As part of my drive to make better use of my Wix subscription and the yearly fee for my domain name I am again putting digits to plastic to share another Kings of War wargaming experience with you , my faithful reader, and posterity. They say that once you put something on the internet it never goes away and hopefully sometime in the future somebody may be bored enough to dig deep into the web and will find this eclectic collection of random posts I call my Blog although I think there is more chance of Firefly making a second series. Anyhoo….. I recently helped to run the Kings of War Tournament “Swords of Summer III” at the Britcon Wargames event held at the Nottingham Trent University. This is a three day Wargames and Trade show that starts on Friday evening and finishes on the Sunday evening with a filling of Wargames competitions and Wargames traders. Although this is only the third Kings of War Tournament that has taken place at Britcon the show itself has been running since the mid 90’s, First at Aston University, then at Loughborough University, followed by a long sojourn at UMIST in Manchester and finally its current home at Nottingham Trent University.
Some of the Pictures from the original Swords of Summer in 2019
I originally got involved in the early years playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40K before I graduated to running Warhammer English Civil War (Does anybody remember that?) and then onto the Event team as the Data Entry Guy, entering the scores for up to seventeen different wargames competitions powered only by Beer and Bacon sandwiches, doing this for 10 years or so before retiring, although I still attended the show as a punter. When the Trolls from Golden Troll got involved with Kings of War it was not a great leap of the imagination to picture KoW at Britcon and so in 2019 we ran the Swords of Summer tournament in Manchester, attracting 4 Spanish players as well as a number of home KoW Enthusiasts. Then came Covid and so Swords of Summer II didn’t take place until 2022 and had moved from Manchester to Nottingham, this resulted in quite a large turn out and things looks good. However this year the decision to have the Clash of Kings Tournament at the same venue less than a month after Britcon had a marked effect on the attendance for Swords of Summer III as we were down 50% on the previous year’s numbers.
Pictures of the Tables , winner , organiser and special visitor at Britcon 2022 The format for this Year was a 5 game 2425 point (don’t ask, the Troll responsible for the points values has a random nature) standard KoW tournament, although this Year this Trolls archaic throwback Points scoring system was used (all be it with some modifiers by RandomTroll to lessen the difference to the punters). There is the option to play a game on the Friday night and have a six Game Tournament and indeed most of the other games systems played at Britcon do this, but the Swords of Summer is a chilled event and we spent the Friday evening setting up the tables before heading to the pub to catch up with some of our friends. With Nottingham being a University City there sure are a lot of places to get a Beer!
The Saturday phase of Swords of Summer III got underway in the large and pleasant auditorium of the Main University building, the room is spacious enough that there is a generous amount of room between the lanes of tables and there certainly is a lot to look at. As well as the Kings of War Tables there was the National Championships of the World War II wargame Bolt Action which looked to have about 50 players all playing on lavish tables of amazing terrain, there is also a large number of other historical Wargames being played as Britcon is organised by the British Historical Wargames Society or BHGS, the society run Historical wargames events up and down the country as well as Britcon. The SoSIII used the fixed terrain per round technique that has worked well for the Trolls in the past, each round a Map is published on the event page on Facebook and also a physical copy is displayed on the results board, each table has a standard 10 terrain piece layout of two Hills, Two Woods, Two Difficult terrain, two Blocking Terrain and two obstacles so the map can be successfully replicated on each table. This means that no tables have an advantage and everybody is playing over the same terrain using the same scenarios for each round. This worked very well over the weekend and the Trolls will continue to use and refine this system over the next season as well, although it does omit the use of fixed of heavily themed tables the Trolls feel it is a fair system for Tournaments.
In addition to being a large collection of Wargames Tournaments, Britcon is a trade show and so there are plenty of opportunities to look at and spend money on Wargames Toys. As my Blog Reader will know, I am currently in the throes of refurbishing my terrain collection for the Clash of Kings event and Britcon was a great help to my efforts, not only were there several terrain manufacturers there but I was able to browse items and check colours of materials without the distortion of online piccies, without having to pay postage and being able to haggle direct with the trader. It also gives me great pleasure to be able to catch up and chat with the myriad of personalities that trade within the hobby and long years of attending these shows has resulted in a large number of these “Annual Associations” with more being added each year.
Pictures of the Wargames show and catching up with other gamers - for a more in depth discussion of my views on Wargames shows read my Blog here - https://www.bleufish.uk/post/being-a-bit-partizan
Attending a live wargames show also allows direct communication and the exchange of ideas and techniques face to face with the creators of amazing terrain and displays is invaluable. As always I came away from the show revitalised and raring to try out some new ideas, some of which I may share with my Reader as a future Blogpost. The ability to see and feel these products is invaluable and one of the reasons that Wargames shows still exist despite Amazon. As there was no drop out from the Swords of Summer III (SoSIII) (I was stand-by Stunt Troll for the event) this left me free to wander around the Hall and observe the games. The KoW players attending the SoSIII event were an even split of Masters level players and “Normal” KoW players which resulted in some very interesting games with some Normal players on the top tables early on and some Masters players on the bottom tables in the later stages, a proper analysis of the results is yet to be done but this Troll thinks the new scoring system may have an effect on this – again this may be published as a follow on Blogpost for my Scoring system blogpost. After a hotly contested Saturday of Kings of War the players and Trolls headed out into the Wilds of Nottingham once more in order to enjoy Beer and Great Company. The Armies that attended SoSIII were of the usual high standard we have come to expect from Kings of War Players and they drew a lot of interest from the players of the other historical games at the event, I have posted some pictures in this Blogpost and I imagine it will not take my Reader too long to discern which of the armies generated the most praise from the other attendees. The standard of play was equally high and the battles on the top tables were intensely contested but the Tournament was conducted in a very relaxed and civilised manner, a credit to the attendees and a boon to the organiser, who had very little to do during the weekend apart from enter the results.
The End of event Prize Giving
A Big thank you to the players that helped pack away at the end of the Tournament, it was very much appreciated by the Trolls. The Golden Troll Events team would like to thank Tim & Kevin from the BHGS for their support in running the event, Matt Ramsden from the Pit Wargaming Shop , Dave Thomas from Dave Thomas Minatures and Winterdyne Commission painting for providing amazing prize support and JD Wetherspoons for the breakfast catering.
The Wooden Spoon for Swords of Summer 2023 and Wetherspoons Breakfast
see the previous BlogPost on the subject of the Golden Troll Spoons https://www.bleufish.uk/post/spoons It was also odd to relax on the Sunday evening after the Tournament in the knowledge that less than a month later we would be back in the same place for the largest KoW Tournament in the UK – CLASH OF KINGS
The Venue for Next Months Clash of Kings Tournament seen from Our Britcon Hotel Room Window