Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Magnesia phalanx

I realised, today, that I forgot to blog the pictures of my pike phalanx, from Partizan back in August. Here it is; most of my phalangites are drawn up, 32 ranks deep, 1048 strong, with elephants in the intervals, representing a section through the Seleucid phalanx at Magnesia. The full Seleucid phalanx at 1:1 would be 32 feet wide. :)

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Loading for the Wargames Holiday Centre

At dawn I'm off to Basingstoke for a Wargames Holiday Centre weekend at the Holiday Inn! Here are 82 boxes of minis and terrain. I think it will all fit in the car.... it's certainly the most minis I've ever shifted. I'm very much looking forward to some serious gaming... :-)

Monday, 22 October 2018

Soggy Bottom at SELWG

Here are some random pictures from yesterday's game at the excellent SELWG show in Crystal Palace, mostly taken by chum Ian Notter, except for the first and last pictures, which are by the SELWG team. All will expand if clicked! 

The battle is Soggy Bottom 1643; a battle designed to illustrate the TtS! For King and Parliament rules that co-author Andrew Brentnall and I wrote, in quite possibly its last show outing. Above is a shot along the battle lines.  I love the way that the deer appear to be watching from the forest...

Above- grim-faced, hard riding Northern Horse - mostly Catholics from Yorkshire. 

Below, dragoons doing what they do best. At the end of the second game, Oliver Cromwell ordered them to mount and charge over a hedge; in a hilarious run of astonishingly lucky card play, they took out most of the Royalist left wing!

This battery was flanked by the Royalists. We spent a couple of minutes checking whether they could turn their guns, before realising they were out of gunpowder and cannon balls!  :-)  The crews legged it.

Royalist lifeguard of horse. Senior commanders often had a personal bodyguard troop. These particular flags are GMB- very crisp!

The eponymous village of Soggy Bottom. I absolutely love the Hovels buildings, and have bought a small Dutch town from them.

And finally, our efforts were crowned with success- we won Best of Show! I was completely taken aback- hadn't thought we'd win anything as there were some super games on display. Huge thanks to Ian Notter, Shaun McTague and Chris Winter and to everyone else who helped or played in the two games, or who popped by for a chat- I was very hoarse last night. Really enjoyed meeting everyone!

The SELWG team worked really hard and the event was very well organised. They were very friendly, too, and helpful. I blew a lot of money on the Bring and Buy, and with the nice people at 1st Corps. I really enjoyed the show and will certainly be back next year! 

Thursday, 27 September 2018

2019 To the Strongest! Worlds at Chalgrove

The date of the 2019 To the Strongest! World Championship will be 23rd February 2019 and it will, again, be held in Chalgrove Village Hall, Oxfordshire (OX44 7TE). For those who haven't yet been to the Worlds, they are a friendly, one day competition, probably the largest 28mm ancient/ medieval big-battle tournament in the world, with 30 or more players expected to participate.

The rules used will be the v1.1a To the Strongest!, along with the Even Stronger V7 supplement (which be published in early October). The V7 supplement will remain substantially similar to the current V6 version, but will include some changes to mounted evades, for game-balancing purposes, and a small but helpful change for players wishing to field cataphracts.

Battles will be fought on 6' x 4' tables on a 12 x 8  6" grid. Armies will be 130 points and composed of 28mm miniatures; any of the official TtS! army lists are allowed. If you don't have a suitable army, we may be able to lend you one- please ask. Please don't submit your list yet, we'll start taking them from late November, and will need all the lists by the end of January.

There will be four rounds in round robin format, as last year. The first round will feature pre-set terrain and the second, third and fourth rounds will use pre-set terrain if both players are happy, otherwise terrain will be placed as in the rulebook. Please bring terrain pieces, if able, there will be some terrain available to borrow on the day.

The final tournament ranking will be determined by how competitors did in each of the four rounds using the traditional cryptic/unfathomable formula:  Tournament points = (100 x fraction of Victory Medals you have taken from the opponent) + (50 x fraction of VM you have left from your own army) + (50 if you have scored a victory over the opponent).

There will be a £10 entry fee, payable in advance or on the day. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits will be provided. Steve will ask the Red Lion pub whether they can supply baguettes again.

Provisional timings are as follows:

Friday evening- The Night Before Chalgrove Dinner, somewhere in the local area- please let Steve know if you are interested. Start the Worlds with a hangover!

  From 08:30 onwards, entry to the hall

  09:00 players to tables

  09:10 battle #1 starts

  10:35 current turn(s) to be completed. (N.B. the non-phasing player gets a final turn if they went second (i.e. lost the scouting), to even out the number of turns played) 

  11:00 battle #2 starts

  12:25 current turn(s) to be completed. 

  13:20 battle #3 starts

  14:45 current turn(s) to be completed.

  15:10 battle #4 starts

  16:35 current turn(s) to be completed. 

  16:50 Declaration of the winner who is then carried aloft around the room accompanied by  triumphant frenzied bellowing, ululation and chest beating, or maybe just a sedate presentation and a group photo.

There will be prizes for the winner, runner ups, good sportsmanship, best army+camp+terrain and other prizes at the whim of the organizers - not to omit the traditional dead elephant award for the player with the lowest score.

To secure a place, please email Steve at  steve.dover@3dsystems.com if you haven't already done so!

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

To the Scottest!

This weekend we enjoyed a 28mm To the Strongest! tournament in Scotland, very kindly arranged and hosted by David Imrie, and named "To the Scottest!". It was held in the Leven Sea-Scouts Hall which turns out to be a fine venue for wargaming, with bunk beds, on-site catering and its own cannon. Above is the setup- we had six tables, five 6x4's and a 6x8 for a big Wars of the Roses game that David brought. All photos will enlarge if clicked; I have "borrowed" a couple of photos that Dave Soutar kindly sent me.

Simon Purchon (above), Steve Dover and I travelled up from Kings Cross- took us around six hours, and we talked wargaming all the way. Simon used his Sassanids to proxy Sarmatians. Do not be fooled by his pleasant demeanour; he did cruel and 'orrible things to my poor Romans (10:2 victory).

Above and below, Simon is playing Howard Litton who travelled all the way from the Isles of Arran, with Philip watching sagely from the sidelines.

Chris (left, above) is playing Ken Pearce (right). Unfortunately, the way the draw went, I didn't get to play either of them which was a pity. Below Steve Dover plays David Imrie.

Below Polybians battle Carthaginians (I think).

Above Peter Mearns and David Soutar, again, sadly, I didn't get a chance to play either.

Here are a couple of shots of David Imrie's lovely Wars of the Roses collection and stunning buildings. I especially covet the latter, I need something similar for my ECW collection....

Above Simon Purchon chats with David Imrie. It was an extremely affable event- there was quite a bit of socialising, especially in the evenings. On the Sunday I was nursing a massive hangover...

Above, me in my "shirt of war" battling Philip Marshall (below). Philip (current World Champion) took my army apart with surgical precision in around 40 minutes (10:0).

My Polybian Romans were numerous and not too shabby!

Above Howard is playing Simon Purchon, and below David plays Steve Dover.

Above the final scores on the doors; I avoided the wooden spoon by one point. I had played three of the best players in the world, so I didn't feel to bad about this, but I clearly need more practice!

Above Philip Marshal was the well-deserved winner. He strangely forgot to wear the victor's laurel wreath in the pub, afterwards! Below, Howard is presented with the wooden spoon prize which he pipped yours truly to win by a mere one point.

Above are most of the players on the quarterdeck of the Sea Cadet Hall.

On the Sunday morning we played a nine-player game- the empty seat on the right was mine. 

My Polybians advance boldly (top)- far too boldly, as it turned out- since Steve Dover smashed my wing and Howard Litton routed my legions. It was a fun game though!

It was a great weekend and I'd like to think we'll do something similar next year. Huge thanks to David for suggesting the event and organising it, and to everyone for coming! We also owe a debt to the Sea Scouts who were great hosts and cooks!

Saturday, 8 September 2018


Long time, no post. Above is something I'm experimenting with; teddy bear fur grass, after a tip from James Morris. I have, hitherto, resisted the wholesale slaughter of teddy bears, but find myself very taken with the material and sacrifices must be made. The bases just vanish into it. Would be absolutely great for steppe warfare... or perhaps Roundway Down.

Below are the first fluttering flags of a new, late c.17th Project. I won't have time to do anything material with this until Q2 next year; but a man can dream! Minis ex David Imrie, and very clickable.

Finally, here's a link to my ECW blog, where I'll be posting lots of pics of units in the run-up to an ECW game at Colours next Saturday. If you are coming to Colours, do say hello, and maybe turn a few cards with us! Co-author Andrew Brentnall will be there, with chums Ian and Tim.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

More long pointy sticks

Here's my latest phalanx, based and ready for action (photo clickable). 

These Wargames Foundry minis were beautifully painted by Shaun McTague and finished by me. The pike heads are painted on to plain pins; nice and blunt. These will form the front rank of my phalanx at T'other Partizan, where I plan to pick up a few more, from the Foundry stand... I also plan to do something I never thought I would- buy a couple of ranks of pikemen with lowered pikes, to go in front of them. Come along and see them and their chums at Partizan on Sunday week!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018


Here are the latest additions to my herd (all photos clickable). These lovely Aventine Miniatures Seleucid elephants are protected by seven Wargames Foundry and one Polemarch elephant guard with nifty Relic shields. The elephant armour is stunning; Adam at his best! I think we can legitimately argue "escorted, veteran" status in TtS! ;-)

I'm really pleased with these. Shaun McTague painted all the minis; I merely did a little detailing, shading and based. He did particularly great work on the blankets.

These bring the herd up to 26. I'll be adding a very big native Indian contingent in the autumn. I'll also, eventually, need four to six more Seleucid elephants for when I do Magnesia in 28mm. 

If you'd like to see these two, they will be in a display (not to be missed!) alongside my chum Ian's 15mm Magnesia "To the Strongest" game at T'other Partizan on August 19th. We still have two spots for players in the AM game, and lots in the afternoon game- if you'd like to play, you can email me at the address to the left.

Oh and David Imrie and I are also taking bookings for the "To the Scottest!" TtS! gaming event in Leven, Fife on 22nd/23rd September- again, please drop me a line for details.

Monday, 23 July 2018

To the Scottest!

"To the Scottest!", the first official "TtS!" tournament to be held in Scotland,  will take place at the Sea Cadet hall, Methil, Leven KY8 3RE, on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of September 2018. The event is Saxon Dog's baby but I'll be helping with the delivery.  ;-)

On the Saturday we'll each play four games with 130 point, 28mm armies (in much the same manner as at Chalgrove, for those who have fought there). On the Sunday we will play larger multiplayer games. It will be a good-natured event, with plenty of help on hand for those unfamiliar with the rules. We'll go out for a meal and drinks on the Saturday night.

I'll be accompanied by a small but elite band of Sassenach invaders, including Steve Dover, who organises Chalgrove, and two TtS! World Champions, Simon Purchon and Philip Marshall. 

We'd like players to bring armies from the Greek, Macedonian and Punic wars- anything from the "Frogs around a Pond", "Kingdoms of the East" or the "Rise of Rome" booklets. However, if you don't have an army from those periods, don't let it put you off- please bring whatever you have! If you don't have any 28mm army at all, we can loan you one.

The cost for the weekend gaming will cost £25 including lunch on the two days. All profits will be donated to the Sea Cadets. Spartan overnight accommodation is also available at the the Cadet Hall- and for the less hardy, there are hotels in the area.

If you would like to take part or have questions, please mail me in the first instance (my email address is to the left of this blog post)- I'll reserve your space and help with your list. I hope to see some familiar faces and lots of new ones!

 Best, Simon

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Phalanx- latest!

I'm back from a short break and trying to complete my latest phalanx in time for T'Other Partizan. These are all pretty Wargames Foundry phalangites, with their pikes at around 20 degrees form the vertical. I'm going to need some more of these and some with lowered pikes, to boot. I want some of my taxeis to have the full dramatic effect that one sees in Connolly, etc. These are six ranks deep - I mostly field pike this way, now.

All the minis were painted by Shaun McTague, I added the pikes, inked, highlighted some areas and varnished.  

Basing should be complete this week. I'll have pretty much all of my phalangites at Partizan, if you are coming...

Friday, 13 July 2018

More phalangites

On the heels of the elephants, I'm putting a new phalanx together. These are Wargames Foundry World of the Greek phalangites, very nice minis, with the pikes around 20 degrees from the vertical. They have again been painted by Shaun Mc Tague and I'm fitting the pikes, highlighting and varnishing prior to basing. They will form the front rank of a demonstration phalanx at Partizan. I now very much covet a couple of attacking ranks, with lowered pike, to go in front of them....

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Elephant brigade

Today I've commissioned three more elephants into my Hellenistic army. These are beautiful Aventines (the old metal ones- the new resins are even better), painted by Shaun McTague with some detailing and basing by me. The elephant guards are Wargames Foundry peltasts; photo is clickable.

Above and below are the seven Hellenistics. I was pleased that I was able to successfully match the basing of the four earlier elements. I like to depict the skin pigmentation failure that one sees on older Indian elephants.

I now have the seven Hellenistic Indians, four Indian Indians, five Ptolemaic Africans and eight Numidian Africans, for a total herd of twenty four pachyderms. I plan to add at least a dozen more by Christmas. To fight all of the Hellenistic battles, one needs a surprising variety of elephants of different species, with/without howdahs and with different crews and heraldry. So rather more will be needed; I might well end up with 50-ish. Luckily for the joists, the new Aventines are resin!

In other news, I have put my To the Strongest! Ancient and Medieval rules on sale for a few days, you can find them here! https://bigredbatshop.co.uk/collections/all/on-sale

Friday, 6 July 2018

On the painting trays....

Shaun McTague dropped off a bunch of pike men this week. These are very nice Foundry models with pikes angled forward, and he's done a fine job. They will form the front ranks of a somewhat exceptional phalanx I'm preparing for t'other Partizan. We are going to fight Magnesia 190 BCE - if you'd like to play play please drop me a line and I'll book you in!

Below are three splendid Aventine elephants, also painted by Shaun, that will also shortly be joining my armies. Elephants figure considerably in my plans for 2019; of which more, anon... and one can't have too many elephants.