Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Monday 3 July 2023

Joy of Six 2023

I went along to Joy of Six 2023 yesterday, since it isn't that far away from where I live and it is normally a really nice, friendly show.

The first game I saw was a new (to me, at any rate) WW2 air game based on the 'Undaunted' series which I haven't played yet, but seen at various stores. It looked nice, and seemed simple enough - simple enough to allow genuinely fast play, which is nice.  I am not sure I am that tempted to get it, although I am an  sucker for air warfare games, since the concepts looked reasonably similar to those I am working on myself in my adaptation of the Portable Wargame air rules. But definitely worth a look.


As ever Commission Figurines put on a display using their stuff, to show that at the much discussed 3' viewing distance, you can put together a very nice looking 6mm game for really not much money at all. I thought some of the cavalry was by Adler, although a passer-by told me that they were all Commission's wooden figures. Not 100% convinced, but what would I know?!?! In any case, very nice looking (good mat I thought).

These are the cavalry I (mis?)-identified as Adler

I didn't get shots of the next two games (I don't like to disturb people if they are actually playing with show visitors), so I missed 'Tank-Hunting for Veterans' and 'The Great Emu Wars' - both looked great, so tht was a shame, good games on small boards, just my thing.

Next up was a big Battletech game on perhaps a combination of a gridded mat with GHQ hexes, maybe? Anyway, it looked like a big Battletech game, so if this is the kind of thing you like, you would have liked this kind of thing. Looked 'big, quite pretty but doable' if you know what I mean!

And then we moved onto even bigger, even prettier, but a little but harder to pull off! Siege of Khartoum on Hexon. It was huge! As ever from this guy (Dan Hodgson I think) there were lots of little pretty details amongst the epic-ness too. And it was clearly a viable game, it looked like everyone was getting quite into it.

Khartoum looked amazing. Interesting bit of trivia: Khartoum literally means "elephant's trunk" in Arabic.

Okay, next up was the invasion of Leros. It looked really good, but I missed out on having a chat with these guys which is a shame, because I really wanted to delve into how this game actually worked in practice.

This next one was the Peterborough club's Chef du Pont game (US Airborne on D-Day) using IABSM. Looked great, seemed to rattle on quite quickly for a big game.

Charles Rowntree has put on consistently great-looking games for a few years now and this one was no exception. This is the battle from the end of the Rogue One Star Wars film and it looked great.  Still seemed to be based on the 'All Hell Breaks Loose' WW2 rules as far as I could make out, although I didn't get a chance to ask to confirm this! Anyway, in its way, perfect.

Next up was another D-Day game, this one a stylized version of the entirety of Sword, Juno and Gold in the 'Race for Caen'.  Looked great, always nice to see some operation-level games in addition to the majority tactical offerings. And many thanks for their patience in answering my son's many questions on the various landing craft!

Bayeux in miniature

And Caen, too.

I missed another small board participation game unfortunately, called 'A Moonless Night'. It looked quite simple but quite fun, judging by the engaged players around it!

After that the next one was an absolutely mammoth Gallipoli game. I tried but I don't think any given shot really did it justice unfortunately.

This next one was Pony Wars re-skinned for Starship Troopers. It looked great and actually made a great deal of sense as a conversion - really liked this.

Cold War Commanders often come to Joy of Six and put on a big game or two. This was another of their 'same scenario, different decades' efforts I think, with a Czech breakaway being brought back into the Warpac fold, once in the late 1940s, once in the 1980s (I think, but could have been earlier).  The photos here give a rough indication of what it looked like, but I don't think I really captured either version properly.

Something a bit smaller, although still grand enough: Qaddissiya with Big Battle DBA. Simple but effective and a subject you don't necessarily see that often. This was the only big DBx game I noticed since the Milton Keynes' gents didn't seem to be there this year, which was a bit of a shame!
'Storm of Steel' Alex put on another WW2 aerial game, with Bag the Hun. It looked great but perhaps the photos don't quite do it justice because through a lens, everything blends a bit too much! Hopefully the thin hex lines are just visible.

Next up was a small Napoleonic game: Vyazma 1812, played with Blucher.  This was one of the two games I was most likely to do myself, with lots of Napoleonic action on a relatively small board.  Looked great too.

I didn't get a usable shot of the next game: a refight of the Battle of Raab put on by James Mitchell, since it was just too busy around the table. It looked lots of fun though, pity I didn't get to spend more time on it.

Then there was this WW2 game, with German tanks counter-attackin the Soviets. Functional but nice terrain, some really good painting on the tanks.


I have seen this one a couple of times before, but no bad thing since it never disappoints: Fraustadt 1706 from Per Broden and associates.  The snowy terrain and the great GNW figures always look great.  Again, another 'perfect in its way' game.

This next was a Strength & Honour (I think) game: 2mm figures on a squared board of Verneuil 1424. Looked good, with a neat castle and camp, although perhaps a bit strange to me - not a comment on the game, more on how other wargames have made me 'imagine' the 100YW whereas the look here is closer in wargames terms to a Roman game or something. Hopefully any readers of this comment will get what I mean!!!!

The MAD Gamers put on another one of their mad-but-great SF games: Dr.Who-themed craziness as Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans & UNIT get stuck in!  A lot of the terrain is based on old Epic stuff, but improved, modified and added to with all kinds of wild and wonderul stuff. I like the roughly-tessellating Sarissa bases for some of the terrain too.

Small table but intense Crusader battling here, recreating Montgisard. Looked great fun, would have liked the opportunity to find out more about this one.

 Hopefully the above gives a decent flavour of the day. There were lots of traders and most seemed busy enough. I seemed to spend a bit more than normal, that is for sure!  I managed to get:

A PzIV company, a US Para company, a Volksturm company and a few buildings from 2d6 miniatures.

Some more WW2 - mainly French, with a smattering of British and German stuff - from Heroics and Ros.

Some more WSS infantry, some German WW2 halftracks and vehicles and some of the US tanks from Baccus.

Some ACW figures from Commission.

A few more Napoleonic Prussians from Grumbler, plus some of their SF stuff (for the 6-year old)

Some more castle walls, towers and earthworks from Irregular.

A copy of 'Black Ops' from the book store.

Some SF infantry, vehicles and fighters from Brigade (to share between me and the 6-year old).

And then we went back to Baccus because I was informed that the difference between happiness and unhappiness was a pack of Greek Hoplites...

I could easily have spent more time at the show but the little one was getting a bit tired and overwhelmed by about half-one, so we left then. I think this is the first time I have left JoS early, since with the talks and demo games and every trader there being of genuine interest, I always run out of time. It was nice to share the little one's enthusiams but it is quite a different experience.

The long list of bought stuff was a little bit worrying for me though - I think I need to re-focus a bit, my attention seems a bit too spread out at the moment. Show-buying isn't so great for me now anyway, compared to when I was a bairn, or even perhaps up to the early 2000s: then, having loads of figures to see and buy in one place was much better than mail order through a magazine or an occasional visit to a shop or latterly dealing with a quite clunky website; but now, 'little and often' is probably a better way to go for efficient wargames project management...