Monday, 10 June 2013

I have been to ... Broadside, Sittingbourne

'Broadside' is a small regional wargames show that is held annually in the Kent town of Sittingbourne. The location is the local leisure centre ...

... and the driving force behind the show is Alan Abbey.

(I have known Alan since he was eleven, when he was a pupil in the show where I then worked. He was interested in wargaming, and after a bit of pressure from him and one or two others I set up a club in the school. It ran for a couple of years ... and now Alan is the chairman of the Milton Hundred Wargames Club. He is also the author of the recently published BLOOD, BILGE AND IRON BALLS.)

I visited this show two years ago, and I must admit that I was surprised and pleased to see that it has grown, both in terms of the number of traders and games that were on show. The lighting inside the two main halls is not good, and I apologise in advance for the colour quality of some of my photographs. Likewise some of my captioning may be a little awry as I was not always able to get exact details of each of the games that were on show and which clubs were putting them on.

The Battle of the Boyne (Posties Rejects)
This was the first thing that I saw as I entered the Wyvern Hall (the smaller of the two halls used for the show) ... and I was very impressed.

I see a lot of the Rejects around the wargames shows in the south of England and they epitomise the ideal sort of wargames club. They are a small group of friends who obviously love their wargaming and are not afraid to have fun. I wish them more power to their collective elbows!

The Battle of Salado Creek, 1842 (Skirmish Wargames)
This was something a bit different, and was a recreation of the battle between the invading Mexican army (led by a Frenchman!) and a small force of Texas Rangers and Texan militia.

I was interested to see that they were using a playing card unit activation system, and I was able to have a short chat with one of the chaps running the game about how and why they had chosen the particular game mechanism they were using. It was very informative ... as was the handout they gave me about both the battle and the rules. They get a resounding 10 out of 10 for being visitor friendly!

Flintloque (Medway Wargames Club)

Dogfights in Northern France (SEEMS)
The South east Essex Military Society was running a series of dogfights set in 1940 that pitched Allied aircraft against some rather heavyweight German opponents.

The rules and aircraft were all drawn from the Axis and Allies Miniatures: Angels 20 game ... and they look very impressive.

Various Fantasy Battles (Gamers Hub?)
Poor signage did not make it clear whether one, both, or neither of these games was being run by Gamers Hub. The plan stated that these games were located at tables allocated to Gamers Hub ... but who knows? (Not me!)

Ancient Battles: Issus 333 BC (Society of Ancients)
As usual Professor Phil Sabin was representing the SOA and running one of his excellent ancient battles.

Slaughterloo (Friday Night Firefight Club)

SAGA demonstration game (Wargames Emporium)

Denmark 1940 (Deal Wargames Society)
Yet another outing for this club's wonderful terrain. I could spend hours just looking at it.

Those Magnificent Men In Their Floating Machines (Maidstone Wargames Society)
A novel game that featured a number of very nicely modelled balloons.

On Her Majesty's Crooked Service (Crooked Dice)
A TV/film-inspired game using the company's 7TV rules.

Operation Husky: Sicily 1943 (Eastbourne Wargames Club)

Gunboats on the Nile (Southend Wargames Club)
This was a large wargame in terms of the terrain ... and the standard of modelling exhibited was superb.

Miracle of the Marne (Crush the Kaiser)

Aeronef/Dystopian Wars? (?)

The Town With No Name (Shepway Wargames Club)
You could almost feel the heat and smell the horse manure! A very atmospheric terrain that looked and felt just right.

World War II Skirmish (Hornchurch Heroes)
These two terrain boards showed just how much detail it is possible to get into a relatively small area ... and for the results to look very realistic.

English Civil War (Realistic Modelling Services)
As usual the standard of terrain produced by Realistic Modelling Services was excellent, and Bernard Ganley was on hand to guide players through the company's English Civil War rules.

American War of Independence Battle (Gravesend Wargames Club)

Star Wars X-Wing (Hornchurch Heroes)

World War II battle using 'I Ain't Been Shot Mum!' rules (?)

During my time at the show I did manage to meet David Crook, and we were able to swap a number of items. He got a couple of books, and in return I got a book and some unmade kits of gun-armed FT-17 tanks. I also managed some interesting purchases of ROCO Minitanks from Harefields Figures that will go towards my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign project.

All-in-all I had a great time at 'Broadside', and hope to go again next year.


  1. You took a lot more pictures than I did as we were involved with our game and a lot of talking, thanks for the heads up.

  2. Some great pics Bob, and thanks for the Rejects pics!!

  3. Francis Lee,

    It was a good little show ... and I thought that the Posties Rejects game was both very impressive AND well explained to anyone who showed an interest.

    All the best,


    PS. Who won?

  4. Ray Rousell,

    It was my pleasure. I only wish that the lighting in the halls had been a bit better.

    All the best,


  5. Hi Bob,

    We missed each other somehow!

    The last game was with I Ain't Been Shot Mum rules rather than Bolt Action. The Medieval game in front of Wargames Emporium was a Saga demo


  6. A lot of games for a 'little show'! Excellent photographs, too, thanks for sharing them. Wish we had more shows in Lincolnshire!

  7. TamsinP,

    Thanks for the corrections. Quite a few of the games had little or no explanation or signage, and I had to make a best-guess as to what they were.

    All the best,


  8. Les Hammond,

    It is one of the best small wargames shows, and is beginning to attract more traders and games.

    I did not realise that there were any wargames shows held in Lincolnshire ... but I will look out for them in future.

    All the best,


  9. Looks like a good selection of high caliber games!

  10. Gonsalvo,

    There was a very impressive selection of games on show, especially considering that this was not one of the major wargames shows that take place in the UK, but one of the smaller, regional ones.

    Full credit must go to the clubs who put on games and the organisers for making it possible.

    All the best,


  11. Thanks for the kind words Bob. We seemed to be bust with our display all day. Certainly we were talking to people constantly for the first three or four hours without a break. Running a display game is certainly exhausting but its also very rewarding too.

  12. Lee Hadley,

    I don't know whose idea it was to place your game at the entrance to the Wyvern Hall ... but it was an inspired decision.

    The game run by the Rejects - and the way you were so welcoming to both wargamers and non-wargamers alike - was exemplary. I am pleased to hear that you all found that the hard work you put in was rewarding.

    In the past I have helped to put on games at shows, but I gave up a couple of years ago after a rather unfortunate experience at SALUTE. We got lots of great feedback from the participants who took part in our game ... but the organisers were not at all welcoming or supportive, and one or two made disparaging comments because our game did not have diorama-quality terrain. The final irony was the free SALUTE mug we were given as a 'thank you' for all of our efforts.

    All the best,