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Monday, 27 November 2017

Battleground 2017.

 Well Saturday was the Battleground Wargames Show at Durham University Buildings in Middlesbrough? Which by the way is in Cleveland. I dont know why the University has buildings there either.
   Leon of Pendraken Games took over the running of the show after the closure of the sports building in Stockton on Tees finished off the wonderful wargames show that had been run by Dave Clemmett and Thomas Davidson since the 1980's. It was one of the very first shows that the Independent Wargames Group staged a game in a foolish attempt to entice the non wargaming public to take up the hobby.
 The old Durham club shows were our first, but that is a whole different story and water now under the bridge.
The event at Whitley Bay in 1983 was the first where we received recognition for our efforts and we even got a mention in the Miniature Wargames magazine way back then, which actually meant a lot, but I digress.
 In those early days, like many wargamers of a certain age we were keen to go virtually anywhere to set up our figures and attempt to draw in the public. Naive yes, but it certainly was a great incentive to paint up stuff for each respective show. I think at one stage we averaged five plus shows a year, stretching from Scotland down to West Yorkshire. Not bad for two daft lads from the North East.It cost a lot, in time, physical effort and hard earned cash. But being young we could manage the effort  fairly easily. However over the years the number of shows we 'did' has shrunk to just one a year. Battleground.
 The reason I have touched on this, is that after Battlegound 2017 we have decided to retire from the display circuit and it seemed very fitting that the ACW game would be our last display staged at a show. I was struggling on Saturday and I know John was waddling around like a man with a broken back, so what is normally a great event proved very trying for us and especially John's son,  Neil who had to suffer the whinging of two old gits.Not good.
 So John and I will only attend shows as viewers of other wargamers efforts and hopefully not offer up too much unwanted advice to the wargamers presenting their displays.
Anyway onto the show. Leon has accomplished wonders in resurrecting the Cleveland Show and on Saturday I thought the lad couldn't get it any better, given there is only him and a bit of help I assume from a small group of friends. Good directions, good venue, free parking, free entry, and free tea to all contributors. The lad done really good. Bigger show organisers should come and see how to do things with no fuss. What was particularly noticeable was the large number of historically based wargames, and not a zombie in sight.
 John and his son Neil, very kindly let me display the ACW armies that I have been painting up these last 14 months.They were originally going to stage an ACW using John's brilliant 10mm figures but agreed to up scale the display. The actual event was very busy and I think the numbers will be well up on last year. There certainly seemed to be a lot of young people and their dads. I was especially impressed by the talk I had with two young teenagers about Plastic Perry figures. The pair were as keen as mustard about the collection they were putting together.If they hadn't been nearly six feet tall and articulate they would have reminded me of me.
 Usually I get to take photographs of all the historical games at a show but it just didnt happen for various reasons and I can only apologise. I do know Neil of the Hunwickian Blog took some great images and I am certain he will put them on his blog.
We were next to Andy Callan who had produced another set of rules, this time for 18th century sieges. This time he was using Spencer Smith figures and his two sides of rules. I was kindly given a set of them by Andy and I know they will be innovative and fun. I wish he would take the trouble to write a couple of articles for the wargaming magazines, God knows they need some inspirational wargaming material.
   It looks like ACW is the flavour of the wargames season with three games on show at Battleground. Shaun Lowery and the Durham Wargames Group who was near us staged a Port Republic 28mm game with figures from his beautiful collection and using Johnny Reb rules.
 Dave Docherty and his posse staged a 10mm ACW game with some beautifully painted figures, but again I can only apologise that I didnt take any photographs. I did get over to the Westerhope Lads, and I use this term very loosely given their respective ages, to see their Clive in India game. It was a lovely game and John had done his usual search through the skips of Newcastle to find other peoples property to enhance their display.
It was good to meet and talk with a number of wargamers that I only bump into at shows and it was especially nice to talk to Charlie Wesencraft who looks ever younger every time we meet.
  So I can only apologise again for the dearth of images, but hope Neil downloads his stuff.
Anyway may I thoroughly recommend the Battleground show to any wargamer who wants a stress free day out. And its free you know.

'So that's all we've got time for, so its Goodnight from me , and its Goodnight from him............Goodnight.'



24 comments:

  1. If you are retiring from the circuit then at least you have done so on. Big HIGH. Super game and such a wonderful collection of figures. 😍

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    1. Thanks Colin. I already have a couple of ideas to kick around before I post them on here. Hopefully they will come to fruition soon.

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  2. It strikes me that there were a lot of good looking historical games there and it seems that the North South divide is growing between historical and everything else if Warfare and Salute are anything to go by

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    1. Ian,
      You know how it is, we were always a backward group in the North.You can keep ten figure games, and anything with the word zombie attached to it. Mind Mr Runkee and his monkey were slagging you off a bit.

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  3. Say it ain't so Robbie. First Mugabe and now you, it's been quite a week!

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    1. Even Mugabe recognised he needed a rest, hopefully mine will be more constructive than his.

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  4. One of the few shows where I wished I could have stayed around longer and chatted to more of the folks putting on display games and the participaton games, though I did get around quite a few in the time I had.
    Thoroughly enjoyable show and sad to see you giving notice of your 'retirement' from the display scene.

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    1. It had to happen Joe. John has his good days now and then. Me I just bump along on the crest of a slump.But I will still be attending the shows.

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  5. Robbie I can understand the sentiment about age and the demands of being at a show all day. The game looked terrific and, if it is the last, a fitting end to your career. Hopefully there is still more wargaming in you and we'll see you down at the Grimsby club next year.

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    1. Paul,
      There is loads of wargaming in me and hopefully John. But I think we have done our bit. And yes definitely count me in for one of your famous big events. I love the beer and the fish and chips.

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  6. A magnificent display. Best to end on a high note!

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    1. Thanks Conrad, although funnily enough it didnt feel that high. Without blowing our trumpets it felt like one of our weekly games.Still the day as a whole was a great success.

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  7. Robbie - Thanks for your very kind words about the efforts of Tom and I in staging the Stockton Shows from 1981 to 2008. Battleground is a very worthy successor since it is staged in Stockton and not Middlesbrough. I only wish we could have attracted the numbers that Leon got on Saturday.

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    1. Dave,
      Leon did well, and it was all attributable to his hard work. But it could never recapture the excitement that we used to have getting ready for the Stockton show.I know we were younger then, but it just felt a bigger thing and important that we presented a good display.

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  8. Sadly age gets to us all in the end. I can fully understand your decision to retire from putting on games at shows as I did so myself a few years ago. If it’s any consolation that is a top notch game and armies to go out on!

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    1. Thanks David. This year was the first time we had to use commercial terrain, ie a mat.Somehow answering the numerous questions about it convinced me that it was maybe time to stop.I felt a bit of a cheat after all the years of home made terrain boards etc.

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  9. Robbie,
    Sad to read this, whilst I understand (in part) your reasoning don't make yourself old before your time! Maybe one demo a year? It's always hard with only two or three putting on the game but support I'm sure could be found. The game, from what little I saw, looked excellent. The good thing with a demonstration game even only one it sets a target to,paint for.
    Whatever your decision all the best for the future

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    1. I know what you mean Graham, and to be honest it did concern me that perhaps I was looking at this from a negative point of view. But on Saturday I never had an opportunity to enjoy the show and it passed me by. Usually I get to at least steal a few ideas from the other displays, but not so at Battleground.Anyway I still think its the right decision, but it wont stop me from attending the shows, I do enjoy them.

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  10. Thanks for coming along this year and for putting on consistently impressive games at all of the shows we've run. I'm sure the Middlesbrough Gamers would echo that from the years they ran the event (2009-2012).

    Hopefully we'll see you there as a punter next year and I'm sure we can stretch to another free cuppa for previous services rendered...!

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    1. I will see you around the shows Leon, I am certain.

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  11. Looks like a really good show from various blogs I've seen, your ACW lot look great of course , looks like a good one to go out on!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain. To be brutally honest John and I could have done so much more for the final game but somehow we just didnt have the appetite. Its one of the reasons why we thought it was time to concentrate on our battles.

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  12. Hi Robbie, sad to hear your news, although some retirements are reversable so we live in hope, unlike Mr Mugabe. I have to say the IWG display games with your boards and the 6mm armies back in the day, were one of the things has inspired me to return to the hobby. They were magnificent. The Battleground show was excellent and I m on a mission to get some of the warhammer kids in my school to come along and see what they could achieve. Cheers and hope to see you at the York show

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    1. Thats very kind of you John. The remaining boards, about 60+ are currently sat in my garage hoping for a new home. I must admit when I was moving them I forgot how good they were. But things move on.As for the Warhammer kids, paint up some 54mm figures and use them, they are cheap enough and robust enough to spark some interest surely.Hopefully see you at York.

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating