Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Ayton WD3 Weekend

Well, it was a good two weeks ago now, the last weekend in April, and this is me finally getting around to posting about it. Starting off late last year with an off the cuff comment, then a solid suggestion, which swiftly led into a full blown rather well planned plan on the WD3 Forum, around twenty gamers, both local & from far away, met up at our own local Ayton Hall for a weekend of gaming, socialising and partaking of food & beer. The weather was unseasonably warm and dry, and the chaps were in good heart I'd say.
The 'main game' was an 18thCentury fictional, led & well umpired by the good Mr Hyde of BattleGames fame. He supplied the rules and his own splendid collection of Spencer Smith figures, and around a dozen players also added their own smaller collections, painted for the event, to the fray. I have to say, it was a joy to see those historic S/Smiths in the flesh, and also to see some newly painted figures - Ian from Essex, if you're reading, that WH Btn was just wonderful.
As well as the 18thC game, we had Bob with the VBCW game, Norman's Viking game, and Tim's Toy Soldier game, which all added to the general pleasant gamey atmosphere of the weekend. We met up around 5pm on the Friday, and the tables were swiftly set up and terrain laid out ready for an easy start the next day...

The Hall has been recently refurbished, and naturally HM still has pride of place on the main wall.

Norman, Tim & Richard decide which game to try first..

... whilst the VBCW game gets going at a cracking pace.

Not all of those attending had met before, and it was good to see how quickly we all gelled into an easy-going group, which made the setting up quick & easy, and we then retired to the Dennison for some rather large meals, thence to The Forge for copious amounts of beer and a right good natter.
The 18thC games started off as three separate tables on the Saturday, following on from the campaign run by Henry. All three games would then lead into one large game on the Sunday. Here we have Lord Peeler's forces dutifully marching out to take on Tim Hall's advance guard.

Which, as they quickly foundd out, was mostly mounted and fairly dangerous too. A long & drawn out cavalry melee ensued, during which Tim's superior cavalry did rather well.

After dispersing Peeler's mounted forces, Tim's cavalry took on the Light infantry, and gave them what can only be described as a good slapping.

After clearing them out of the way, the mounted horde was only stopped by some well aimed volleys from the regular line, waved on by Lord Peeler himself. It was with a sigh of relief that this initial encounter came to an end, with the ominous warning from Mr Hall that, "You do realise that was ONLY my advanced guard don't you". Hmm, it was worrying.

The three 8x6 tables were reorganised and pushed together to form one 24x6, and the terrain & figures set up so as to be ready for the next days main battle. We then retired to the Dennison for some rather large meals, thence to The Forge for copious amounts of beer. No doubt an awful lot of waffle was talked, but frankly, I can't remember much, except that we all had a very nice time and lost the power of speech in the early hours of Sunday.
The setup on the Sunday, with all players present if not feeling quite correct.

My own forces were arrayed opposite Tim's again, and I realised how much he had. Also, they were from John Ray's rather fine collection, and the standard of painting simply dazzled my own troops. Yes, that is my excuse for what happened, and I'm sticking to it.

My line advanced forward to exchange musketry with their opponents, which soon led to high losses on my side.

Both dazzled and outflanked .. what chance did they have, eh!

To my immediate right, a large skirmish firefight went on inconclusively for most of the game.

Several players had a go at Tim's & Norman's games, and had jolly time of it.

A general view of the table. My own forces are arrayed in front of the central town.

Whilst to my left, my allies were busy getting a sound thrashing themselves.

Back to mine, and whilst the Foot slogged it out, a Cuirassier charge made utter mincemeat out of one of my Btns, and was so successful that it carried on into another, breaking that one too, as can be seen. Things were not going well!

When most of my forces had finished dying, there was only one thing for it - to send in The Nuns of the Ditch, an elite unit of tooled up Nuns with attitude & faith, armed with fearsome close quarter weapons. It made no difference as they too got blown away, and even had the indignity of losing their cassocks, as well as some other garments, which we will not talk about on here.

Toward the end of the day, with a clear winner, Mr Hall was good enough to offer terms, and our side was withdrawn back into the town, there to recover and mull on their rather harsh defeat. The Nuns had to be fed & watered with mead and steak & mead pie, such was their upset at being so easily defeated. Lord Peeler was left alone, in a darkened room, there to contemplate his future.

The games & tables etc were cleared away with great speed, and after a general witter, most players left for home, happy with having had a most pleasant weekend of gaming and meeting up with fellow posters from the WD3 Forum. Here's a picture of most, a happy looking bunch if you ask me..

And just when I thought, well that's that then, and was beginning to get that usual 'coming down' feeling after such a good weekend, those of us that were left, about a half dozen, went .. that's right, to the Dennison for some rather large meals, and thence to The Forge for copious amounts of beer. I think we'd all weigh a bit more by the Monday, certainly my work clothes seemed unnaturally tight by the time I got back... Words fail me to describe what a good weekend we had of it. It was good to meet up & game again with Tim Hall & Norman, meet up with Henry again, and to just be part of such an august gathering of gentlemen gamers. As Tim said, "Twenty odd gamers meeting up, some for the first time, and not a single figure dropped or terrain piece broken, and not a single harsh word." It was indeed, as Henry said, all done in the true "spirit of wargaming".



PS - and plans are already afoot for another bash next year!

PPS! - And a LARGE thankyou to Mrs Peeler & Mrs Wright for the large amount of sandwiches & cakes throughout the long days. We'd have passed out through hunger without you.