So Partizan May 2019 is done and thoroughly splendid it was too although I have to confess that prior to the show and the immediate planning for the game I was in a bit of a funk with the hobby. The work desk has largely been bare for the last few weeks and both Dave and myself haven’t really been feeling it so the show and the game rather restored our spirits. But why?
Regarding the game it was our first outing with the new banner, which we are rather pleased about, so thanks to Jake Hayden-Wright and Instanprint for your efforts and having it completed made me concentrate on the Van Yen game and the rules themselves.
Although we had decided sometime back to do Indo China as the game the reality of it and reading Martin Windrow’s ‘The Last Valley’ made me concentrate on the troops we were going to use and the rules amendments to our long standing WWII set. The figures were painted a while ago by Gareth at ADC mainly the lovely Empress Dien Bin Phu range plus odds and sods of others (rather like the French expeditionary force itself!) but it was a bit haphazard as to what figures were in which squad, how big the squads were, armament etc. Armed with Windrow’s efforts and my own scouring of the internet for the paucity of information (best site: http://dienbienphuredstarminiatures.blogspot.se/2013/05/to-for-1953-1954-french-para-company.html) I got my act together and created two squads plus the HQ of a Foreign Legion Para platoon (2BEP) all named on the bases and stat cards created and to oppose them a full squad of Viet Minh (98th Regiment) duly named and with stat cards. All a little sad ass but if the show hadn’t been approaching I wouldn’t have made the final effort which even if the onlookers don’t notice I do. The fall out from this was that I didn’t have enough para figures for the third squad but the squad of Vietnamese para’s that Gareth painted could go toward being that third squad and I field the platoon as Colonial Parachutists (BPC) which were an official mix of Frenchmen and Vietnamese – result! On the other side I came to realise, again through Windrow’s work, that the Viet Minh were composed of three different military classes; Regulars, Regionals and Locals which don’t ‘all look the same’ and were in fact clothed and equipped differently, had different levels of proficiency, could call on different levels of support and were definitely numerically superior in the open field. In terms of our collection I’ve now got some work to do and probably some figures to buy to create a Regional platoon and a Regular platoon to make the game more even handed but without the show I wouldn’t have done any of this so a definite reason for a spring in the step!
The rules also got a more in depth look at and rather than just a few ‘bolt ons’ I’m now ready to write a complete period specific set (oh joy!) which although an effort to do is actually quite enjoyable if you’ve got a clear idea about what it is you’re trying to achieve.
But what about the show itself? If you were a visitor you couldn’t possibly be disappointed if you were there because of the unique Partizan philosophy of quality games for the public to watch or take part in. I only had time for a quick tour of the hall (the down side of putting on a game!) but I didn’t see one game that could even be called ‘average’ and some were quite superb; I confess I can’t name them because my tour was so quick although I do remember Craig’s game at Tiny Terrain Models the Too Fat Lardies Malaya (I think) game, a Sudan game and a Great Northern War game – Klushino I think? If you were there just to shop, which I must admit I just don’t get, then there was plenty to choose from, all the usual culprits were present and seemed to be consistently busy plus a couple of names that were new to me but I don’t get out much! Certainly Empress managed to relieve me of a fair old wedge when I decided I would re do one of the para lmg teams – their team is really nice and we all came to the conclusion that their Spanish Civil War Moroccans might be usable with very little work – time and green stuff will tell! The task now is to find figures for the Thai auxiliaries shown in a photograph in Windrow’s book (and his Osprey I think).
Another positive about doing a game at a show, and I think Partizan, for some reason, really works for this, is the opportunity to meet people. Being static at the game people are more likely to find you than randomly bumping into someone; we met up with a number of people who have just been Twitter handles so it was really nice to put names to the tweets, we caught up with people who we hadn’t seen for a couple of years – illness, family troubles etc and nice people who just rocked up and chatted; this time round Patrick whose father served in one of the units we were depicting when they went on to the Algerian campaign – how great is that? Quite a conversation about how the conflict was taught in Metropolitan French schools – heroic war fought to save the Vietnamese from the invading communists, bringing civilisation, etc, some things just don’t change.
Any down sides? Yes, broke the plane – twice!:(
So more work to do but a positive workload – once I’ve repaired the plane and weighted the stand so it doesn’t get knocked over quite so easily. Roll on The Other Partizan!