Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Competitions and tournamets- setting the record straight...

Now a couple of commentators on my recent MW articles have said in their  various ways that I'm a bit sniffy about competition wargaming and tournaments. Well like most people with an axe to grind  they  seem to have decided what I wrote before actually reading all of  it. .
 As I've said on this blog more than once I don't play competitions any more there is too much "unhistory" for my taste- also I suspect that they'd also be a bit intense and the idea of "learning the rules" fills me with dread but that doesn't mean I actively dislike 'em  I merely CHOOSE not to involve myself in them.
 Going further why - if I am as sniffy as these chaps imply- why over the years have I sponsored and or given prizes for several such competitions. Indeed the current Trophy given for the individual champion at the Donnington show was originally donated by Old Glory back in the mid 1990s.- that's the big armoured kinght thing on the show handbills .
We sponsored the then World Team Championships  for around a dozen years or more  through the 90s and noughties as well as giving prizes for some of the games and displays . I've also give army size prizes for competitions at War Torn and Smoggycon  Hardly the actions of a chaps who hates competitions ...
Over the years I've found the organisers of such tournaments to be without fail nice chaps doing their thing is sometimes trying circumstances,
What do I mean trying circumstances- well larger tournaments often look like a wargamers sweatshop-with those lines of identically sized symetrically terrained table  but  you try getting all those tables and all that terrain in the right place at the right time in the right order. Try getting all of the games to finish on time when  some dweeb just won't realise he's beat... The temptation to slap pillocks like that silly HAS to be resisted.
 Try correlating all the results when one or more competitions has over run its allotted time (that same dweeb again) and the whole show is winding down and chaps want to get home. I've seen organisers grinding teeth in frustration  and usually mild mannered blokes(not me)  effin and blinding . Not a job I'd fancy..
Over the years I've dished out the prizes at these competitions  and that can be trying- but sometimes fun too Back in the 90s I'd give a prize of a bottle of good champagne to the best Dressed team at Derby - just for a laugh- I was sick of seeing scruffy arsed  gits  shambling up to the stage for a grimace and a limp handshake.. Now this prize was I think ALWAYS won by the South African team- who turned up in Springboks blazers and ties. looking as if they actually gave a damn. Nice one lads .
Indeed on the whole- though the situation did improve  markedly over the years -the worst of the limp wristed scuff always tended to be English. The Italians ,Spanish, French and Belgians (these are the nations I remember there may have been others ) seemed to have more about them  and looked as if the actually cared about what they did.
 So all in all  I'm not anti- competition at all-  however I'd maintain that a minority of the competitors really need a personality transplant ...
 A few examples
 Mention has already been made of those who  over run their games and keep the rest waiting- at Derby this could be for well over an hour. There were years where my crew and I didn't get away until well after 7pm always waiting for some chaps who was fiddling about keeping the other 100  +competitors waiting before the prizes could be awarded. The because of said dweeb some chaps who were due prizes  didn't hang about and did a flit- not always even having the manners to inform the  organisers that they were off .

 -The  Absolute Nadir ...

 At one of the earliest Derby shows that we sponsored  Rus Dunaway- the CEO of Old Glory US and I though it would be a nice idea to give a couple of large 15mm armies to the 2 top prize winners. these were substantial 15mm armies well over 1000 figures each . . Now these were given with no strings attached so what did the mannerless  limp wristed tosser who won one of the prizes do
 Walks up to me- somewhat later (he may even have phoned as well  )
" I don't want these . I'm not interested. I want something else " - The memory of my utter distaste for this arsehole lingers on  even after 20 years.

 So if I am occasionally a bit sniffy about some COMPETITORS  is it any wonder .

 However now a story about competitions which truly wrings the heart .
 Derby again - one of the last shows at the University.
 As it happened my kid brother had driven up from London to see me for a few jars on the Saturday before continuing on back to our Parents
 Now at this time he drove a shiny new Aston- Martin DB9- surely the coolest motor on the planet.
 So Sunday morning he and I drive into the show- raising the odd eyebrow the while. I start work and he has a  look around to get some idea what his big Bro' does for a living before  leaving around lunchtime.
 with me so far?
 Now in the early Afternoon one of the organisers comes up to me and says
"Is that your brothers sports car out there in the Car Park- its on fire !"
Now this was some poor chaps TVR-a make  which had a bit of a reputation for electrical fires . and it was by now in a bit of a state ......
Later the prize giving
 The owner of said smouldering  TVR comes up to receive his SECOND  prize
 for the FLAMES OF WAR competition...


  1. Andy I agree with you; competition gaming is not for me either. That said, the ONLY time I ever took part in a competition was way back in about 1974 at a national war-games event somewhere in the Midlands, in the 54mm Western Gunfight championship. I got to the final and it was eventually all decided on well in this case a quick draw shoot out as seen in the movies, which was drawn (sorry no pun intended) and finally by a dynamite throwing duel. Sadly my one-legged bible toting preacher blew himself up so I lost! It was great fun but far from serious.

    1. I did a couple of similar competitions in the 80s- run by Roger Bigg and his club in Manchester- DWG took a team I seem to remeber we got thumped but no- body cared as it was a good laugh and not overly serious
      However when I see those rows and rows of tables at a big Competitin like Derby I keep looking for the Task- master with his whip ....