Monday, 8 February 2016

Vapnartak 2016 and Dragon Rampant

Well it's been sometime since my last post.  I really must try and blog a bit more regularly.

Been quite busy on the gaming front since last time.  I've rebased all my Normans from single bases to multiple bases.  Originally I had based them for Saga but appetite for these rules seem to have dropped off at the Club.  I still like them but they do work best in a competitive 1:1 game.  Most of the games we play at the Club end up by necessity being multi-player games.  The introduction of Lion Rampant and now Dragon Rampant has also taken over the niche held by Saga.  I know it's not quite a match but a greater ability to have multi-player games and a simpler but engaging system seems to have made LR/DR a hit.

With the larger numbers of figures in a unit for LR/DR and the individual positioning not being important there I really no need for single basing in LR.  This is especially true with DR which introduced the concept of strength points and divorced casualties from figure removal.  Hence I've settled on Impetus sale bases.  The ability to make small dioramas appeals to the modeller in me.  I can now use my Normans for Impetus, Hail Caesar, LR, DR, and Too The Strongest.  At a push I could still use them for Saga as well with a bit of a fudge.

Here's a couple of quick snaps.

Knights are on 60mm by 80mm bases.  I really like the extra depth which allows a less regular positioning of the figures.  For the sharp eyed there are a couple of bases of late medievals in the background but they are for another post.

The spear men are on 60x60 bases.  Again 2 bases.  Having said I like the large bases I decided that splitting them was a good compromise.  Went completely off-piste with the crossbow men.  Wanted a looser formation than the spears.  That's fine for the HC, TTS as 8 figures on a 120mm works fine.  However I wanted 12 figures (for a LR unit).  3 60mm frontage bases was a little too big.  Hence went with 4 figures on a 50mm square base.  I like the look and can field just 2 bases for HC or TTS.

Is it just me who agonises about base sizes?  It's not helped in wanting a system that looks good but is also flexible enough for different rule sets.

So back to Vapnartak.  This is the York Wargames Club annual show.  It really seems to have established itself as one of the leading shows (certainly in the North).  It is helped by being one of the first shows of the year and has a sort of "coming out of hibernation"feel.  At the Harrogate Club we'd discussed putting on a game and given the York Club were looking for more participation games I came up with the idea of Dragon Rampant game.  Given the timescales I wanted something we could put together fairly quickly, would be easy to play but give an engaging game and take about an hour!  Not much to ask really.  I'd been impressed by the game David Imrie (of Saxondog blog fame) put on at Salute a few years ago which was based on the opening scene from the film Eagle and I thought (like all good ideas) I could borrow it.  I had managed to acquire a lovely Roman marching fort from Paul Darnell while he was still producing models under the Touching History banner and this would make a nice centre piece.  I then remembered that I had made a wicker man many years ago for a WAB demo game and everything fell into place.

I had recently rebased all my Romans onto large Impetus bases and the majority of my Ancient Britons were on 60mm square bases anyway.  The flexibility of troop types in Dragon Rampant allowed me a reasonable representation of the 2 armies (while allowing for a spell casting Druid and a pack of war dogs).  We played a test game at the Club and it seemed to work a treat so we were on.  The multiple bases also worked really well.  They were easier (and quicker) to move and just using micro dice to mark casualties worked perfectly well. Not actually made Courage tests easier as you just has to subtract the dice number!

I had most of the terrain and all the armies done but I'm very conscious that if you are going to put a public game on, it should look the best you can make it.  In addition, it's the little touches of detail that make the difference between a good demo game and a club game.  So with a week or so to go this involved re-modelling the river section on the TSS terrain tile and painting it.  Basing up the Ancient British village buildings and adding wattling fencing (the Renedra fencing is great, not cheap but very flexible), painting up villagers, wild life and (thanks to a free postage offer from Warlord) a pack of English mastiffs.  I was highlighting the flock on bases at 5am on the day of the show but I got it all done.

So how was the show?  In a word great!  I arrived nice and early just after 8am and at that time could park ride outside the entrance.  We were a little tucked away at the end of the top floor but with floor to ceiling glass it was lovely and light.  I think we missed some of the passing traffic but we managed to coral enough willing participants for 4 games during the day.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as well.  The rules were great.  Easy to pick up, giving a nice quick game, but definitely fun and some hidden depth.  All the games were incredibly close and ran out 2 games each after the day.

I was so busy during the day I didn't take any photos but here's one taken by one of the team mid-game.

With a few of use to run the game I was also able to get a quick look round.  I didn't get much of a chance to look at the other games but I did notice another Dragon Rampant game with an impressive fantasy castle and a nice Crusades Lion Rampant game.  My favourite was the wonderful 1920s Back of Beyond game.

I'm hoping to take the Wicker Man game down to the Hammerhead show in Newark at the beginning of March so if you are there please do come along and say hello.

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