Wednesday 25 May 2022

Partizan Wargames Show and 'Boys Beano’ to Nottingham & Lincoln

This weekend just gone saw a return to the previous normal with an annual trip up to Newark to visit Partizan, and to enjoy a weekend of wargaming with friends that in recent years has become a much look forward to event in the wargaming calendar and one that was greatly missed during the most recent ones with the restrictions placed on travel and social events.

So with much anticipation I set out early on Saturday morning with Tom, Will and Steve M to drive up to Nottingham to meet up with other friends making the journey up from Devon, Wales and down from Yorkshire, to have a pre show day of wargaming at Hobbyspotz, prior to an overnight stay in Lincoln before attending the show on Sunday.

Our pre-show game this year was run at Hobbyspotz in Nottingham, with a big game of Dux Bellorum
Left to Right - Steve M, Andy, Jason, Nathan, Mr Steve, Tom, Will, JJ

For our pre show game we decided on a regular favourite, Dux Bellorum and the 'Bard's Tale' Scenario for which we all provided various armies to do battle with, with the only restriction being no shieldwall forces to ensure a free flowing back and forth set to with the the added fun of getting the bard in just the right place to record the heroic deeds of valour as they occurred.

Nathan had a great start managing to roll straight '1's' in his first combat with Will, and dying horribly, but at least having the bard on hand to witness the glorious carnage.

The Saturday game makes a really nice start to our show weekend with lots of laughs and banter over a game with all the fun of an evening out for dinner and the show to come the next day.

After Hobbyspotz, Tom, Will, Steve M., Mr Steve, Andy and myself headed off to Lincoln to check in to our Airbnb before dinner at our preferred Indian restaurant and a beer or two in some of the historic pubs right in the heart of Roman and Medieval Lincoln, the sister city to Exeter at the opposite end of the Roman Fosse Way.

Any general reading around the city of Lincoln will reveal a wealth of history, still to be seen in the marvellous buildings untouched by the evils of Hitler's Luftwaffe, from its magnificent castle bringing back memories of the greatest knight, Sir William Marshal leading the charge through its narrow cobbled streets to drive out the rebel barons and their French allies, to the abundant remains of the first governors of the city and the several centuries of Roman occupation.

We were able to enjoy glorious weather during our visit that meant we were able to take a casual stroll around town making stops for drinks and dinner in the evening and breakfast the next morning that included opportunities for soaking up that history at the same time.

After a magnificent breakfast that included fried eggs, bacon and Lincolnshire sausage, and lashings of tea and coffee, it was time to head off to the Newark show ground, only a short twenty minute drive away to enjoy Partizan 2022.

As with most shows I go to, I like to see the traders I have orders booked with and collect any pre-planned purchases first, before just wondering around the games and other traders just to get a feel of what's on prior to getting my camera out in the afternoon, once the folks who seem to come and then go have left, leaving more time to be able to look at and enjoy the games.

So my first stops were to chat with Martin at Warbases to collect a lot of RUB box inserts for nine RUB boxes I purchased over Xmas, then over to Dave Thomas to pick up some reinforcements for my AWI Mohawk Valley Perry collection before heading over to Warlord Games to collect my new models for inclusion in my Camperdown Dutch fleet that I will be working on this year. Thankyou to Martin, Dave and Gabrio at Warlord for facilitating my plans for 2022.

I love the opportunity shows like Partizan offer to just meet with other gamers and friends in the hobby, chatting game stuff in such a convivial atmosphere, although this year's Partizan was particularly busy which caused us to take the opportunity to grab some water bottles and sit outside on the park fields with an ice cream in the morning just to await the eventual thinning out in folks prior to and just after midday, before returning inside.

With camera to hand and all my purchases in the car, I set off to grab pictures of the games that caught my eye at this years show and in no particular order.

Battle of Freeman's Farm AWI - Steve Jones
With my own work on my AWI Mohawk collection of figures and plans to further extend the collection, my eye was naturally drawn by Steve Jones's magnificent collection on display for his rendition of Freeman's Farm which has given me lots of inspiration for my own plans.

Mr Ian Smith & Friends
A proper old 28mm Grand Manner Gilderesque game with two great big model ships was always likely to draw a crowd and really shows what the hobby is capable of when it sets out to bring history alive and was a great way to pay tribute to a fellow wargamer - bravo chaps.

Battle of Roundway Down (For King & Parliament) - Simon Miller
Simon Miller always tends to have an interesting game to promote his stable of rules, To the Strongest for ancients and For King & Parliament for the English Civil War. Having walked the battlefield of Roundway Down last year with Mr Steve, this was a particularly interesting game to compare with how walking the actual ground reveals how this battle might have appeared and seeing Simon's interpretation, which was of course a very impressive array of figures made for an interesting recollection of our day out.

Battle of Culloden 1746 (Jacobite Rebellion) - Last of the Teesside Triumvirate
The Jacobite rebellion has long been a theme that I have thought long and hard about building a collection for, along with the English Civil War and a game such as this only fires my imagination to make that thought a reality. So much to do, so little time, but never say never.

I really enjoyed taking a long look at this collection of models.

The Battle of Morlaix 1342 - The Immortals
The modelling and painting in this particular game, together with the attention to detail with the inclusion of little cameo groups of figures next to washing hanging on the line to dry really captured my eye immediately, and no wonder really, as this is the work of David Imrie and friends the talent behind the Saxon Dog blog, which has long been an inspiration for my own painting efforts and it was great to finally meet with and chat to David, whilst admiring this stunning display.

Great to chat David, and I hope the neck exercises help to keep the painting going. Cheers mate, JJ.

2nd Anglo-Dutch Wars, Naval - League of Augsburg
I love the way Barry Hilton at the League of Augsburg has really moved interest in the Anglo-Dutch naval war front and centre of naval wargaming in recent months with his stunning video presentations capturing campaign and scenario games using the League of Augsburg ruleset 'Mad for War', and Barry was very busy overseeing the running of several participation games using the system for a couple of scenario games and the fantastic Dutch raid on the Thames with its superb modelling of the river and fleets in action.

Barry's work has been a huge inspiration in my own pursuit of a later age of sail naval period and I found myself intrigued with a game he was running using a menu of events to recreate several actions within a larger fight just featuring a single ship under the command of the player as the scenario generated a list of new enemies to be dealt with as it tried to get off the board.

American Civil War in 28mm - Iron Brigade
The one thing that struck me about this American Civil War game presented by the Iron Brigade was how the simple use of basic items of terrain such as themed terrain mats, roads, split rail fencing, a nice centre piece building and other items such as trees, a small house with smoke wafting from the chimneys and of course a military camp provide a really nice backdrop to some superbly painted units and really helps to illustrate the importance of both aspects of the hobby, namely attention to detail for both terrain and figures to easily produce an eye-catching historical game.

Well done chaps, nicely done.

The Battle of the Prut River 9th to 11th July 1711 - Derby Wargames Society
Another superbly turned out game with a wonderful collection of figures and great terrain was this Russo-Ottoman war battle from the Derby chaps showing what a great period this is for stunningly colourful units to grace the table in what is essentially a Lace War battle with a twist.

The Indian Mutiny in 28mm - Boondock Sayntes
How about this for an Indian Mutiny game produced by the Boondock Sayntes in their inimitable style that I seem to recall included a fine claret for their last production.

This game was a feast for the eye with just about any cameo group you could think of included, with a converted field hospital at full stretch and just about every form of Indian transport on show from elephants to camels.

Western Gunfight 28mm - Burton & District Wargames Club
Regular followers of the blog will know I'm partial to the odd game of cowboys, as my mate Vince can attest having spent a day over the Xmas break recreating events around the shoot out at the O.K. Corral.

The Burton chaps produced this nicely turned out large game with lots of themed terrain and nicely presented models showing what can be done.

Dark Ages in 28mm (Midgard) - James Morris & Friends
This theme definitely caught my interest given the game we had been playing the day before, and there were lovely units on display plus some great ideas for theming the terrain which is something I need to do at some time with my own collection of figures.

With Crook at the Rosebud, 28mm American Plains War - Barnsley Association of Wargamers
Plains Indian Wars games can really look great in 28mm, capturing the look and colour of both the US and Indian units alike, that produces a very fast moving large skirmish game and with this particular game doing it rather well, complete with players in appropriate headdress according to individual commands.

Vicksburg 1863, American Civil War 15mm - Grimsby Wargames Society
The second American Civil War game to feature that really grabbed me was this 15mm rendition of the siege of Vicksburg, by the Grimsby chaps with again some lovely cameo groups on land together with the ships running the gauntlet of fire from the town and, if that was not enough, a train and observation balloon to complete the final look.

Hougoumont 18th June 1815, Napoleonics 28mm - Like a Stonewall
Last but by no means least was a grand skirmish in the truest sense of that description with the battle for the Chateau of Hougoumont at Waterloo with the building and its walled gardens front and centre of this particular game setting the backdrop to the multiple units battling for its possesion.

Wow what a fun way to spend a weekend enjoying great company and thoroughly immersing oneself in the hobby.

Thank you to everyone who took time to have a chat and to everyone involved in making Partizan such an enjoyable show to attend, serving as it does in the role of showcasing some of the best games in our hobby and the perfect place for gamers in the UK from all points of the compass to meet up and share ideas and inspiration for games to come.

Thanks also to Tom, Will, Steve M, Mr Steve, Jason, Nathan and Andy for sharing in the fun and making Partizan 2022 a show to remember.

The Porticus Octavian - The start point of many a Roman Triumph (Remember you are mortal)

This post took a little longer to turn around than normal as my travels continued immediately the next day on getting back to sunny Devon with an early morning flight to Rome with the family, my first time back in the Eternal City for eight years; and I hope to bring some pictures to the blog a little later covering some stuff I missed seeing the last time around and a closer look at some of the things I did get to see but needed more time to look at properly.

More anon