Friday, August 17, 2012

Slingshot 283

The latest issue of Slingshot (number 283, July 2012), the bi-monthly publication of the Society of Ancients, has gone to the printers.

The contents of Slingshot 283 are as follows
  • Editorial: Slings & Arrows
  • After Hannibal, by Julian Lorriman
  • A Short History of the Iberian Peninsula from 400 to 1100AD – Part 2: The Visigoths in Iberia, by Robert Heiligers
  • Numidian Armies, by Jim Webster
  • Plataea 479BC: Introduction, by Richard Lockwood
  • Battle Day 2012 Gallery
  • Modelling the Field of Plataea for Warmaster Ancients, by Ross Bigley
  • Plataea with Warmaster Ancients., by Jeremy Giles
  • Plataea With Armati, by Will Whyler
  • Plataea With Command & Colors: Ancients, by Mark Richards
  • Plataea With DBMM, by Toby Partridge
  • Plataea with Lost Battles by Philip Sabin
  • Plataea with Warlord & War and Conquest, by Trevor Halsall & Rob Broom
  • Plataea with Tony Bath’s Peltast & Pila, by Daivid Barnsdale
  • Painting an Etruscan Hoplite, by Jamie Welling
  • For more information on the Society of Ancients, please visit

You can join the Society at

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Call it Qids now generally available

SoA Qids pic
The SoA 2012 bonus game is now available for separate purchase from the SoA web store, at £7 (worldwide postage included, for a limited time only). Call it Qids is a fast paced, highly replayable game based around the Battle of Qadesh. By Graham Evans and Ian Russell Lowell.

Call it Qids is a stylised, fast-play, refight of the Battle of Qadesh between the armies of Ramses II and the collected forces of the Empire of Hatti, played out on a square grid with special rules for ford-crossing and the Egyptian camp. The Hatti army is entirely chariotry (the infantry in the historical battle seem to have remained east of the river and so are not featured in this game) while the Egyptians are split into four contingents (Amun, Ra, Ptah and the 'Nearin') in different locations. The Hatti player is after the Egyptian baggage, and clearing away the Egyptian troops is merely a means to an end. The Egyptian player is trying to kill Hatti chariots, and his trump card here is Ramses himself, whom the designers have granted the combat capability apparent in the Egyptian accounts of the battle. He can kill an opposing unit on a near-certain basis, but has to watch out in case he is surrounded and overpowered, an event that boosts the Hatti player's victory total considerably should it occur. Egyptian and Hatti chariots fight at par, their respective advantages and disadvantages being assumed to cancel out. Infantry is at a stiff disadvantage in the open, but able to fight at par in the camp, which is a great equaliser.

The game requires players to balance boldness against risk, and the range of outcomes rewards repeated play. The Hatti player has to choose between an early assault on the camp, which cuts the strength of the Nearin contingent when it appears, but brings it on early, or a later assault, which is more likely to clear the camp but allows a stronger Nearin division to arrive. The Egyptian player has to watch his infantry, who are dead meat in the open but can give a good account of themselves in camp. Baggage is taken around by infantry (only); a Hatti chariot unit that captures a baggage unit promptly leaves the board with it to enjoy the dividends forthwith (and racks up a victory point) and never returns. Obviously, if after the initial panic the Egyptian player can slip his baggage-tending infantry into the camp, he can go some way to denying the Hatti player victory, though this is easier said than done.

Victory compares Egyptian kills of Hatti chariot units with the number of baggage units the Hatti troops have seized, giving grades of success for either side. All in all, this is a fast-moving game with opportunities for both sides, and a slight bias in favour of the forces of Hatti is countered by the Poem-of-Pentaur-like exploits of Ramses.

The booklet also contains an assessment of the sources and forces for the battle.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Society of Ancients Battle Day 2013 Announced

…the fight grew fierce, confused, monstrous, unrelenting...
The tenth annual Society of Ancients Battle Day, Saturday 13 April 2013
Sycamore Hall, Drayton Road, Bletchley, Near Milton Keynes, MK2 3RR, UK

Chalons 451 AD

And although the situation was itself fearful, yet the presence of their king dispelled anxiety and hesitation. Hand to hand they clashed in battle, and the fight grew fierce, confused, monstrous, unrelenting--a fight whose like no ancient time has ever recorded. There such deeds were done that a brave man who missed this marvellous spectacle could not hope to see anything so wonderful all his life long. For, if we may believe our elders, a brook flowing between low banks through the plain was greatly increased by blood from the wounds of the slain. It was not flooded by showers, as brooks usually rise, but was swollen by a strange stream and turned into a torrent by the increase of blood. Those whose wounds drove them to slake their parching thirst drank water mingled with gore. In their wretched plight they were forced to drink what they thought was the blood they had poured from their own wounds.

Phew! The ferocious hand-to-hand fighting, as described in Chapter 40 of Jordanes “The Origin and Deeds of the Goths”, translated by Charles C. Mierow and found online at

For our tenth annual Battle Day, we once again invite you to a unique day’s wargaming.

The battle: Chalons 451 AD – Attila and his Hunnic hordes finally meet their match on the Catalaunian Fields at the hands of the Roman/Visigoth/German alliance scraped together by the Roman Patrician Aetius.

So turn back the Hunnic hordes with Aetius and his polyglot alliance, or join Attila the Hun and sweep aside the last resistance in Western Europe to your bloodthirsty conquest.

As ever, the aims of the day remain the same:

  • To have fun!
  • To gather as many ancient wargamers as possible to refight a historical battle.
  • To fight the same battle simultaneously on many tables, using a different set of rules on each table.

The day will run from 9am until 5pm, with an hour either side to set up and pack away.

As usual we will have an expert speaker giving an introduction to the battle at the start of the day. Simon MacDowall, author of many books on the period including the Osprey Warrior series “Late Roman Infantryman” and “Late Roman Cavalryman”, will be opening for us this year. Simon will also be running a game using the latest incarnation of his period-specific Comitatus rules.

And of course, The Society of Ancients will be awarding a number of prizes (for various criteria, some more frivolous than others) to the wargamers on the day, including prizes for Best Game and Best Terrain.

To offer to stage a game, either at the event itself or as a "partner event" somewhere else in the world – please contact Richard Lockwood either by going to the SoA contact page (set the topic to "Battle Day" - it will go to him automatically) or else via his details in Slingshot. But in any case, come along and take part as a player.

The cost of participating in the Battle Day, to contribute towards hire of venue and tables, will be held at £7 (juniors free), as it has been for eight years now.

Every year it just gets better and better – this really should be a regular event on your calendar. Don’t miss out – come and be part of it!

The Battle Day is open to both members and non-members of the Society of Ancients.

For more information on the Society of Ancients, please visit

You can join the Society at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Changes to Society of Ancients Subscription Year and Price

This is to let you know that we are making some changes to the way in which SoA subscription works:

The Main Changes:

- As of August 31, the annual subscription rate for the SoA will be raised from £20 to £24. 
- SoA membership is moving from calendar year based subscription (subscribe January to December) to annual subscription (subscribe for 6 Slingshot issues, from the date you subscribe)
- This means that, if you miss an issue from your subscription, we will no longer automatically ship back issues for that year. You will however be able to buy back issues separately, while available (from now on, and availability permitting, the last 5 back issues will be available on an individual basis; otherwise back issues will continue to be available in annual packs)
- Postal sales (including back issue packs) will now be charged, additionally, for postage at cost. Previously postal sale prices included worldwide postage. Additional postage charges will not however be charged on memberships/Slingshot subscriptions, which will continue to be inclusive of worldwide postage. Items bought and collected at shows will obviously carry no postage charge.
- Family memberships, which provide all the benefits of membership except for a Slingshot subscription (member discounts, vendor discounts, forum subscriptions, tournament entry, etc) will now be available for free to anyone co-residing with an existing society member, on application to the membership secretary. Previously these memberships were charged at £2/year.

Why Are We Doing This?

Any price rise is unfortunate, but it should be pointed out that the committee has managed to maintain the cost of membership at £20, despite general inflation and specifically in the case of postal charges, since 2003. An increasing proportion of expenditure has as a result gone onto postage. Had we moved prices in line with inflation, the cost of membership would now be £26.80, so we think the deal is still a good one.

The other changes are to make spending efficiencies, which we intend to reinvest in Slingshot. Under the pre-existing arrangements, the print run for Slingshot had to be set at where we guessed it might end up at the end of the year, because we have to reserve enough back issues to be able to send out. This is obviously inefficient; we'd like to print a better Slingshot on a shorter print run. Also, those back issue packs were more expensive to send out, since they didn't qualify for our bulk mailing discount. The new system will mean that early re-subscribers aren't subsidising those who leave it late (note: the shorter print run will also make back issues more scarce).

During the last 5 years we have introduced, firstly colour covers and improved paper stock, and more recently colour throughout the magazine. We believe these changes mean we can continue to improve our main Slingshot offering. In the short term we will use the savings incurred to move Slingshot from 48 to 52 pages (starting with issue 284, publication date September 2012), which will further improve our ability to provide variety of gaming and hobby coverage within the magazine, which we believe to be important. At the same time, we intend to use our reserves to introduce and maintain other new programs. These include:

- a line of self-funding, limited run publications, available both in paper and e-book form and using existing Slingshot material, updated with the latest research and available both to non-members and (with a substantial discount on printed versions) to Society members
- we are also reviewing our existing line of games, notably those which are out of stock, for reprinting at improved production values; we are also open for submissions for new games in this line

And Finally:

Note the changes to subscriptions will take place as of 31 August. If you have been thinking of taking out a new subscription, under the existing arrangements, you have until then to do so, by going here: You can also buy publications and back issues from the same web store, before the new arrangements come in.

Roy Boss 
SoA President