Monday, September 16, 2013

Colours 2013 was that weekend again, and as the rain battered down on the conservatory here at chez Steve the Wargamers, I can't help thinking that I'm glad I went Saturday rather than Sunday! 

I love Colours, always have, I liked the old venue (the Hexagon had a unique charm) but I like the new venue even more - it's easier to get to, and the light is hugely better  for seeing things and taking pictures... 

So it was that DG and I found ourselves in a queue to enter the venue by about 10:20 (albeit by luck more than a sound grasp of our social diaries), and in my case wondering why I hadn't put my thermals on...  just for once I quite envied the English Civil War cum renaissance re-enactors across the way practising with their broom poles, sorry, pikes...

So how was Colours this year?

"Busy" it seemed to me (though I don't have much experience of the show on a Saturday as we normally go on the Sunday), the trader count seemed higher - in fact for the first time the organisers have opened a separate annexe/hall, just across from the main entrance.There were a lot of punters, and there were plenty of £20 notes in evidence.....

I can confirm the annexe was well worth visiting, definitely not an after thought, with some fine games on display and also some interesting traders. Among these was a new manufacturer to me, Eagle Figures [clicky] whose "generic" 17th Century armed civilians [clicky] definitely caught my eye - these are sold in their SYW range but would make a lovely unit of American War of Independence militia - 28mm but not chunky, and they didn't look huge - may need to buy some to see if they compare with my Minifigs...

Elsewhere, the usual culprits appeared Antenociti/Caliver/Essex/Foundry/Langton etc etc Nothing burning new to buy it seemed - but the following thoughts occurred later.......
  • the new Lardies rules Chain of Command [clicky] featured heavily  everywhere, and I have to admit I was tempted.What put me off was one, the size of the book - the rules were laid out quite clearly but seemed more complicated than I wanted, and at 100+ pages (albeit including army lists) I think I might have lost the will to live before I got some little metal men on the tabletop. My second reservation is entirely personal, in that every set of their rules that DG and I have ever used ("Shoot an Elephant", and "I Ain't Been Shot Mum") we have found difficult to read, understand, and have been full of ambiguities - the word among the bloggeratti is that these are considerably improved  in that area, but the combination of the two was enough to keep me moving on...
  • I think the Saga glut might be coming to a close - only saw one stand all day selling the rules and the dice
  • the overpowering smell of burnt MDF when I came through the front door put me in mind of visiting a carpentry shop! Laser cut everything this year, especially more complex stuff like buildings and terrain items, ships etc
  • among the demo/participation games WWII seemed to predominate - I was quite surprised there were no WWI actions given the upcoming anniversary, I might be too early though...
....w.r.t retail therapy, I had money to spend  (DG and I had just concluded some sales on eBay) but couldn't find anything to spend it on - I am within the skin of my teeth of starting a new English Civil War project, but am not going to until I can find a decent set of rules - so I browsed "Pike and Shotte"  and "Forlorn Hope"  and wasn't taken with either... any suggestions from among my followers gratefully appreciated and accepted....  I want a set that models the interaction between pike and shot, regimental level, on the simple side while giving the flavour of the period....  I may even write my own...

So the money stayed in the pocket except for two packs of bases and a bag of static grass....! There's Warfare coming up in November - it can wait... 

...and so to the games.... even with the Annexe I thought the game standard might have been down this year; there was a humungous Napoleonic game in 54mm put on by the Skirmish Wargames group which left me thinking "why?" as it seems to defeat the purpose of both the scale and the group ethos, a number of hex games (blechhhhh...), a number of games that looked lovely except for one thing that spoiled the look and made me move on (usually a terrain feature/item  that just didn't fit)... so among the myriad of games (and there were a large number that would be appreciated by those less fussy than your correspondent) I have come up with a top 3...and so, in reverse order we have... third...  this game was hosted/presented by Bruce Weigle using his own 1866 [clicky] rules

Not my scale - 6mm - but what captured my eye was the glorious looking terrain/table top, which flowed in a most pleasing  and realistic manner..  this game represented the Battle of Rossbrunn on the 26th July 1866 in the Austro-Prussian War


...and in second place, this WWII game by the Loughton Strike Force using 15mm figures...

...action on the Eastern Front ..  we like ruined trains......

..a very nice table top - they were demonstrating the new Second Edition Panzer Grenadier rules...

...simply lovely....  loved the onion dome church and the water tower...

..but in first place this game!

...this was put on by the Society of Gentlemen Gamers (edit: thanks, Will) ..

...and represented the action at  Naqb Rala where the Foreign Legion and Free French took on the Italian Folgore Division in the Western Desert (23rd October 1942)

...this action was part of Operation Lightfoot and took place just north of the Qattara Depression

Nice simple terrain and lots of lovely models - you'd know this was Rapid fire without even having to ask!

...a worthy winner I thought....

By the way...something of a milestone as this is my 600th post!


  1. Steve, the Naqb Rala game was the Society of Gentlemen Gamers (known as SOGGies) not the League of Gentlemen Wargamers. They're a great bunch to game with and I'll be joining them for a big D Day +6 bash in Plymouth in October.

    1. Damn - sorry, Will.. post updated... they were a nice bunch, very friendly, and the game was a cracker...

  2. Thanks for the pics Steve and congrats on the 600!

  3. Fully agree - Colours is arguably the best show south of London. The Trade Stands seemed to be even more numerous and varied this year but they rather overwhelmed the few games sited on the 1st and 2nd floors. As a result, it was all a bit too congested on the top floor and quite hard to move between the games. Thought there was very little to amaze or inspire this year - I agree with your views on the 54mm Napoleonic Skirmish (pity, as it seemed to be the only Napoleonic game?)
    Only downside - I always seem to arrive stupidly early on the Saturday and spend far too long in what must be the draughtiest queue in the Show Calendar (at least, for us Southern softies)!

  4. If you want regimental level ECW rules, with pike & shot interating then do have another look at Forlorn Hope. They're the only set that fit that gap between skirmish and army level rules and require companies to manouevre to support each other correctly. They're much cleverer than they may appear at first.

  5. Steve,

    I recently posed this question on TMP -- "What's your favorite set of ECW rules?"

    With 30 replies, there was no obvious favorite. Instead 16 different sets were named as first choice and no set garnered more than 3 votes (i.e., 10% of replies):

    5 with 3 VOTES each:

    Forlorn Hope
    Pike & Shotte
    WarHammer ECW
    Victory Without Quarter

    4 with 2 VOTES each:

    Charge Yr Pikes
    Gush's Renaissance rules
    Impetus Baroque
    Piquet Anchor of Faith

    7 with 1 VOTE each:

    Advanced Armati
    Last Argument of Kings
    Once Upon a Time in the West Country
    Polemos ECW
    Regiment of Foote
    Renaissance to Restoration
    Warmaster ECW

    So either there are a great many good sets of rules OR none of them have really caught the public's attention as being superior. Anyway, I hope that you find the set that excites you . . . perhaps from the above list or perhaps you'll need to write your own.

    -- Jeff

    PS, replies listed in alphabetical order

    1. Thanks Jeff - based on your previous posts I was thinking of giving Victory without Quarter a run through....

  6. Congratulations on 600 posts. Think of all the figures you could have painted if you weren't typing! I often do! I bought hardly anything too this year. I also spent 10 minutes in the empty "usual" car park on Sunday wondering if I had got the date wrong as I didn't notice the different parking area. I didn't go last year so maybe it changed then!

    1. Legatus - I used to think that way too, but these days I take the view that the blogging and web browsing is as much a part of my hobby as any of the other aspects.... if I was that keen to paint then I'd set to with a vengeance and the PC would sit ignored!

  7. When I said "Forlorn Hope" I actually meant "File Leader"

    Wot a plonka.


  8. Steve

    Google chrome blocked your site for malware, something about smileyforme

    1. Cheers Mel - not sure what I can do about it - smileyforme are the little smiley icons I use.....

    2. Mel - security issue fixed...

  9. Ah the smell of burnt PDF in the morning! The smell of Victory!

    1. Benjamin - definitely a strong whiff of victory about, then - happily no sign of Robert Duvall.... :o)

  10. Interesting report and nice pictures Steve. I enjoyed my day there too on Saturday, but Colous is not really a favourite of mine if I'm honest, bar the shopping opportunities of course.

    1. David - Colours is the least favourite of the 3 shows a year I attend - the ones I don't like, I don't go to.. :o)

      PS. I do like your blog - now a follower - love the Back of Beyond stuff...

  11. Looks like you found some good eye candy at the show. That Eastern Front terrain looks realistic if you squint your eyes just a tad and crop out the convention bits in the background. Although, I'm starting to get bored by the same old ruins that every WW2 game seems to have these days. Nevertheless, I always appreciate the effort and talent that goes into same of these table top set ups.

    1. Fritz - I know what you mean.... the better show games these days are of such a universally high standard that in most cases it's something quite little that makes them stand out... in this case it was the train and the water tower for me......