Monday, 11 October 2021

Partizan 2021 - the Longest Day

Two shows in two weeks? Sheer decadence I hear you say and you wouldn't be wrong! But after so long away from the circuit and friends, it was good to have another chance to go to a show and one of the best known in the UK, namely Partizan. I had never been before so when my good friend Keith asked if anyone fancied helping out on a demo game he was putting on, I jumped at the chance.

An early start (4.40am) saw me on the road to Keith's and from there we picked up Jon and arrived at the show before 9.00am. The journey up whizzed by as we chatted away, which was nice. Parking was easy and a short walk and we were at out table. Set up was quick and largely left to Keith, who knew the layout, troop dispositions etc. The organisers came over and gave us complimentary tickets for coffee as well as the free show figure, which this year was the WWI nurse Edith Cavell, both of which were a pleasant surprise. We managed to check a few tables out prior to opening, but more on those later.

Shevardino, 5th September 1812
The scenario was based upon the French attack on the Russian redoubt at Borodino. Roy Boss kindly lent Keith is wonderful Hinton Hunt 20mm figures for the day and these drew lots of attention throughout the day and rightly so. with everything ready, Jon and I took on the unenvious task of playing the Russians, whilst Keith, Paul and Roland took on the French. I took some photos as the game went along but the action was fast and furious so I'll try and give an overview of how the game played out via the photo captions.

The Russians are on the left, the French the right. From a Russian point of view, that's a hell of a lot of French coming our way! The Russian right flank was very weak, with our centre covered by woods on either side. We had to hope we could hold on long enough before some reinforcements arrived.

The Peter Laing figures in all their glory with some hand painted flags to boot.

The Russian redoubt, with support behind, that we had to try and move before to support the redoubt before it could be overwhelmed by the French.

As the French advance, aggressive Russian tactics drive them back, much to the consternation of the French. However on the Russian right (top left) the French are about to push the Russian Jaegers out of the town.

The unexpected success of the Russian infantry has forced a French infantry unit back right in front of the redoubt. Huzzah!

Jon (left), Roland (centre) and Keith(right) ponder their moves. The Russian cavalry (top by Roland) are going toe-to-toe with the French who seem to be unable to destroy them, despite outnumbering them 2-1. The redoubt is secure at present but the French are turning the Russian right (bottom of photo).

The French and Russian cavalry clash, with the former getting the better of the day. As the French infantry surge forward, their is nothing to stop them at present.

The Russian cavalry are still holding up the French right, but things are getting messy in the centre. The Russian right is a shambles (my command!) and our Grenadier battalions who are our reserves are led by chinless wonders who fail to get them to plug the gap on the Russian right. The French simply surge forward keeping up the pressure that the Russians are unable to withstand.

The French are struggling to find space to deploy all of their troops whilst the Russians fail to deploy and are caught in the worst formations possible (ie square vs infantry or line vs cavalry).

Jon is still taking the fight to the French in the centre. This is the sort of situation that gives rules writers nightmare's!

After some eight turns of intense action the Russians were simply overwhelmed, especially when fresh French infantry reserves arrived and moved towards the centre. The game was great fun and played in the right spirit with plenty of good natured ribaldry. well done to Jon for holding on for so long and taking the fight to the French. Paul was a great opponent as i faced him with my right flank, with Keith and Roland superb opponents too. I thing by the end of it we were all rather tired but happy.

Of Boats, Planes and Trains
As we were so involved in our game, we didn't get much of a chance to really see the show. We took a quick lunch break to allow us to try and shop and see the games on offer. So after a bite to eat, I whizzed round with the camera and took some photos as best I could. I'll add captions as best I can:

An AWI game I think.

Vikings in some form or other.

Some lovely boats that really catch the eye from afar.

A lovely WWII table (I think).

Definitely WWII and a very large game.

So much detail and nice touches throughout.

WWII desert and skirmish level by the look of it.

A medieval game. Again lots of stuff to see and admire.

This was a beautiful game; Wellington in India or something like that.

The red fort was a wonderful model.

A nice and simple skirmish game and the sort of thing you could happily play at home.

Nice buildings and again something that most of us could do at home.

Seven Years War I think, but loads of lovely figures no matter the period.

A bit of a blank on this one, but looked good.

Borodino, 1812 and the table right behind us. They used C&C rules and it looked very effective I must say.

WWII island hopping.

Good to see landing craft and we talked about it being nice to have them when playing seaborne landings.

An ACW game and a nice boat in the foreground.

An ancients game.

Chariots or elephants are a bit of a must for an ancients game. Pure eye candy on the figures front.

The Perry's War of the Triple Alliance. 

Superb figures as one would expect from the Perry's. I'd rather do it in 10mm to be honest.

These ships were huge and you couldn't miss them. How they got them to the show undamaged is beyond me.

I loved this star fort and thing one would be a nice addition to my games. something to ponder for sure.

So much to take in in the town behind the star fort.

Another medieval game, with great figures too.

Again something that could easily be done at home.

The Wild West, by the look of the tippees at the top.

A nice small game by the Pike & Shot Society.

Another 'Society' game.

To The Strongest participation game with 54mm figures.

Certainly eye catching.

My sort of game (with or without hex terrain) and with 6/10mm figures. Very nice.

Another lovely game with smaller scale figures, which is good to see at shows.

So much detail to see, from the working cinema to all the great planes.

Show Haul
Early on I picked up an pre-order from Pendraken, with a real mix of bits'n'pieces that were mainly nice to have rather than essential for my forces. I didn't really get to have a good look at the traders, but did pick up a book.

A nice mdf trebuchet to scenery or as an objective in a game, some lovely 6mm Raiden aircraft (very nice) and some medieval artillery, again probably mainly for show, plus some WWII additons for my Italians.

Not cheap but a treat for myself and a book I've been after for a while. The scenarios are great and can easily be used for other conflicts. I plan to 'Rebels & Patriots' for the smaller actions and BPII or SotE for the larger ones.

Thoughts on the Show
Bear in mind that this was my first Partizan, so am not sure how it compares to previous one, plus that playing a demo game meant that I had little time to really take in all that the show has to offer, so here are my thoughts a day after and in no particular order:
  • The venue is very nice, large and spacious and well ventilated. The doors were kept open to help stop it getting hot and stuff and more importantly lots of fresh air given the prevalence of Covid. Parking was easy and you could move around freely and there was plenty of space to view all of the games.
  • Apparently Partizan is known for the quality of the games on display and it certainly lived up to its reputation. If you are into 28mm games then you are in Seventh Heaven! The downside is that there were only a few games of different scales and of ones that you feel you could put on at home. As one gamer commented, some of the games looked like museum pieces rather than wargames. Now it's always hard to tell when taking a wander at lunch as to how much gaming takes place on these tables, as naturally everyone needs a break. Personally I prefer to see a game in action, but I must admit that you can take plenty of inspiration from these 'museum' tables, not matter what sort of game or scale you play with. I certainly did.
  • Once the show opened I put a mask on and wore it for around 6 hours, which was rather tiring, but I felt more comfortable doing this than not wearing one. It did make conversation difficult during the game, especially during the busy part of that day with the general hub-bub and echo of the venue. However virtually nobody was wearing a mask, whether gamers or visitor. I know that this was a worry for many planning on attending the show and the lack of mask wearing won't have allayed their fears.
  • On the trader front there was a reasonable mix, with some new ones I hadn't heard of, such as a company producing 3D printed 1/144th planes. However the quality was good enough for me (with my old modelmaking hat on) so passed on those. Maybe if they improve then I might consider them in the future. As this show is mainly about the games, then it's hard to compare it to say Colours, which is probably 2/3 traders, 1/3 games.
  • I like to pick up a few books at the shows, but frankly it is easier and cheaper to buy them off ebay or Amazon, rather direct from a seller. One item I was interested in was cheaper to by online from the same seller rather than at the show. This was something we talked about on the way home and pretty much agreed that it no longer makes sense buying certain items at shows. I do try and support the traders but there's only so far I can go to be honest.
  • From where I live the 3+ plus hour journey each way, makes it a very long day out. I got home around 7.45pm, so a bit too much for me and certainly a bit too much on the family to be away so long. Will I go again? Not for a while as I much prefer Colours, due to proximity, the type of games on show etc. However if I do go again I might go as a visitor so I can really take in all the the games have to offer, which is something you can't really do whilst taking part in a game.
  • I missed a few gamers who were due to pop by are table, but did see Geoff (Ellie's Dad) but we failed to meet as I disappeared of before we could be introduced. Sorry Geoff. Normally I do bump into gamers I know and have a chat,  but not this year. Maybe it's too far away for them or Covid was keeping them away. Either way I did miss that chance for a catch up. I did get a very brief chat with Leon of Pendraken before the show opened, but missed him when I went back later. 

So there we have it. My thoughts on the show and of our game. It was a good day out and the time flew by, but I was certainly a tired bunny when I got home. So thanks to Keith for organising the game and for driving us there and back, and to Jon, Paul and Roland for being such good chaps to play with and against.

Until next time take care and stay safe.


  1. Thanks Steve, a super report and a great help to anyone who couldn’t make it (me!). I’m glad you put up plenty of Shadows of the Eagle photos, as that was the one game that wanted to see. The Peter Laing armies are lovely.

    The tables standard is very impressive and perhaps reflects some ‘lockdown’ time spent on doing terrain and figures. I saw a video of the show last night, shot by a die hard 15mm gamer, but the 28mm centric nature of the show was quite obvious.

    The incident with the trader selling on-line cheaper than at the show seems a bit bizarre! Usually one might expect a good show price, was that possibly a mistake by them or was it deliberate policy.

    Did you hear any of the organises comparing this years footfall figure with that of the last show? The good thing is that room is very spacious, so large numbers can be easily ‘lost’.

    A bit disappointing on the old mask thing. I know that everyone is in a different place on that, but I would have thought a higher proportion of wearers, even 50 / 50 might be a better representation of where we are up to and for the sake of the traders, masks would have been a consideration - but then, were the traders masked?, that might of helped set the tone (my sister was in hospital 2 days ago with Covid and we have lost another family member a few weeks ago, so perhaps that is reflecting in my overall caution).

    Anyway, good show, great pics and hopefully a lot of passers by were intrigued by the Shadows of the Eagle system.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the report Norm and I too have found others post before useful for shows I've not been able to make it to. I've been told the figures are in fact Hinton Hunt, but whatever they are, they are lovely.

      I would have thought show prices to be cheaper, at least that used to be the case, but not with this particular seller and I even double checked the price. I suppose they have to cover the show costs somehow, other than writing it off as marketing overheads.

      No idea on the footfall compared to previous shows, but it was busy until around 2.00pm when there was a noticeable drop off in numbers. By 3.00pm most visitors had gone and tables started packing up.

      I reckon only 5%-10% tops of people were wearing masks. Personal choice of course and the open venue felt fairly safe but when it was crowded, there was little social distancing to be seen or easily achieved. A lot of traders were wearing masks or face shields, with the latter a much better option comfort wise for a full day on the show floor.

      We had a lot of passing interest, but at times felt like goldfish in a bowl, with people staring at the game but not wanting to talk etc. The figures certainly garned a lot of interest and Caliver Books sold 3 copies off the back of the game IIRC.

    2. Just an update Norm and Keith on his SotE Blog informs us that the footfall was the best ever with around a 1,000 gamers through the door! Leon at Pendraken said they were non-stop from 10.00am to 2.00pm, which is great given that it was their first Partizan (only a 15 year wait!) and shows that there is life in the smaller scales:)

  2. Steve, the variety and quantity of games on display must have presented a sensory overload for many after so many months locked away. As Norm suggests, it looks like many used this enforced time away from shows very productively. Mask wearing indoors is mandatory here so surprised that it is not in the UK. Although fatigued afterwards, looked like an enjoyable day out for you. Thanks for the photos!

    1. It was hard to take it all in to be honest Jon and I missed out on some games due to lack of time. I reckon I could have spend a good 2-4 hours just wandering around looking in detail at the games as there was so much to see. Add in chatting to fellow gamers and traders and you've got a good day out at a show.

      Mask wearing was lifted only fairly recently but many people are still wearing them when shopping. Tiring to wear for sure but the sensible option I think.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos:)

  3. Lovely report Steve. A reminder of just how many truly outstanding games were on show.

    1. Thanks Keith! The quality and quantity of games to be seen was incredible and covering a wide historical spectrum. Something for every gamer I think.

  4. For those interested in another view of our game, check out Keith's Blog post:

  5. Great report, thanks for your interest in and photo of my game 'Wellington at Bay'. We had a couple of people comment that my figures looked smaller than the 15mm they actually are, due presumably to the big venue and the 54mm and 40mm games nearby. Thanks again.

    1. Your welcome Garry and I would have loved to stop and chat about your game, but sadly I wasn't able to. Judging scale in such a large space is hard, especially when in a rush. Good on your for using the so called smaller scales for a game:)

  6. Umm...that "nice game from the Pike and Shot Society" is my Edgcote game for the Northamptonshire Battlefields Society, and the "Another Society game" is Phil Steele's Northampton 1460 for the same group. We must have only just missed each other. Your round trip is a bit of a stretch, I agree. I hope we'll be able to do a show nearer to you in the future.

    1. Sorry about that Graham, but in the rush I failed to spot you were separate from the others so to speak. I wanted to spend time chatting to the various groups around your area as there looked to be lots of interesting stuff on show, but time sadly was against me. Maybe another time and another show, all being well?

    2. We clearly need to improve our signage, if you mixed us up with the P&S. It seems like the 10 foot high flag and the run of 8 foot tall pop up banners behind the stand aren't obvious enough. :-)

    3. I need to improve my eyesight rather than you improve your signage! Being in a rush also didn't help.

  7. A nice report Steve, for a decent show - one of the first since Covid struck. In fact, my last show before the virus struck was Hammerhead, at this same venue back in March 2020. The venue is nice and the open doors allowed it to be cool and well aired. Although I wore a mask all day it was still nice to pop outside and get the mask off, even if only for a few minutes whilst I stuffed my goodies in the car.
    “This show oi will mostly be boiyin…” books and MDF bases. Sorry, my apologies to anyone who has never seen The Fast Show. Anyhow, a decent haul of books and various sizes of bases for 2mm and 6mm figures.
    I managed a good look round the venue, picking up must-buy-it-now items and a few tasters for consideration.
    As you mention, there were plenty of games with lots & lots of big scale, beautifully painted figures fighting on magnificently modelled terrain. I’m not so sure, however, that most of us can achieve that sort of set-up at home. Your armies and tabletop (much like Norm’s) are something that most of us can achieve in a practical sense. My 28mm forces are, by necessity, small in number - effectively meaning I can only really play skirmish type games. My 6mm and 10mm forces have more figures, so can give more of the “look” of a battle.
    And smaller? Yes, I do have some 2mm scale forces - by coincidence I’m presently awaiting a delivery from Irregular Miniatures. Hey, I picked up the MDF bases yesterday at Partizan. So fairly soon I should be “good to go” for 2mm battles.
    I’m sorry I missed you at Partizan. I popped over to your table at lunchtime, but you were on a break. The game looked interesting, but I’m not sure I can risk the best part of thirty quid -although, to be fair, the rule book does look lovely. I’m mostly a solo wargamer (but trying to tempt my daughters fiancĂ© away from GW and towards historical gaming), so how does SotE look from a solo perspective?
    Take care & keep safe.
    Let’s hope my iPad posts this comment successfully this time (I ain’t wanting to re type this a third time). Cheers,

    1. Sounds like you had a good day out at the show Geoff and sorry to have missed you! At least your post worked this time of asking. The joys of technology;)

      I find no problems with SotE played solo and for me they work perfectly well, due to the command system, which is simple but effective. I tend to play one side, do their orders etc and then swap to the other side of the table and do the same.

      £30 does seem steep but aside from the rules (of course!), you get army lists with guides on troop quality and quantity, plus three scenarios and some thoughts from Keith on the period and his take on it. Worth thinking about IMHO.

  8. Thank you for posting this. There were some superb tables and figures. I could have sat and looked at that "Wellington in India" table for hours. It was good to get back to shows and people and traders and bacon baps!

    1. You're welcome Jeremy and I too wished I could have spent more time looking at that table and of course many others. You can't beat a bacon bap either!

  9. Wow, there’s some eye candy there! Thanks for posting all these pictures Steve. It’s whetted my appetite.

    1. Plenty of eye candy for sure, so glad you enjoyed the photos. My appetite was whetted too:).

  10. Thank you Steve for a fantastic photo report, very much appreciated.