I really like Triples as a show, I really do; but I hate the parking around it. Being so close to a major hospital with an accident and emergency unit you would expect parking to be at a premium, but this year it was worse than ever. So the best plan is to be prepared for a brisk walk and park some distance away up the Glossop Rd.
This year the main hall was packed with games of interest, the first that I spotted was a Winter War, Soviet Russia versus Finland, game presented by the Mongrels Wargames Group. It was a rolling battle fought over a snow covered landscape with waves or Soviet armour and massed infantry throwing themselves against entrenched positions. An unusual subject very well covered with excellent models and very playable rules.
Also on show, on a huge table, was the first showing of the Baccus/Sheffield Wargames 6mm project aimed at refighting an English Civil War battle on a 1:1 scale. The units on show were certainly impressive, and watching them being moved around the table gives a totally different perception of commanding a unit than that normally experienced by a gamer. Overall though the the impression of the game was rather disappointing as the lack of terrain meant that the figures had nothing to put them into context or perspective. However the terrain will be added throughout the year and I am sure the game will look superb when completed.
Over on the far side of the hall MAD Wargamers presented another of their little skirmishes. This time Albuera, the bloody Peninsular action fought near Badajoz that could easily have resulted in a crushing French victory if not for the gallantry of the Spanish troops of Blake and the determination of the Fusiliers of Beresford's army. A full report of the game will feature in Random Shorts, so keep an eye open.
Nearby Tom Penn oversaw the use of his Principles of War rules as a 15mm Aspern-Essling was refought to a climax of carnage by the October Wargames Association. Other clubs in the main hall included Derby Wargamers presenting one of their excellent Crimean War actions, The Ilkley Lads refighting Gettysburg, Lancashire Games presented a medieval seige, and the Ordre Mixte group presented a Peninsular War action.
However the most impressive game in the room has to have belonged to the Sherwood Wargames Group and their meticulously recreated Chateau of Hougemont. You may remember that these guys produced a superb model of the ruined monastery at Monte Cassino, and this game was certainly up to the same high standards.
Having revisited Waterloo last year I was very interested in this game. The walled ornamental garden was very well portrayed, as was the extent of the woodlands and orchards that surrounded the place during the battle but have since been reduced by farming. The only criticism I would make is that the high ground to the East is portrayed as too close to the building, bit this was needed to add interest to the display. A couple of people complained to me that it was more of a static display than a wargame, but I think this is nitpicking, the games is there to see if you have eyes to see it.
Across the bridge and into the next hall there appeared a selection of smaller games that were no less impressive in their quality. First up was the lance and Longbow game (would any show be complete without their presence?) featuring the battle of Pfeddershiem 1460.
Close by The Brompton Bankers gave us The Great Tobacco Raids 1779-1781, an incident in the American Revolution where British forces marched through the Southern States confiscating contraband tobacco from the plantations. This was very nicely presented with excellent figures, and superb terrain (some of the pieces being provided by Ainsty from their traders range).
Another game that caught my eye was titled "A small villa called Aston- Spain 1836". This was a playtest for a set of rules "Viva El Roy Absoluto", designed for the Carlist Wars, a fascinating series of campaigns which included British mercenaries and a whole range of troop types, and strangely ignored by most gamers.
I also liked the game presented by the Wessex wargames Club, a sort of Back of Beyond meets SciFi called Terror in Tunguska 1929, which featured a group of exploreres, Siberian tribal shamen and a strange monstrous creature that lived in a cave.
Up the next flight of stairs and through the trading room where the South London Warlords were presenting one of there sci-fi actions there were another range of games. In the corner ECW were presenting a computer moderated action at Arpad using the veteran, but still excellent, Blood and Iron rules. The Mailed Fist Wargames club presented two games, on the Saturday it was E Boats and MTBs fighting it out in the channel.
On the Sunday it was the Allied armoured assault in Normandy that came to grief on Hill 112. It looked great fun to play, but a mess to look at, as the table packed from edge to edge with wrecked vehicles.
More sci-fi action from COGS with there interesting Angel game, based on the popular tv series, and in which half the action is on street level, the rest in the sewers.
My son really enjoyed the Great War 1915 game presented by Kevin Tingle, and this game proved popular on both days with plenty of players wanting to get stuck in with grenade and bayonet.
Other games at the show that caught my eye included the Leeds Wargames "Square Bashing" WW 1 game, using Peter Pig rules and figures, and the Burton and District Across the River refight of Epsom and Goodwood.
Strangely for me I did not venture into the Bring and Buy until late on the Saturday, and I found nothing of interest to me. However I am told that there were plenty of bargains earlier, though the room was packed and very uncomfortable to be in. All in all a very interesting weekend, made especially memorable as I spent the Saturday evening in Mad Fox's own gravelly patch, and experience in itself!
Please remember to mention Wargames Forum when contacting traders!
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