Wednesday, July 04, 2007

They're HARD!

One of the upshots of going to that tourney a few weeks back, was bumping in to an old opponent. Paul (for that be his name) chatted to me about his 'local' club, the Harrogate and Ripon District wargamers, known as 'HARD'. Apparently Warhammer and other GW games are all the rage there. Anyway, a few emails later and I had a game arranged.

Firstly, it is not the club I visited last year in Harrogate, this pretty little town, with an impossible road network somehow manges to support two gaming clubs; so it was with some trepidation I approached driving in to the town again, last time it took over an hour to find the place I was after. This one was much easier, though partly as a result of my terrible experience last year, I had some clue as to the layout of the place.

I found the Dene Park Community centre, where the club runs with little going wrong. That was a pleasant surprise. Inside was a typical set up, with all the impermanence that being granted a bit of storage space in a building like this implies. Amid the floral curtains and notices about charity fun runs and pensioners coffee mornings, a half dozen or so six by four foot boards were laid out for a healthy number of players. Warhammer Ancients was indeed the "jeu du jour", with about four games, including my match up against Paul's Viking army amongst them. Additionally Lord of the Rings and Legends of the Old West appeared to be being played.

Look out, he's HARD!

To be honest my actual game was a typical result for me; i.e. a defeat. I brought a quickly re based army of Eastern Franks, with two modest units of cavalry, three of tough foot, and a bunch of skirmishers. Paul's stunning Vikings were all infantry, with a high general ability and markedly better skirmishing forces. Pretty much, the game was all over when my cavalry was shot to pieces and ran without once contacting the enemy.

Things already looked bleak for me by the time Paul had finished deploying

So far as I can see, if I want to win at Warhammer, I'm going to have to play it a lot more often than I actually wish to; this would explain why I did so badly in the tournament, and also brings up one of my few niggles with the game. At a competitive level, tactics to exploit individual units strengths and the foibles of the rules have far more influence than historical tactics should.

Arrgh! Vikings on tea trays levelled the land

For example, the game winning unit for the Vikings was one of 14 armoured mercenaries with crossbows. I can't recall any historical account within the classic dark ages period where Vikings fielded crossbowmen, but the rules allow it; and so effective are they, you apparently shouldn't even consider fielding an army from the Shield Wall supplement without a unit of them!

Anyhow. I lost, enough griping.

Aside from this inevitable defeat, what else can I report. Well depending on your point of view a good/bad aspect of the club is the allowance to field unpainted or undercoated figures. Yes it is convenient, but it's not something I'd ever do anywhere except at home. so far as I could see only two games (ours and one of the LOTR games) used fully painted forces, next to our table white figures on lurid green movement trays vied with a half painted army that may or may not have been Roman of some sort. I can understand, that when you have limited space, scenery has to be a compromise, but you know, there ought to be 'standards' ; I'd never take an unpainted army to a club.

An army of ghosts? No, merely undercoated metal meeting its relatives...

However as a consequence, my ratty, twenty year old, re based over the weekend as quickly as possible, Franks drew several positive responses, simply for the fact of being painted.

Other than that I can say that it was pleasant enough experience, aside perhaps from the chavvy kids hanging round the local bus stop! Glad I was driving.

If you are in the area, they are a reasonable enough little club. There is no web presences, so the best I can do is offer you a repeat of their address:

HARD wargamers

Dene Park Community Centre

Dene Park

Harrogate HG1

Games run on Thursday evenings from about 6.30pm onwards

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