Thursday 29 December 2022
Thursday 22 December 2022
It wouldn't be #Christmas without a spot of Brews in the Binyard, join me Alex and Sean as we tackle the big questions, out now on Podbean and all other #Podcast Hosts
Christmas comes round once a year and with it comes our traditional (well we've done it twice) Brews in the Binyard Special Episode (Link Above)
As always I am joined by my two scale "experts" Alex "Storm of Steel" Sotheran and Sean "Gods Own Scale (retd.)" Clark for a 3 and a half hour Monster Episode. If you are taking this in one sitting make sure you are warm and have adequate supplies of food and drink to hand and preferably something massive to paint. If that's two much then the show is split into 3 easier to digest sections.
The episode opens with a little story from Nick Skinner of Toofatlardies and if you don't enjoy that its going to be a very long 3 and a half hours. Interspersed throughout the show are Xmas messages from those guests from 2022 who could work out how to record a voice file ;-)
After the usual introductions and catch ups, section 1 has a relatively (for us) serious discussion on the tropes associated with World War 1, triggered by an episode of the American Podcast "Anything But a One". Alex and Sean are on fire in this one and have slapped the gauntlet down to the Blackadder like views of our Colonial friends.
Towards the end of the first part Sean is abducted by Aliens live on air, either that or the dial up internet connection in Stoke failed.
The second part descends to its usual levels with a review of entrants into Wargames Room 101 since the Summer Brews Episode and then Sean and Alex get to have a go at the new Desert Island Wargame Section.
Then for a finale its the usual "Ask Our Nora" section where the panel demolish the listeners questions. Sean once again is beamed up during the section but returns a short while later after a good probing by the Greys.
Brews in the Binyard is a bit Marmite, some of you love it more that the other "normal" episodes whilst others don't get it. Its designed to be fun, its a bit slack when it comes to editing out naughty words, we make a few jokes. So you have been warned lol.
Merry Xmas to all the listeners and viewers of the Podcast and thank you so much for all your support this year, Yarkshire Gamer has continued to get more followers and listeners during the year and downloads have now exceeded 50,000 which is simply amazing.
Thank you all.
There will be a special one off Awards Show between Xmas and the New Year so until then,
The Yarkshire Gamer
As usual the previous episode with Henry Hyde is now out on the Utubes, this episode will, go on there on Xmas Eve.
Friday 16 December 2022
It's time for the 2nd Part of my interview with @battlegames Henry Hyde, its the Quiz, Room 101 & by popular demand a Podcasters Love In ❤️ Get ur lug holes round this 😀
Less than a week on from the first instalment of my interview with Hobby Legend Henry Hyde comes the "conclusion".
Regular listeners will notice that this show starts with the usual 3rd part of the Podcast, the features section so you will get to hear Henry answer the Avocado Question and are round dice still universally banned !
Its then onto Wargames Room 101 and Desert Island Wargame for some more great chat.
The final Big Topic ended up being a bit of a Podcaster Love In, as I chat to Henry about the origins of his Battlechat series. Even after around 4 hours of recording I still had a bunch of stuff I wanted to cover with Henry, some of it pretty weighty but at the end of the show we talk about how important it is to talk about these subjects. I hope to have Henry back on in the new year to go into more detail.
All of Henrys content can be accessed via his website
Next up I hope to have the "traditional" (well we've done it twice) Xmas Brews in the Binyard Xmas Special out a few days before Xmas, so until then,
The Yarkshire Gamer
And as a bonus here is the last episode on the Utubes
Sunday 11 December 2022
Episode 35 of the Podcast sees the first of a two part interview with one of the stalwarts of the Wargames Hobby, Mr Henry Hyde.
The link is below or just search for Yarkshire Gamer Podcast on your Podcast Host
There isn't much that Henry hasn't done in this hobby over the years, as an author, Podcaster, Magazine Editor, Wargamer, Artist etc etc etc etc !
He has been a guest and an interviewer on many occasions in the past so I've given Henry the full Yarkshire Gamer treatment and hopefully you will find out something you didn't know before, you certainly won't have heard his wonderful "Red Mud Rant" and the reason behind the soon to be released Battlegames branded hairdryers 😉
As you would expect with me and Henry this wasn't a 5 minute chat, this 2 and a half hour discussion covers what you would normally get in the first two parts of a "normal" episode and I cut the big game chat short !
We will be back next week with part 2.
All things Henry can be accessed via his website
Until next time
The Yarkshire Gamer
Oh and if you missed the last episode it's available on the Utubes
Sunday 4 December 2022
Hello everyone, yesterday I attended my local Wargames Show in Pudsey. The venue, the Civic Hall is about a mile from my house so it's a bit of a pre game lie in for me as the journey to the show is less than five minutes.
I don't think I'm offending anyone (although my record on that seems to be quite poor recently 😆) by saying that the Pudsey show is a "small" one, especially compared with the likes of Partizan and Salute, I don't know exact numbers but I'm guessing 300 or so through the door as paying guests. There is a main hall down stairs and an additional room on the first floor along with a decent sized cafe bar area with seating, selling reasonably priced (even for Yorkshire) food and drink.
It's place in the Calendar puts it at the end of the show circuit year and it always has an end of school year party feeling, I spoke briefly to Pete Berry of Baccus and he was looking forward to a few more weekends at home for a month or so.
I had been asked to put a display game on last year but sadly work got in the way, so I was determined to make an effort this year and I took my Italian Wars Siege of Forli (What If) game along.
Now this isn't going to be a full write up of that game, I did one very recently for the display at FIASCO a month or so ago, please use the link below for a more detailed write up with Orbats etc.
I made a few tweaks to the orders of Battle contained in the above post. The Papal / French forces had an easy victory last time so I bolstered the Sfoza forces to make the game a little more balanced.
I exchanged a Heavy Gun for a Medium Gun for the Borgias, I removed the Cavalry from the Swiss and left the French as they were.
For the Sforza Forces I added a Medium Gun to the town, in the centre I added 2 units of Heavy Foot Infantry and an extra unit of Independent Shot. The Florentines got an extra unit of light and heavy Cavalry. In the original run through the central Cemetery (yes it is in the Dead Centre of the table 👍) and the small farms were cosmetic where as this time we used them as actual buildings with the relevant modifiers and movement restrictions. This slowed down the Swiss Kiels a lot and only one of the two got into contact.
This resulted in a much closer game, still a victory for Cesare Borgia but a lot closer, I decided to rely more on Firepower and aggressive Cavalry use in the centre of the Sforza army which was a much better tactic than closing to melee as quickly as possible. I would certainly be happy to present this as a formal scenario now. I've put photos of the game throughout this post, the lighting was a bit difficult to get decent photos so here they are warts and all. Figures are mostly mine with French from the Collection of Harry Matthews and Italians (with the green edged bases) from the Collection of Ian Rudd.
The Future of Wargames Shows, Do We Still Want Them ?
So onto the discussion part of the piece, having returned to Wargames shows post (not for everyone I know) Covid and back to putting on display games after a longer period I've been thinking about how shows are looking today.
I imagined in my tiny mind that as we came out of Covid Wargames Shows would be crammed full of eager Gamers desperate to get their sweaty palms physically on the produce we all desire. I love the ability to order figures at 2am whilst lying on the sofa watching re runs of the Sweeney but nothing beats the physical experience of going to a show and sniffing the burnt MDF in person.
The first Partizan post lockdown was busy, the first FIASCO was too but the first Salute was poorly attended by punters and vendors alike, now there are many reasons why the latter was the case but my Nostrodamus like prediction of huge crowds kicking down the doors at shows to get that niff of MDF failed to materialise. I don't know (or if I do, I won't reveal) exact figures but my information is that attendances at shows is generally down on pre Covid numbers, so why is this and what if anything can be done to change it ?
The Finances of running a show
I've been on the edges of running a reasonably sized show for many years so I have an idea but the first thing I want to examine is motivation.
In the good old days of black and white TV shows were generally run by a Wargames Group, a number of people from a club would take on various roles within the organisation of the show and the remaining members of the club would be press ganged into doing the back breaking shifting of tables and helping the traders into the venue on the day.
Profits from the show would then be ploughed back into the running of the club and used to help fund a venue and to help putting on display games at other club run shows so they could fund their clubs and so it went like a little Communist Collective Farm.
Then we saw a rise in shows run by individuals for Profit, the tide of Thatchers Britan entering the hobby of Wargaming probably years too late. However, I don't remember too many show organisers leaning on their Ferrari shouting into a huge mobile phone whilst wearing Ray Ban Shades and handmade loafers.
More recently we have seen a rise in Wargames Companies running shows, I doubt this is for profit, is it for the prestige and exposure ? I don't know, maybe I should have a char with someone who has a Podcast so they get the right guest on to ask those questions 😉
As the organisers and helpers get older the moving of tables becomes harder and a lot slower.
Making the ends meet
As the numbers of paying punters coming through the door decreases, so does the revenue that side of the show brings.
There are set costs, hire of the hall, tables, advertising etc that have to be met and as those costs rise a show organiser needs to balance that by rising the income. Hall hire for Salute and to some extent FIASCO is eye-watering and is set to get worse in the current financial climate.
Increasing costs for traders means that they are reluctant to pay higher and higher prices for their trade stands (some never wanted to pay anyway 😆). Over the last few years we have seen stalwarts of the trading fraternity reduce the number of shows they attend with some giving up entirely.
So we are entering a time when the margins are getting tighter and tighter for all, would a Wargames Club want to run a show at a loss purely for the "prestige" of running a show, would they want to continue the hard work for little financial rewards ? These are discussions that are going on throughout Wargames Club Committees up and down the country.
Getting Punters Through the Door
There are some factors you can't control, if you run a show in a large Northern City at an Internationally renowned Museum you won't get any Wargames Press Interest for example (no I'm not bitter 🤣). Seriously though your location affects the catchment area for visitors and punters. If you run a show a few miles from the Nottingham Mafias Breakfast Bar then you are unlikely to be short of traders, if you are miles from a motorway in a coastal setting then its not so easy, a free ride on the donkeys rarely being sufficient attraction.
Most Wargames shows are similar, a mix of traders, display and participation games, it's a tried and tested method. There are lots of variations, having an integrated Wargames Competition (although it's hardly a spectator sport) like the now defunct Derby Show, having solely Participation Games, having guest speakers, having modelling or painting workshops, but generally they are the same.
Is their a magic potion that would get you through the door of a show ?
The motivation of the punters
This is an interesting one, why do we as individuals go to shows ? Is it to buy, play or meet 🤔
Personally pre lockdown I am happy to admit that I was a little Wargames Show weary, I had reduced my visits to maybe 2 or 3 shows a year. I did most of my shopping online and kind of attended York and Leeds maybe out of a sense of duty. I very rarely came to the Pudsey show as its relatively small even though I can walk to it from my house.
Post Lockdown I have had a bit of a second wind with Wargaming, driven a lot by the success of the Yarkshire Gamer Podcast I have visited more shows this year than I have for many before, I've even been seen as far south as Newark on two occasions !
I've had the opportunity to meet with and chat in person to people who have been on the show and tap up a few new guests along the way. I'm kind of enjoying going to shows now more as a social experience than retail therapy. I rarely walk away from a show with little more than a small carrier bag of goodies. I'm well aware from my previous discussion that that isn't what the traders want to hear.
Let's face it, most will be looking more closely at their finances over the coming months.
What do you want from a show, what makes you go through the door ?
The Motivation of the Trader
Although we would love to have altruistic traders who support our hobby regardless of cost to themselves but we have to be realistic and understand that they are a business and they need to make money, not only to keep the business going but also to keep a roof over their heads. I don't think anyone outside of GW makes a huge living out of the hobby and margins can be pretty tight.
Any trader at a show wants to sell you stuff, yes it's an opportunity for them to show you their shiny wears but at the end of the day if that doesn't convert to cold hard cash it's not worth the effort.
They will ask, is my time, my travel costs, my table fees, my staff costs, my weekend away from my family worth it ? Many as discussed above are saying it isn't anymore.
So what is the future of Wargames Shows in the UK
I would love to hear your thoughts. Me I'm hearing rumblings and it's not my stomach after a bacon butty. It's not like there hasn't been a perceived "crisis" in the hobby before just look back at old copies of your Wargames Magazines for the previous portents of doom, even a few years ago the cheery "Your all dying, Wargaming is F@*#×d" video from Little Wars TV asked a similar question.
Wargames Shows won't continue if they don't make profit or at least break even, Wargames Traders won't go to shows if they don't make money, Wargames Punters won't go to shows if they don't enjoy them.
Do we want a stage where there are three "Big" shows in the Midlands and one in London or do we want to retain the network of regional shows, only we can decide and vote with our feet.
I think I reached a stage in the past where I had been to shows and thought, oh there's another massive table with loads of figures on and paid it little attention. During Covid I realised I had taken things for granted and I missed those huge games. I promised myself I would never take my gaming for granted again and get more involved as you never know what is round the corner.
Friday 2 December 2022
Welcome to Episode 34 of The Yarkshire Gamers Reet Big Wargames Podcast and hopefully the first of 3 December 2022 Episodes.
LINK TO EPISODE
Today I am talking about the ultimate Napoleonic Wargame, Leipzig. Somewhat overshadowed in the UK by Waterloo but the numbers of troops and casualties are eye-watering and subsequently the number of figures needed to play this game are like wise not for the faint hearted.
But before we get into the Big Topic I chat with my guest Rohan Saravanamuttu about his wargaming history, his thoughts on Big Battles and of course he takes part in the Yarkshire Gamer Quiz.
In addition to the Quiz, there's a great wargame pet hate locked away in Wargames Room 101 and a new Desert Island Wargame feature.
We then move onto refighting Leipzig and Rohans new book published via Helion called Leipzig The Battle of the Nations - A Wargaming Guide and take a deep dive into his process for writing the book, his choice of contents and of course the contents.
The book can be bought directly from Helion on the link below
If you fancy seeing more of the book I did a flickthrough review on my Utubes Channel
Next episode will feature the wonderful Henry Hyde who is relatively new to the hobby 😆 so I'm sure you'll give him a Reet Big Yarkshire welcome. That should be out in 10 days to a couple of weeks.
So until then Sithee
The Yarkshire Gamer
And the precious Episode 33 The Third Reet Grand Catch Up is on the Utubes
Welcome to Episode 33 and the 3rd of our Catch Up Episodes. I've just realised I didn't put this up on the blog when I first published it, so here it is now 😅
A different format to usual for the new listener, today I've dipped into my previous guests and picked out 3 for a bit of a chat to see what they have been upto since we last talked.
First up from Episode 22 is Simon Miller. We had to cut the last interview short (well after 2 hours 😀) and we never got to hear about his wavy bases !
We talk about Simons current Projects and his plans for the future before he drops the bomb shell on me that he has co written a book on the Italian Wars, he kept that quiet.
Simons Big Red Bat Shop is here
Whilst the book can be bought from Helion here
My next guest Richard Harris goes way back to Episode 2 of the Podcast and he is one of the owners of Legendary Wargames, we chat about plans for the coming year as well as the forthcoming release of "Grand Skeedadle" a Peter Gilder inspired set of ACW rules. Enjoy it as me and Richard fail to take 1813 from 2014 😆
information and bookings for Legendary Wargames can be done here
And then up last to bat is good friend of the show, Nick Skinner from the Toofatlardies who was last seen in Episode 7. Nick has been a busy boy since we last spoke. We chat about his numerous visits to the continent, the goings on at Lard Island as well as a bonus entry into Wargames Room 101.
Toofatlardies goodies are available here
It's a long one but with three great guests 2 and a half hours will fly by.
My next guest will be Rohan Saravanamuttu who has just published a Wargamers guide to the ultimate Napoleonic Battle, Leipzig, hopefully out in a fortnight.
Until then, Sithee
The Yarkshire Gamer
As usual the previous episode with Chris Flowers is out on the Utubes if that's you preferred method of listening
Wednesday 23 November 2022
I've been slowly building up some 1/700 WW2 Naval Ships from plastic kits over the last few months and a couple of weeks ago I took them down the Leeds Wargames Club to give them a run out.
I am fortunate to have a 12 x 6 table at home but that isn't big enough for these ships so I set up a 12 x 8 table at the club to run a test game with the ships I have. We use an established set of WW2 Naval rules which I wrote 25 plus years ago, they were adapted for our WW1 games as well so everyone is familiar with the mechanisms so it's absolutely pointless to change them.
However I do need to examine the move distances and gun ranges to move them up in scale from our 1/3000 WW2 games and our 1/2400 WW1 games. I am not looking for an exact model scale to ground scale that would need a huge expanse, however neither am I definitely not looking to go down the Warlord Games route and get the whole of Midway on a 6 x 4.
I'm looking for a happy medium, something that is playable on a table I can manage (which is very Big) which looks right without prescribing to a precise mathematical formula. If I can make a 8 ship Destroyer Action work on a 12 x 8 I'm in the right ballpark for a large ship Action on say a 36 ft table.