Sunday 26 September 2021

Carronade 2021: At Last


So, there haven't been any wargames shows in my part of the world since the coronavirus pandemic struck here in March 2020, some 18 months ago.  Indeed, I suspect that the last show I attended was Edinburgh's Claymore in August 2019; that's more than 2 years ago!  I've really been missing such events.

Normally, Falkirk's Carronade show would be held in May, but this year (2021) it was postponed until the end of September.  For much of the summer I - and, I imagine, others - were waiting to see if there would be further restrictions which might cancel the show.  Well, there weren't, the show did go ahead and we did attend.  Here's how my day went.


Unusually, my son and I drove to Falkirk rather than taking a train.  This was because my wife and daughter were due to attend a dance competition only a few minutes drive away from Falkirk (the first time they had done such an event in almost 2 years as well).  I'm a bit rusty with driving long distances, not having done much of that for a while, but it was uneventful.  Neither weather nor other human beings caused us any difficulties.

The Show

One of the 3 (4?) halls in use for Carronade 2021

Carronade 2021 did feel a bit different to previous such events.  For starters, there was the distancing within the entrance queue and the collection of contact details by the show organisers.  Mask-wearing was compulsory, at least whilst moving around (there's some debate about whether it is really permitted to remove masks when sitting at a table indoors for any purpose other than eating).  Adherence to this regime seemed pretty much universal and uncontroversial.

Other than masks, the main effect of virus precautions on the show seemed to be fewer public participation games than I would normally expect.  I haven't compared the advertised numbers from various years; it just felt to me that these were more sparse than usual.

Sink the Prinz Eugen

Norfolk and Suffolk (left) open fire on Prinz Eugen (right)

My son and I did play in one participation game: we took part in an alternative version of the Battle of the Denmark Strait.  In this entirely plausible scenario, while the capital ships HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were engaging the German battleship Bismark, the shadowing cruisers HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk engaged her consort, the Prinz Eugen.

So, it's 2 Royal Navy heavy cruisers against one slightly larger German heavy cruiser.  This isn't really a battle that the Prinz Eugen can afford to take part in, let alone have much hope of winning - so the German's victory condition is simply to escape.

My son and I each took one of the British cruisers.  We were using (I think) Warlord's "Victory at Sea" rules.  It soon became apparent that winning initiative for the turn made a big difference; my son won the roll-off every time.  While the German cruiser did land some hits  on the Royal Navy ships, the game ended abruptly when HMS Suffolk landed a crashing salvo of 8" shells on the enemy ship, followed up with 2 torpedo hits (despite the Prinz Eugen only presenting a small stern target).  This blew the German to pieces, so we went away victorious!

I'm a bit dubious about these rules, mind: it felt a bit as if we were dog-fighting with heavy cruisers and I don't think that's really how it would have happened.  Still, our experience of the game was only 20 minutes or so.

Demonstration Tables

A few large tables caught my eye and we spent some time examining all the details.  Unfortunately, I was carrying a new camera and it seems either highly sensitive to shaking hands or else its automatic focus isn't so good.  A number of the pictures I took are heavily blurred and unusable.  Hmm.

Still, here are some images...

At first, I thought this was some form of Pulp setup, mainly because of the jungle ruins and the smoking volcano.  But no - it seems to have been a WW2 amphibious landing.  Still, it was pretty and had a lot of nice details.

The table had some impressively large, overgrown temples & statues in the jungle... well as a decent set of rice fields.  These are very similar in style to my own versions, though larger, deeper and more numerous.  Note to self: I need more paddy fields!

The other table that really caught my attention was the Congo Bill adventure.  I understood that this was more than a standard game of Congo.  It had many pulp features such as a maiden sacrifice and giant gorilla, but in addition to this the organisers were gleeful in telling us about the Cthulu-esque monstrosities that they had planned!

I didn't manage a really good shot of the whole table, but this slightly blurred version will have to do.  As well as all the explorers, there was a group of nuns/missionaries, large amounts of wildlife and (of course) copious natives.  This was all very much to my taste.

Painting Competition

I always take a look at the entries to the painting competition at a show, but I don't think I've ever mentioned this in a report before.  This time, the model above caught my eye.  I don't remember seeing it ever before, though my son wondered if it was a 3D printed piece rather than a "regular" commercial model.  Either way, I thought it was beautifully done!


I hadn't expected to buy much at the show (I'm trying to cut down on new projects, for a start!), so I was surprised at just how much I found when I opened my bag on my return home.  From bottom left, going roughly clockwise:

  • A pack of My Little Pony stickers/posters/whatever, for my daughter.  No, really.
  • 2 3D-printed Short Sunderland flying boats (given free for taking part in the Sink the Prinz Eugen game).
  • A Kings of War sea serpent (I think) for my son.
  • A couple of prehistoric terrain pieces (some snares and a tannery) from Iron Gate Scenery.  This is a relatively new company, but one which I will be watching with interest, I think.
    Sadly they didn't bring any of their mammoths to the show, though the painted examples looked a little smaller than the other mammoths in my collection.
  • Perry Miniatures Sohei musketmen: after a recent game of Test of Honour, we realised that my Japanese warrior monks need more firepower.
  • A Reaper Bones frost giant, destined to be used for Frostgrave.
  • Some dark blue paint
  • 20x40mm MDF bases for more 6mm Napoleonics.
  • A packet of Scheltrum Miniatures' Wako (i.e. Japanese pirates).  More on these another time, I think.
  • Another addition to my Nightfolk warband (also for Frostgrave, though I don't believe I've ever described them in public).
  • Finally, a couple of the now-standard MDF entrance tickets.  Interestingly, these are labelled as "Carronade 2020", even though the show was held in late 2021.


It's good to be back at shows!  We (or at least, I) caught up with friends and bought more than perhaps I should.  We played a game (more would have been nice) and even the drive home again wasn't particularly difficult or stressful.  More, please!


  1. I think your mystery model is a "Malisaurus Rex" from Malifaux.

  2. Must be good getting back to a show.

    1. It felt strange, yet at the same time it was exhilarating. I think the mood of the crowd was generally upbeat and excited, as far as I could tell.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to my first show as well.

    1. I hope you don't have too long to wait and have as good an experience as we did, Jason.

  4. Thanks for the pics, good to see the show circuit starting ….. quality time.

    1. I don't know if this means anything for the other shows, but we'll see. In more normal times I'd have to wait until May for the next show anyway; they pretty much close down for the autumn and winter around here.

  5. Glad you enjoyed our show. Falkirk District Wargames Club were absolutely delighted to be able to run it. The mystery of the dates on the tokens is simply explained. We already had the 2020 tokens by the time we had to cancel that show, so we decided to use them rather than waste them.

    1. You're in good company Doug, following the example of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    2. Well, I never really imagined that it was a mystery. There were 2 plausible explanations: either you already had the tickets "printed", or you were making a statement about the show being delayed by a year. Or both.

      Either way, it's fine with me :-) .

  6. Carronade 2022 will return to the usual time slot. Saturday 7th May 2022. Graeme High School, Falkirk, 10am - 4pm.

  7. A very welcome return to the wrargaming experience - shows !
    Your past reports of Carronades past, have all been full of enthusiasm though this one seemed a little more reserved. At least the show looked good and the games looked very interesting too, though maybe a bit sparse in number.
    Hopefully I'll be attending at least one show this year - Battleground in November.
    Thanks for the report C6.

    1. Oh, did I come over as a bit reserved? That wasn't my intention, nor really how I felt about the show. Possibly I was slightly disappointed about the low number of public participation games, though that's probably something to be expected in these unusual times.

  8. Great that you were finally able to attend a Live event. We are still hunkered down here in Canada for the most part, as the 4th wave is wreaking havoc on the health care system. But you provide a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak & allow a glimpse of what we will all be able to enjoy again. Thanks!

    1. Yes, we've had our share of periods with "health system is about to collapse" or "worst rate in Europe". But it won't go on forever and it is good to start living for the future again :-).

  9. Out of curiosity I had a look back over the logs I have on the website and the last couple we've had 14 Participation games, compared to I think 4 this year. Likewise we were down about 10 traders for a variety of reasons but that allowed the traders a bit more space to allow for better distancing options compared to normal. Overall though I get the feeling that everyone was just glad to be back.

    1. That confirms my gut feeling, participation games were down this year. Indeed, *much* more so than I had imagined. Understandable, but still...

      I didn't notice any lack of traders, though. I'm sure you have the figures correct, but maybe the missing ones weren't places I might have been buying from anyway? Although I would have liked to see Bad Squiddo attend - I believe this might have been planned for 2019, but I'm not certain.

      Yes, I thought very much that the overwhelming feelings of the visitors were of relief, excitement and anticipation.

  10. Good to see you at a show. The start of a new normality at least

    1. Yes, this was almost back to normality - perhaps 90% of the way. It felt good! I hope that everyone who reads this has the chance to do something similarly uplifting in the not too distant future :-) .

  11. Good pics - especially taking into consideration the new camera and the excitement of a show! LOL

    1. Thanks, although I think I'm going to have to think a bit more about stabilising the camera. No more pictures taken with just one outstretched arm!