Last year I discovered that my hometown has a wargames convention. A few years ago, this would have utterly stunned me. I didn’t realise my hometown had a gamer population, let alone enough to warrant a convention. However, there is a gamer population and it is sufficient to warrant a convention. And not a pokey little convention that all the other cons’ mock whilst fanning themselves with laminated programs either! I didn’t get to attend last year due to my status as a student freeloading off the state. My student status has changed so I was able to attend and let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised.
The convention is called Albanich (presumably derived from Albanaich, which means “The Scottish”), or the Dumfries Wargames Show and is regularly hosted by the Cairndale Hotel. I was in attendance for three reasons.
- To Assist the Dumfries & Galloway Games Club setup and help run games throughout the day
- Several friends couldn’t attend and thus required a packhorse to collect their stuff
- I wanted to write this blog.
The Dumfries & Galloway Games Club used to be a predominantly wargames club, however changed its model last year (I consider that a wise move as a club that is predominantly wargames, or roleplay games tends to die because there is nothing to attract new members). As such our display was less wargamey and more just gamey.
First game on the table was Imperial Assault, by Fantasy Flight Games. This shouldn’t have taken too long to sort and set up except for 2 reasons.
- The game wasn’t mine, and I had only managed to go through the box the night before sorting things into bags (it was a tad untidy, which isn’t ideal for FFG)
- A small child decided he wanted to play with the miniatures and set up his very own imperial ambush. I really should have invoiced the boy’s father for childcare. (I am PVG approved now. For the benefit of those outside Scotland, that means the Scottish Government has deemed me not unfit to work with children and vulnerable adults)
Regardless of difficulty, setup was completed, and we played some Imperial Assault. I took the Bothan Sniper, and did pretty well all things considered (We lost to the Empire.)
With other club members now in attendance it was entirely appropriate to take a wander, and see what else was going on.
West Coast Gamers
On the nearest table, Hail Caesar being played by the gents at West Coast Gamers, a games club based on the west coast of Cumbria. In this battle, the forces of Alexander the Great trying to get to the horizon, to see what is on the other side. All that stands in their way, an army of Indians. And their elephants. You can find West Coast Gamers via facebook HERE.
On the next table over, Bolt Action, run by a private group of lads who’d just come to Albanich to show off the game and have a bit of fun. For anyone who didn’t know, Operation Sea Lion was the Nazi codename for the planned invasion of the UK in World War 2. If you don’t want to know the score, look away now. (It never happened – the Allies won). It is interesting that you can simulate what if scenarios with gaming, wouldn’t you say? You can find the blog of the blog of Matt Crump, one of the gamers, HERE.
South East of Scotland Gamers
Next it was the table of South East of Scotland Gamers, fighting the Boshin Wars. These took place in the 19th Century when several clans took arms against the Shogun seeking a return to Imperial Rule. (My knowledge on this era is sketchy, feel free to correct me). The tabletop was furry. It could even be muppetskin. It looked awesome, and there wasn’t a Tom Cruise/Billy Connelly in sight. To find out more about South East of Scotland Gamers, you can check out the Hill 107 Blog.
Next, it was Dumfries Wargamers. Truthfully, I haven’t ever attended as I am a gamer, not a wargamer. I will dabble but have no interest in being solely a wargamer. The attention to detail this lot had for their miniatures and the terrain was amazing. I loved the castle. Loved it. They do have a site, but it appears to be of date. They meet at the Five Arches Pub, Annan Road, Dumfries on a Tuesday 19:00 until late.
The final game I stopped in on, due to exhaustion, was Sons of Liberty being played by the Tradeston Wargames Group. The Battle, the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, which I am reliably informed was a turning point in the American war of Independence. (Again, any history buffs please feel free to supply me with facts). I am not familiar with the Sons of Liberty game/rules set, though by the looks of it if muskets and greenjackets are your thing, it is probably the game for you. Tradeston Wargamers meet in the Ex-Servicemen’s club, 6 Beech Avenue, Glasgow (which is where I will be sending my Infant Minding Invoice…) or you can find them through FACEBOOK.
Having seen many of the games, whilst juggling notebook and camera and business cards (theirs and mine for shameless self promotion), it was time to have a look at the stalls.
A Giant Cash Devouring Monster, the bane of all Wargamers
Like I said earlier, not a pokey little convention at all! A list of all clubs and exhibitors is available on the Solway Crafts & Miniatures Website.
I must make special mention of two stalls.
Northumbria Games, a mail order/show only retailer, was the most relevant stall to me as it was general gaming. Lots of shiny boxes. Days of fun! And they were able to supply the Dice my friend had requested. They weren’t able to supply 10 of the same colour, which was fair enough, or 10 that will constantly fail (though to be fair just giving them to my friend tends to have that effect) but he now has 10 * D10 for playing Vampire. Its taking me ages to erase some of the spots…
The final stop for the day was Hadrian’s Hobbies, my local and favourite hobby store – where the games are free and the coffee costs you £50. I must ashamedly admit I had to steal this image from the Hadrian’s Hobbies Facebook Page as I was too busy stealing Parker. (I recommend joining the group. There is good banter to be found)
Andrew, the Proprietor was reluctant to release Parker into my custody. But I am a trustworthy sort. Plus I can whine with the best of them.
So, we managed to “Borrow” Parker for some photography. Having played Imperial Assault, and War Machine, we set up a couple of one tile games of Super Dungeon Explore, which is a Dungeon Crawling Boardgame with a chibi/anime style. Not much to report. The heroes won on my tile, though there were gripes from players on the other tile as my players were receiving too much loot in their opinion (or to be more accurate – more than them). To be fair, my players did get rather well equipped rather quickly. But since the boss is more aggressive to well equipped heroes, that was no problem to me. The loot rules are to be revised in the second edition, so future games may well see a reduction. Until then, I don’t intend to house rule it, as it is all in good fun.
We took a quick break mid-game so I could make Pete, the Chair of the Dumfries & Galloway Games Club pose for a photo to promote the club.
We returned Parker safe shortly after that.
You can find out more at the DGGC Facebook Page. We meet Monday and Wednesday 16:00 to 22:00 at the YMCA on Castle Street in Dumfries. Its drafty and noisy, but it’s where we go to game, and have fun with other folks who share our hobby.
And that was Albanich, for me at least. Can’t wait for next year!