He sent forth a herald to Aragon and Navarre,
He sent his messages to the lands of Castile:
‘Whoever would leave his toil and grow rich,
Let him come to my Cid, whose taste is for fighting…’
-The Poem of the Cid
Over a 12-year period, Steve Jones, myself and the Newark Irregulars ran various events for the popular Warhammer Ancient Battles rules. None of these were competitions in the usual sense, more a chance for like-minded gamers to get together and throw some dice in a historically-themed event. At this event in August 2009, we collected together a group of great folk to play WAB with and got stuck into one of my favourite periods – Medieval Spain. Here’s a selection of shots with some captions where I can remember what was going on!
One thing that WAB really encouraged was great presentation of armies – here are some of the fine minis that graced our tables (figures painted by Andy Hawes, Darrell Hindley and others).
Sunday, August 16th 2009, saw 20 El Cid enthusiasts descend on Newark for another Newark Irregulars WAB event. The goal was to play three relaxed games of WAB with nice armies on good-looking gaming tables in a fun and friendly environment, which I think was managed, as everyone seemed to leave with a smile on their face (and a cake in their pocket – I bought too much food!)
The event was set around the end of the 11th century, so the players were organised into factions covering the main protagonists of the day – Andalusians, Almoravids, and the Christian kingdoms of Aragon and Leon & Castile. Armies were of 1600 points to the lists in the El Cid WAB supplement, but could be supplemented by mercenaries from the traditional ‘Bonus Cards’. After each game, every player was allowed to choose a Bonus Card, giving them something extra in the next game, e.g. a Holy Banner, a Veteran unit, looted armour, or even a mercenary unit. El Cid himself was also available as a mercenary leader, though to secure his services, players had to draw from the ‘red cards’ – a small set of Bonus Cards that were always dealt face down. As well as El Cid and some the most powerful mercenary units, the red cards also included a Scandal and Old Wound card that, er, reduced the abilities of the unfortunate general in the next game… Bonus cards were only supposed to be available after the first game, but newcomer Chris Payne got straight into the spirit of the event by presenting me with a box of Turkish Delight on arrival, for which he was rewarded with a unit of mercenary slingers. Not that they did him much good, sadly!
Anyway, after tea and biscuits, the event got under way with the first of three games. Each player got to play three different scenarios (chosen from Apellido and Ransom from the El Cid book, With Fire and Sword, and the traditional Pitched Battle). Everyone, in theory, was to play one person from each of the different factions, which more or less happened, despite a table mix-up!
At lunchtime, the Newark Irregulars judged the various painting competitions, and we found ourselves hard-pressed to choose winners – there were some super armies on the tables, and not an unpainted or unbased figure in sight!
Although the events were not particularly competitive, we liked to offer small prizes for mighty deeds, sportsmanship and the like. These Artizan figures were painted by our local ace brushman Darren Smith. At the top left there is a 54mm Andrea Miniatures El Cid model, which I believe was won by Jim Sweeney for some tabletop heroics.
After a third and final game, figures were packed away and the winners were announced. The winning faction was, by a whisker, the Kingdom of Aragon, whose members were all presented with individual painted El Cid models mounted on plinths. There were also painting and sportsmanship prizes to be had, and full results were as follows:
Jim Sweeney – The El Cid Campeador Prize for Sportsmanship (a super 54mm Andrea Miniatures model painted by Darren Smith)
Andy Hawes – Best Painted Characters
Darrell Hindley – Best Painted Army
George Cowie, Steve Marshall – Highly Commended Armies
Chris Stone – Best Baggage
James Patterson, Francis McHealy-Adam – Most Creative Baggage!
1st – ARAGON
Andy Hawes, Guy Bowers, Darrell Hindley, Neil Dee, Tim Dagnall
2nd – LEON & CASTILE
Carl Fisher, Steve Marshall, Lee McColl, Chris Wardle, Francis McHealy-Adam
3rd – AL-ANDALUS
Chris Payne, Jim Sweeney, James Patterson, Ed McDonald, Ian Dick
4th – ALMORAVIDS
George Cowie, Tom Webster-Deakin, Chris Stone, Grahame Middleton, Rob Broom
Prizes were very generously donated by Gripping Beast, Nick Eyre of Northstar, and Darren Smith – thank you for your continuing support, chaps!
I also need to say a huge thank you to Guy Bowers, who helped me load and unload two carloads of equipment to help run the event, and stayed behind afterwards, even though he had a four hour drive home. Darren Smith was a hero in the kitchen, and kept people supplied with food and drinks all day, as well as painting the prizes to a very high standard. Andy Mactaggart rolled up to help despite having only got back from holiday at 2am! And thank you to all the other Irregulars who dropped past and gave a hand, especially Steve, who managed to get his parents to babysit so he could slip out for a few hours. Cheers guys!
Thanks also to all the gamers for playing the event in such a wonderful spirit; as Carl Fisher, one of our players said afterwards, “It is days like this that are the reason I like this hobby so much.”
See you at the next one!