Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chateau Sydney

Du Gourmand plumbs new depths of treachery and evil - wine in a milk carton

This was a game that took place some time ago out at the palatial Chateau Sydney.  Sydney built his house in the West and it's a wonder of modern engineering and renewable energy - although none of this prepared me for going to the loo at 0300 and discovering the floors were heated.

I thought I had gone mad.

An artists impression of Kinch walking on a heated floor for the first time
- it's just not natural!

So, Sydney put together this Memoir '44 campaign based around a fictionalised battle of Stalingrad. The idea was that there would be four games taking place simultaneously. One large Overlord game and three single board Memoir '44 games. The idea was that the Soviets had launched a counter-offensive and surrounded the German army.  Each game would last ten turns and then there would be a possibility to redeploy at nightfall.  The two overall commanders would take care of the large board, while junior commanders could join them if they resolved their own game.

The initial set up on the Overlord map

We arrived out in good cheer, having laid in supplies (see above) and with eight players things ticked along quite happily.  One thing that Sydney did, which I didn't expect to work was that, there was a strict turn order. Each pair of players played one turn and then stopped and waited until everyone had played their turn.  Du Gourmand and I expected this to be a complete disaster as it meant that the game would only move at the pace of the slowest players.

Our means of communication, the bulletin board in the officers mess

But it emerged that Sydney knew his men better than we thought he did. One of the complaints against wargames that Sydney has made on occasion is that they can be a little anti-social, as players often focus on the game to the exclusion of all else. Sydney's answer to this was the Mess, a communal area where players could chat between turns. Du Gourmand and I spent a considerable amount of time there and it was extremely convivial.  The only rule was that there could be no shop talk and the Commanders in Chief, who were dishing out reinforcements and artillery support, could refer to the bulletin board.

The battle of the airfield

Sydney Senior and a friend of his took part in the savage battle for the airfield, this was close fought and it was only late on the second day that we managed to strangle the trickle of reinforcements and resupply that was making it into the city.

Generals Creanor and Von Fatzington playing the Overlord board

Our two commanders locked in mortal combat. The Germans traded space for time and used the advantage of the relatively narrow Soviet advance to buy time to reinforce the ancillary front and secure wins there. 

A corner of Southern Russia that shall be forever full of dead Nazis

Icecream filling in Von Fatzington at the officers mess

As the evening wore on, Du Gourmand and I fought a relatively static engagement. I was able to take my objectives, but he punished me for it and was able to secure a draw. What I didn't know at the time was that it cost the Germans a lot more reinforcements than they bargained for and as a result we were able to secure wins elsewhere.

I felt a bit like Monty in Normandy.

A picture from late in the night, I think Savage was trying to explain why he had hands

The game ended in a win for someone or other. I don't remember exactly - perhaps Du Gourmand could enlighten us.  What I do remember is that we had a wonderful time. I would like to point out that Sydney was a wonderful host and after providing an excellent campaign which kept us all entertained and feeding us and watering us, we were all given somewhere to sleep. In a bed, I hasten to add. 

Savage did not go to sleep in this position, 
nor was he covered in mud when he was last seen at 0500

Icecream gets the obligatory Teddy Roosevelt Big Game Hunter shot

The resemblance is uncanny

The bulletin board post game

I hope you can make some sense of this - because damned if I can. 

Group photo for the class of 2013 - remembering the fallen

So after our trip to the country - we managed to make it back to civilization without too much difficulty.  All in all, an extremely pleasant evening. Sydney has since run another which I was unable to attend as I was working, but it was by all accounts a great success. There will be no doubt, more to come. 


  1. The selective staging with childrens' toys rather sets the scene ;)


  2. I think the Russians won this one in the end.

  3. Heated kitchen floor too? I remember those being choice spots for resting my eyes during my teen years of debauchery.

    Looks like a fun campaign.

    1. It was a cracking campaign - Sydney put a lot of thought into it.

  4. It looks like a terrific and imaginative event, and well planned. I would love to participate in such a beast.
    I recall seeing that picture of De Gourmand and the wine in a milk carton and thinking nothing good would come of it.

    1. That wine was not a good vintage

  5. Looks like a great campaign. I have at least one memorable story regarding wine in a box, it ended predictably.

    1. I rather imagine it would. It was a good campaign alright.

  6. Of such events are memories made, often patchy ones but good ones none the less.