Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Historicon 2014: Final Post & Review

 Running my games and a few unexpected business calls took up most of Thursday and Friday for me at the Con.  Saturday I played in the Bolt Action tournament (going 2 and 1, which is good for me).    One of the big events at Historicon was the debut of All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQMF).  The first picture shows my painted stuff which I let Ernie borrow to use at his display table in the Vendor Hall.  They are now very seasoned mini's as dozens of games were played with them.

 Why did I need to lend my minis' to Ernie?  Because all of his stuff was committed for the 5, 20 person demo games of AQMF that his crew ran at the con.  The theme of the game was the "Battle of Memphis" with the humans trying to keep the Martians from entering the city.  They did have one of the massive Land Ironclads to help defend it!  The games were a hoot to watch and a testament to the ruleset as players were able to effectively run the game after the first turn or two.  It was also great to see the wide age range of players from deadly dice throwing nine year olds contesting the battlefield with 60+ year old codgers - a grand time was had by all.

 One of the amazing things about this game is that Ernie personally built and painted all the minis and terrain used in under a month!  The walls of Memphis existed as only sheets of foam board just a few days before the con - amazing stuff.

The crew from Alien Dungeon/Architec of War did a superb job of running the game - hat's off to Ed and the rest of the team for a superb gaming experience!
 Obligatory shot of the Wargames Illustrated demo game themed on the Irish rebellion in 1798.  Being if Irish descent I kept wanting to give the Irish side a few Martian Tripods or some  regiments from my Union ACW Irish Brigade but the GM would have none of that...

 A great looking naval game of which I didn't get the name.  Unfortunately, I spent most of my time gawking and not taking pictures so I don't have a lot to show of other peoples games.  Never-the-less, there were a lot of great games and I've learned even more about staging games from watching people like Bob Giglio, who has got convention GM'ng down to a science.  Bob ran a fantastic Philippines revolt game next to one of mine and I learned a lot just watching him do his thing.

 Almost all of Saturday was devoted to Stephan's (Captn' TO) Bolt Action tournament.  But before talking about the tournament, I think I need to touch upon a more somber note - the ravages of "Pre-Tournament Gamer Stress" or PTGS as it may be referred to in in medical journals.  PTGS is the scourge of our hobby and even one of the Bolt Action world's "Gaming Titans" Dave D of the LRDG podcast fame can succumb to it's debilitating effects.  Examine the photographic evidence of how this mountain of a Australian man has been reduced to a quivering mass of jello, or worse - fallen to "Pom" status.  Perhaps even more shocking is the resistance that PTGS seems to have from the intensive alcohol treatment therapy that was administered to Dave the night before and through to 4:00am of the day of the tournament.  I find it very alarming that modern mixology science has yet to find a cure for PTGS.

Now with my public service announcement out of the way, the BA tournament was a blast - we have a great group of players in the Mid-Atlantic region and everyone of my games was a great experience.  I played Japanese again but added a tankette (Type 92) to my force and replaced the sniper with an infantry flame-thrower team.  It's a fun list to play.  My first game was against a Chindit / Gurkha list (think anti-japanese).  I was able to squeak out a win thanks to my bamboo spears taking out one Gurkha squad and opening up the right flank for my infantry to take the game objective.

My second game was against a Russian list that featured on Vehicle Flame Thrower and two infantry flame throwers plus a Katyusha Rocket launcher truck.  This was a great game and went down to the wire but, yet again, my Bamboo Spears managed to take out two Russian vet squads armed with flame throwers to tilt the game in my favor.  My third game was against Dave (pictured above) who had recovered, somewhat, from his PTGS and had a list of two Cromwells, two staghounds and 5 small infantry squads and a can of whoop ass (yes, a can of whoop was included on his army list, or at least should have been).  He was a great person to play with and lets just say he crushed me.  I went 2 and 1 for the tournament and had a great time.

Saturday evening involved the WWPD podcast, which always a good time and board games.  I learned how to play the card game "Love Letter" which is a blast and not as silly as the name sounds. OK, it may be that silly but it's really a good game.  Ummm, "How 'bout those Bears....."

Lastly, lets talk loot.  I went into the con not really looking to buy anything (I didn't need anything).  More-over, outside of FOW, I'm pretty much a 28mm scale gamer and modeler.

I did a great job keeping my discipline through Sunday morning having only picked up two 15mm sailing ships (a Brig and Xebec) from Thoroughbred Models "Sea Eagle" line.  Unfortunately, I decided to make a "quick" run through the vendor hall Sunday morning and all discipline went out the window and I emerged with the makings of an Ottoman Army for "By Fire and Sword", a finished fortified farm for the same game system.  A good bit of Sash and Saber 28mm ACW mini's and a FOW blister I won at the WWPD podcast - Just about everything I bought/won at the con was in 15mm so my next project is likely to be in that scale.  It's a toss up between building an army for By Fire and Sword or the Xebec with it's wonderful Lateen rigged sails.  Ahhh decisions, decisions....

As for the con - Overall I had a great time and definitely planned to go back next year.  The staff at HMGS made several improvements to the venue including adding carpeting to the main gaming area which reduced foot stress and helped measurably with the noise levels.  Another big improvement were the chairs.  The con seemed a little less crowded than previous events in Fredericksburg but I understand that attendance counts with HMGS is more art than science so I'll not wade into that debate.  The food in the convention center was still awful and high priced but there's little HMGS can do with the vendor who has the contract for the FCC (it's kind of a packaged deal).  With a Wegmans (top tier grocery store with a deli) next door it's really your own fault if you eat the convention food.

I'm looking forward to the next con (Fall In)!


Steven MacLauchlan said...

Great writeup!

Curt C said...

Wow! That looks to have been an amazing weekend Miles! Congrats on your game (it looked marvellous) and those new toys have the making of a few Challenge entries me thinks!

Paul oftheManCave said...

Sounds and looks brilliant Miles, and I'm glad you got the chance to play some games yourself after running those demos for others.

Once again AQMF looks fantastic and I continue to revet missing the Kickstarter while deployed to the Middle East!