Sunday 21 April 2013

Dux Bellorum at Salute 2013

So at 3.45 am on Saturday morning I was ejected from my pit to make the journey down to Salute. As I pointed out to my fellow travelers the last time I'd seen that time in the morning I hadn't yet been to bed. And was a much younger and fitter man.
Anyway I hopped in James' car with Scrivs and John and a half ton of metal magnetised into Really Useful Boxes and headed down to Big London.
We made good time and entertained ourselves on the walk from car park to venue playing the easiest guessing game in the world: Marathon or Wargamer where you have to guess whether the person in question is at Excel for Salute or to register for the following day's London Marathon (the area of the Venn diagram where the two groups meet is, I suspect, vanishingly small).

We got set up quite quickly, I had a passable bacon butty and decent coffee and then the show began.
For the next seven hours I chatted to gamers, scoffed pasties and wandered about the stands.
We had two boards set up, one a "standard" 32 point game using Scrivs and Andy H collection. While the larger board had double size 64 pointer using James and Steve's models. My small army stayed well clear of these beautifully painted selections and were down at the end of the table demonstrating how to use sabots to play Dux Bellorum. James had made a great effort to ensure that as well as the games we had a good selection of reference and explanation material which I though really helped set the game off
We were pretty busy all day and I made a point of trying to make sure I spoke to everyone I could get to who stopped to look at the table (one of my pet peeves is when you're ignored by gamers running "demo" games at shows).
If I'd had a pound for every gamer I spoke to who said they owned the rules but hadn't played yet I'd have had £37.50 (the Italian chap who'd just bought the book only counts as half) - so hopefully we showed the game off in good light and some of those will be dusting off their collections and books and giving the game a go.

Anyway, here are all the pictures I took:

 Steve's battle line

 Ballista, tower and John, refuelling

 Steve's scratchbuilt fort

 The much admired watermill

 More of the fort

 Pictish boat

 Some of our display materials

 Andy's marvelous monks

The award

You'll see from the last award that the game was awarded the best painted trophy. Just reward for Steve's hard work in particular but rightly recognising the skills of Andy Hawes, Scrivs and James too. The judges obviously chose to overlook my less skilled dawbings on their sabots at the end of the table!

As for the rest of the show I'm afraid I didn't spend too much time looking at other games, sorry. Though I was both amused and horrified by the "wrestling with action men" game and the game seemingly made from Year 3 scrawlings of fairground rides. Each to their own I suppose, but I'm afraid the visual magic of the hobby was a bit lacking for me from those.
I did some shopping which I may blog about later and had a few wanders around. Sadly wargames marketing still seems to be stuck in a bit of a stone age mentality where the best way to grab attention is to get someone's girlfriend to wear some clothes that are too small for her in the hope of attracting custom. "Never mind the mold lines mate, look at her legs!" The show seemed very busy and the space available at excel means it never felt too crowded (apart from around the Warbases stand).

All in all a splendid day out, made all the more so by the company.

You can read about my fellow gamers versions of events over on

And if any of this has piqued your interest in Dux Bellorum you could do worse than visit the author Dan Mersey's blog


  1. Congratulations !

    Splendid pictures !

    best regards Michael

  2. Great pictures and great figures. I love the sea/river effect it's the best I've seen.

  3. Outstanding effort guys. Love the pictish boat but the whole thing is brilliant.

  4. Brilliant stuff! Congratulations on the award.

    Like Craig I love the pictish boat – is it scratch built?

  5. I can see why you won the painting award, those figures look brilliant, but the scenery is possibly even better. Loved the tower and mill.My favourite piece though. from the pictures you shown, is the Pictish boat approaching the beach, the sea and the waves are perfect.

  6. Thanks for all the kind comments gents.
    I believe the boat is from Scheltrum miniatures.

    james made the sea tiles I believe.
    Plaster and lots of varnish i think is the recipe.