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The Main Event - Clash of Kings 2023

The Smaller of the two halls - just 17 tables here

Friday morning dawned bright and clear, promising to be a tad warm. As the UK was in the grip of a mini heatwave it was a pleasant change from the usual dull autumnal weather and spirits in TrollManor were high. Today was the Day the Trolls would be heading to Nottingham in the centre of England to be a part of the Tournament Organisation Team of the largest Kings of War Tournament in the World – the Clash of Kings 2023!

The Trolls loaded up their trusty transport with Mats and scenery enough for 15 Tables and the accoutrements and paraphernalia required for two Trolls to survive a Hotel for three nights whilst running a Tournament for 150 players, the loading was checked and double checked , even though the night before the boxes had been carefully packed with all the scenery that was required, including the new tables that had been made specifically for this event. Also included in the mix were my Free Dwarf Army to be used as the Spare Army for the event and my Ogre Army which was being borrowed by a Player from Australia that was taking part in the Tournament.

Once the Car was fully loaded the Trolls climbed into the gaps and then set off from TrollManor for our Drive to Nottingham. For anybody that has had to negotiate the Great British road network before , we had a 120 mile Journey on mostly Motorway and A roads , this should take us 2 and a half hours, however our previous time of travelling this same route ( see last months Britcon BlogPost) we encountered Roadworks and heavy traffic that increased our journey time to nearly 4 hours so we had allowed plenty of time to complete our journey and arrive at our destination by our designated time. This Journey however was smooth and almost traffic free resulting in us arriving at the venues loading bay nearly 40 minutes before we said we would arrive!

Once we arrived and unloaded the TrollMobile I drove around the corner to our Hotel while Trollette found out what needed to be done. Once I arrived back from checking into the room I set to helping to arrange the tables for the Tournament. The venue consisted of a room with a Stage (on which two tables were set up) which held a total of 15 tables (which was , amazingly, just the number of Tables worth of scenery we had brought) so we set to putting out tables and then laying out our scenery on them.

The second, much larger room was a sports court in which the remaining 58 tables were set up. There was plenty of room between the tables and each table also had a side table for players to place all their clocks, books, dice and such – see the photos below for an idea of the space afforded to each table.

The Tables on the Stage consisted of The Streaming Table, complete with camera set up, and a rather psychedelic table two.

Once all the tables were set up and the goody bags sorted into alphabetical order and a myriad other small tasks done which are part of the preparation for a wargames tournament the TO’s and helpers were released to return to their hotels for a shower and freshen up and then off to the Pub. The Pub became the meeting point for a lot of players arriving and people dropped in and out over the course of the evening allowing us to catch up with old friends and meet new people until finally the time came to close the pub and reluctantly we returned to our hotel.

Saturday dawned in a remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral when the Trolls realised that the alarms had not gone off and we were late, we had to run to the venue (luckily our hotel was mere yards away from the Venue) and arrived to see a huge queue of Players waiting to sign in. breathlessly we rushed into the venue and made our apologies before diving into the melee that was registration and allocation of tables , lots of questions and pointing ensued. Every Player had to be given a wristband and a Goodybag on entry and a number of players had bought extra large Goodybags with more models and a Tshirt in and these were handed out as they registered too. This resulted in a frenetic period of activity as nearly 150 players filed into the venue. However this went by with almost no drama , apart from a couple of no shows resulting in the Spare player being needed. This required the deployment of my Free Dwarf army against the Nightstalkers of Warren, we had a lovely game which resulted in the heavy defeat of the poor Free Dwarfs by the deceptively stabby and resilient Nightstalkers.

Whilst the Games were being played the Streaming Table on the stage was being watched and commentated on by veteran Youtube celebrity Jon Faulkes and a volunteer team of guests from all over the world. Commentators from both Dash28 and Countercharge had generously volunteered their time to help out and even yours truly resumed his TrollCast personality to comment on a game.

Jon Faulkes Commentating on the Live stream game

Round one finished and the results were processed , there was an issue with the draw for round 2 in that the allocation of random tables had somehow caused the Mantic Companion to throw a fit , but as this was being sorted the Fire Alarms went off and we had to evacuate the building! This coupled with the draw issue resulted in the second round being delayed somewhat, but in true TO style, Steve(the Head TO) swung into action to liaise with the University staff to ensure that the overrun would cause a minimal impact on the players enjoyment.

As there was still an odd number of Players for Round 2 the Trollette had to use the Free Dwarfs to play a game against Fred from Norway with his Undead, as the Trollette normally plays Salamanders the Free Dwarfs again suffered defeat. Fred had, However, missed his first game due to a bad Hangover!

Round 2 ended and this time the draw went a lot smoother and play commenced. Alas there was another drop out which allowed our round three stand in player, none other than Ronnie Renton the owner of Mantic, to swerve using the Free Dwarf army , Boo !

Once round 3 was completed the Downstairs Bar was closed and the Student Bar upstairs was opened , most of the players either moved directly upstairs to hear Ronnie’s talk on what was upcoming for Kings of War in the next few months and what Mantic’s strategy for the worlds greatest Rank & Flank Fantasy wargame will be, or they returned to their accommodation to freshen up before returning to participate in the Quiz run by Tom of the Northern Kings who cut rather a dashing figure in his flat cap, sparkly Ringmasters jacket and denim shorts ! The Trolls participated along with a couple of our friends and came a respectable second. Then there was the traditional consumption of copious amounts of alcoholic beverages in order to lubricate the social skills of a large number of wargamers.

Day Two arrived with a muggy overcast heat which was more humid and oppressive than the previous days bright sunshine. This time the Alarms worked and the Trolls trundled to the local Wetherspoons pub for their breakfast, joined by a number of Wargamers also enjoying breakfast.

We made our way to the Venue to find that there had been an oversleep so the Free Dwarfs again deployed against the Elf army of Steve (the Free Dwarfs this time under the generalship of Steve Hildrew the head TO for the event) The Free Dwarfs having a better run out this time resulting in a victory.

After Game 4 the Oversleep had arrived but, Alas, another player had to drop out so the Free Dwarfs trundled out onto the table against the Northern Alliance of Wesley for Game 5, he had only been playing for a month but he had a very nicely painted army and a well chosen list. The Free Dwarfs started well but some lacklustre dice and 3 Double Ones in one turn did for them in short order, leaving the Northern Alliance in command of the table.

Due to some players leaving early there was no need for the Free Dwarfs to take to the table again for the Sixth and Final game, which was a bit of a relief as it allowed me to keep an eye on the packing away of the Golden Troll scenery, as games finished the scenery was packed away and the mats rolled up, this was the time of my pet peeve as a TO, that is players that finish their game and then take the time to chat or wander around the hall leaving a table full of miniatures and thus slowing down the packing process(usually these same players are the ones that complain when the awards ceremony overruns) but there were a lot of players more than willing to help pack away and so the takedown was achieved in good time.

The Awards Ceremony took place on the main stage that had been host to the streaming Table, all the players gathered to see the presentation of the awards. Steve gave out the awards starting, as is traditional, with the wooden spoon award (I am rather proud to say the Clash of Kings spoon was decorated by myself) and then the Hobby awards.

The standard of painting and modelling at this event had been incredible, the effort and talent that had gone into some of the armies at Clash was amazing and the choices were very difficult to make. Several people got awards for their fully painted armies and then there were three Trophied awards which went to well deserved winners.

There was an award for the most sporting player as voted by his Peers and then onto the top three in reverse order. The prizes for these places were all replica medieval weapons with morning stars for 2nd and 3rd and a Basket hilted broadsword for first place.

The Prizes laid out on their table ready to be awarded

The Awards were as follows

First Place – Piotr Nowak with Halflings

Second Place – Jon Quayle with Basilieans

Third Place – Javier Ancizu Vergara with Ogres

Wooden Spoon – Tony Booth-Lydon with Goblins

Best Army – Paul Welsh with Nightstalkers

Best Unit – Chris Walsh with Drakons

Best Model – Dan Reid with Gollochs Fury

Most Sporting player - Carl Smith

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