Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

Historicon 2014

Last weekend was HMGS East’s flagship convention, HISTORICON.  For the third year in a row it was held at the Expo Center in Fredericksburg, VA.  I had planned to take both Thursday and Friday off work to attend.  Since I hand’t committed to running any Thursday games, at the last minute I determined to go to work on Thursday and drive down later.  I was supposed to leave work at 1700, but didn’t get out until 1830.  I met my wife at Ikia just north of DC to pick up my son.  He and I made excellent time, finding a rare gap in the normally heinous traffic on I-95 south out of DC.  When we arrived and began unloading all my stuff into the HAWKs room, gaming had been underway for hours.

Dave running his 10mm Napoleonic game using Fate of Battle

Dave running his 10mm Napoleonic game using Fate of Battle

Don ran a series of linked WWII scenarios on this table

Don ran a series of linked WWII scenarios on this table

Duncan running a War of 1813 game using Wellington Rules

Duncan running a War of 1813 game using Wellington Rules

Ants chasing a jeep full of soldiers

Ants chasing a jeep full of soldiers

My first game was a GASLIGHT game in which teams of soldiers venture into a colony of giant ants to rescue some lost kids.  Despite a valiant effort the ants ate all the soldiers, and only one of three lost kids survived to tell the tale — and spend lots of money on therapy.

Two soldiers skirmish with a radioactive ant

Two soldiers skirmish with a radioactive ant

Tank running his Romans vs. Carthaginians game using Bear Yourselves Valiantly

Tank running his Romans vs. Carthaginians game using Bear Yourselves Valiantly

Dave assisting with my Mincio River game

Dave assisting with my Mincio River game

Dave assisting with Mincio

Dave assisting with Mincio

Chris' Battle of Five Armies game using Bear Yourselves Valiantly

Chris' Battle of Five Armies game using Bear Yourselves Valiantly

Bill's GAMER event

Bill's G.A.M.E.R. event

Bill ran this 54mm WWII game using my under-development G.A.M.E.R. rules.  (The acronym stands for the attributes of each figure:  guts, accuracy, melee, endurance, and reaction).  While one of the players thought that hand-to-hand shouldn’t carry over for multiple turns, in general the rules were well received.

A view of Bill's 54mm Normandy game using G.A.M.E.R.

A view of Bill's 54mm Normandy game using G.A.M.E.R.

Chris' Hundred Years War game

Chris' Hundred Years War game

See details of Chris’ Battle of Barnett here:  http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2014/07/battle-of-barnet-14-april-1471-game-at.html

One of my 10mm Napoleonic games

One of my 10mm Napoleonic games

I ran two 10mm Napoleonic Wars games with Fate of Battle:  Mincio River and Hanau.  Dave Wood ran another Napoleonic scenario, and he and Duncan ran the Battle of Vittoria on Saturday evening.  All seemed to go well, with the occasional rules lawyer or bad sport to dampen the event a little.  The rules seem to be slowly gaining some momentum; although, I did have one person sit through the rules briefing and then say he wasn’t interested and leave.

A good shot of the setup of Sam's kids game, which featured the Eureka toy soldiers assaulting a for made of blocks held by the Eureka teddy bears

A good shot of the setup of Sam's kids game, which featured the Eureka toy soldiers assaulting a for made of blocks held by the Eureka teddy bears

Sam ran her first convention game.  It was a battle between the Eureka teddy bear figures and the Eureka toy soldier figures.  It was set up as a kids game.  She built all the terrain herself.  She went with a candy land theme.  She was quite nervous at the start, but once the game got going, she did a good job.

Sammy running her kids game

Sammy running her kids game

Like many of our kids table games, she used Milk and Cookies Rules from Big Battles for Little Hands for this game.

Sam's game in progress

Sam's game in progress

The objective of the toy soldiers, who outnumbered the bears, was to capture the fort made of toy blocks.  While the toy soldiers killed most of the bears, they didn’t get to the fort, so it was a teddy bear victory.

Ed's 20mm modern skirmish

Ed's 20mm modern skirmish

Ed, who came down with Sam Fuson, ran his modern skirmish game set in Afghanistan.

Sam's Sherlock Holmes GASLIGHT game

Sam's Sherlock Holmes GASLIGHT game

It was quite successful.  The folks had a good time.  Sam ran a Sherlock Holmes inspired GASLIGHT game.

Geoff running his Lego pirate game

Geoff running his Lego pirate game

As usual, the HAWKs set aside a table for kids games.  Geoff ran his plastic pirate barroom brawl game twice.

Geoff making a point with the youngsters

Geoff making a point with the youngsters

I’m not sure what point Geoff was making, but it was hard to miss.  Geoff is really good as a GM for these kids games.

Eric running his Armies for Kids Napoleonic game

Eric running his Armies for Kids Napoleonic game

Eric ran the Armies for Kids giveaway game this year.  See Chris’ blog post for more details:  http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2014/07/hawks-2014-historicon-armies-for-kids.html

A view of some of the 54mm figures in the Armies for Kids giveaway game

A view of some of the 28mm figures in the Armies for Kids giveaway game

This is our fourth year of hosting a game for kids under 10, after which we pass out free, painted armies to the participants.  This is an outreach effort to try to grow the hobby.  There were two very nice threads about this on TMP.  The latter is from a dad.  His comments capture exactly why we do this every year.

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=353652

http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=353643

The winners in the Armies for Kids giveaway

The winners in the Armies for Kids giveaway

It was really fun watching the kids’ faces as we passed out armies, terrain, dice, and rules at the end of the game.

This convention also marked the 20th anniversary of the HAWKs as a club.  To commemorate this, we cut a celebratory cake Saturday evening, which was shared with folks playing games in our room.  See Chris’ blog post for details:  http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-hawks-celebrate-their-20th.html

Bill's large-scale Helm's Deep game

Bill's large-scale Helm's Deep game

Bill and his son William ran this Helm’s Deep game with very large figures on Saturday night.

Jennifer Palmer running her Blood and Swash tavern game

Jennifer Palmer running her Blood and Swash tavern game

The start of my GASLIGHT dog sled race

The start of my GASLIGHT dog sled race

Friday night Don, Chris, and I ran a reprise of our HAWKs 1000 race game.  The original HAWKs 1000 game was organized by Todd Harland-White and had four races:  dog sleds, a desert car race, a zeppelin race, and an airboat race through the jungle.  Since Todd was unable to attend, we restructured the race with just three legs:  the dog sled and car races as well as a new hover skiffs on Mars game.  Each leg was an hour, after which the players rotated to the next table.  Each player raced in all three legs of the race, collecting points along the way to determine the overall winner.  See Chris’ post here:  http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2014/07/hawks-1000-race-game-at-historicon.html

Coming around the first turn of my dogsled race

Coming around the first turn of my dogsled race

My dog sled race was wild and woolly, as usual.  There were lots of flipped sleds and wounded dogs along the course.

The hover craft lined up at the start of the Mars leg of the HAWKs 1000 race

The hover craft lined up at the start of the Mars leg of the HAWKs 1000 race

The hover skiff race, a new addition, seemed to go very well.  The hover skiffs (shown above) were made from dispensers for rolls of chewing gum with some bits added.  The figures were a combination of manufacturers, from Blue Moon, scratch-built robots, Pulp Figures, Recreation Conflict, and others.

I ran a final event Sunday morning, my fifth of the convention.  It was a G.A.M.E.R. event.  It was mainly about getting feedback on the rules with a simple scenario in which commandos and partisans are trying to steal an enigma machine from the Germans.  I don’t know if I was just tired by the end of the weekend, but the game wasn’t nearly as enjoyable to me as the other times I’ve run the game.  There were also one or two people in the game who kept fighting the unique mechanics, kept waiting for me to resolve things for them, or wanted to argue about things.  They can’t all be great, I guess.

So, I ran five games, all of which filled, and most of which went well:

  • Friday morning:  Them! (giant ants) (GASLIGHT)
  • Friday afternoon:  played Stan Sunderworth’s WWI airplane game with my son
  • Friday evening:  Battle of Mincio (Fate of Battle)
  • Saturday morning:  Battle of Hanau (Fate of Battle)
  • Saturday afternoon: did a little shopping and watched my kids play All Quiet on the Martian Front, which they enjoyed quite a bit.
  • Saturday evening:  HAWKs 1000 race (GASLIGHT)
  • Sunday morning:  Commandos Strike at Dawn (GAMER)

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