As mentioned before, Saturday last saw Alan and myself off to far away Leopoldsburg (Bourg Léopold to students of Operation Market Garden), for De Witte Ridder’s convention Crusade 2004.
After getting up at the crack of dawn — even earlier than I’m used to these days, with Britt and all — to load up the car, I puttered over to Tervuren to pick up Alan, and then on to Leuven to wake up Phil who, unfortunately for his night’s rest, had the hills for our terrain stashed away in his wargame room (having a small house stuffed to the rafters with the belongings of two adults and one growing child means that some of my wargames paraphernalia is distributed over a variety of club members). Undoubtedly, the fact that he had only gotten in at 2am that night after a long flight, must have added to his bedraggled state. Sorry about that, Phil :).
The convention took place in a local school in the center of Leopoldsburg, with one big hall for the various games, and a second one (cunningly hidden in plain sight - it took me a couple of hours before I realised it was even there) for largely fantasy oriented traders (the only non-fantasy one was the inevitable MBM Models ). The games room featured the usual suspects — TSA, Murphy’s Heroes, Stipsciz Hussars — but also quite a large number of Belgian and Dutch clubs I had never heard about before. This was mostly because they seemed to be largely GW oriented clubs, but it was nevertheless a very nice surprise for me, and possibly a sign that the hobby in Belgium is growing (Willie Bogaerts, doyen of Belgian wargamers, is of the same opinion). This can only be a good thing.
After the inevitable repeated hike burdened with terrain tiles, boxes of trees and various other wargame related paraphernalia (not to mention cameras, food and our best behaviour), we were ready to set up the game. Setup would be a doddle, I thought,as the terrain boards were still numbered from the original setup five years ago, so it would just be a question of putting the right number in the right spot. Well, it turned out to be a bit more complicated than that, of course, perhaps bexause the numbers were moved or we used some arcane sequence five years ago. Anyway, after some puzzling together of boards and hills, we got the terrain set up and were ready to rumble.
As most of the ‘loose’ players hanging around were of the younger than ten variety, and with us not having the intimidating presence of BD near the table to instill some good behaviour in to the young ones, I quickly decided not to invite people into playing the game. Instead, we played the game as a demonstration game and got quite some interest throughout the day, both from historical players wanting to know how WAB plays as from Fantasy and 40K players that wanted to have a look at the grass on the other side of the hill.
The game went smoothly and I am proud to say that history repeated itself, with the Britons thoroughly beating the Saxons, who nevertheless captured the imagination with a charge of their general against some hapless Briton archers. Said general was about the only Saxon unit to not have legged it or be in the process of legging it at the end of the game.
All in all, both Alan and myself enjoyed ourselves at the show, and I think we’ll be going back next year. Well done, Dominik & co!
Ah yes, purchases. I did not buy much, just two packs of GW movement trays. These have already been cut up and reassembled in the correct sizes (they come as 5x4 figure bases for infantry and 1x4 figures for cavalry, whereas I need 6x3, 5x3 and 9x3 for infantry and 4x2(+1) for cavalry), which turned out to be quite easy to do, and are currently awaiting painting and flocking.
Finally, here’s a short photo report of the game.