Partizan, June 2nd 2013

After a three-hour cross country road trip from Wales to the East Midlands the boy Conor and I arrived as the doors opened for this well-known show. Charles was not in attendance as coming this far north apparently makes him dizzy and prone to nose-bleeds 😉

I had never been to Partizan before so had no idea what to expect. It is staged in Kelham Hall near historic Newark, a building that was obviously once a Stately Home and is now a conference centre. Being spread across several wood-panelled rooms and two columned halls the venue lent the event an intimate and distinctly Victorian feel. There was none of the noisy bustle and neon glare of Salute, though there were a goodly number of traders plying their wares.

The White Hart crew and Shaun of The Bunker had set up in the largest hall beneath a marvellous domed roof. Shaun had extended his magnificent scenery by another two feet, adding a railway shunting yard and sheds, as well as a dockside railway and bridge.

We spent most of the morning meeting and greeting the many gamers who took an interest in the table and the rules. Again Shaun and the White Hart crew’s friendly demeanour drew many gamers to the table, to the obvious envy of some other nearby demonstrators.

Towards the end of the morning we started the participation games and several groups of chaps progressed through their first games of IHMN. There was much ribaldry, banter and cries of Huzzah! Many men died, cut down in their prime by the bullets and blades of their dastardly opponents. The grim Tod-truppen of the Society of Thule showed their mettle, but the ‘Stone Killer of the Day Award’ probably goes to Prince Akhenaten, with the Khopesh of Osiris slaughtering all in its path. Unfortunately there were more people who would have liked to play and to these we apologise.

Later in the day the boy Conor challenged me to a rematch after my series of humiliating defeats at his hands at Salute. This time I passed on using the stalwart men of Scotland Yard and plumped instead for the Black Dragon Tong. Conor wisely chose the Servants of Ra, so the two most mystical and least gun-happy companies squared off against one another.

After some desultory shooting between the muskets and pistols of the Tong members and Ra Cultists, both sides closed in two rooftop and one street level battles. Conor loves using the rooftops so I had to climb up to meet him. In one of these my Dragon Warrior and a Boxer fought Professor Abir a horde of cultists and killed most of them, before succumbing to the greater numbers. Akhenaten chose to kill a few Tong Members before ascending to a roof top to challenge the Dragon Lady herself. It was short fight and she tumbled to the street below, apparently dead (her body was never found).

In the streets below the Yeti went berserk but was quickly felled by the poisoned blades of Sairah the Hashashin Leader. In stepped Wu-Jen, Master of the mysteries of the Dragon Style. In quick succession he felled Sairah and four of the Cultists.

By now Akhenaten had finished off the remaining Chinese and descended to take on the Dragon Master. The fight went on for some time and Akhenaten had to call on support from his remaining cultists before he managed to cut the old man down. The result then was another defeat for me and glory for the boy Conor!

Wandering around the trade stands bruised and bleeding I came across Nick Eyre of North Star. He seemed to be doing a brisk and heartening trade in copies of IHMN and the accompanying figure sets. He remarked that no-one seemed disappointed in the game, something that Shaun and the White Hart crew also related to me. I managed to chat to numerous gamers, quite a few of whom had already tried the rules and also seemed satisfied, and keen to know what comes next. This was most welcome news as you can imagine. You can never really know if a game is any good until other people have had chance to test it in the white heat of battle.

We left Kelham Hall for our long journey home then feeling weary yet happy with the day’s events. It was a very different show to Salute, but the location, the organisation and most of all the good people there made it a show I shall attend again.

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