23 Apr 2017

L'Art de la Guerre Renaissance...

ADLG Renaissance is in development... and even with having not actually played it or laid eyes on a copy, I do know that it will probably involve "double units" for Pike & Shot.

The idea of rebasing is a frightening one, but amazingly, on examination of my Renaissance collection, I have spotted that I have at least a couple more bases of ECW/TYW Pike & Shotte than I actually need for any conceivable FoGR army I might wish to use in future... who'd a thunk it?!

So, knowing I have plenty of spares, I decided to test-base some Pike & Shot, using "second line" figures who won't honestly get an outing anyway just to see what they might look like.






It's an "Impetus-style" basing methodology !

Not sure that having 3 ranks of each is entirely right, but as a first experiment its a pretty decent look I think.

17 Apr 2017

Competition Ancients in the UK - The state of play, 1 year on

Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post on the relative popularity of various "competition" Ancients sets in the UK, which, unusually for this sort of thing was based on actual analysis of real numbers rather than just a subjective TMP-esque mumble of personal preference and "down my club we think this...".

At the time, FoG Ancients was the largest set by some distance but had declined from it's peak of a few years previous, the popularity of DBMM had been flat for some time and a new set L'Art de la Guerre (which you'll have seen on this site no doubt!) was just finishing its first full year of being played in the UK.

Well, how does that all look now, and what's changed in the UK competition scene?

DBMM

A year ago it proved a little tricky compiling accurate data for the numbers of entries for DBMM events, however since then the truly excellent DBMM rankings website at http://partridges.org.uk/rankings/ has been revitalised and updated and seems to have gotten back on top of capturing pretty much everything that happens in the UK DBMM-wise.

Last time around the total number of DBMM competition entrants in the previous year stood at somewhere around 90 players - including 11 based overseas - entering 17 different events (counting those events with both 25mm and 15mm periods as one).  The total number of entries stood at 326, or 314 excluding the overseas players

In the last 12 months that number hasn't really changed appreciably, with 17 events again making up the calendar featuring 84 different players. This year just 5 players based overseas have played in UK events basically representing a smaller Irish contingent at Britcon 2016, leaving a UK-based pool of 79 active players - exactly the same as a year ago. The total number of event entries was 296, down fractionally on the prior year.

The mix of "core" and "occasional" players is also a pretty much the same, with 17 players (21%) making up half of all event entries across the year (compared to 18-20 last year).

The number of UK-based players taking part in just one event has remained about the same, with 27 this year vs 25-30 last time around. 4 overseas players also took part in just one event in the last year.

Of the 27 UK-based "unique" players, 13 of them appeared at the Milton Keynes 1-day event - the biggest single pool event in the calendar with 33 players - highlighting the continuing importance of the Milton Keynes club to the DBMM community in the UK.  A new 2-day event held in Guildford also was added to the DBMM calendar in the past 12 months, drawing another large field of 18 players, of which 4 were also "uniques".

When Milton Keynes is combined with the 5 rounds of the Northern League and the 1-day event in Central London, one-day events make up almost half of all DBMM events staged across the year, contribute over 1/4 of all event entries (86), and are the only places you will come across players representing over a quarter of the entire UK player pool.

This period represented the year immediately following the introduction of a new version of DBMM and also a new set of lists - however with no appreciable change in player numbers or participation levels in this period it's hard to say whether this has helped or hindered the DBMM community either way.

That is not to say that over the past 5 years the DBMM community hasn't seem any churn of players coming in and out - far from it as this table shows:

Current20162015201420132012
Total Players848283929697
New this year61991411N/A
Did not returnN/A420181812

  • New this year means players who did not appear in a tournament in the previous year
  • Did not return means players who did not appear in a tournament in the following year

Consistently more players have dropped out of competition DBMM every year for the last 5 years than have taken it up as a competition game, however most of this churn is at the lower end of the "enthusiasm" grading - for core competition players what is clear is that the DBMM community is very, very stable.

To illustrate this more clearly I was able to create the following graphic by ranking players by "number of events participated in" for each of the last 5 years, and then colour-coding the placings into 20-wide bands (1-20, 21-40, 41-60 etc). The paler the cell, the more active the player.

Each row represents a different player, and each number represents where the player would rank in term of "number of events entered" for each year.  In this graphic, "Player 1" - the most active player in the year to date - has also been the most active player in 2016 and 2015, and was the 2nd most active player in 2013 and 2012. Quite what happened in 2014 is a mystery....but I guess Arsene Wenger would still consider 4th to be a successful year too!


With the banding of colours very consistent across the years, the graphic highlights how the 20 most active current players have also been the most active players every year for pretty much the whole of the last 5 years.
By the time you get outside the 'top 40' for any given year the number of events entered falls away to just 1 or 2, so it is probably fair to say that the national competition scene is essentially made up of the top 40 or so active players. Only 5 "new" players have picked up DBMM enthusiastically enough to join this core "active" group since 2012, and all are still found at the lower end of the "Top 40" participation chart.


FoGAM

In May 2016 FoGAM was the biggest ancients set by some margin, with 140 players taking part in 16 events and making a total of 422 entries between them.

In the past 12 months these stats have seen a significant change, with the total number of active players falling by almost 1/3 to just 97, including just three overseas players.  The total number of event entries has also unsurprisingly declined by a similar amount, falling from 422 to 308, leaving FoGAM only now marginally larger than DBMM in the UK.

Of these 97 active players, 40 were "uniques" who entered just one event during the course of the year and a further 17 entered just two meaning just over half of the player pool are currently "occasional" players.

Unlike DBMM, the FoGAM circuit doesn't have a "Milton Keynes One-Dayer" event driving up the number of "unique" competition players and overall player numbers, with the Schiltron competition in Scotland contributing the most FoGAM "uniques" with 7.

21 FoGAM players between them made up just over half of all event entries, entering more than 7 events each throughout the year - the same as a year ago. This core group represent an identical proportion of the (smaller) overall player pool compared to a year ago, and the same proportion as seen in DBMM too.

A year ago FoGAM was already clearly on a downward trajectory from its peak back in 2012 of 250+ active players, and from these stats this trend has clearly continued.

This table shows overall player numbers in the last 5 years:

Current20162015201420132012
Total Players in UK Competitions93137156193235250
New to the circuit this year39163142N/A
Did not return after this yearN/A4941598159
  • New this year means players who have not previously appeared in any tournament in any previous year in the period 2012-17
  • Did not return means players who did not appear in a tournament in the following year
Over the past 5 years FoGAM has seen a significant shedding of players, with very few new players joining the circuit - unsurprisingly this trend really gained pace in the years immediately after the debacle of the initially non-printed V2.0. With the rules now hard to come by, the conveyor-belt of new players has largely dried up. This also means that more new players have picked up DBMM (competitively) than FoGAM  in the last 3 years, by 34 to 28 - an effect largely attributable to the impact of the Milton Keynes 1-dayer (which is strongly attended by players from Milton Keynes club where DBMM is the dominant ancients ruleset) on the DBMM circuit stats.

I've also pulled together a similar graphic to the DBMM one to show how dynamic (or static) the ranking by "number of events participated in" has been over the last 5 years. Because FoGAM has a bigger pool, I have banded the colour-coding into 30-wide bands (1-30, 31-60, 61-90 etc), again with paler cell meaning more active the players.

Each row represents a different player, and each number represents where the player would rank in term of "number of events entered" for each year.  In this graphic, "Player 1" - the most active player in the year to date - has been creeping up the activity rankings steadily over the past 5 years, having only been the also been the 12th most active player in 2012.  Once you get outside the Top 30, players are taking part in 3 or less events per year, and anyone outside the Top 60 is generally only entering 1 event.



The Top 30 most active players have, like in DBMM but with a handful of notable exceptions mostly been the Top 30 players throughout the last 5 years, but the amount of new blood coming full-throttle into the UK competition scene is also greater than seen for DBMM - possibly showing again the distorting effect of the hyper-local Milton Keynes 1-dayer and Northern league attendances on the stats for the DBMM competition circuit.

The core group of FoGAM players appear to still be just as active as they ever were however, and with every event on the circuit being a two-day affair the level of commitment by the active player group is still pretty strong.

Quite how this will be impacted by the arrival of yet another new edition is still to be seen - if the DBMM experience is anything to go by, the answer is probably "not a lot", but the FoGAM experience might suggest otherwise.

L'Art de la Guerre

A year ago ADLG was very much the new kid on the block, with only 8 events having taken place in the first year of the ruleset appearing at UK competitions, at which 84 players featured making just 136 entries between them.

12 months on and the picture is rather different - in the last 12 months 18 separate events have been staged, with 122 players taking part making 331 entries in total - giving ADLG the largest calendar of UK events, largest active played pool and largest number of event entries of any mainstream mass-battle ancients set in the UK today. With a large international player community it is also perhaps not surprising that more overseas players have taken part in UK ADLG events (7) this year than for any other ruleset as well.

The shorter game-time of ADLG makes it especially suitable for 1-day events, with three games possible in one day and so unsurprisingly the UK ADLG calendar currently includes 8 one-day competitions, one more than those currently staged by the DBMM circuit and with only 1 ADLG round of the 5-round Northern League included in this count compared to 5 for DBMM.

25 players make up half of all competition entries - perhaps weirdly, again an identical proportion to that seen for the other two rulesets - with 60 players having only taken part in one event across the year.

The pattern of appearance of "uniques" in ADLG is more akin to that seen for FoGAM than for DBMM, with no stand-out event contributing such a significant proportion of "uniques". This total of 60 "uniques" is still materially higher than in DBMM or FoGAM, but is not entirely unexpected given that ADLG numbers are still growing year-on-year.

The recently-held Roll Call has been the single biggest contributor with 11 new ADLG players appearing there for the first time followed by 7 at the inaugural round of the Northern League and a further 7 appearing at the only event held in Scotland in the past year, Sighn-Dubh.

Central London Wargames Club is a particular hotbed of ADLG and has hosted two 1-day events in the past 12 months and this alone could reasonably be expected to skew these figures. However out of the 122 players currently in the UK pool, only 8 are CLWC club members who's appearance in the rankings is attributable to these two events alone. This means that CLWC's two ADLG events are making a smaller contribution to the ADLG player pool than MKWS' 1-day DBMM event makes to the size of the UK DBMM player pool.

One other notable aspect of the ADLG circuit is the large number of 25/28mm events being staged. The "big toys" format had nearly died out in the UK for most of the other rulesets, with at best 1 or 2 events having a sub-tournament alongside a larger 15mm competition, but ADLG seems to have captured the imagination of players with 25mm armies, presumably because the lower unit count makes them easier to collect and paint, and also means the table is less cluttered than for other mass-battle 25mm sets. As many as half a dozen of the ADLG events held in the past 12 months have been in 25mm scale.

Other Rulesets 

A year ago I also looked at DBM and DBA - both were smaller player pools and circuits than any of the above sets, with around 50 players each and 8-12 events staged. Looking at the tournament listings for both sets, they appear to be relatively unchanged and so it's fair to assume that with no major upheavals in either community both are doing much the same as before.

Mortem et Gloriam (MeG) is this year's new kid on the block, having had it's first (technically a "playtest") event at the BHGS Challenge last June and so is coming up to close on a full year of events.

So far there have been 5 MeG events staged - 3 singles, 2 doubles - all held as part of existing multi-ruleset competitions, attracting a total of 31 different players, 13 of whom have appeared only once.

The total number of competition entries so far has been just 68 (less than half the total racked up in the first full year of ADLG) with the 8 players who took part in last years initial "playtest" event making up almost half (29) of those entries. This picture will continue to change with 8 new players already signed up to play at either Britcon or The BHGS Challenge later this year (but a similar number from this year's events not yet signed up to return). Basically it is still very early days to draw any meaningful conclusions as to what impact, if any, MeG might have on the mainstream of the UK mass-battle Ancients competition scene.

Swordpoint is the new mass-battle set from Gripping Beast launched at the end of 2016, and from what is posted on their forum it looks like they have held 2 events so far, with 18-20 players at each. There are at least 2-3 more events planned for the rest of the year. Currently the player pool stands at 30 unique players after 2 events - the same size as MeG already - with only 8 of the 30 having done both events. The pool size is certainly set to increase based on the already-published list of entries for Warfare (11 players as of today) and so it is possible that by the end of this year Swordpoint and MeG will both be neck and neck in terms of player pool, number of events and number of entries.

The Summary:

The good news is that the number of events, and the numbers of players entering them is - overall - still slightly increasing, as the uptick in people playing ADLG (plus a little bit of MeG) is now more than offsetting the continuing decline in numbers of FoGAM participation, whilst DBMM continues to chug along at much the same level as it has done for the last few years - although with an arguably slightly shrinking pool of highly active players.

Independent of any single ruleset, the most notable top-level trend would seem to be the increase in numbers and importance of one-day events across the UK circuit, most notably for ADLG but also for DBMM. The one-day format is clearly easier to get a pass-out to attend, but is also easier to organise, so the emergence of a series of new, mostly 1-day ADLG events in the SW and SE of the UK to mirror the Northern League has contributed greatly to player numbers and participation levels overall.

On this basis, if the new supposedly "faster" format for FoGAM v3.0 allow the FoG community to shorten game times down towards 2.5 hours and therefore get onto the one-day-event bandwagon, it could well end up doing more to redress the ongoing decline in support and participation for FoGAM than anything "new" inherent in the rules themselves.







28 Mar 2017

Jock McTastic! It's the Medieval Scots at the CLWC Spring 1-Dayer!

The third Central London curry-tastic one-day ADLG event took place a few weeks ago on a rare major-sporting-event-free Sunday.

The theme was Late Medieval, and having been thoroughly schooled on the art of Medieval stuff at The Worlds last year, but also being rather short on practice time to get my head round an Indian-type army with game-changing elephants I was dithering as to what to take.


But then, inspired by a crushing defeat to an Italian teenager in Belgium, and realising that the half-painted army that I had bought up in Derby the previous year was actually within reach of completion, the idea of taking Medieval Scots floated up to the top of the pile.


Taking the army of Flodden to a competition where many of the opponents would be stuffed with English Longbows was perhaps not the most obvious approach, but it had the advantage of being simple to play in an event where I'd be doing the scoring as well.

See the results, and hear the critique from Wee Jimmy Hannibal McHannibal in these 3 L'Art de la Guerre Match Reports

16 Mar 2017

Double the Roman Trouble in Wales..?

Another year, another Doubles L'Art de la Guerre outing as ADLG became the biggest game in town at the traditional UK Wargaming season curtain-raiser, the Godendingdangdag Doubles in in Sunny Wales.

This year saw the event move out of Usk and into the rather spiffing purpose-built venue at Firestorm Games in Cardiff.


This did mean that most of the games appears to be played on the surface of a battle-blasted alien planet (note to self, bring cloth next time) but other than that it was regarded as a great improvement by everyone who joined in.


But, did the new venue prove a happy hunting ground for our Roman and Judean combination?


Read these 4 map-heavy match reports and see how the Early Imperial Roman & Judean did against the Chinese Northern Dynasties & Chi'ang, the Ostrogoths and Gepids, the Greco-Indians and Kushans and finally Don Alexander the Great and the Classical Indians.


If you ever wanted to know just what the Romans Ever Did For Us, the answer is surely hidden in these 4 reports!



13 Mar 2017

Medieval Scots for L'Art de la Guerre - an army in 15mm

Medieval Scots is not a subtle army - lots of poor quality pikemen, but one had successfully caused me a lot of problems in The Worlds in Belgium in 2016 so I had then quite fancied creating one myself.

I had also rebased a lot of Museum Miniatures Medieval pikemen to FoGR basing (40x20mm) a year earlier, cramming more than the regulation number of figures on a base for a mass effect, and this had also inspired me to see what a whole army of them might look like.

So, with a rather interesting order last thing in the day up at Derby last year which surprised the chap at Museum no end, the army started to take shape... and here is the finished result.




See the wee beasties in action with loads more photos here 

5 Mar 2017

15mm FoGR Markers

With the tweak of the FoGR rules which is now on the near horizon, one of the changes is to revise how Commanded Shot work when they are supporting friendly mounted troops.

In essence this will see the bases of Commanded Shot removed (together with the rather significant in game terms 50% extra frontage it created for Supported mounted units), and replaced by markers attached to the mounted units.

With a load of blank MDF disks hanging around from ADLG casualty marker making, this seems to be an ideal opportunity to conjure up some Commanded Shot markers for my FoGR armies, using some of the many spare/excess normal musketeer bases as the components.

And here they are - not that complicated or exciting, but nice none the less.





These are old Minifigs musketeers, together with some Carbine-armed horse from QR Miniatures from Poland - see more of them here.

27 Feb 2017

These Romans Are Not Far Away!

Posts to Madaxeman.com have been on a bit of a hiatus recently, but that's not to say that wargaming has been taking a back seat.

No, I've actually been painting and basing some serious quantities of figures, including some new 28mm Patrician Romans built on the core of a couple of boxes of the new-ish Gripping Beast plastic figures.

Of course, the project expanded and soon included some Foundry and Footsore metals, and a huge number of Old Glory not-quite-historical hairy barbarian foederate foot and mounted to pad out the army.

But, they are here, and have even had at least one game so far too - where they beat the Huns at L'Art de la Guerre. All of the figures are based for ADLG, on 60mm wide basing with 2 ranks for all of the non-skirmishing infantry. 

The Auxilia in particular who are on 60x60's really suit this basing, with some even being based in a dangerous-looking wedge formation.


There's as a result now a huge page of pictures of these excellent figures for you to browse and enjoy!

5 Jan 2017

No More Turkey - it's time for Chinese!

Appearing shortly after the festive break, the perfect antidote to too much turkey, stuffing and the inevitable but somehow unwanted cheese course are these FIVE battle reports from Warfare 2016, featuring a Spring and Autumn Chinese army in brutal combat against a range of Biblical-era foes...


Watch in amazement as an order of L'Art de la Guerre appears on the table in Reading for the very first time, and a long-unused biblical era chariot force is taken out of the deep freeze to rumble across the battlefield and poke it's chopsticks at the enemy from close range.


The Chinese take on the Babylonians, Assyrians, Omanis, Carthaginians and the always difficult to spell Aechemenid Persians in 5 brutal tabletop conflicts, all of which have been certified MSG-free, (but which may contain nuts).

The reports are then wrapped up in lettuce leaves and dipped in some classical analysis from Hannibal to counteract the Communist speechifying and propaganda of the Chinese General... so dig in, as you know you'll want some more in half an hour anyway.

22 Dec 2016

25mm Late Romans still underway...

With Christmas just around the corner, here's some not particularly festive WIP shots of my Patrician Romans for ADLG in 25 (8?) mm.

They are a mix of the Gripping Beast plastics, some Old Glory mixed barbarians (that I think might be mostly Scots from a slightly later era, but seem to do OK as generic Gothic foot types) with a few Foundry and Footsore figures sprinkled in to make the variety greater.


 Romans prepare to take on the (as yet un-Army-Paintered) barbarian hordes


12 units of barbarians.... let;s hope the Romans are Elite!


Auxilia, with obligatory LBMS shield transfers


The man holding up the shield is one of the "far too many in the pack" Gripping Beast archers, but converted to hold his shield up to cover his colleague from archery


Some of the "far too many" archers acting as, well, archers. I went away from the textbook red colour scheme to make them more exotic.


Still awaiting Testors Dullcote varnish on this lot


A Degenerate Legionary unit with an old-school standard


I think the officer may be a Footsore Miniatures Romano-British figure


Cloaks at the ready...


Foundry armoured cavalry. Probably able to play as Cataphracts as well at a pinch. I used some spare GB plastic spears as their lances, as they are pretty robust and the Foundry metal ones are far too bendy. They don't yet have Army Painter on them


More LBMS shield transfers....


Warlord Games 'Unleash Hell' General and Dog


Again, needing a coat of Dullcote. His skintone is just a wash with Peat Brown ink.

Hopefully I will find time to put a big dent in getting them all table-ready over the festive break...

10 Dec 2016

Playing Wargames with Kids

One of my erstwhile Doubles partners has recently started a blog in which he will be chronicling his attempts to teach his young son a variety of different warganes rules.

The general idea is to share his experiences / thoughts with people that are also looking for games to play with children.

He's also a teacher and runs a games club at school, so there is a bit of a 'professional' perspective to his thoughts as to how to get youngsters into playing wargames which may also be helpful and as this whole "encouraging more people to play wargames" thing is generally A Good Idea I therefore thought the blog link was well worth sharing.


The first game he played was One Hour Wargames – specifically the Ancients rules. So if you are looking for a game to play with people of a younger persuasion, or want to know how One Hour Wargames works for ancients, or indeed just have some time to kill, please take a look.

3 Dec 2016

Aaah-oooh - it's the Dacians of London Again..!

Fresh from drinking a pina colada at Trader Vics, those barbarian scallywags from the land of Dracula, the Dacians, touch down in Central London for 3 games of Roman-period themed L'Art de la Guerre goodness.

Marvel at how this usually somewhat underpowered army performs against Mithradates, Rome and the Germanic Tribes in three punchy and to the point match reports, complete with the usual smattering of captions and other tosh.


Be warned though, it's not going to be subtle... !

13 Nov 2016

Results from the 2016 "Central London Invitational" ADLG Tournament

With 31 participating players what may well be the biggest single pool Ancients Singles event held anywhere in the UK this year took place today at Central London Wargames Club.

This was a 200 point 3-game 1-day Roman themed L'Art de la Guerre tournament, and congratulations are in order for Hubert Bretagne, Ian Mackay and Mike Bennett who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

A good time appeared to be had by all - here are the full results and some photos from the event.



6 Nov 2016

ADLG in Estella, Navarre - What's it to you !?!

Buono Estente!  An intrepid team of Central London ADLG players continue our pre-Brexit World Tour by taking ourselves off to Estella in Northern Spain, the gateway to La Rioja, and also home to the wines of Navarre (which are of course just as good if not even a little better than those of Rioja, especially if you are playing ADLG with the good gamers of Navarre, like we were).


In the resulting 5 ADLG match reports and gastronomic and touristic reviews, as well as the accompanying immediately-post-event episode of the Madaxeman.com Podcast (this episode entitled Dear Catastrophe Tapas Waitress) you can see how a classic DBx army, the Patrician Romans, fares in ADLG.


This was a deliberate attempt to create a wall of barbarians and overwhelm the enemy by sheer hairyness after this tactic, impossible to do well in most other rulesets, had caused me so much trouble when I had encountered it in several previous events.


The Patrician list that emerged was far from Reigate Standard in all senses of the word, but did they manage to "tapas" into a vein of success in these 5 L'Art de la Guerre battles in Spain, or was their "tinto" spilt and were then instead left like so many huevos rotos on the floor by the pride of Navarre?


Read on to find out more ....

2 Nov 2016

Modern Army Uniforms

It's inevitable that somewhere out there in wargaming land there is someone, right now, trying to work out the best possible colour match for their ultra-modern infantry cammo patterns.

Well, fear not as Madaxeman.com has the solution - a series of photos, all taken in quick succession, in identical conditions with even lighting and the same camera, comparing many of the worlds sets of current battledress. 


Covering armies across both Europe and Asia these photos will be invaluable if you actually care about this sort of thing, otherwise they will be at best a bemusing sideshow to your main area of gaming. 

Visit the Uniforms of the World gallery to find out more.  

28 Oct 2016

Gripping Beast Plastic Romans

I'm gradually working my way through 2 boxes of Gripping Beast plastic Roman infantry, and in the process adding some LBMS shield transfers which cost almost as much as the figures.

Here's a unit of armoured Legionaries based for L'Art de la Guerre, with one added Foundry dart-throwing chap sneaking into the front line for added variety.

 





All of the images are clickable for larger pictures.

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