Sunday, 1 July 2018

Of Dreams and Nightmares.

So, planning is well underway for the second Partizan show of the year which will be held at the Newark Showground on Sunday 19th August.

Invites are out to games, societies and traders and most replies are already in. If you have received an invite but have not yet replied please do try to let me know as soon as possible if you can attend as we need to get the floorplan finalised well in advance of the show.

Advertising is in place both online and with the Wargames magazines. If you are trading at the show then over the next few days you should receive flyers which we hope you will include in your mail order dispatches.

Later this week we will update the website with the latest lists of traders, games and society stands. After that it is just a case of waiting for the last few replies, sending confirmations out to everyone  and then producing the final floorplan.

And then we await the most important moment in all Partizan planning. The Partizan Dream.

This has become something of a legend amongst the Partizan crew, rather akin to the ravens at the Tower of London.

Basically it goes like this:

It is Sunday morning, either just before or just after opening time at the show. We are wandering around the halls - always the stygian gloom of Kelham rather than the bright new venue - and the place is filled with empty tables. A few poorly produced games (unpainted figures on a blanket) sit alongside trade stands usually selling potted plants or house cleaning products. And inside the dream we think this is all great and everything is as it should be. It is only when we wake up that the cold sweats start.

Alternatively everything is in place and we open the doors to... one small child and a lost delivery driver.

Another variant is that the venue has inexplicably shrunk to the size of one small room and we have 40 traders and 60 games to fit into a space the size of my kitchen - on more than one occasion it has actually been my kitchen.

The point about these dreams is that they are invariably about failure and disaster for the show and one or other of us invariably has them before each show. So much so that it is now part of the Partizan mythos that as long as one of us has The Dream everything will be fine. And of course the year we don't have The Dream the show will be a catastrophe.

So as well as getting the final preparations ready for the show, we will be doing everything we can to ensure we get the right sort of nightmares before 19th August.

If not we might just stay in bed and give the whole thing a miss.




Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Post Partizan Posting

Well that was fun!

At least I think it was fun. After two days of shifting tables and walking the floors to make sure everything ran smoothly the team are doing their normal shell shocked shuffle as we once again try to work out why exactly we do this.

To be fair that is one question that rarely arises these days, particularly after a show like we had on Sunday. Okay so the door was down a little on last year. But the unavoidable proximity of Hammerhead, some bladder kicking on TV and some Eastenders' couple getting hitched the day before (at least I think that was what it was) probably all conspired to keep some of our regulars with their families this particular weekend.

Still the numbers of paying visitors was well north of 800 and, with all the gamers and traders, the hall already had a good buzz before the doors even opened. We will leave it to others to pass judgement on the show overall though we do reserve the right to gloat a little if people write nice things about us on their blogs. And to use a magnifying glass to set fire to their MDF buildings if they don't.

But the one bit for which we bear absolutely no responsibility and so are able to praise to the well lit rafters are the games themselves. Sixty of them in total at this show. Sixty little (or in some cases quite large) gems. As always I am in awe of the time, effort and money that people dedicate towards presenting these brilliant games at the shows. Whilst we are aware that, with the great help of the wargames magazines, we have built a reputation for hosting some good looking games, year on year the standard just gets better and the games ever more inspirational. For that every single person coming to the show to put on the demonstration and participation games has our huge and heartfelt thanks.

When we moved to the Showground we made a few changes to the show beyond just having more space and better lighting. One of the changes was the introduction of prizes. We had always resisted these before because we felt - and continue to feel - that every game that comes to the show has made a huge amount of effort on our behalf and it seems wrong to pick out one or two particular examples to reward when in fact every game deserves a prize.

Anyway, for some reason that I cannot quite now remember, when we moved to the new venue we decided to stop being so damned equitable about these things and start giving out some trophies. It was at this point that we realised that our carefully cultivated impartiality was actually a smoke screen for our utter inability to make a decision.

So we made a decision.

We decided to get someone else to make the decisions for us.

Enter stage left the editors (as they were at the time) of the three main wargaming magazines.

Dan Faulconbridge of Wargames Illustrated
Guy Bowers of Wargames, Soldiers, Strategy
Henry Hyde of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames.

Their credentials? Well as well as being editors whose job was to spend all day looking at wargames and photographing them for magazines (oh and drinking coffee), they are also three fine fellows who we knew we could trust to be impartial, honest and forthright in their opinions. And even though Henry has now moved from paper to Patreon, this is our team who we call upon at each show to decide who deserves to be awarded the bright shiny engraved resin thingies we call trophies.

Like all good things they come in threes.

The Best Participation Game award is the Pete Gill Shield named in honour of one of our staunchest supporters down the years whose games with the RAF Wargames Association brought joy to so many at shows up and own the country.

The Best Demonstration Game award is the Macfarlane Shield named in honour of the man who started Partizan (and, incidentally, both Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated).

Finally the Best in Show is the Editors Shield - mostly because they said they would only do it of we named something after them.

Of course the point of all this rambling is to get to the bit where I tell you who won each of the trophies. With Guy being absent on a European jolly we relied upon Dan and Henry to do the honours.

So without further ado...

The winners of the Best Demonstration Game were TooFatLardies with their What a Tanker game.



Listening to the deliberations it is clear that this was a tough decision in a very good field. But what finally swung it was the sheer amount of fun being had by the participants as evidenced by the loud cheers that escaped the table at regular intervals. Well done to Richard Clarke and all his crew.

If the Participation award was tough, the Demonstration award was near impossible to judge. Henry talks about this process a bit on his latest podcast but the number of fantastic looking games meant that any decision was going to be incredibly close. In the end the award went to the absolutely gorgeous "La Gorgue Airfield" WW1 game by Aly Morrison and Dave Andrews. It was absolutely stunning and you can see a lot more detail of it as well as the history behind it on Aly's blog


Finally we come to the 'Best in Show' Again this could have so easily have been one by any of more than a dozen games but in the end there was one game that stunned with its incredible attention to detail. Anyone who has listened to the interview that Laurence and I did with Henry will know that the best games for me have both height and depth. Height means being three dimensional rather than just played out on a flat surface whilst depth means depth of detail. The winner of Best in Show had both of these in spades. 

So in the end the Editors' Shield was awarded to the Earlswood Wargamers Club for their magnificent Stalingrad game. 








We will have lots more pictures of these and all the other games in forthcoming blogs and on the website.   

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Very Civil British Partizan


One of the stalwarts of Partizan for the last good few years has been Pete Barfield and his colleagues from the Very British Civil Forum. The games they bring to almost every show are not only fascinating, innovative and often highly amusing, they are also beautifully detailed and a joy to look at. 


In addition to everything else he does to support this particular wonderful corner of the hobby, Pete has also, for the last decade, been running an annual VBCW campaign called 38Fest which is celebrating its 10th year this year. 
Here is Pete's own description of this year's campaign:
"38Fest 10th Year: This Seat of Mars is a celebration of 1938 A Very British Civil War, where it hopes to bring together the whole VBCW community with the aim of an international game. Yes international as some of the players and followers of this are chaps who live outside of these Isles and it would unfair to exclude them from the enjoyment of this. So what is being planned is a series of games based on the above scenario than will feed into the Partizan game on 20th May.
This event has been running for the last few months and at Partizan on Sunday Pete and the other UK based members of the Very British Civil Forum will be presenting a game whose parameters have already been set by what has happened in this campaign.


 
One thing you can be sure of with the VBCF boys is that there will be a lot of laughter, a lot of chat and a lot to look at with their game so do head over and take a look. The guys always love trying to create new converts to the cause so you can be sure of a warm welcome. 

The VBCW game at Partizan 2016
If you want to find out more about the Very British Civil Forum then you can find them here
Alternatively they have a Facebook page 
 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

A few links to whet your appetite for next Sunday (Part 1)

For the Partizan team, preparations for the show are just about done and all we can do now is wait for next weekend, the Saturday setup and the show itself on Sunday. 

Of course the real work has and is still being done by all those who bring games to the show. A few of them have been blogging the progress of their preparations and we will be highlighting some of these in the run up to the show.   

First up Aly Morrison and Dave Andrews of Great War Miniatures are preparing an amazing looking game based on the April 1918 German Offensive. Here is the background in Aly's own words. 

"Our game is based on an incident during Germany's 'Operation Georgette' on the 19th of April 1918.

After breaking through the Portuguese Sector during the Battle of Lys, the Germans pushed on towards the towns of Estairies and La Gorgue.

The airfield at La Gorgue was occupied by what had till very recently been No 8 Naval Squadron RNAS...


On the 1st of April 1918 it had become No 208 Squadron RAF.

After receiving reports of the German advances, seeing retreating Portuguese troops, losing most of their communications and coming under increasing enemy artillery fire it was decided to abandon the airfield.

Due to a heavy fog the aircraft could not be flown out and were grouped close together and set fire to at the last minute.

We thought that this would make a good basis for a fun and interesting scenario were we will have a chance to use terrain and troops not normally seen in a WW1 wargame...


An airfield...
RNAS ground crew and pilots...
And Portuguese Infantry."


The development of the game has been detailed in a whole series of fascinating blog posts which include research notes, painting and modelling tips and loads of wonderful pictures of figures and scenery - not least a multitude of brilliant little vignettes. 

  


There is much more to see on Aly's blog so do go and take a look. 


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Setting The East Ablaze

One of the rulesets to really catch the imagination a few years ago was the "Setting the East Ablaze" rules from Partizan Press (after whom our show is named).

Designed for gaming the popular 'Back of Beyond' period, these have recently been updated and, in association with Caliver Books, there will be two games presented at the forthcoming Partizan show on May 20th making use of these rules.

We have been sent some details of one of these games which will be presented by "Like A Stonewall Wargames Group". Their game will be based on a little known but fascinating episode at the end of World War 1 when British troops under General Lionel Dunsterville were sent to Baku on the western side of the Caspian Sea to try and hold the city against advancing Turkish forces. The Turks aimed to capture the important oil fields in the area and also use the city as a springboard for crossing the Caspian and uniting the Turkik tribes of South Central Asia with a view to threatening India - what was known as the Pan-Turanianist movement.




Attack on Bina, 1 September 1918


“A successful attack from the north-west would bring the Turks into the town [Baku] before the inhabitants were aware of their proximity.”
– Major-General Lionel C. Dunsterville

After the loss of the Dirty Volcano on 26 August 1918, the Ottoman Caucasus-Islam Army advanced troops on the northern shore used the opportunity to work further and further eastward to encircle Baku, and occupied the village of Bina, due east of the city. That stirred the Baku authorities to action, and arrangements were made to attack Bina, “to prevent the encirclement of Baku.”


‘Like a Stone Wall’ Wargames Group have been play testing this and other scenarios for a new Partizan Press publication about the adventures of Dunsterforce by Bob Giglio

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Writers' Corner

It is no surprise that wargamers tend to be bookworms.

From Research to Rulesets,  Uniform Guides to Orders of Battle our whole hobby is based upon the written word. All of these aspects are well covered by the traders at Partizan - if you are looking for books then drop by Dave Lanchester Books, Worley Books or Caliver Books - but of course these factual tomes are not the only sort of writing that appeals to the well rounded wargaming personality.

Military fiction comes in many forms - from the pulpy Sven Hassel and Leo Kessler stories to the far more historically accurate works of C.S Forester. And of course there is the wildly popular Bernard Cornwall whose military fiction has covered so many different conflicts from the Dark Ages to The American Civil War.

We have been lucky enough in the past to have had a number of authors attend Partizan either as paying visitors or to attend signings. This year we thought we would be rather more organised and have invited two of our previous attendees to come along to chat with visitors and sign books in a 'Writers' Corner' which we have cleverly situated near to the bar. So I thought I would provide a little background on the two authors and their works.








Andy Johnson was our first author who attended a number of shows at Kelham Hall several years ago. A former Regimental Sergeant Major with the Coldstream Guards, his first book Seelöwe Nord was an alternative history set around a German invasion of Britain in 1940. He has followed this up with two further novels set in WW2.

You can learn more about Andy and his books here



Our second author is Harry Sidebottom. He is a lecturer in Ancient History at Lincoln College Oxford and has been a regular attendee to Partizan since we moved to the showground. An Internationally successful author Harry has written two fictional series set in the 3rd century Roman Empire - The Warrior of Room and Throne of Caesars series - as well as a number of non-fiction books on ancient warfare.

You can learn more about Harry and his books here

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Games, games, games

Partizan is now just a month away and we are in the final throws of organisation which means organising the floorplan and trying to fit in all the amazing games that have been offered to us by all those wonderful clubs, societies and individuals.

This May we will be hosting a record number of games - 62 in total ranging in size from 6ft by 4ft gems all the way up to a massive 24ft by 6ft spectacular. There will be almost equal splits of presentation and demonstration games with some of the biggest names in the Wargaming hobby bringing games to the show.

Indeed some of those more familiar presenting demonstration games will be giving visitors the chance to take part in some really big games. So look out for Simon Miller with his English Civil War Soggy Bottom spectacular and, rather than just looking, why not get involved and win the day for Parliament!




Alternatively drop by Peterborough Wargames Society who will be putting on not one but three WW1 Africa games running side by side under the banner of  The Battles for Lake Tanganika. Again there will be plenty of spaces for those who want to take part. 


For a full list of all the games being presented at Partizan see our website at:

www.partizan.org.uk