Cold Wars 2015 began with a huge snow storm that crippled the Northeast. Schools were shut down, roads were clogged, and (thankfully) Congress was closed. I had planned to head to the convention around 1500 and play a pickup, invitational scenario using G.A.M.E.R. rules. Because the roads were treacherous, I wasn’t able to leave until 1815, arriving in Lancaster at 2100. None of the HAWKs were in view. I spent about 90 minutes loading junk onto my cart and limping my way back and forth with lots of stuff for the five games I planned to run. Due to my late arrival, the G.A.M.E.R. event did not occur.
I ran into the Goolanders, father and son, Thursday evening, and they told me about their spaceship game using G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. One of the first things I did Friday morning, then, was look in on their preparations. In the picture (above) you can see part of the setup. They built a wooden box about 2 feet by 4 feet, I think. In this they placed smaller boxes representing the various rooms on the ship. This makes the spaceship reconfigurable for repeat play value. Eric Schlegel played in this game and had a good time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate, because I was running my own event.
Friday morning, my first event of the convention was Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, USAAF, and RAF. I used X-Wing with custom dials and pilot cards. Only one player had ever used the rules; although, one or two had read the rules previously. The Allies weighted their right flank, and the “bomber” was able to maneuver to their weak flank. In the end, the Allied inflicted few hits on the bomber before it crossed the table — a decisive German victory.
My second game of the convention was the Northwest Frontier by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. In this scenario, the British column is trying to get Wee Willie Winkie across the table when they are ambushed by Pasha Chrismajadeen and his Pathan chieftains. The game had a number of memorable and humorous moments — for which G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is famous. Chris sent Victoria Hawkes out ahead of her female hussars to melee with the driver of the Russian steam lorry. She failed to inflict any damage and was herself killed by the driver. Later, just as the crewmen were about the abandon the female hussars’ steam coach, a squad of Russians assaulted the vehicle. As they clambered atop the vehicle, the crewman thought better of their plan to bail out and instead redoubled their efforts to repair the coach’s engines. A squad of female hussars counter attached, and a roiling melee ensured atop the coach. Two of Chris’ hussars rolled 20’s and fell off the coach to their deaths. Meanwhile, one of the scout helicopters was shot out of the sky, and the engine of the second conked out, crashing. On the other side of the table Pasha Chrismajadeen charged single-handedly against the 33rd Punjab lancers, who seemed to have trouble staying on their feet and instead spent a fair amount of time falling and standing back up. Despite these setbacks, the British managed to achieve a clear victory, protecting Winkie.
While I was running these two events, other HAWKs were busy running other games.
Jim and Don ran a very popular, six-player Saga game that they have been developing for months. This was Jim’s GM debut, and the game went extremely well.
Greg ran one of his Dr. Who games featuring Noah’s dungeon tiles. The folks seemed to really enjoy the game. Mark Ryan played the rear guard, hold off the Weeping Angels long enough for the Dr. and his entourage to patch up the crack in space-time. Greg told me that Mark “went all rogue” and actually charged the angels, which was quite unexpected. In the end, I think all Mark’s folks were thrown into the “vortex” by the angels, but as I mentioned, he delayed the angels long enough that order was restored to the galaxy, universe, or other large timey-wimey place.
Though I was remiss in capturing them in electrons, Dave ran a series of Look, Sarge, No Charts demonstration games, both Napoleonic and fantasy, all day on Friday. His final Napoleonic game lasted until one in the morning.
Typically Greg attracts all the females at a convention for his Dr. Who games. He has the HAWKs title of Lord Admiral High Priest Babe Magnet Potentate. At Cold Wars 15, however, it was clear that Greg’s chick-Fu is now weak, and David Schlegel has wrested the Lord Admiral high Priest Babe Magnet Potentate title from him. David’s games were full of females from ages 8 to 48. Apparently all these women and girls really wanted to be the heroine from the Hunger games more that one of the Doctor’s companions. What women David didn’t attract ended up in Duncan’s game or Eric’s games.
Our big Fate of Battle game for Cold Wars was the 1814 attack on Paris by the Russians and Prussian. Duncan, Chris, Dave, and I worked on a piece of the centerpiece terrain element: the Montmartre Heights. Jennifer thought the mountain was uninspiring and “eh,” but we were proud of it.
While the French fought a delaying action on their right flank, the main action took place on the heights. Due to overwhelming numbers and really poor French artillery marksmanship, the Prussians and Russians swarmed up the hill.
Patrick, the commander of the division defending the heights failed both his unit’s morale and his player morale. After a “dressing down” from the overall French commander, Patrick held the heights. Everyone predicted an allied victory; however, within the next three turns, all but two allied brigades failed morale and scurried back down the slopes.
Though one Prussian unit remained on the heights, I judged the game a French victory. For those folks who argue that war-games emphasize casualties more than morale, this was a battle that turned on morale. All the players had a good time.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch…
… Daniel Boone was captured by the French…
… the Scarlet Pimpernel threw the French authorities into a tizzy…
… angry people bashed each other with swords and pointy sticks…
… and everyone came to Schlegel’s Ferry, including Nazis, space aliens, the adventure party from the Hobbit, Charlie Brown, and gangsters.
We had a brief lull in the action as the HAWKs gathered around the Elven Capital for dinner. We took this opportunity for Sam Fuson to present some mementos to the members of the HAWKs to supporting the 114th Signal Senior Leader Professional Development event mentioned in a previous blog posting.
Those HAWKs for whom this was their first SLPD event received battalion challenge coins. Those who have supported multiple events received a battalion coffee mug.
The kind gesture was appreciated by all recipients.
My fourth event of the convention was a reprise of the Paris 1814 game, but with Elves substituted for French and a variety of fanciful creatures substituting for the Prussians and Russians.
The elves successfully defended their capital.
While the orcs, goblins, spiders, dwarves, giant ants, and other assorted creatures was assaulting the Elves, Ed and Sam were running a modern game with Ed’s home rules. Jim said later that he really enjoyed the game and the rules. It was the first time the Americans won this game, I’ve been told.
Sunday morning I ran my 54mm chariot race game using Roman Circus rules. There was a SNAFU with the convention hotel — again. This time, they kicked us out of our room early, so we had to pick up all our gear and move to another room in time to start our games. While I was watching four of six chariots crash, Duncan ran his Charted Seas game and Don ran a pickup game of Saga for a bunch of West Point cadets.
Attendance was off due to Thursday’s storm. The dealer hall seemed empty all weekend. I’m sure a bunch of dealers were very unhappy. In the past it has been hard to get to the Old Glory booth, for instance, but many time I passed it was empty. I did my part to stimulate the economy, partaking in a convention special on Middle Eastern buildings from Miniature Building Authority, some roads and trees from Battlefield Terrain Concepts, and other odds and ends. Dave did his part too, by hauling a bunch of stuff away from the flea market.
I enjoyed Cold Wars. The past couple of HMGS East conventions I didn’t enjoy. Whether it was a bunch of recalcitrant players lousing up a game, not being able to find what I came to get in the dealer hall, or something else, the last few were starting to make me think that I should cut back on convention attendance. All of my games went well (although a little more play testing would have made the fantasy game on Saturday a little better) and there were no spoiled sport players, so I really enjoyed game mastering. There was enough white space that I had plenty of time to wander around looking at stuff I didn’t need and socialize with the other HAWKs. A handful of folks I hadn’t seen in quite a while, including Patrick one of the early HAWKs, were there, which was pleasant. I would have liked to run my G.A.M.E.R. event Thursday night for a few folks who haven’t had a chance to try the game yet, but otherwise, I had an excellent time.