A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Transpontine Again - Fighting at Stryker's

Marvellous day out yesterday - Stryker generously hosted another wargame at his country home, and I duly turned up for action, hair brushed and boots polished (or possibly vice versa). This time we were using Stryker's superb collection of Hinton Hunt figures and his own Old School rules, Muskets and Marshals. The Mysterious Goya was also present - I'm not sure if I am allowed to mention this, because of the security issue.

Any excuse to see Ian's soldiers up close is worth the trip, and Baroness Stryker produced a sumptuous lunch for us. The game was vigorous and a lot of fun. I got to command the French (I'm getting typecast, I think - could be something to do with the similarity between my nose and the French national cockade) and was rather lucky to scrape a victory - in fact, I wasn't sure I had won until I read Stryker's post, which I recommend you should peruse [click] as the authoritative summary of events.

Yet again I turned up without my proper camera, and yet again my attempts to capture moments in the day with my iPhone produced nasty, blurred results - apologies for my incompetence - I've included a few of the better of my pictures, but you should really look at Ian's (link above).

My elite voltigeurs spent much of the day bickering away with the boys from the
95th Rifles - that difference in effective range really is a bit of a problem, by the way

In a moment of misguided enthusiasm, my lancers charge the Cambridgeshire
regiment - I can duly report that the rules produced the sort of result you might have expected.
I just wondered...

Now there's smart - Stryker's lovely cuirassiers

Still trying to sort out those pesky Cambridge boys...

While, on the other flank, my Poles and Swiss make heavy weather of upsetting
the Black Watch
Most of my games of late have been on gridded tables - it was refreshing to get a change of approach. Ian's rules are not unfamiliar to me - I have fought with them before, last year, at his Grand Birthday Bash. He was good enough to take on the role of umpire yesterday, which helped greatly with the flow of the game for us trainees, and he kept feeding reserves into the game (from a hidden store) to keep things bubbling along. I enjoyed it all thoroughly - lots of colour and splendour in the uniforms, great handfuls of dice (what a treat that is!), good, traditional rule sections like saving throws and checks to rally unhappy troops, and lots of hands-on moving of soldiers (my wargames are mostly hands-off these days, because of the Higgins bayonets, but that's another story). There were lots of good moments to savour and to remember - Goya issuing commands in Dutch to his Dutch artillery, an almost unbroken run of successful Initiative Rolls for the French (which didn't quite make up for the ineptitude of my cross-eyed grand battery, which could not have hit "a coo in the erse wi' a banjo" to use an old Scots military term), and the freshly-baked Lemon Drizzle Cake which appeared during the afternoon tea break, of which the French command still speak in hushed whispers.

All in all, a most splendid day - once again, my thanks to Baron and Baroness Stryker and to Goya for their hospitality and company. On the way home, I drove into a mighty traffic jam approaching the Forth Bridge from the north side. I found that the queue was on the new roads leading to the brand new Queensferry Crossing (the "Third Forth Bridge" for those who enjoy rubbish puns), and for a wild moment I thought it might be open ahead of schedule, but of course we were all eventually diverted back on to the existing Forth Road Bridge. I hadn't thought about it before, but this may have been the last time I ever drive over the old bridge - after the new one opens, I believe the old bridge will be used for commercial and heavy traffic only. [I've been driving on the existing bridge since 1978, and I have to admit that I have never once driven across it without wondering nervously how strong it was - a concern which has become more pertinent in recent years.]

I might mention that my wife and son and I all have passes to walk over the Queensferry Crossing on Sunday, 3rd September - the weekend of the official opening. I understand that we'll walk across one way and be bussed back. This is a big deal from the security angle - we already have our barcoded official passes, complete with mugshots, and we are to carry passports. I'm confident I'll have something to say about this after the event, and on that occasion I really must try to remember my camera.


  1. Great looking game. The close up photo of the cuirassiers is my favorite although the French voltigeurs skirmishing is a good splash of color.

    1. Thanks Jon - it's always good to get a chance to see such well-painted troops close up - gives me something to aim at!

  2. It looks as if you need to give your phone's camera lens a really good polish, Foy.

    congratulations on your splendid victory. Clever use of massed heavy cavalry at the end!

    1. Lens - I'm sure you're right - I'll give it a shot. I hardly use my phone for photos, since my camera works better. This is an area of facility integration I have never got the hang of - I like to have have good quality kit, certainly, but have never felt the need to ring somebody up with my shaver or watch movies on the washing machine - seems a convenience too far - one of the things we will laugh at in about 10 years. That's assuming we don't just send each other txts with happy emojis by then.

      Strategic masterpiece, I would say - the early charge on the square was a mistake, but it was entertaining while it lasted.

  3. Tony - those photos actually turned out pretty good (although how did you get the high shots of the bridge?) and yes the French did win!

    1. Once again, my main problem with the photos on the phone (apart from having no eye for a photo and no idea what I'm doing) is the internal lighting encourages an extended exposure time, and I can't hold the thing still enough to keep the pics sharp - need to use a little tripod or something, at which point a camera becomes more convenient, though not a camera in a different county.

      Bridge shots - good eh? - I just sent up my drone - no, actually I've got a drone app on my thermos flask. The forthcoming walk over the bridge reminds me that I took my son on the glorious first weekend of the new Border Railway - first new railway in Scotland since Hadrian (or something) - as part of his birthday present a couple of years ago, and he played a game on his phone throughout - never saw a thing. Years from today, he may recall that he was at this historic event, but arranged not to see it.

  4. One hopes that should any further spans be required across the Firth they'll demolish an existing one first. The prospect of the inevitable tongue twisters is too painful to bear.

    1. Yes indeed.

      Luckily, recent utterances from the UK's Transport Secretary make it seem unlikely that any major infrastructure development beyond sorting out Southern Rail is on the horizon. This, of course, is assuming that our nation's glorious future will afford the resources to do anything at all.

      I shall enjoy my historic walk across the bridge at the weekend, aware that there may not be many more similar events in my lifetime. It's been a privilege...