Sunday, 19 July 2015

Verdun at Barrage

On Sunday those two terribly nice chaps Scrivs and James Morris invited me to accompany them to the Barrage show in Stafford to "help" them roll dice an push toy soldiers around.
After establishing that the organisers of the show, Stafford Wargames were nothing to do with the nazi who runs a similarly named wargaming shop I was very happy to attend.

James and Scrivs have been hard at work since November assembling the forces needed to play a small campaign that takes place as part of the Verdun campaign in 1916. This particular part is an assault in an area known as le Bois de Caures. The rules used were the World War One adaptation of Chain of Command by Two Fat Lardies and the campaign supplement At the Sharp End.

Having won the previous battle Scrivs' Huns would be launching a flank attack on the French cornered in a bunker.

The set up was very simple but exteremely effective - lots of vac formed scenery, James' woods made from actual twigs, Scrivs homemade barbed wire,  a simple caulk and tarpaulin battlemat and a very lovely backdrop James had painted. The whole lot was then sprinkled with scenic snow and it was ready for soldiers.

Bare boards, sprinkled with snow

German advances

French emerge post barrage

These models were placed before the game and played no part, just adding to the impression of the advancing forces and chaos going on around this area of the battlefield.

James got a little confused during the pre-battle jump-off phase and the French ended up a bit less than ideally placed. I decided my place was alongside James (Scrivs doesn't need a hand with games generally) and we were off.

The machine gun deploys with good field of fire

...but the Germans respond with a grenatenwerfer
The Germans feinted a bit on our left, before pushing home in force on the right. We sent the venerable (34 years old) Serjeant Grandpere to lead the defences, but like his men he was cut down.

Grandpere est mort!
Snipping the wire

Stormtroopers close in on the trench
Driant emerges to lead the defence

The dastardly Germans then bought up their new wonder weapon - flamethrowers (this was the first battle these were used in) and duly hosed the French from their bunker ensuring Driant's papers were well and truly torched.

Aux armes mes braves!

Bring up der flammenwerfer!


With that James and I raised the white flag and left the field to the Germans.
The heoric German leader was awarded the Iron Cross for his succesful leadership

There is a far more detailed and analytical guide to the events over on Scrivs blog.

I should just reinforce the fact that I did none of the painting or collecting of these spectacular soldiers. It was all Scrivs' and James' work. My sole contribution was to make the explosions that were used at Salute last year and have been rebased to match the landscape of World War One.

Barrage itself was a really nice little show. We played and chatted in a very leisurely fashion. Unfortunately I heard a few grumbles from traders about the lack of visitors and sales. In the internet age small shows like this one and Cannon can struggle to attract large numbers of visitors to buy things. I hope the show continues, it was a nice venue and we had a great day.

However I must mention one thing. I finally encountered my first ever proper button counter. And here's a free piece of advice for him, or anyone else thinking that wandering around trying to find mistakes people may have made so you can gleefully point them out is a gainful activity for an adult member of the human race:
Pointing out in a rude and pompous manner things that you perceive to be "wrong" doesn't make you some sort of free speaking, pulls no punches, tells-it-like-it-is warrior for truth and accuracy.
It makes you an obnoxious twunt.

Oh, and no-one likes you you fat bell-end (we checked).


  1. Excellent looking game..the winter landscape Looks suitably bleak.
    I like the last paragraph...and laughed when reading the last sentence :-D

  2. Nice photos Tom, I have some more at home and may do a supplementary post.
    Don't know why, but my Google+ keeps 'forgetting' to follow your blog.
    Yes, the chap really should learn some manners.

    1. Ta.
      I had a few more phone ones but they turned out a bit blurry. Mainly comedy ones of you and James shaking snow.

  3. Wow, great looking game.
    Cheers, PD

  4. Very nice looking game.
    I had a couple of blokes at Bovington who thought I was there to hear what they had to say about the vehicles & the tactics related to the game I was helping to demo, rather than the other way around. I listened politely (well, I'm not sure how polite I came across after one of them started to seriously bore me!), which gave my voice a rest so I could continue talking to those who were genuinely interested.

  5. Boring folk I can cope with. Had a couple of those at Salute. The hobby has it's fair share of single interest, socially awkward people and I try to be tolerant and polite but yes, it can become tricky - I feel your pain :)
    This guy wasn't interested in helping us be better, or sharing knowledge or having a conversation. He was looking for errors with the intent of pointing them out and making people feel bad. Sociopathic behaviour.
    James, being far nicer than I engaged him in conversation. I walked away.

    1. I agree, the behaviour you describe is a completely different level of rudeness that should be pointed-out (and hopefully rooted-out) whenever encountered. I'm glad I wasn't similarly confronted! And is especially unfair when the game looks so good and there is so much to admire. I hope you won't have to deal with any such people in future.

  6. Great write up and pics.. The last paragraph made me laugh! They're in every hobby sadly I think..come across quite a few 'rivet counters' in railway modelling too. Asking them when they are next displaying their own creations for the admiring public apparently is a fairly effective way of getting rid.