Saturday, 16 June 2018

Phalanx 2018 wargame show

Run by ‘The Spartans’ wargame club and held at Sutton Leisure Centre, near St. Helens, North West UK. This is one of the shows on my ‘must support’ circuit, with a ‘use it or lose it’ ethos.

It is a medium sized show with around 34 Traders and 23 Gaming tables.

For an overview of this show and access to previous years show reports, please use the ‘read more’ tab.

Prior to the show, I had a quite well thought out list in my head of what I wanted, but that didn't seem to survive first contact. The list was sensible, small scale stuff to fit with my limited storage, the purchases were instead of the 'bigger boys' types .... I'm going to give up on lists! again!

As always, there was a good reception at the door by the club members. Though there seems to have been two hiccups this year (unusual). Firstly the venue was double booked, though everything was finely handled, the main hall was still available to traders and game tables and the Bring 'n Buy was moved upstairs, so the show itself was not compromised. Secondly, something had happened re the supply of refreshments. The usual external caterer (Suzie's) was not there, but there was a friendly guy doing pies and sausage rolls from a van, though no coffee. Inside I heard several conversations about food and where to get it, there seemed to be plenty of confusion on the point.

The show manages to continue to be diverse in its trade aspect with all the scales being represented. This year, new to the show, there was someone specialising in brushes and another in game mats. The reader was well accommodated (thank you Dave Lanchester), but as with last year, there was a lack of anyone singularly concentrating on rules and scenerio type publications.

As for numbers attending, I am not sure, I thought less than last year, but my friend thought more, I pointed out that people didn't really seem to be carrying bags, but this was still early. I spoke to three traders closer to lunch time. One said they had done better than expected, other said it was okay and another said it was slightly disappointing and they needed the next hour to catch up before the crowds started to thin. The Bring 'n Buy gets such a crowd, that if they were all in the trade hall instead at one time, it would probably look very busy, so who knows!

Armed with a new camera, I hoped this year to get some better photographs as this venue uses sodium lighting that plays havoc with White Balance, producing an orange hue to my pictures. Each year I go with a new idea to defeat it it and each year it beats me instead ....... once more into the breach! Anyway, see what you think, I set the camera White Balance setting to 'Underwater Auto' of all things.

I decided this year not to take anything to the Bring & Buy, a sore back means I will have limited time on my feet and it leaves me less inclined to be involved in the queuing and the subsequent rugby scrum that is the Bring ‘n Buy. I just wanted to be able to enjoy the show without that distraction.

The following photographs are amongst those that were less affected by the orange lighting and as always, I find myself apologising for not being able to fully attribute games to the remarkable people who take the time and trouble to present these things for the sake of creating a better show, hopefully I have done better this year;

Bob Martin of Lancaster Wargames Society always puts on a good participation game and works tirelessly to entertain his audience. This year he did the Royal Navy bravely taking on the Martians!

Martyn Hotchkiss did a Wild West Fantasy Skirmish, with a very nice table that looked to be not much bigger than a 2' x 2'.

A real show stealer (Ross this one is for you) 54mm Isandlwana by the All Independent 54mm Wargames Club.

There are 1000 figures in total on the table.

I was assured that the lovely looking game was the product of very hard work - well done all.

28mm 7 Years War, Torgau 1760 by the Cheshire and Staffordshire Wargamers. This was a big table and just looked wonderful. Best scene!

Perry v Nevilles 1454, Lance and Longbow Society, always good to see this friendly crew with their nice figures on a 'do-able' sized table. They use their own variation of Lion Rampant. Smiles all around and the 'fun' put into gaming.

Actium 31 BC by Liverpool Wargames Association, just one of several games that they brought to this local recruiting ground for them.

Hastings 1066, a Participation game by Liverpool Wargames Association. They have brought this before and it is a lovely looking game that runs off one sheet of rules.

It is just one of those tables that inspires you to do something, I wonder how many people who put on games actually are aware how it can make others go off in an enthusiastic direction.

I made a start by visiting Warbases for some 100mm wide bases, mixed at 50mm depth and 60mm depth.

I think this was a 'Chosen Men' game from MAWS. 28mm Peninsular War, it looks lovely in his shot with the terrain, but when I dropped by later, it had some lovely 28mm's roaming the table and it looked a fun game. My camera was packed away by then.

Close up of a dock side, very nicely done, for a TV7 game I think.

This was a nice game (modern) put on by a couple of blokes who always do the unusual and are very good with the public.

I'm pretty sure this is by The Mailed Fist, they always put something on that is spectacular!

Just a close up, that is real sand on the road.

My own swag was to satisfy a gentle ramble of current ideas. I picked up the said MDF bases for some pre-gunpowder 28mm figures, plus some 30mm x 20mm intended for the 12mm ACW rebasing malarky.

From 1st Corps, a bag of 28mm ACW Union casualties.

From EWM, one of their kits that has Armourfast vehicles plus their own conversion pack for accesories and crew etc. It gives 3 standard Sd kfz 251c's and a platoon Command vehicle. I added an accessory pack for the M10's I have already built plus some decals.

From S&A scenics, a hill to match my others by them and three ploughed fields.

From Colonel Bill, some 12mm big tufts for some better scenics on my 28mm / 20mm bases and finally bargain of the year, a copy of Paul Darnell's Touching History which looks at terrain and modelling the Napoleonic Spanish Peninsular War, normally £13, it was sitting there for £2.

Anyway an enjoyable day as always.

Thanks to the Spartans and all those people who come together to put on a well run show and also to the traders, who give up at least one day to service Phalanx 2018, I hope it worked out for everyone.

My COMMANDERS web page is a sister site that covers various aspects of my gaming in a less article based way than here. LINK



  1. Thanks for posting the pictures. I couldn't go this year which is a shame as it is one of my favourite shows.



  2. Sounds like a good show, photos look good and the touching history book was a steal!
    Best Iain

    1. Darnell’s book was a steal, for sure.

    2. Plenty of eye candy in this pick up / put down style read.

  3. Thanks for sharing your show photos and impressions.

    1. Thanks Jonathan, this show really seems to get the balance right between trade and gaming tables and there is room to move around in comfort.

  4. I do like a post wargame Glad you had a good day, without over taxing your back. Some nice pictures! Were there a lot of participation games ?
    I also feel a sense of obligation (that could be the wrong word) to support local conventions If I don’t then I can’t complain when they vanish.
    Preserving local opportunities for the hobby can be a good thing. It looked like it had a fair number of games for a 1 day show.
    Nice purchases! Though I did raise an eyebrow when after buying the bases for 12mm ACW the next sentence was about 28mm ACW. Daring to do the same genre in 2 scafes! 😀

    1. As for dual collections in the same period, Norm would not be the first!

  5. Stu, 'Obligation' is pretty much on the money, but I don't really feel a reluctant party to that, I find myself wanting to support the show with spend.

    Re the scale thing, well initially I did just buy the 30mm x 20mm bases from Warbases for the 12mm stuff, but then I saw the Hastings 28mm game and they had used the Impetus basing idea, but used 100mm instead of 120mm and I thought 'I could do that' for my tighter space conditions and then I thought 'well if I am going to do some Dark Age / Medieval in 28's, I may as well hang onto my ACW 28's and so the casualty pack was bought (I got the Confederate casualty pack last year).

    the Hastings game was 28mm, decent looking playable fun and importantly done on dining room / kitchen table sized space, that just pressed all the right buttons for me. It was this that generated my comment about wondering whether those that put on a display ever think about how many people they have inspired to do something.

    If only I could send the sensible part of me to the show and leave the other guy at home.

  6. Thanks for the show report as it's always nice to get a remote gaming fix for those shows that are just too far away. My next one will (maybe) be Colours, as long as dates don't clash with taking daughter to Uni.

    Interesting that no-one appeared to be selling rules, supplements etc. This was noticeable at Colours the last few years. Maybe the profits are no longer there as they are much cheaper to buy online?

    1. Thanks Steve, I think the problem for Phalanx is that for years, Caliver Books have attended and filled the role of rule supplier very capably, but in the past two years, they have not visited and that has left a gap.

  7. Ive never attended this show Norm I think I should make the journey it looks a very decent show.

  8. Thanks Robbie, it is a comfortable friendly show that reminds me a bit of WWMS.

  9. Thanks Norm for sharing, in a rash and unusually planned approach I also went to Phalanx this year mainly as it was raining 🙂

  10. Thanks Matt ….Phoenix (up at your end) this weekend, two shows in two weeks, Hoorah!

    1. If you are heading to Phoenix then do come and see me 🙂

  11. Thanks Norm, an interesting report on a good looking show

    The ship names had me confused until you mentioned Martians


    1. Thanks Paul, I got to the game just as they were setting up ... so the Martian threat was not on the table yet :-)

  12. Thanks Benjamin, Missing this year for me were Kallistra (their web site suggests they will be back next year) and The Last Valley (28mm Terrain) and of course Caliver don’t come anymore. It makes me feel that gamers really need to support their show wish cash if they want to see these local shows survive in the medium term and i wory that at this partucular show, the Bring and Buy is too successfully taking money out of the show,

  13. Norm it was a real pleasure to meet today, glad you came to have a chat as for the gift I am slightly speechless, it was very kind of you indeed. Now you really aren’t that far away so if you find your self coming back in the penrith direction, give me some warning and we can arrange a visit to the dungeon. I would have invited you over tomorrow but I have some other family commitments having spent the day gaming today. But do let me know Matt 😀

  14. Cheers Matt, enjoyed the chance to chat, you now have me buying WWII 15mm and 28mm ACW :-). Down to Bowness in the morning (something about a pasty shop) and then off home



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