one French objective achieved and with the day drawing to a close we called the game a British victory.

The game was a triumph of organisation and thanks go to the DWG members who provided figures and terrain to populate the Foundry provided tables, but principally to Steve M who pulled the game together and provided the bulk of figures from his very fine collection.

Thanks also to Diane and Wargames Foundry for hosting our day out. We were all made very welcome and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Oh and not forgetting my retail therapy, aided and abetted by Mr Steve who kept thrusting packs under my nose all day, I picked up enough figures to build a Roman citizen legion together with some fine German ladies exhorting their men folk to kill lots of Romans and spare them from a fate worse than death.

Rangers cover the open ground
Before heading off to our hotel in Lincoln about forty minutes up the road, we decided to check out the battlefield of Stoke Field which is situated right next door to the Foundry workshops.

Unfortunately during our game the day had developed into perfect wargaming weather with a torrential downpour by the time we stepped out into daylight.

Thus we contented ourselves with a visit to the church next door and a drive around the back of the battle field to see the area of the "Red Gutter"where some of the fleeing rebel soldiers met their end during the rout towards the River Trent and in which several grave pits were discovered.

If you are interested, Wargames Foundry are promoting activities in support of the 530th commemoration of the battle next month and I have attached the link to their site for booking tickets.

Battlefields Trust- Battle of Stoke Field

The two World Wars are commemorated in East Stoke Church with this plaque to
the fallen, noticeably Gunner Price aboard HMS Queen Mary, the loss of which was covered
in my post on Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the WWI exhibition.
That is an extremely large Union flag, we thought probably from a ship
The memorial stone to the Battle of Stoke in the local church close to where
most of the burial pits were discovered
The following pictures show the steep escarpment at the back of Stoke Field down which the rebel troops sought to escape at the close of the battle.

You can always tell when I have gone the extra mile for this blog when you can detect rain drops on the lens in the lower right corner of these pictures.

For a fuller understanding of the location of the "Red Gutter" area seen here, follow the link above to the Battlefields Trust site for a fuller explanation of the action together with a range of superb maps illustrating the possible positions of the two forces.

With the weather as bad as it was we contented ourselves to plan another visit to do this site justice on a future visit.

Next up the Queen's Sconce Newark and that Book Review.


  1. A wonderful day out for you! Game looks stunning and it must have been fun surrounded by all of the Foundry lead!

  2. Great weekend mate. Haven't had such a good time in years.

    As the Sergeant says in the "Charge of the Light Brigade" movie:

    "Go again, Sir ?"


  3. It was a brilliant weekend. Enjoyed pulling the game together, but true to life, the plan never survived the first contact when I forgot one of the mission objectives!
    Although it was like 'herding cats', once the game got flowing, things appeared to run reasonably smoothly. Thanks to everyone for entering into the spirit, and my interpretation of the rules!
    Thanks to Nathan for supplying most of the terrain and Bob for brining the extra figures.
    My collection is a wide ranging mix including Galloping Major, Warlord, Perry, Front rank, Redoubt & North Star. Maybe a figure review in due course JJ?

    Steve M