Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Very Civil British Partizan


One of the stalwarts of Partizan for the last good few years has been Pete Barfield and his colleagues from the Very British Civil Forum. The games they bring to almost every show are not only fascinating, innovative and often highly amusing, they are also beautifully detailed and a joy to look at. 


In addition to everything else he does to support this particular wonderful corner of the hobby, Pete has also, for the last decade, been running an annual VBCW campaign called 38Fest which is celebrating its 10th year this year. 
Here is Pete's own description of this year's campaign:
"38Fest 10th Year: This Seat of Mars is a celebration of 1938 A Very British Civil War, where it hopes to bring together the whole VBCW community with the aim of an international game. Yes international as some of the players and followers of this are chaps who live outside of these Isles and it would unfair to exclude them from the enjoyment of this. So what is being planned is a series of games based on the above scenario than will feed into the Partizan game on 20th May.
This event has been running for the last few months and at Partizan on Sunday Pete and the other UK based members of the Very British Civil Forum will be presenting a game whose parameters have already been set by what has happened in this campaign.


 
One thing you can be sure of with the VBCF boys is that there will be a lot of laughter, a lot of chat and a lot to look at with their game so do head over and take a look. The guys always love trying to create new converts to the cause so you can be sure of a warm welcome. 

The VBCW game at Partizan 2016
If you want to find out more about the Very British Civil Forum then you can find them here
Alternatively they have a Facebook page 
 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

A few links to whet your appetite for next Sunday (Part 1)

For the Partizan team, preparations for the show are just about done and all we can do now is wait for next weekend, the Saturday setup and the show itself on Sunday. 

Of course the real work has and is still being done by all those who bring games to the show. A few of them have been blogging the progress of their preparations and we will be highlighting some of these in the run up to the show.   

First up Aly Morrison and Dave Andrews of Great War Miniatures are preparing an amazing looking game based on the April 1918 German Offensive. Here is the background in Aly's own words. 

"Our game is based on an incident during Germany's 'Operation Georgette' on the 19th of April 1918.

After breaking through the Portuguese Sector during the Battle of Lys, the Germans pushed on towards the towns of Estairies and La Gorgue.

The airfield at La Gorgue was occupied by what had till very recently been No 8 Naval Squadron RNAS...


On the 1st of April 1918 it had become No 208 Squadron RAF.

After receiving reports of the German advances, seeing retreating Portuguese troops, losing most of their communications and coming under increasing enemy artillery fire it was decided to abandon the airfield.

Due to a heavy fog the aircraft could not be flown out and were grouped close together and set fire to at the last minute.

We thought that this would make a good basis for a fun and interesting scenario were we will have a chance to use terrain and troops not normally seen in a WW1 wargame...


An airfield...
RNAS ground crew and pilots...
And Portuguese Infantry."


The development of the game has been detailed in a whole series of fascinating blog posts which include research notes, painting and modelling tips and loads of wonderful pictures of figures and scenery - not least a multitude of brilliant little vignettes. 

  


There is much more to see on Aly's blog so do go and take a look. 


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Setting The East Ablaze

One of the rulesets to really catch the imagination a few years ago was the "Setting the East Ablaze" rules from Partizan Press (after whom our show is named).

Designed for gaming the popular 'Back of Beyond' period, these have recently been updated and, in association with Caliver Books, there will be two games presented at the forthcoming Partizan show on May 20th making use of these rules.

We have been sent some details of one of these games which will be presented by "Like A Stonewall Wargames Group". Their game will be based on a little known but fascinating episode at the end of World War 1 when British troops under General Lionel Dunsterville were sent to Baku on the western side of the Caspian Sea to try and hold the city against advancing Turkish forces. The Turks aimed to capture the important oil fields in the area and also use the city as a springboard for crossing the Caspian and uniting the Turkik tribes of South Central Asia with a view to threatening India - what was known as the Pan-Turanianist movement.




Attack on Bina, 1 September 1918


“A successful attack from the north-west would bring the Turks into the town [Baku] before the inhabitants were aware of their proximity.”
– Major-General Lionel C. Dunsterville

After the loss of the Dirty Volcano on 26 August 1918, the Ottoman Caucasus-Islam Army advanced troops on the northern shore used the opportunity to work further and further eastward to encircle Baku, and occupied the village of Bina, due east of the city. That stirred the Baku authorities to action, and arrangements were made to attack Bina, “to prevent the encirclement of Baku.”


‘Like a Stone Wall’ Wargames Group have been play testing this and other scenarios for a new Partizan Press publication about the adventures of Dunsterforce by Bob Giglio

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Writers' Corner

It is no surprise that wargamers tend to be bookworms.

From Research to Rulesets,  Uniform Guides to Orders of Battle our whole hobby is based upon the written word. All of these aspects are well covered by the traders at Partizan - if you are looking for books then drop by Dave Lanchester Books, Worley Books or Caliver Books - but of course these factual tomes are not the only sort of writing that appeals to the well rounded wargaming personality.

Military fiction comes in many forms - from the pulpy Sven Hassel and Leo Kessler stories to the far more historically accurate works of C.S Forester. And of course there is the wildly popular Bernard Cornwall whose military fiction has covered so many different conflicts from the Dark Ages to The American Civil War.

We have been lucky enough in the past to have had a number of authors attend Partizan either as paying visitors or to attend signings. This year we thought we would be rather more organised and have invited two of our previous attendees to come along to chat with visitors and sign books in a 'Writers' Corner' which we have cleverly situated near to the bar. So I thought I would provide a little background on the two authors and their works.








Andy Johnson was our first author who attended a number of shows at Kelham Hall several years ago. A former Regimental Sergeant Major with the Coldstream Guards, his first book Seelöwe Nord was an alternative history set around a German invasion of Britain in 1940. He has followed this up with two further novels set in WW2.

You can learn more about Andy and his books here



Our second author is Harry Sidebottom. He is a lecturer in Ancient History at Lincoln College Oxford and has been a regular attendee to Partizan since we moved to the showground. An Internationally successful author Harry has written two fictional series set in the 3rd century Roman Empire - The Warrior of Room and Throne of Caesars series - as well as a number of non-fiction books on ancient warfare.

You can learn more about Harry and his books here

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Games, games, games

Partizan is now just a month away and we are in the final throws of organisation which means organising the floorplan and trying to fit in all the amazing games that have been offered to us by all those wonderful clubs, societies and individuals.

This May we will be hosting a record number of games - 62 in total ranging in size from 6ft by 4ft gems all the way up to a massive 24ft by 6ft spectacular. There will be almost equal splits of presentation and demonstration games with some of the biggest names in the Wargaming hobby bringing games to the show.

Indeed some of those more familiar presenting demonstration games will be giving visitors the chance to take part in some really big games. So look out for Simon Miller with his English Civil War Soggy Bottom spectacular and, rather than just looking, why not get involved and win the day for Parliament!




Alternatively drop by Peterborough Wargames Society who will be putting on not one but three WW1 Africa games running side by side under the banner of  The Battles for Lake Tanganika. Again there will be plenty of spaces for those who want to take part. 


For a full list of all the games being presented at Partizan see our website at:

www.partizan.org.uk









Sunday, 8 April 2018

It's fun to participate

The move from Kelham Hall to the Newark Showground brought many improvements for the show. The most obvious of these were the vastly improved lighting which allowed games to be seen in all their undoubted glory and also the provision of a single large space for the show rather than all the small rooms at the former venue which, whilst undeniably atmospheric, made navigating the show a real trial even for the most able bodied of visitors.

But one big bonus was the provision of extra space which has allowed us to dramatically expand the number of games being presented - from a maximum of around 27 at Kelham up to close to 60 at this year's first show.

And it is not only the overall number of games that has been increased. We would be the first to recognise that the Partizans of old appealed to a very specific group of visitors who were primarily interested in seeing well presented demonstration games which then served as inspiration for their own projects. There was little room for more than a handful of participation games where people could actually take part although those who did regularly put on participation games at the shows - notably the RAF Wargames Society, the hugely innovative Wargames Developments and the much missed Blue Bears - are very much considered an integral part of the Partizan family.

The RAF Wargaming Association's Minions Game from Partizan 2016

This concentration on demonstration games was often used as a rod to beat the show but we make no apologies for having chosen to take this route - all the more so when our third yearly show Fantizan ended and from its ashes grew the Hammerhead shows. Under new management they have made a great virtue and a great success out of all of their games being participation. But we always felt and continue to feel that the sorts of large scale, beautifully presented, demonstration games that we have at the shows served to both inspire existing gamers and draw new ones into the hobby.

Grantham Strategy Club's "Witch Racing" 

However, the ability to massively expand the number of games that can be presented at the new venue has meant we are now able to greatly increase the number of participation games without having to compromise on the number of demonstration games we can host. We are aiming for an equal balance between the two styles of games and have also been encouraged to see some of our regular demonstration gamers dipping their toes into the waters of participation. 

Blitzkrieg Miniatures' beautiful WW2 participation 

So at Partizan on May 20th their should be plenty for you to do as well as to provide inspiration.

Watch out in particular for these top five participation games.

1. Simon Miller. Normally a demonstration gamer, this time presenting a very large English Civil War Participation Game "The Battle for Soggy Bottom". You can see the development of the game on Simon's blog: http://bigredbat.blogspot.co.uk/

2. The RAF Wargaming Association. Always guaranteed to produce fabulously entertaining games, this year they are bringing us "A Brick too Far - Tank Warfare on the Bedroom Floor"

3. Wargames Developments. These guys are always looking for an unusual slant on wargames and you can be sure of a fun half hour or so in their company. At this year's show they will have "A True Soldier Gentleman - A Game of Officer Careers".

4. KB Club. Once renowned for their homemade paper wargames, now at the forefront of 3D printing their own games. They will be presenting two games at the show for you to get involved with, one a 1/144th WW2 game and the other a Sci-Fi Starship Combat game.

5. Doncaster Wargames Society. Gordon Hanson has developed a well earned reputation for putting on simple but hugely effective games such as his western gunfight game which won the Best Participation prize at Partizan a couple of years ago. This year he will be entertaining us with his "Great Emu War" game.

These are just five of the almost 30 participation games that will be available to take part in at the show.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A trip to Cannon.

Cannon is held annually in Retford Town Hall, and whilst in the past we have put on a small game, my partner-in-crime and chief supplier of figure and terrain, Steve Jones, was inconveniently on-call for work today and couldn't come. That left me with a pleasant drive through the springtime Nottinghamshire countryside to Retford for the luxury of attending a show as a visitor, for a change.


I've always though that shows need a reason for being, a niche of their own, rather than just being another show on the circuit. Cannon is unashamedly a local show for local people, and all the better for it. The Retford club, under the able leadership of Darren, have put on Cannon as a local show for several years now, and it has a friendly relaxed atmosphere which is great. The traders seem happy to be there, and not too bothered about hitting a target figure for sales, more happy to spend time talking to their friends and regular customers. As a local show there are some of the names you may be familiar with (Foundry are local, after all), and a few traders who were new to me, but interesting to see.




Downstairs the Yorkshire Renegades were running a Bolt Action tournament amidst the ongoing smell of bacon sandwiches, and tempting looking home-baked cakes. Upstairs the select demo games included James Morris' latest effort, Crete in 1941, using the Two Fat Lardies Chain of Command rules. As always the game looked immaculate, and it will also feature in our first (May) show.




Next to it the Ministry of Buildings game featured a heavily urban setting, and hopefully we will be seeing that at The Other Partizan in August.


For me I achieved the almost unheard-of feat of not spending anything (apart from the admission fee), which may reflect my advancing years and increased discipline, or just be a reaction to some recent tidying when I realised that unless I live to be about 115 I am unlikely to paint everything I already have.
Overall a nice relaxed morning, always nice to be at a show and not have to worry about sorting out the myriad little things that an organiser has to do on the day. Today that was Darren's job...

Laurence

Saturday, 24 March 2018

First sight of the Partizan figure

As I am sure many of you will be aware, this April is the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.

We thought it would be nice to mark this important anniversary with a specially commissioned figure.

Designed by Martin Baker, the figure will be available to the first 500 visitors through the door at Partizan on May 20th and will also be part of the welcome packs for the gamers, traders and society representatives who will be manning the stands and gaming tables at the show.

Here is the master figure.




cheers

The Partizan Crew.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Trader policy and that infamous waiting list.

So. (Deep breath)

How do we decide who gets to come and trade at Partizan and who doesn't?

This is a question that gets asked endlessly and to which we have no easy or straight forward answer.

As I mentioned in the last blog we have room at the show for between 42 and 45 traders. When we moved from Kelham Hall to the Showground we made the decision not to increase the number of traders as we felt that would dilute the takings of the existing traders and make an already pretty tough business environment even tougher. Instead we chose to increase the amount of space available for each trader if they wanted it and also free up space for other types of stands and for a lot more games.

But I think it is probably worth explaining the thinking behind how we invite people to come and trade at the show.

First of all the basic principle is 'Dead Man's Shoes' - hopefully not literally although that has been the unfortunate case in a couple of instances over the years. So if you are one of the regular traders at the show you will be invited back each time until you decide you no longer want to attend.

We follow this policy because we think it is fair and because it shows our gratitude to those traders who have stuck with us through good times and bad. We are not about to throw out an existing trader to fit in a new one no matter who they are. And I should point out we have had plenty of traders down the years who think we should do this either because they think it is unfair that the same traders get invited each year or because they think they are so important to the industry and the hobby that any show that doesn't have them in attendance is bound to be the poorer for it (Yes we really have had a few like that).

As and when a space does appear because of someone retiring, selling up or unfortunately going bust - or of course because they no longer consider it is financially worth their while to attend - then we have the notorious Waiting List. This list currently contains the names of 71 companies who have asked to attend the shows. The longest has been on the list since 2004 - so anyone complaining they have been on the list for 8 years is by no means unique in that position. And the important point about that list is that getting off it and into the show is not based on how long you have been waiting. We have a whole load of different criteria for choosing who we invite to fill slots when they become available.

Firstly we try to maintain a balance to the trade at the show. We want to have as wide a range of different types of traders as possible. So if we lose a bookseller and feel that booksellers are under-represented then we will try to do a like for like replacement. If we do not feel they are under-represented then we may well choose to look to another trader in a different line to take the slot. In addition to those already in attendance, we currently have 7 traders on the waiting list who do laser-cut buildings and terrain and there are more coming forward all the time. There is simply no way we are ever going to fit them all into the show no matter how long they have been waiting.

Another matter we have to consider is how big a stand you want. We do have plenty of traders contacting us asking to be allowed into the show and adding that they will need a minimum of 18 or 24 feet of space. Given that many of our trade stands spots are only 6 or 12 feet, if you have said there is a minimum required amount of space then you are unlikely to get chosen to fill one of those slots.

We also have a policy - and this is the one that will upset some people - of prioritising original manufacturers or their agents over resellers, retailers and second hand traders. We do not want to see a show where everyone is selling knock down Games Workshop or Flames of War. We would much rather have the companies themselves there. It is particularly annoying if you turn up as a manufacturer to trade and someone else is selling your own product at a cheaper price on the other side of the hall. We do have a few retailers but they are companies that have been with us and supported us from the very start of the shows over 30 years ago. And almost all of them also do their own original lines or act as show agents for manufacturers and designers.

So the bottom line is that if your business is based upon the sort of trade that could normally be done through Ebay then no matter how long you have been on the list you are probably not going to be getting into the show anytime soon.

This still leaves a fair number of traders waiting to get in. We do get temporary drop outs at each show because of holidays, family engagements, illness or having some tough trading conditions at the time. And unless someone is really taking the mickey by continually not showing up then we will always hold the place open for them for the next show. Traders have shown loyalty to us and we try to show loyalty to them. So we also have a set of traders - maybe half a dozen - who are loitering around the edge of the show (if they will excuse me phrasing it that way) and serve as first replacements. This is not easy for them as it means they are never sure from one show to the next if they are likely to get in. But that also means that in return if we do get a permanent slot due to a company packing up then they are the ones we will look to first to invite to fill the space. In addition we have people who have put on games for many years at the shows (decades in some cases) and who decide to move into business. We will generally try and fit them in if we can as thanks for all their support over the years.

If this all seems a bit chummy and old boys network then to be honest that is because it is. Partizan is not a commercial concern. It makes money for no one except itself with all profits (if there are any) ploughed back into the show. As such it has relied very heavily over the years on the unpaid support of dedicated people who have come from all over the country to put on games and displays or to promote the hobby to the wider public. It has survived entirely because of the people we know and respect who have supported us down the years. We are on first name terms with just about every single one of them. As a show we owe far more to them than we will ever be able to repay and that does indeed give them certain pecking rights when it comes to priority from the waiting list.

However that does not mean that new starts, or existing traders applying to the show have no chance of getting in. If what you are selling matches a gap we need filling or if it is something new and innovative which we think deserves promoting then you have a good chance of ending up trading. We can't say when that will be as we simply don't know. But as and when we do get spaces we will try to fill them according to what we think is best for the show and those who have supported us down the years.

Finally, I should point out that I do have a 'when hell freezes over' list. You have to have done something truly dreadful to get on it. A good example is claiming that you will 'drive us out of business' because we have somehow annoyed you. Another is repeatedly failing to turn up at the show when you have booked a space and not having the courtesy to let us know. But currently there are only 3 companies on that list and it really is extremely difficult to do anything that would get you added.

We know there will be people out there who are unhappy with the way we run the show when it comes to trade but we feel that we have a successful system that provides stability for our existing traders and also maintains a diverse set of products for the paying public to buy so we really are not likely to change anything any time soon.

 

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Show Preparation

So, time for an update on preparations for the show on May 20th.

All the invites went out at the beginning of January to traders, games and societies.

We used to send these out in October or November but when we did that everyone used to put it to one side to deal with after Christmas. They would then forget about them and we would have to repeat the whole process in January.

So in the end we decided it was easier just to wait until January to send them out.

Deciding which traders to invite is a fairly straight forward process. We decided when we moved from Kelham Hall that, in spite of the extra space available at the showground, we would not increase the overall number of traders which would probably have resulted in lower takings for the existing traders. So at Kelham Hall we had between 42 and 45 traders and that number has stayed the same at the Showground.

This was not a decision that everyone agreed with - most particularly those traders who have not yet been able to get into the show. But we think it was the best way to go - spreading out the trade after the very cramped conditions at Kelham and at the same time giving more room for games and particularly for society stands.

The Pike and Shot Society at Partizan 2016

The society stands is a new innovation for Partizan but is in line with the ethos of the shows. As a club the Newark Irregulars only really now exist on the clacks - or for the non Pratchett fans on the internet.

As a result Partizan only exists to promote and support the wargaming hobby and to provide the sort of  show that we, the organisers, would like to go to. One way in which we thought we could help to support the hobby was by providing the free stands for all those societies and groups which may not have a game to put on or a business to run but who would like to get their message out to a wide audience. Hence the History Zone was born.

This May, societies who will be coming along to promote their own particular aspect of history and wargaming will include:

The Lance and Longbow Society
The Society of Ancients
The Pike and Shot Society
The Battlefield Trust
The National Civil War Centre
The Naseby Project
The Northampton Battlefield Society
and
Waterloo Uncovered.

Finally of course we have the games. At Kelham we were ever able to get more than perhaps 26 or 27 games in total and we always feared that we would get too many positive responses to invitations and end up having to cram too many games into too small an area. Especially when we were sometimes getting games of 16 or 18 feet in length. I am sure that many times people felt this was exactly what had happened.


One of Simon Miller's massive battles from Kelham Hall 


Of course at the Showground that is not, currently at least, a problem. With the much larger venue we have been able to effectively double the number of games. This year we will have somewhere around 54 games, split fairly evenly between demonstration and participation. I will have a lot more detail on these in future postings. Some of these games are now regularly coming in at 18 or 20 feet in length - although no one has yet matched the 30ft Operation Market Garden game that featured at one of the early Kelham Partizans.

Whilst we are about full up for this show, if you would like to put on a game at a future Partizan do pleased let us know and we will be happy to accommodate - no matter how long it is.  



Saturday, 10 March 2018

Welcome...







Welcome to The Partizan Show Blog.


Here we will be bringing you all the latest news about the Partizan wargames shows held at Newark twice a year along with updates on game preparation, traders and society news.


Whilst the website and facebook page can give you the basics of what is planned at the shows, here we hope to provide more detail, most notably of the amazing games that will be presented at forthcoming shows. 


To start with, Aly Morrison and Dave Andrews of Great War Miniatures are underway preparing a game for Partizan on May 20th.


This a WW1 game based on an incident during Germany's 'Operation Georgette' on the 19th of April 1918 and particularly the defence of an airfield at La Gorgue.....


You can follow all the developments at Aly's website and the Lead Adventure Forum


More updates from the Partizan team over the next few days.