Has it been a week already? A week since I spent the final few hours getting my things in order to make the journey north to Newark and the Wargames Foundry? Sadly, it is the case but the impending US Oldhammer show (taking place this weekend) should fill the Oldhammer Community with another load of fantastic pictures rather soonish, so that at least should make the withdrawal symptoms a little easier to bear.
This post has sat for while on my blog account and really was is desperate need of being finished. BOYL has filled the blogosphere and Facebook group with a wealth of stories, surprises and shocks - those previously unreleased Rogue Trader miniatures certainly excited a great deal of people, didn't they?
What follows are the leftovers of my photographs taken on the weekend itself. Due to a bizarre pillow incident, my lovely iPhone was misplaced and I had to use the wife's iPad as a camera. It was pretty unwieldy but managed to capture much of what I enjoyed reasonably well.
One observation from me was the real improvement in quality of painting I saw across the gaming tables. This came as a surprise to several of the 'outside visitors' who I bumped into on the Saturday. And it is clear that many of us lavish a huge amount of time on our toy soldiers in preparation for the event - with only two unpainted (well, undercoated) models being seen during the entire weekend, at least by me. Another thing that always pleases me about the painted models on show, is the range of styles of painting. I never notice the generic 'style' of paint by numbers creeping in, a sight that became all to familiar in my days gazing into GW store cabinets. I find myself being endlessly inspired by what I see.
Scenery is another fascinating aspect to an Oldhammer Weekend. It really is quite amazing how far some attendees will go to create something special. True, this is common to all shows, but to see models designed for older era Warhammer is pretty exciting.
Still that didn't stop players, like myself, using the original materials when possible. Here Snickit surveys his Necromunda game in the warm sunshine, mere footsteps away from the fully licensed bar stocked with cider, ale and bacon rolls. Quite a a few people said that they had missed this game happening so I am glad a got a couple of photographs for the record.
I also enjoyed seeing Snickit's massed ranks of skaven again. Every year the horde just gets bigger and bigger and this time he used a part of his collection for a 4th edition game hidden away in the corner of the Wargames Foundry stable/shop
Of course, the big game of 'Warhammer Ahoy' attracted a great deal of admirers, and rightfully so. It was a huge game that was played through several times from what I hear. A great example of what an community like our own can achieve.
Of course, there were plenty of smaller games to prove that big isn't always beautiful. Foundry's famous 'huge board' was split in two for this year's event and show a large number of games spread across both. This, I think, was taken during the 'Journey to the East' game.
As for myself, I was keen to play through the McDeath scenario that I had been working on for so long. We managed two games, the first of which I GM'd and the second I played as the Greevants against Steve Casey's McEwmans, allied to Stuart. The photograph above was taken during the initial phases of the first game, where Drew was moving his clansmen back towards the harbour to deal with that usurper, Julia!
Stuart countered and the clan advanced quickly, but he made a serious mistake - keeping his powerful characters back to guard the harbour front and moving his barbarians forwards across the low hills. Juggo, who suffers from alcoholism, was forced to enter the Rough Inn and start drinking!
Drew sent his clansmen across the hills to the south to claim some of the sheep that flocked there. Each sheep was worth a single victory point if rescued, and 5 for each collected and placed in the sheep pen near the harbour.
Making an attempt to reach the safety of the sheep-pen, Drew moved his forces across the table, but Stuart pursued his across the table and caught his clansmen in the open, near the orchard.
The fighting was messy. With individual combats and group melees going on here and there. Drew's special weapons did little to damage the McEwman advance, though Fergus, the sergeant at arms, suffered a wound early on.
Having stolen the local pony, Trigger, Kit McArno had ridden around the side of the harbour and ended up causing havoc by the waterside. Stuart saw his mistake too late, and quickly Julia was surrounded and fighting for her life. To lose Julia was, for all terms and purposes, to lose the game!
Sadly, despite protection from the other characters around her, Kit was able to kill Julia quite quickly and the game was over. Not quite what I expected in a game of Winwood Harbour, but then again - anything can happen in these games and frequently does!
On the Sunday, I spent some time pouring over the miniatures entered into the painting competition. In spirit of the event, it was made up as we went along and was eventually judged by Tony Ackland with help from some of the Foundry staff. You can see my entry, 'Grubzup!' to the bottom right of this picture. As always, I was amazed with the standard on view and only entered myself after Chico threatened to change into his 'disco outfit' if I didn't!
The entries were as weird and wonderful as you would expect, though someone has clearly forgotten to paint that troll! My favourite was the frog with the leg hanging out of its mouth.
The final tier was just as varied as the previous two. What I find so wonderful about these events is the appearance of so many classic models - just look at that Goblobber! And the chance you have to see models by community members that have been shared online.
I was lucky enough to win the Fantasy Single with 'Grubzup'. My reward, another unreleased wizard (a Citadel C series druid from 1987 this time) and a £30 Foundry Voucher that hadn't been printed off a few minutes before the prize giving.
From what I can recall, the other winners (who also received their choice of unreleased models and a voucher) were:
Chris Webb - for the Warzone figure in Sci-fi in the Single category.
James Armstead - for his Manga bike in the Sci-fi Vehicle category
Drew Williams - for his homemade space marines in the Sci-fi Unit category
James Armstead (again!) for his giant in the Fantasy Large Figure category.
To end the weekend, Stuart, Steve and I had another run through with McDeath and it turned into one of those classic games that you remember and compare others to. Stuart switched sides and commanded the McArnos while I ordered the Greevants around. Steve took command of Julia's invasion force. As before, the clansmen made for the sheep but unlike Drew, we decided to make use of the hill and the +1 to hit that higher ground would afford us. Protecting as much of the flock as we could, we constructed a shieldwall across the high ground and waited for Julia's forces to come and fight us.
Steve Casey smiles evilly as he watches his advancing usurpers charge across the battlefield. His approach was a little more tactical that Stuart's had been.
He used standard clansmen, or women in this case, to hold the buildings in Winwood for those elusive victory points.
With the harbour secured he advanced towards our lines, breaking his forces into two commands. Things started to go wrong for Steve early on, with Alec, the shotputter, rushing forwards to strike Julia in the face with a large, metal ball. She suffered a wound before Fergus could cut him down in combat.
With Julia wounded, the Greevant and McArno clansmen cheered on the highground, even after the first of their number was cut down. The psychological victory was theirs and they were only a single wound away from victory.
The McEwmans reorganised their battle line in respect to what had happened to their leader. Steve could no longer risk her in open battle and positioned her to the rear of his force. She would have to just issue the orders now.
Stuart ordered his caber tosser down the hill and we made use of the amusing template that the weapon needs to function. The rules are simple: The model takes a d4 run up, the template allows for two automatic hits to any models that fall under it and then a d12 to determine where the caber ends up. In the end, the first two hits missed Julia, but the caber ended the life of a clanswomen. Disappointing results for Stuart and I, as we has sensed another early victory in the death of Julia.
Tired of the threats to her life, Julia commanded a charge and the McEwmans roared up the hill. The McArnos and Greevants held a +1 advantage as long as they held the high ground.
Meanwhile, Stuart has captured the horse and made it inside the harbour. In a series of amazing dice rolls he destroyed the resistance around the buildings and prepared to advance on Julia's rear - steady Chico!
But despite a long period of ill luck, Steve managed to turn things around on the hill with some game changing dice rolls. Steadily, he cut our remaining troops down and took the high ground.
Even Julia waded into the fray in the final moments of the game. Her skill, combined with Juggo and Fergus, ended the resistance swiftly. Kit McArno opted to retreat off the table rather than face the surviving McEwman warriors.
With the victory points added up the game ended as a draw. We all agreed that the scenario had been a great example of the Oldhammer spirit and that victory lurched from one side to the other throughout the game.
And so Sunday ended and we all started to pack away. I did my shopping, and spent my voucher, but not before we took this photograph and thanked Diane Ansell for the extraordinary efforts she always goes to during our events. We also grabbed the chance to talk about next year before we left so keep your eyes peeled for the official conformation of BOYL 4 in the the coming weeks,
Just a final word from me to thank Bryan, Diane and Marcus for being the perfect hosts. They are such a generous family and go to great lengths to ensure that everyone enjoys their stay. And thank you must also go to Kev Adams for sculpting all those faces on all of those miniatures, Tony Ackland for bringing his artwork, Rick Priestley for being Rick Priestley, Nigel Stillman for taking us through Warhammer Armies in depth, Tim Prow for pointing out all of the models he painted n Bryan's collection, Tony Yates for drawing for us all and finally, and most importantly, to all the Oldhammerers who attended the event and made it so very special.
Until next summer.