Joy of Six 2015 - The Report

23rd Jul 2015

In break with tradition, the morning of JOS15 started off cold, wet and gloomy.   However, that didn’t seem to put people off as there was soon a steady stream of traders and gamers threading through Sheffield’s deadly one-way system and turning up outside Sheffield Hallam University and unloading their vehicles.

This was our first time in our spectacular new venue and as could have been expected, there were a couple of teething problems, most notably the porters having set up the room on our behalf using a floor plan with no table dimensions, which resulted in a mad scramble by the small but highly mobile organising team to make sure that all the games had the correct sized tables below them to support their efforts.

As the show began to take shape on of the first immediate benefits of the new location became obvious as at 8.30 on the dot, hot drinks and bacon butties (at very reasonable prices) were made available to all.  After last year’s fiasco this was truly wonderful.

All was progressing well, until the heavens opened in one final torrential.   The lovely open light and airy atrium roof proved to have a leak, and a steady stream of water poured down right next the centrepiece Waterloo game!  With great presence of mind, Ian and Lee calmly shifted their table out of the stream and saved their beautiful game from a dowsing.  Within minutes, the rain ceased and the Sun poked its head out and stayed with us for the rest of the day, which really gave us great natural light to look at, play in and photograph the wonderful games on display.

For those poor souls who were not able to make it to the show, here is a blow by blow account of just what you missed.

Milton Keynes Wargames Society opted to stage not one, but two games on the day.

 

 

Both were played using DBMM and were open to visitors to join in and play – an option I saw being exercised with gusto on one of the tables! 

Just round the corner, centuries and continents were jumped and Russ Fewtrell and Ian Taylor stage the Battle of Plassey 1757.

This was an unusual subject and the team really did it justice with some lovely painting and modelling skills on display.

Just round the corner Chris Grice hosted a Napoleonic game using his Polemos rules.  This year there was a difference, as aided by the Baccus tech-guru, Stewart, he was using a Beta version of the forthcoming Polemos rules app. 

As Chris is probably the biggest technophobe in the whole of Yorkshire (and that is saying a lot) this was a challenge to say the very least, and one which I am happy to say had a very happy ending.   It may even have persuaded him to look for a smartphone…

The next game was another Napoleonic offering in the form of Gorodetschna 1812 staged by the folks at Commission figurines.  What made this game different was the fact that it was done entirely with Commission’s own range of buildings and figures, all made from mdf.   Yes, the cavalry, artillery and infantry were all formed from laser cut mdf which were then painted and based.

 

And as you can see, pretty nice it all looked too.  The game attracted a lot of well-deserved interest all day long.

 

Robert Dunlop presented the first of the day’s twentieth century games, with the battle of Neuve Chappelle 1915.  

Robert is a great enthusiast for the period and really does have a mission to show that the Great War is not just about trenches.  As you can see from the photo, he is really making his point.

Continuing the twentieth century them, the next game was staged by the British Legion and covered actions on Iraq, 1941.

This was small, but highly effective game using hex terrain to great effect.

Before we move on to the next games, here are a couple of general shots of the show taken from one of the great vantage points offered by the venue.   The atrium allowed lots of natural light in which made a great change from the orange sodium lighting of sports halls and stygian gloom of windowless exhibition centres, which are the usual venues for wargames shows.

Anyone who decided to use the stairs rather than the lift to get down to the show was met by the sight of one of the stars of the entire event – Lee Sharpe and Ian Willey’s presentation of Waterloo.   We always like to have a big show-stopper game at the JOS and this year they did us proud.

The game was so large, it was actually difficult to get a good shot with it all at ground level, so here is a great overhead view.

And a close up at ground level.

This really was an outstanding game at every level, and has been a labour of love for Lee and Ian that has taken them close to four years to complete.  It is also the BEST Waterloo display that I have seen on the Wargames circuit.   All the others have been done in 28mm and have effectively been car parks and traffic jams of battalions and squadrons with no sense of flanks, reserves or manoeuvre.   Waterloo in 6mm is a perfect example of just what the scale does best.    I’d recommend a visit to Ian’s Blog with no name for more information and pictures. 

Next door, but by no means overshadowed by Waterloo, was the Legion of Blokes Nashville 1864 game.  

This was the work of the very talented Peter Wilkes and was one of the best ACW games I have ever seen.   A great feel for the subject along with a perfect balance of figures and scenics.

 

The MAD gamers are a real fixture at the JOS and this year they presented Operation Bagration, 1941.

As a group, they habitually spend more time talking to interested onlookers than actually playing with the figures and this year was no exception as they maintained their reputation for approachability and enthusiasm.

On a much smaller scale, the Baccus reduced game was ‘Old Puttees’ set in the Great War.

Hosted by the irrepressible Derek Pitman, this little game was busy all day long.

By complete contrast, the Cold War Commanders Bjerkvik 1981 game was just a wee bit more ambitious.

A large and very packed table saw the team fighting a hypothetical Cold War gone Hot scenario including an amphibious assault,

And finally in the section, Per Broden continued his one-man mission to stage ever battle from the Great Northern War with his marvellous presentation of Gadesbuch 1715. 

The wintry terrain was outstanding – just looking at it made you feel chilly.  

In amidst all this hurly-burly was a little centre of calm, as Dr Mike Salwey presented his ever-popular painting clinic.  

The good doctor here shows how it should be done.

And painters young and old all get a chance to have a go and either improve existing skill or be shown that you can paint 6mm figures quickly and easily without going blind!

 

Back to the games on show.  Wargames Emporium used the show to launch their new Command Horizon SF rules, and presented two participation games  for people to have a go.

The response to the both the rules and games on the day was amazing and I think that you are going to hear a lot more about this system in the months to come.

Moving back to Napoleonics, the elite squad that is the Lead Commanders impressed everyone, not least themselves, but staging the biggest game of the day, in the form of that ‘other’ 1815 battle – Ligny.

The sheer scale of this game made it stand out, and once again you got to see a Napoleonic game with depth to the action.  

The final game on show was stage by the Mailed Fist and was titled, ‘The Hungry Legions’

This game featured a simple but very effective set of terrain features, most notably the woods.  When units went into the trees, the entire canopy could be lifted off to allow movement and placement.  

 

There were three seminars run throughout the day, all well-attended and appreciated.

The morning session saw Peter and The Igor (aka 'Team Baccus') attempting to avoid answering searching and probing questions from a group of individuals who always seemed to know what subjects we wanted to avoid.

Next up, Wargames Emporium launched their new Command Horizon rules to a very positive audience.  

Finally there was the traditional Sunday afternoon grilling of the Polemos rule writing team.

With many of the games offering participation, a rolling seminar programme and a hands-on painting workshop, the Joy of Six always offered things for people to do and see. We had more traders and more attendees than in previous years and the only thing that stopped us from having more games was the University reducing the number of rooms at our disposal at the last minute.

 

The quality of the games on offer was outstanding, with that ‘Wow’ factor being in evidence everywhere you looked.

This year, we asked participants to vote on the games in two categories:

  • ‘Best’game.
  • Friendliest game.

 Given the number of friendly, great looking games on show, the results were incredibly tight, but someone had to win.  The Friendliest game prize went to the Cold War Commanders and Bjerkvik 1941.    The Best game was won by Per Broden’s Gadesbuch 1712.

Per was a worthy winner, in a show packed full of winners.   The overall standard of the games on show was outstanding and a great advertisement for the hobby in general and 6mm in particular.

Both Baccus and Wargames Emporium would like to thank the following, without whom the JOS would not have been possible:

  • All those groups and individuals who put so much effort into preparing, presenting and sharing their games. Without you lot, there would be no show!
  • All the Traders for supporting the show and contributing to the prize draw.
  • Dr Mike for his tireless efforts and his solo crusade to share his painting expertise.
  • The (mostly unpaid) team with a special mention for Nicola, whose announcements on the PA system were worth the cost of entry alone
  • The staff at the Sheffield Hallam University.
  • And of course, all who attended and set out to have a good time.

Plans are already being made for the Joy of Six 2016, so keep the weekend clear in your diary.  If you’ve read this and are thinking, ‘I wish I’d been there.’, then make your plans now!

See you all in July 2016!

 

Peter