Tuesday, 15 July 2014


So, not much in the way of wargaming for several weeks (or painting for that matter)

In the meantime however we've been off to North Wales for a week in a lovely converted barn in the Lleyn Penisula (the sticky out bit next to Anglesey).  I've only ever been for a couple of weekends to Wales so this was a new venture for all of us and was largely determined by finding somewhere nice where the dogs could stay... it was only after we'd booked it that we considered the impact Trigger might have on the local wildlife, and especially sheep!  I'm pleased to report that there were no negative dog/sheep interfaces and apart from a squirrel that didn't get out of the way of the car in time, everything had a lovely week.  Wales was really interesting and felt very 'old'... not sure if I can explain it any better than that but there seemed a real connection to the past.

So... can I stretch this to bring in some wargamey links?? Of course I can...

Apart from sheep, the other thing that Wales is full of is castles and we managed to squeeze in 4 of these over the week [3 really, and one on a technicality].  Despite staying relatively close to Harlech and Caernarfon we ignored these major sites and focused on some alternatives.

First up was Criccieth Castle which is a 12th Century Welsh rather than English Castle, sitting on the edge of Cardigan Bay.  It had a few scorch marks on the walls left over from the Glendower revolt.  Very pretty and with an excellent fish and chip shop round the corner [brilliant planning by these Welsh Princes!].

Our next castle wasn't planned and we came across it after climbing the 371m high hill next to the cottage.  My son had been keen for us to attempt Snowdon and this was a bit of a compromise as I wasn't sure we'd survive the climb!  After 90 minutes of trekking, and dodging sheep, we made it to the summit to discover that the top was actually an Iron Age Hill Fort and also the site of a 12th century castle.  The descent was a bit easier and fried banana and bacon sandwiches afterwards made it all worthwhile.

It was higher than it looks...honest!

The view from the top... a long way to climb to reach your Hill Fort!

The 3rd castle is a bit of a cheat as we only really walked pat it en route to the Ty Coch pub on a lovely beach a few miles from our cottage... again it was a hill fort, in this case sited on a promontory.   We gave it a quick glance and then in the spirit of historical adventure headed straight to the pub for a ploughmans.

The pub...not a castle...

Finally we'd been saving the best for last... my son and I are keen Kingmaker fans [my wife grudgingly plays and I suspect enjoys it more than she lets on... more on this later...].  Obviously castles are pretty crucial to the game and our favourite [sad, I know] is Beaumaris...mainly because it's an ideal place to stash your Royal family members as it's technically overseas! 


The original medieval dock at the castle entrance

My son and I spent an afternoon exploring the site at Beaumaris which is a World Heritage Site and probably the best example of concentric castle building.  It was Edward I's last castle in Wales before he got distracted and went to stomp all over Scotland and is really lovely.

And so to Kingmaker...this seems to have become a bit of a holiday tradition and this game went on over 3 nights as a break from watching the football.  Unfortunately early on the first night I made the mistake of leaving the room for 5 minutes to bring in the washing and returned to find an evil wife/son alliance poised to attack me and wipe out most of my nobles.  I never really recovered from this underhand attack and my few attempts to strike back were delayed or failed.  I then had all my remaining nobles and my only royal counter struck down by plague in London....happy holidays!!!  Unusually for Kingmaker the game did actually reach a conclusion with my son's uber-powerful faction crushing all opposition and ruling the kingdom with a fist of iron..

Of course all of this has left me thinking of how to relate it to the tabletop and I've been looking at Dux Brittanarium from Too Fat Lardies for a dark age/Arthurian type game because obviously what I need is a new project!!


  1. A beautiful part of the world, not long back from my own visit and know exactly what you mean about 'old', something the natives have taken to heart.

  2. Some excellent castles there! I had a holiday in Wales once and remember going to a very good castle, Manorbier, in the south. You may need to explain fried banana and bacon sandwiches, however!

    1. Pretty much how they sound...fry the bacon, fry some quartered banana, put it in a sandwich and enjoy! Who says us Scots can't come up with haute cuisine!