For the past four or five years myself and my regular gaming chums have been putting on a demo table at the Colours show in September, organised by the Newbury and Reading Wargames Society. Every year so far the game has been either from the SCW or WWII period using the ever excellent Blitzkreig Commander ruleset. You can always have too much of a good thing so this year we thought about having a change.
So which ruleset and period to go for? Maurice by Sam Mustafa was discussed and soon discarded as, although a great set of rules, the card driven mechanics would not, in our opinion, make for a great demo game. A few other rules and periods quickly came and went (I won't bore you with the details), but pretty quickly we agreed upon the recently released rules from Dan Mersey, Dux Bellorum. So why Dux Bellorum I hear you ask?
Well from our point of view they provide fun, quick and entertaining games as well as looking good when on the war games table. This would allow us to not only play a few good games throughout the day, but also have plenty of time to talk about the game, figures etc with the attendees at the show. Another important point is that we would also have time to have a proper look at the show. This is something that we have been unable to do over the past few years, as one player per side could 'hold the fort' whilst the others took in the salubrious delights of what the traders have to offer, as well as look at the other demo games and have a general chat as we walk around the show.
So with the rules decided upon, we needed a battle. Chris had mentioned the previous year the Battle of Deorham , an action that is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, but of which very little is known about. This would give us some artistic licence in terms of the warbands involved, which would allow us to field a variety of forces from the Dux Bellorum rulebook, which is rather useful when putting on a demo table. An added bonus is the fact that the battle is generally believed to have taken place near modern Dyrham, about 5 miles from Bristol and therefore 'home turf', so rather nice to have a bit of local flavour for the game.
Craig and I had already bought a few warbands from the excellent Pendraken Late Romans range for general use, but ideally we needed a few more warbands to make the demo game look right. I approached Dave and Leon of Pendraken to see if they would be interested in 'sponsoring' the table in the form of another warband or two. Being thoroughly decent chaps they immediately agreed and so our problem was solved. Lists of our requirements quickly winged their way to Pendraken HQ and within a week our shiny toys arrived at chez moi. So now we had a rule set, period and battle agreed upon, as well as a range of figures. The only outstanding thing was to come up with a scenario.
However Craig and I already have a few ideas, so we just need a period of playtesting to make sure it is right for the demo game. Craig has already made a good start on the figures, as can be seen in his lovely Welsh Raiders, whilst I have just finished off my Saxon/Viking Sea Raiders. Hopefully I will get to take some pictures this weekend as we have a couple of trial games arranged for tomorrow. So watch this space for more updates on our progress towards Colours 2013.