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Carronade 2017


Misc., Wargame Shows, Falkirk

This Saturday was Carronade – the annual wargame show held in a school in Falkirk. the town is roughly midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, smack in the middle of Scotland’s central belt, and so it draws people from both cities, and much further afield too. This is the first of the two big shows north of the border – the other one being Claymore, held in Edinburgh in August. First though, my pal Chris Henry and I had a quick tour of the Falkirk battlefield – the 1746 one. We found the monument easily enough, which marked the place where the Government rearguard held its own for a bit against the rebels, its flank protected by a ravine. We found the ravine too – an impressive obstacle to any charging Highlander. then, using the monument as our datum point – and and armed with a maps and a copy of Chris Duffy’s book on the rebellion – we figured out the lay of the land across the rest of the battlefield.We found the rebel starting point, and Prince Charles’ vantage point, but the most spectacular piece was the sloping field where the Government dragoons charged and were routed by a brigade of Highlanders, who lay down to get away from the horses, then stabbed them as they passed. I’ll be back, to walk it in more detail, but for the moment I’m happy I’ve seen the place. Now, on with the show. As I said, it’s held in a school, which has two main halls, joined by narrower room, which serves as a third area for traders and games. upstairs there’s a bring and buy, a few more gaming tables, and a few more traders. Our colonial cousins might be surprised that British shows are just one-day affairs, and that gaming isn’t a major part of them. About half the games are ones you can participate in – usually in games that last less than an hour – often a lot less, while the rest are what we call demonstration games – impressive set-pieces which are there to show off the lead and the scenery, or to showcase a period. Most of these are run by groups or clubs. What follows are a few of my favourite tables from the show, starting with this nice Border Reiver game, featuring an impressive Peel Tower. I don’t know which game won the prize for the best-looking Demo Game, but surely it must have been this one – The Battle of Morlaix, laid on by Dave Imrie and friends. I believe they were using the excellent To the Strongest rules, but what really looked good was the paintwork – these guys – David, Brian and Andrew – can really paint. Next was a game put on by another bunch of friends – Peter and Kevin from the Iron Brigade, based in Aberdeenshire. This was a Wars of the Roses game, and again it looked terrific. Down below was a Seven Years War bash, using 40mm Prince August flats – a real “old school” treat for the eye. The Spanish Civil War, also in 40mm, complete with anarchist train. At first glance I thought it said something else on the side..Right – here’s my own Edinburgh Club’s effort – a 28mm Bolt Action game set in Greece in 1941. Many Demo Games are semi-static affairs – the people putting it on barely move things during the whole day. This one though, was being played in earnest, and it looked like the guys were having a blast. Colin Jack was running the show, and I suspect he supplied all the toys too. I usually have a go at the Leuchars Club’s participation game, but for some reason I forgot to this year. Still, they’ll probably run it again at Claymore. It was based on the film Fury, with Shermans battling a Tiger. It looked fun, and a bit frenetic. Finally there was this offering – a game seen last year at the Targe show of the British and Indonesians battling it out in Borneo during the early 60’s. Of course, looking at the tables was only part of the gig. I also bought lead I don’t really need, rules I’ll probably never use, and books I might never get round to reading. Still, the main thing was savouring the atmosphere, chatting to friends, and generally having a good day out. Thanks to Kenny and the guy from Falkirk for putting on the show, and making it so much fun.

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