Wednesday 23 November 2022

Update - Dark Ages, Lakes, Podcasts, and other shenanigans

Thanks to all who have been commenting of late. Much appreciated.

Thought it about time to do an update on the various activities of November.

Last weekend, we had a gathering of The Old Berks here in Berkswell (John Kersey, Steve Gill, Andy Moran, and myself). 

We began with the usual refreshments and a show n tell session. Included in this were some elephants Andy has been painting for his Classical Indian WAB army, amongst other things.

For the main part of the day, JK had arranged a fabulous little mini-campaign, using 500-point armies from the WAB Shieldwall supplement. 

Pictures courtesy of JK

The Old Berks - l to r: yours truly, Andy, Steve, John. Photo by Lisa.

We drew envelopes for sides and I ended up being Mercians, Steve was Irish, Andy was Scots (Caledonian), and John was the Vikings. In the first round, I faced Andy's Caledonians, and was lucky to inflict a significant victory in which my Mercians sent the Scots packing and also seized the Berkswell Hoard. Meanwhile JK's Norse were fighting Steve's Irish. 

Second round, again went well for me as I managed to get the treasure hoard off the table in the face of a determined onslaught by JK's Vikings, having bounced the attack off my shieldwall. Meanwhile, the Irish and Scots were in an attritional action that saw Steve lose the most casualties but take his objective markers off table. The overall final result of the afternoon was a solid, Saxon-like victory for my brave Mercians. And much mead was drunk (well, not really) and songs of victory could be heard throughout the lands.

Before we got started, to get us in Dark Ages mood, I had given a small tour of the village of Berkswell, focusing on its Saxon heritage. The Church is on a Saxon site, and the well of Bercul is clearly seen today.

Next it was onto our group "AGM" to discuss projects for the coming months and years. Truth be told, we got rather carried away and have now got a fairly full spreadsheet of proposals to narrow down!!

Below: Andy's elephants.

It was a great day's wargaming, chatter, and general hobby malarkey. Thanks to the guys for a wonderful day.

Other news:

I have added more links to the sidebar as I have been spending a bit of hobby time surfing blogs, drawing inspiration, and in particular I have enjoyed some of the podcasts by Yarkshire Gamer. I know I'm late to the party here as he's been doing them for quite some time, but I had a good listen to those involving people in the hobby I know (some more than others), for example Carlo Pagano, Giles Allison, Robbie Roddiss, and Colin Ashton ... all were particularly good interviewees.

It hasn't been all work and hobby this month.
Lisa and I had a relaxing week in a lodge in the Lake District.

Just what the doctor ordered, although it has hit the painting output!

Finally, in this potpourri of an update, it would be remiss not to mention the sad news of Christopher Duffy passing away earlier this month. I met him only once at Culloden battlefield in 2008 where he was giving a talk and we chatted afterwards for an hour about all things 18C. As wargamers, we are indebted to his fine work which has certainly made the hobby richer. RIP Professor Christopher Duffy.

That's all for now.

Hope everyone is enjoying writing Christmas lists full of hobby stuff!


  1. Those elephants are fantastic. Good get together for quality gaming time.

  2. The late Dr. Duffy was, apparently, a snappy dresser too!

    Kind Regards,


  3. Sad news about Christopher Duffy, hew ill be greatly missed. The Dark Ages armies look great but the elephants are quite superb, really top notch.

  4. Thanks Phil for again being a generous mine host. The charming Lisa and yourself look very happy in the Lakes photo and it was a treat meeting her on the day. I wish you both well.

    To be honest I've often been curious about the well and church of which you have spoken of in the past so really enjoyed the quick tour. The sun was also shining on us! A well earned victory in retaining the Berkeswell Hoard in Mercia and it was natural justice that the Mercians flocked to your banner even though it was a randomised sealed bid!
    Yes loved seeing Andy's elephants and can't wait to see the whole army!

    It was impressive to see how many ideas were captured by the group in the spreadsheet. It's good to have some reserves!

    Indeed sad news about Christopher Duffy. Amongst his many masterful works I appreciate his book Siege Warfare which even has a section on siege wargames.

  5. Apologies it is another one of his book's Fire and Stone on fortresses and sieges that has the siege wargames section. Both are excellent in their different ways.

  6. Nice update Phil, glad to hear plenty going on 👍🏻😊

  7. Sorry forgot
    Martin T

  8. Nice looking figures and scenery too. As a Scot, I must say, I think the late Dr Duffys attire is a bit OTT....Bay City Rollers is what comes to mind! ( This is no reflection on him as a man or historian, I hasten to add, before I suffer a deluge of vitriol!)