BAD Wargamers 30 Years old…. some musings

Hi Simon,
I can’t think anyone would get past the first morale test in WRG rules now, we are lazy buggers and loving it.
I penned a few words which might not count as liable:

BAD Wargamers are 30
In a century long ago, in a forgotten decade there was a war gaming desert in the middle of England. Bright oases existed in far flung reaches like Loughborough and Derby, but none in the actual centre of the war gaming universe which everyone knows is Burton and District.

It was September 1984 and following a trail of hopeful adverts aspiring gamers arrived at an inaugural meeting of the then nameless club (Michael Jackson had not yet written a song about us). From the first few minutes it was obvious this would not be a “formal” club. The treasurer was elected to pay for the club and a secretary to run the club but it was decided no chairman was needed as he would just think he ran the club.
Club rules were simple and consisted of the previous sentence.
Actually we even managed to break that one.
Since those early stirrings the club has gone from strength to strength and is expected to hit rock bottom shortly.
Whilst club games, rules, scales, scenery and faces have come and, sadly, gone, there has been one constant over the entire thirty years – the BAD club members try to welcome all except bankers.
I for one am looking forward to BADCON 2015, the annual weekend competition cum show cum competition. This is a shining example of how to not try too hard and still succeed anyway.
Hopefully during this anniversary year we will hold a celebration days gaming, possibly even retro-gaming if any rules can be found.
Have you noticed how war gamers heads are all becoming two-tone, grey and/or flesh and giving quite a distinctive touch I feel.
Errata:- apparently they do even welcome bankers, our first treasurer was one you know. Wonder where he is now.


Kudos for Ancient and Modern Army Supplies (Donnington miniatures)

I’ve been roped into playing as the competition at Daventry (Campaign 2014) next week. Its teams of three, 5 games over 2 days. 6 teams so its round robin event. The periods are –

Period 1: The Fight for Dutch Independence(1568-1633) : – Early Imperial Spanish; Elizabethan English; Early Eighty Years war Dutch; Later Eighty Years War Dutch; Later Imperial Spanish (Army of Flanders); French Huguenot; French Catholic.

Period 2: Trouble in the East 1577- 1589 – Early Ottoman Turks; Wallachian, Moldavian and Transylvanian; Early Russian; Vasa Swedish; Cossack; Later Imperial Austrian; Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Early Venetian Colonial.

Period 3: Armies of Asia, Africa and America, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn 1500 – 1644: – Muslim Indian, Hindu Indian, Indonesian or Malaccan; Thai, Burmese and Khmer; Vietnamese; Horn of Africa; Hawaiian; Mughal; Aztec; Tlaxcalan, Huaxtec or Otomi; Tarascan; Zapotec or Mixtec; Chinatec; Mayan; Inca; Mapuche or Araucanian; Tupi; Amazonian Forest Tribes; Chichimec; Western Sudanese; Central African; Central Sudanese; West African Forest; Mossi. (European Allies allowed – no more than 4 BG’s)

The group I’ve been put into is period 1 , So I thought I’d give my Spanish a run out.

As its an early period the foot is later tercio which I’ve never been particularly enamoured with. So I’ thought I’d play a mounted heavy version. This required some extra figures for a German ally. With 7 days before the event , I contacted Damian at A&M about a rush order for the extra figures. With no complaint the figures were dispatched that same day, and arrived the next day. So kudos to Damian for a great service.

Painted the next day, here they are –

I love these Bandolier Reiter, useless in the game (poor, unarmoured carbine/pistol). But really charismatic. Its like they know what is in store for them 😉

horse1 dragoon1



BADCON: Story of a Wargames Competition

imageBadcon, held in February of every year, is widely regarded (or so our guests tell us anyway!) as one of the friendliest competitions in the competition calendar. It could be our powers of organisation, it could be us seizing the zeitgeist in terms of the current rules systems or it could just be the appeal of the Burton beer. Regardless, Badcon certainly punches above its weight in terms of its popularity.

The competition dates back to the mid-1990s. Inspired by similar competitions in Derby, Reading, Devizes but most of all Usk, the BAD Wargamers decided to host its own, with a distinctly Ancients theme.

The inaugural year for Badcon was 1996. Held in the Riverside Leisure Centre, in Burton’s attractive floodplains, the competition initially drew 36 teams, and used a sole set of rules, i.e. De Bellus Multitudinous. DBM, as it was affectionately known, was the premier Ancients set of its day, having grown out of the mini-De Bellus Antiquitas (DBA), which itself evolved from the much-maligned WRG 7th Edition Ancients rules. Teams were in pairs, a format that followed the Godendag (Usk) model.

From those small acorns, the Badcon competition grew. In 1998, a new venue was sought; initially this was to have been the Bass Sports & Social Club, but having let the club down at the 11th hour, an alternative venue (in the shape of the prestigious Burton Guild Hall) was found. Awareness of the competition had grown rapidly, because in its third year, there were already 60 teams competing.

In 1999, the venue changed again, this time to Burton’s Victorian Gothic Town Hall, where it has remained ever since. Badcon continued to grow in popularity as one of the UK’s premier DBM competitions, with a peak of 80 teams in 2002. Although it never quite reached those dizzy heights again, it was still exceptionally popular, averaging 55-70 teams a year.

Another important change took place in 2008, with Badcon no longer specialising purely in DBM. In that year it was joined by a new set called Field of Glory (FOG) and (cover your ears, wargames purists) Warhammer 40K. The split in the number of teams in 2008 was: DBM 30 teams; FOG 18 teams; 40K 6 teams.

The competition in 2008 was the last time DBM held prominence. In 2009, the unruly cuckoo in the nest that was FOG drew 46 teams, compared with 12 for DBM (and yes, 40K was dropped). Ever since 2009, FOG has been the dominant competition at Badcon. In 2011, there were just 4 DBM teams, with the appeal of that system further eroded by DBMM (which attracted 10 teams, still well below the FOG numbers of 50 teams).

DBM was dropped the following year, but Badcon was still home to three competitions: FOG, DBMM and yet another new set, FOG Renaissance (FOGR). The split in teams in 2012 was FOG 42, DBMM 10 and FOGR 12. 2012 also saw a new innovation, with our friends from the Alumwell club being invited to put on their own mini-Flames of War competition, initially drawing 11 teams.

A scene from Badcon 2014...Early Navarrese face their Medieval descendants.
A scene from Badcon 2014…Early Navarrese face their Medieval descendants.

Which brings us to 2014, the 19th time Badcon has been held. This year, FOG still ruled the roost with 28 teams entering; followed by FOGR with 18 teams, DBMM with 12 teams and Alumwell’s Wild West competition with 8 entrants. Long may the show continue.

A few worthy factoids:

  • Not content with prizes just for 1ts, 2nd and 3rd, Badcon is renowned for offering a whole host of prizes: the team with Best Sportsmanship; Best Painted Team; Best painted Baggage; and the coveted Booby prize;
  • Burton players rarely do well in their own competition. Naturally this is because we are so sportsmanlike and it would be unseemly to do well in our own competition;
  • The sprint to Spirit Games during the Saturday lunch break has become something of a tradition.

And yes, we still have the best beer of any competition…





So, now that I’ve collected the figures, I set out to paint them. The BAD Club has some frighteningly accomplished figure painters. I am not one of them. What follows is a version of a paint job by someone mediocre who’s created something that looks competent from a distance and is certainly good enough for wargaming (if not for winning painting competitions).


The materials I used for the project were:

  • Vallejo: All non-metallic paints;
  • Army Painter: Undercoat spray; Matt Varnish;
  • Games Workshop: Ink wash; metallic paints; basing materials (sand, snow and grass tuft effects).

Some “serious” wargamers are a little snobbish about GW products but I find their metallic paints and ink washes some of the best on the market.


Peter Pig figures are relatively free of flash, so cleaning them up was a relatively easy business. The next part of the process is to score the underside of the figure bases, plus top of the Battlefront FOW bases, to ensure that the PVA glue I use works effectively. PVA doesn’t really like smooth shiny surfaces.

Unlike Ancients or Horse & Musket period figures, the WWII bases for FOW lend themselves to contriving the figure locations so that it’s easy to get at for painting. So, much to the horror of purists, I base my WWII figures in their final position BEFORE painting.

Once the glue is dry, I then glue the sand on. Once that’s dry, the figures can then be spray undercoated. A couple of years ago I used a brown spray for a Hunnic army I assembled, because so many of the elements (horses, bows, spears, clothing) were brown anyway. However, I noticed that brown seemed to make a great base for every colour, so I’ve used it for all periods ever since.

After the basecoat has set, I then put on the first coat: flesh, followed by uniform, followed by equipment. My approach to the uniforms was based on photos in the Steven Zaloga book on the Bulge (plus of course the TV series Band of Brothers!). In effect, units seemed to have a hodge-podge of winter smocks (in white), greatcoats (in Feldgrau) and some poor souls in standard uniform. The Feldgrau I painted in the appropriate Vallejo colour, and the smocks in a sort of dirty grey.

After the first coat is set, the next stage is an ink wash, in GW’s Gryphonne Sepia. Good ink washes are such a bonus for mediocre painters such as me!

Volksgrenadiers #6

Once that has dried, it’s the final coat. This involves painting the raised areas of the figures in a lighter colour, so white in the case of smocks and Feldgrau (with a little white, but not too much) for the greatcoats.

Volksgrenadiers #8

I then tackled the bases. I simply glued on some GW snow, and then 1-3 grass tufts on each base. When the grass tufts has set, I glued some snow to those as well to give a frozen feel. All done…

The units I have finished are below. From back to front, they are: HQ (with the Major Moldenhauer equivalent to the front); first Sturm platoon; Schutzen platoon; second Sturm platoon.

Volksgrenadiers #7

Close up of one of the infantry bases:

Volksgrenadiers #9

And the Major Moldenhauer figure:

Volksgrenadiers Major Moller

Obviously, Moldenhauer was in 12 VG Division; I’ll need to research another officer for my 26VG, but otherwise use the same stats.

Next comes the tanks and guns.