Sunday, 5 April 2015

Tantobie Wargames and Tactical Society.

  Those of an acronymic turn of mind might want to look away now .....

We are  of course the T.W.A.T.S.  

40mm Iron Brigade advance- this shot from one of our few demo games- we do 1 each year at the Durham Wargames group Open day in June.


 Yes that IS  the name of our very unofficial  wargames group. Meeting at irregular intervals always on a Saturday at the Commercial Inn in Tantobie- a village across the valley from New Kyo .
 We have- based mostly on previous experience-done our level best to avoid all forms of organisation . At our inaugural meeting - in aforementioned  pub of course- we formed a Committee and our only resolution was to disband the committee.
 This is not as daft as it sounds. The group has no financial stuff to worry about or any group property so we have no need for "Officials" or "Officers"  and therefore can avoid the small- minded backbiting that all (but one) of the current membership have encountered to a greater or lesser extent at their various former clubs. The exception to this is of course Andrew the Tekkie- who until he encoutered us had never actually wargamed. We have about  half a dozen more or less regular memebrs plus several other chaps who drop in from time to time
 In theory we'd like tio have one meeting a month - always on a Satuardy usually near the end of any given month but real life often gets in the way Three of us are in the wargames biz so shows in some months stop the wargaming. Others work funny shifts. So it tends to be meetings by arrangement with me as the main conduit.
15mm Macedonians from TWATS memeber James Mains collection.. Just to show that not everything here is from Old Glory UK.

 Our considered preference is for Umpire controlled gamesas the whole concept of points systems is to us decidely un historical and deeply unmilitary and therefore Fie upon it. - Also its as boring as all hell unless you are the sort of Dude who has his  underpants numbered from the right and enjoys sorting out his sock drawer !  "List Building " is for pre-pubescants or  blokes who need to get out more!
 Aside from the very occaisional foray into Axis and Allies or Kingmaker  boardgames don't really do it for us,  Nor  really  does any kind of Fantasy or SCI- fI as I'm the only memebr who has even a small Sci- Fi collection . Games Workshop games are definitly out . Even given that some GW kits are useful  product and may fit into my own Sci-Fi collection - on MY terms . I refuse - and so do the rest of the members to buy into thier nasty illogical and really rather pathetic "universe"  wherein their  Games are set.  . Likewise Fantasy "games" . The whole commercial  Sci-fant hobby has  on the whole become-with a few honourable exceptions where clubs such as the Warlords  still use a bit of imagination - - too loud too childish and too narrow too repetitive  and too wallet catching for anyone with a thinking brain in working order.  to sully his hands with.. I actually find some of the junk out there insulting- not everyone is 14  grow up dudes ! This is NOT an attack on Fantasy per e but rather on the "games design concept"  which - becasue its easy stifles imagination- I have the same reservations about a good bit of sop called "historical" stuff too!.
"FUN" does not always mean removal of the brain or the sheeplike following of other brainless dweebs .
 Despite appearences we are an adult group. We meet in a pub with the legal restrictions that imposes.
 We play   "to period" rather than merely playing the same old same old game over and over again.
 Over the dozen years or so of our existance we've played the following periods and sizes - in no particular order- and including some where those armies have been sold on and I may have forgotten a few .....
 Napoleonic  in 15mm and 25mm., Classical Ancients 15mm- 10mm., ACW-40mm . AWI 15mm and 25mm .
 French Revolution in 25mm Marlburian 10mm. Modern 28mm and 15mm and 1/285th WW2 Western Desert and Normandy  15mm WW1 20mm and 15mm (1914 campaigns in both cases) Seven Years War 25mm and 10mm  ECW 25mm Russo- Japanese Naval- 1/600 WW1Navel 1/1200 WW2 navel 1/1200, ACW riverine 1/600th. British Colonial- NW frontier , Boxer Rising. Assorted rennaissence  campaigns- usuallu involving the Ottoman Turks ....
Some of my Janissaries

 The games playing is not particularly intense - after all this is supposed to be relaxing. Beer is not mandatory- some chaps have to drive to get to the pub! Space limitations mean only 1 multi-player game per meeting- but that the way we tend to like it. Its about  human interaction rather than self- centred points scoring " the craic " to put in Irishly  is at least as important as the gameplay- oftem more so- especially if a point comes up pertaining to the rules or indeed not pertaining to the rules..... All games are scenario driven - period , Rules scenario all being decided by the Umpire for that meeting- sometimes the players even get prior notice of period and possibly of rules and scenario. Most of the games invlve at least some "Active Umpiring" .
 The painting and modelling side is important tov some but by no means all of us but the hHistory  seems to be important to all of our current memebrship
 This is the way the T.W.A.TS. do it .
 We like it this way .....


  1. Though not into Sci-Fant games myself (though happy enough with Imagi-Nations - go figure) I have often thought that foe all the immense potential the field offers, the actual gaming looks remarkably stereotyped and sterile. Such a pity.

    It is when someone comes up with an original idea - even within a very familiar setting - that one's imagination can be caught. I recall, long ago, an ex-club member's account of a 'Star Trek' war between the Klingon empire and the United federation directed by him, involving school mates.

    The thing made an exciting read. I liked the manner in which the war was wrapped up. In desperation as the Klingons - despite some horrendous defeats - gained the upper hand, the Federation resorted to nuclear weapons, a deed that horrified the Cosmos. True, the Klingons terminated their attack, and the 'status quo ante bellum' was restored (and the Romulans, who had stirred up the whole thing, sat back looking smug). But thenceforth, the Federation's credibility as for honest and moral dealing was forever shattered...

    I mention this as an example of what can be done even with just pencil and paper by way of a sustained and lively war games campaign.

    1. Ion- Absolutly true/ I have no problem with SCI-FANT as a period but the tedious repetiveness of the games is another matter On the very rare occaisions that the 69th Marine Independent Landing Force get ont the table a lighthearted bad taste fun game is had by all - which in their case is rather the point Beer and bad Jokes to the fore ! - all this time and they still can't catch Enesto Fidel Guevara Smith !.
      Why when in theory the genre has endless possibilities do we see the same old same old and why does it sem that Historicals is going the same way ...???