Sunday, March 25, 2012

Havoc 2012

I played in the Field of Glory tournament at Havoc this weekend. Havoc is a regional miniature wargame convention, catering to New England gamers, put on annually by Battlegroup Boston. This is a nice local event that for me, has become a preferred alternative to attendance at Cold Wars. The crowd is manageable, and there is a decent selection of vendors also. The FoG tournament here each year is also a very relaxed event, with most of the players very familiar with, and friendly with each other. I usually run this tournament, but I couldn't this year - I thought that I was going to be bringing my youngest to an out of town soccer tournament instead, but since she is recovering from an injury, I was able to participate in the FoG tournament as a player only. It was nice to only worry about only my own games this time, rather than trying to play at the same time as umpiring, keeping scores, and arranging round-by-round opponents. Much thanks to Chris and Paul from the New England Ancients Gaming Network for stepping up and running things this time around.

The tournament was an 800 point, open affair, in 15mm. I played a Feudal Catalan and Medieval Crown of Aragorn army, mainly because I already had the Almughavars. Also, when I had been intending to run the tournament myself, I was intending a theme based on the Oath of Fealty list book, and this was the army that I wanted to use in that. I didn't do too well once again, losing games to French Ordannce and Early Byzantine armies, and defeating an Early Polish one, but one losing game was against possibly the best player in the States, and another to one of the top players. It was all a good time though - I especially enjoyed my game played inside the vendor booth for Silver Eagle Gaming Supplies - and it made for a effective tuneup for the US Open to be held next month in the Boston area. One thing learned for sure, is that it is much tougher playing Almughavars as undrilled rather than as the drilled option that I am more familiar with from later era lists.

Here are a few photos of my games. The lighting was unfortunately rather dim in the basement of the building where we had our games, so I'm sorry if some of the pictures are a bit blurry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Middle Earth Docu-Drama

Even with a wide selection of cable channels, educational (and particularly, historically educational) television programming in the USA just out-and-out sorely lacking. Although televisiona has always been a bit of a wasteland, one could still occasionally count on something relatively interesting being shown, like Ken Burn's Civil War or old cable stand-bys such as "The World at War" or "Wings". Now, stations even inappropriately calling themselves "The History Channel" have nothing on them but Do-It-Yourself or Reality shows. I'm sure our friends in Great Britain may disagree, but it appears to me that there is at least an attempt to have some historically based programming there, even if it may be a bit low brow for scholarly types, and produced on very limited budgets.

Recently, I got a chance to watch the two episodes of a movie that I think aired on Channel 4 in the UK, entitled "1066 - The Battle for Middle Earth". Although one could quibble about some historical inaccuracies, and might be a bit off put by the cheesy dialogue and narrow camera focus required to make a limited number of reenactors look like they are engaged in major battles, this is obviously a film produced by people with a love of the subject matter.  The movie tells the story, in the style of a combined documentary-drama, of the momentous events that struck England during the year 1066 - the Viking Invasion of the North, the battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge, finally climaxing with the Battle of Hastings - but not from the perspective of the Dukes and Kings, but rather from that of the little people, most specifically, the people of the small village of Crowshurst, which was laid waste by the Normans during the initial stages of their invasion.

Yes, the movie is obviously made for the small screen, but there was stuff about it that I really liked. At the beginning, the Saxons are all actually speaking Old English (it sounds like something you can ALMOST understand), before shifting almost imperceptibly into our modern language. Shield wall warfare is also displayed much better than is normal in typical Hollywood productions, along with the charge of the Norman cavalry, and the fragmented and intermittent nature of hand-to-hand warfare in the Dark Ages.

In the States, copies of this movie are very tough to find, but if all things Medieval are up your alley, the effort to get a hold of it will surely reward you. To wet your whistle, check out the two videos below, from the Battle of Stamford Bridge. I love the interpretation of the "giant" Viking defending the bridge against the entire Saxon army that starts at the end of the first video and concludes in the second one.

And if this isn't enough to perk your interest, I guess I should mention that the film's narration is done by the actor who played Bilbo in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oinking Crossbow

With the Field of Glory US Open soon to arrive, I realized that I need a minimum of eight stands of Light Infantry crossbow for the army that I intend to play. I'm not a big fan of this troop type, but taking them as light infantry, they aren't too expensive and are much less of a target than if they are taken as medium foot. The figures shown are by Peter Pig, from their Bloody Barons line. Pretty decent sculpts for 15mm - I especially link the crouching guy loading his weapon. I also have some Peter Pig command figures to get completed before the big event for the generals that I intend to use, and I hope to show them here soon.

A couple of close ups for the crossbow:

And an overall shot of the completed unit: