Monday 10 July 2023

Bash Day IV brief report (Leeds 2023)

Pre-COVID we ran three Bloody Big Battles 'Bash Day!' conventions in 2016, 2017 and 2019. I see all three reports mention 'by popular demand' and 'convivial' and I see no reason to break with tradition now. Hence: by popular demand, we were all set to run Bash Day IV in 2020 when plague struck and cancelled everything.

By the time normality returned, our BD IV organiser, Colin, had emigrated to Yorkshire and become a member of Leeds Wargames Club. LWC is blessed with its own large premises, Hicks Hall, thanks to the generosity of the late Brian Hicks. LWC kindly let us have the use of the hall to take Bash Day oop north and away from Oxford for the first time.

Colin has put a full report with plenty of pretty pictures on his own blog here, so I will try to avoid duplicating his comments in making my own. Do read his as well.

Numbers were smaller than the previous events in Oxford, as distance made it unfeasible for quite a few regulars to attend, but BBB is about quality rather than quantity and we met some high-quality people for the first time. I'm only sorry I didn't get to chat to everyone as much as I'd have liked.

The Union V and XII Corps massed at the Chancellorsville crossroads, nestled in the heart of Virginia's famous rubberised horsehair woods. Battlemat and armies generously loaned by their creator, Crispin (much appreciated, thank you). Chancellor House also hand-crafted by Crispin. I don't usually bother with unit labels but I made the effort for Bash Day and they did help, especially the highlighted text to note distinctive unit attributes (yellow and green to show XII Cps is Fragile and Raw etc).

I ran my Chancellorsville ACW scenario, of which I'm rather proud, and it did not disappoint. On Day 1 everything that could go wrong for the Confederates did go wrong and they looked likely to be steamrollered. On Day 2 they turned it round completely, defeated a well-choreographed Union punch in the center, counter-attacked, smashed several Union corps and turned ignominious defeat into emphatic victory. I have to pay tribute to CSA C-in-C Ian for cheerfully laughing in the face of adversity, and also to his US opponents Guy and Stephen for equally cheerfully accepting their eventual defeat.

In the afternoon I got to play alongside Tom and against Guy in Matt Bradley's 2nd Manassas scenario, kindly run by Tim Carne - a good tough scrap, recommended. (Scenario is in the 1861 folder of the BBB group files.)

With the prior approval of Pete Berry at Baccus, we had scheduled Bash Day to happen the day before Baccus's Joy of Six show in Sheffield. The idea was that the prospect of the two events would attract more people to make the trip to Yorkshire and attend both. That may have worked in one or two cases; it may also have deterred some local gamers who could manage one wargames day in a weekend but not two. I've no idea what the net effect was really, but at least it meant we could go to JoS ourselves and have a convivial time there as well. (See what I did there?)

All told it was a thoroughly successful and enjoyable weekend. We met a lot of good people, entertained and inspired some new players sufficiently to invest in the BBB rules, caught up with some old friends, and generally had a great time. The guys are already talking about planning Bash Day V!

Update: Bash Day V will be held at Battlefield Hobbies, Daventry, on Sunday 19 May. Details here.


Sunday's entertainment at Joy of Six. Ian and the Deesside wargamers (IIRC) laid on this beautiful game of the German invasion of Leros in 1943. Cleverly streamlined rules for convention play produced a fast and close game in which the brilliant defence Mark and I planned was narrowly overcome by jammy German dice. (That's my story anyway.) Many thanks to our good hosts and our gallant opponents.


Finally, a propos of nothing, a different recent outing:
If you are ever in central Birmingham (UK) and fancy a WWI-themed lunch of superior pub grub, you could do worse than 'The Old Contemptibles'.

1 comment:

  1. It was a great day. I'm plotting which game to bring to BBB BDV, on the assumption we'll be back down in the South next time. I will, on reflection, be happy to run it again in God's own county again, if so desired....


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