Monday 26 September 2022

Cotswold Wargames Day 2022

Bright and early on Sunday I set off for what has become my favourite wargames show of the year, namely the Cotswold Wargames Day in Northleach in the Cotswolds, organised by my good friend Keith Flint. The weather was glorious and as I crested the Cotswold edge, the countryside lower down was blanketed in early morning mist and looked wonderful. I could have parked the car and just soaked it all in, but I needed to crunch on to arrive in time to get the game set up.

En route I picked up Chris Gregg and we had a nice chat in the car before arriving at the venue. As always everything was set up and ready for us gamers to start setting our tables up, which is tantamount to the effort Keith puts in, assisted by his wife Jane. A lot of time was spent chatting with fellow gamers whom I'd met before, which is all part of the fun and enjoyment of the occasion. By around 10.00am I had pretty much everything set up when my friend and opponent for the day, Dave Fielder arrived.

We hadn't met up for nearly three years due to lockdown etc, so it was nice to finally have a chat, catch up with things and renew hostilities across the wargames table. The game itself we had planned to play in January 2020 as part of a campaign, but Covid put pay to all that. So after a longer than planned gestation, out troops were finally ready to do battle.

I knocked up a very simple scenario as can be seen below, with the Prusskian (Ruskian in turned out in fact) troops attacking my Ruthenians, with our ongoing rhubard wars narrative ticking along in the background. Broadly Dave had about 5 Brigades against my 3, but nothing was set in stone. Ruleswise we went for BPII with the Glory Hallelujah! supplement amendments we have used in the past. We were a bit rusty with the rules but weren't too worried about that, as it was all about having fun.

So onto the action. No notes were made and photos were taken as and when I remembered. Hopefully the following will give you an idea of how things panned out. Warning: there are lots of photos!

The map I sent to Dave as a guide to the scenario.

The table itself on the day.

The view from the Ruthenian position. An advanced Brigade was already deployed, with two more too arrive on a die roll as well as a Cavalry Brigade.

The advanced guard deployed to meet the massed Ruskian attack.

A view from the Ruskian left flank.

The Ruskian centre more or less.

Dave's rather nice troops.

One of my Brigades awaits to arrive in the centre.

My cavalry on the left wing.

Dave's Heavy Dragoons have moved swiftly to capture some Ruthenian pork. Too far in front of their troops, they moved back taking some pork with them.

Dave doing his Max Bygrave's impressionšŸ˜‰.

Ruskian troops are repelled as they close in on the wheatfield.

Brigade Schlief advances as per its plan.

Ruthenian troops arrive to reinforce the centre.

They swiftly deploy to see off the threat from the Ruskian Heavy Dragoons.

Brigade Belg attempts to take the redoubt.

Firefights intensify in the wheatfield.

The assault by some miracle (rhubard chemical warfare) fails.

Ruthenian cavalry moves up on the hill to threaten the Ruskian flank.

Ruskian troops are being held up in the centre by the dogged resistance at the redoubt and cornfield.

Ruthenian troops push forward slightly in the centre to meet the threat from the Ruskian left flank.

The battle rages around the redoubt, the wheatfield and the bloody angle.

At this point we all started to take a bit of a break for a spot of lunch, a chance to see the other tables and generally to have a chat. I did a quick whizz round and were possible, I've added details of the games.

Will and his wonderful Spencer Smith's figures on show once again. The rules were a simple one page affair IIRC and a chap had travelled down from Cumbria just to play in the game.

Lovely figures and with German model railway buildings (Haller?).

More eye candy.

Most of the flags were by David of Not By Appointment Blog fame.

I think this was the Peninsular War, but can't be sure.

Lovely to look at though.

Jonathan Powell's Leipzig (?) game using General d'Armee rules.

So much to take in.

The attention to detail on the figures had to be seen to be believed. Simply stunning work.

Paul James with classic WWII 20mm tanks and figures and using Keith's tweaks to the WRG rules from yesteryear.

The Pak40 had just missed its target.

A real trip down memory lane with Airfix (?) models on display. The tanks looked massive after so many years gaming in 10mm, but this was the sort of game we would have dreamt about as kids.

An AWI game with some much to take in.

Superbly sculpted and painted figures with the fleece (?) mat working really well at this scale.

The flags did make the units pop on the table and are part and parcel of the joys of 18thC wargames.

Removable bits of door mat worked well to keep the troops at the right height.

The big bonus of 28mm is that there is so much on offer in terms of figures and scenery to make little vignettes such as this.

A Nine Years War offering that piqued my interest as it is a period I plan to game in the future. Chris Gregg and Keith Flint can be seen top right having a chat.

Yet again superb flags and figures. What's not to like?

Stu of Dust, Tears & Dice Blog fame and chums with a lovely Eygptian game.

As with all the games, so much to take in, so little time.

Another Eygptian game that I think Stu was involved with too, but could be wrong.

Lovely chariots.

Back To The Action
Quite quickly we were back in the thick of it and sadly I forgot to take photos as the game drew to a conclusion, but here's what I did remember to take.

The Ruskian right flank has formed a good defensive position and slowly attrits the cavalry on the hill.

Fierce fighting still rages around the redoubt, with the artillery stubbornly holding out.

The Ruskians simply can't evict the Ruthians from the wheatfield and bloody angle.

Long range fire is exchanged, with the Ruskian's beginning to reduce the Ruthenian artillery.

The redoubt still holds out but the wheatfield has finally been taken.

The Ruthenian left flank and centre begin to come under sustained pressure.

Ruthenian reinforcements finally arrive on the right flank and advance to take the fight to the Ruskian left.

The Ruskian left flank looks on as the Ruthenians advance.

The Ruthenian left flank about to be turned.

The centre still holds out.

They fight on as the redoubt and bloody angle are about to fall.

The Ruthenian dismounted cavalry just before they get caught by the Ruskian Heavy Dragoons from the rear. Game over.

As always there were a few prizes for the 'winners' on the day, which is a nice touch. Stuart Asquith's sone couldn't be there this year so Keith did the judging. Honestly really hard to choose from all the game as all were wonderful to behold for various reasons. I think I've got the categories correct, but apolgies if not!

Best Game went to the 9 Years War one.

Best Painted Figures went to Paul for his classic Airfix tanks.

Best Terrain went to the AWI game.

End of the Day
Not long after the awards the Ruthenians finally succumbed to the Ruskian forces, but the result didn't matter as it was great fun and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was nice to have a FtF game with Dave again and to fight with our troops as planned some 3 years ago. The rules gave a good game and I know they have their detractors, but BPII and the supplements do give a really good game and are fun to play. 

After packing up and saying out farewells, it was time to head home after a long but highly enjoyable day out with friends playing with toy soldiers. I dropped Chris Gregg off on my way home and again we had a nice post show chat on the way.

What Next?
Well you may ask and I have some ideas, but I'll leave these for another post. Well done if you've made it this far and given the rise in Covid cases again as the schools return, stay safe and keep healthy!