Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Annual Ayton Conclave - 2014

A swarm of Spencer Smith cavalry advance across the battlefield. Don't these figures look wonderful? (photo taken by Iain Burt)
Prussian style hussars from Minden Miniatures at last weekend's Ayton 2014 game in Yorkshire. (picture taken by Mike Whitaker).
  (click on all pictures to enlarge)

Last weekend (May 2nd and 3rd) there was the annual meeting of the Loose Association of Wargamers in Ayton in Yorkshire to play another in the series of Imaginations games. Henry Hyde, editor of Miniature Wargames, created the scenario, set in the 18th Century, and a dozen or so gamers brought their own fictional armies to cross swords, or is it dice, on the table top. Noted wargamer and bon vivant, Peeler, organized the logistical side of things by once again securing the public hall in Ayton for the game, helping people make hotel reservations, and personally seeing to it that the local public house was well stocked with beverages.

As usual, the two fictional countries (or are they?) of Grenouisse and Grandprix were at odds with one another as they vied for treasure and bragging rights over the weekend. The wargame was set in the 18th Century and featured 28mm figures from virtually every manufacturer in the Tricorn Figure Space: Spencer Smiths by the hundreds, Wargame Factory WSS plastics, Old Glory, Foundry, Perry, RSM, Front Rank, Minden Miniatures and Fife & Drum Miniatures, and I'm sure that there were many brands that I have not mentioned. The point is, each person can paint whatever he feels like painting and he shows up at the game with "what he brung" (sic).

The first pictures from the event were posted by Mike Whitaker on his Trouble At The Mill blog - click on the link below:

If you click on the link to Henry Hyde's massive picture file, you will get a real appreciation of how big this game was. The link to Henry's blog provides more of the story including some You Tube videos of the weekend that really provide a nice flavor of how the weekend games played out. By Henry's count:

Grenouisse: 1,768 infantry & cavalry + 45 guns + 8 fortress gund

Grandprix: 2,032 infantry & cavalry + 60 guns.

Henry's Wargame Blog

Henry's Ayton Picture File

Now I don't want to leave you with the impression that this is all Henry's production because many hands were involved in the weekend production. However, Henry's blog seems to be the most convenient repository of pictures, videos and information about the weekend.

If you can, look at the You Tube videos for a few moments and what you will come away with is a picture of a lot of wargamers being polite, not caring who won or lost, and above all, simply having a grand old time of it. There is much to be said for this.

I have been watching the build up of forces over the past six months as orders for Minden figures have been flowing in from the UK with a mind towards building armies for the event. One gentleman order have a dozen amusettes, for what purpose I can only guess, while another bought about 24 Prussian standard bearers in one go. What for, I wondered. Why nothing less than a regiment of pike armed warriors, which strikes me as a very creative idea.

Ideas are already bubbling to the surface for next year's gathering in Ayton and it appears that something in the late 19th Century (1880 - 1899) is the favorite for the theme of the game.


  1. A truly inspiring shot that first one!

  2. Yes, it looks like the game was an an amazing spectacle. Kinda fun too to play "Spot the Different Figure Brands." The SSM and Minden figures leapt out immediately. Great stuff!

    Look for a small order of some more F&D limber horse teams from me shortly by the way.

    Best Regards,


  3. An excellent report, and a great read on the links.

    Did I see "Amusettes" - will we perhaps see some Hessians, Brunswickers or Hanoverians with amusettes for the SYW?

    Cheers, Rohan.