Tag Archives: Wargaming

Historicon 2018

I attended Historicon in Lancaster Pennsylvania Thursday 12 July through Sunday 15 July. What follows is a short wrap-up of this year’s experience.

Thursday

I decided this year that I would leave after work rather than take the day off. That was a bad idea. I didn’t leave until 1530 and hit some bad traffic on 15 outside of Leesburg. After that the traffic cleared up a bit, but it still added an hour to my trip.

I rolled in to Lancaster and checked it at the Hilton Tru next door. If you haven’t stayed, it’s a good place. It’s new, has good breakfast in the morning, decent board gaming space in the lobby and it’s a very easy walk to the Host.

I then made my way over to the Host to catch up with some friends. I thought I was too late to get my badge, but one of the helpful HMGS staff showed me a computer in the lobby where I could print my own. After turning up the brightness on my phone, the QR scanner worked and my badge printed out – easy as pie.

Figuring that because the game I was running started at 1000 I may be able to get away with setting up and leaving it overnight, but someone had a pick-up game going on so I decided I’d have plenty of time in the AM. Actually there were quite a few games going on in the Distlefink Thursday night which was great to see.

Ed and Caleb were hanging out in the Tournament Room playing GMT’s Twilight Struggle. I caught up with them, we had a few beers and then went out for late night dinner. Afterward we just called it a night and hit the sack.

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All Packed Up

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The Coldest War

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The Tournament Room

Friday

I woke fairly early Friday morning, grabbed breakfast at the hotel and took a quick shower, then drove over to the Host. Most of my morning was spent taking a leisurely approach to setting up for my game at 1000. I did have the great pleasure of meeting Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies while setting up my game, and he didn’t disappoint.

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Waxing Philosophic

This year I decided to get out of my comfort zone and instead of running WWII games of Chain of Command, I ran games of Sharp Practice set in the French and Indian War. The scenarios were titled “The Rescue of Marguerite Boudreaux”. Here’s the write-up I submitted:

Marguerite Boudreaux has been captured by the British and is being held at a settlement on the banks of the Sinnemahoning River. Her father, the Magistrate Loring Boudreaux, has been able to convince the commander of a nearby trapping outpost that forming a rescue party would be in his best interests. Will the French be able to rescue and return Marguerite, or will the British reaction force foil their plans and retain their hostage?

I knew that all of my pre-registration tickets for this session were gone, but I only had three players show. Fortunately I had an alternate as a walk-up, so game on. The French did well as they were able to route the British force off the board. It was a really great group of players, and I had a great time. I made some minor mistakes with the rules, but it happens.

Afterward I had a large cadre (thanks lads) help me clean up, and then a small group of us “American Lardies” and Richard went to lunch across the street at the Lancaster Brewing Company. Lunch ran long, so when we returned I made my first trip to the dealer’s hall and made my only purchases of the weekend. I picked up some animals from Iron Wind for a friend and grabbed the Empress Cross of Iron character set from Age of Glory.

Later that night we were able to play in Patrick’s large early war What a Tanker game. I ran a Panhard 178 and decided that I would use it like an actual recon vehicle and proceed forward until shot at. I did exactly that and drew fire – a lot of it, helping to expose the flanks of quite a few Hun vehicles. Unfortunately the French were not rolling well and no one was able to take advantage of my foolhardy bravery. I lasted longer than expected, but brewed up none the less. Patrick had a nice bottle of whiskey which helped my emotional distress. Afterward we strolled back to the Tru and called it a night.

Saturday

I slept in a little on Saturday but not too late as I had a game scheduled for 1000 again. I set up early(ish) as usual and waited for my players to show up. According to preregistration my game was full, and at 1000 there were 4 people waiting and one alternate. I had turned the alternate away (I know, I’m a bad GM for not squeezing people in…) but then two of the player’s noted that the tickets they had (which were not from prereg but picked up that morning) were for a different game. All of us were somewhat confused, but we decided to do a five-player affair which worked out fine.

I was fortunate enough to have another great group and this time the British won. I know the sample size is small, but I’m calling it a perfectly balanced scenario. Much to my surprise as always, I received another PELA award for my efforts. I’m always super humbled by these and very much appreciate the efforts of HMGS and the volunteer judges. As a bonus, I got a total kick-ass HMGS lanyard/badge holder.

Once again I was helped quite a bit with my clean up, and then just wandered around a bit socializing and checking out other games. Here’s a shot of Ed Leland’s excellent Eastern Front Chain of Command game.

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Stunning

I then caught up with Caleb and we headed to the bar for a drink. Not my plan, but that’s where we ended up for the rest of the evening chatting with friends new and old. We then went across the street for late night chow and called it a night.

Sunday

Woke up fairly early again and packed the car for the return trip. We met up over at the Dealer’s Hall for one more quick pass, but I was in somewhat of an alcohol rebound haze. I had been debating whether I wanted to start an Eastern Front project for Chain of Command or do pirates for Sharp Practice (spoiler alert – pirates won) but I couldn’t commit to purchasing anything so I just got on the road and headed home.

Overall, this was my favorite HMGS convention to date. I think part of that has to do with hitting my stride as a GM. I’ve learned to manage games better and also that I should only run one game per day. I get exhausted trying to tackle more. Also I’m very glad that I fell in with the guys from “Lard America”. They really are a super bunch and I enjoy their company greatly. Maybe with some luck we’ll have club status by Fall In!.

I feel obligated to comment on the Host. Clearly the new ownership is working on improvements, however this time it seemed like more WIP was going on than at Cold Wars. I noticed marked improvements at CW, but other than the cranking AC not much for HCon. That said, I’m pretty easy to please so I have no real issues with the venue.

 

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(First Annual?) Lard Luau

For Father’s Day this year my wife gifted me a “Day of Lard”. We rented the clubhouse in our community and several friends and myself played some Too Fat Lardies games, ate great chow and drank great beer. We then headed to our house for dinner and some late evening What a Tanker.

Overall I think is was a huge success, and there are other smaller regional “Lard Days” being planned. Hopefully others felt the same and we’ll do it again next year.

Here are a few pictures of the “Hell’s Highway” CoC game and Ed B’s excellent AWI Sharp Practice game. Next time we’ll document it better.

 


June Workbench Roundup

Another month of “I’ll just work on whatever”. Results follow.

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Girder Bridge – Warbases

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Giant Crocodile – Unknown

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Hard Suit – Lead Bones

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Exotic Idol w/tea light – Reaper

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Headless Hessian – Gorgon Studios

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Terror Bird – Iron Wind Metals

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Aztec Seer – Dragon Bait Miniatures

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Windmill – 4Ground

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Sd.Kfz. 222 – Blitzkrieg Miniatures

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Lebowski Crew – Impact! Miniatures

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German Flamethrower – Warlord, German Sniper – Artizan, German Flamethrower – Warlord

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Household Staff – Artizan

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Sister Maria – Reaper

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Werewolf – Otherworld Miniatures

 


May Workbench Roundup

With no looming GM deadline until July, I decided to work on whatever struck my fancy this month. Here’s my scatterbrained results.

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A Warlord Panhard 178 to replace my existing one from Army Group North. The AGN one has an integrated base that I was never quite pleased with.

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A Jump Off Point, Force Morale Trackers and Patrol Markers for my Early War French.

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Some plastic canoes from a child’s play set for my FIW Sharp Practice games at Historicon.

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An Abomination from the old Carnevale line.

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A scratch-built Woodland Indian smoking rack, again for my Historicon games.

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Generic hedge gate from Warbases.

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I think the small dinosaur is either from Iron Wind or Reaper and the Owlbear is from Otherworld.

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Late war German Panzerschreck team from Warlord.

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Some late war German NCOs from Victory Force and Warlord.

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An early war MG34 team from Warlord.

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Medusa from Otherworld, a Celtic Druid from Gorgon Studios and a zombie-thingy from maybe Reaper(?).

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Artizan pulp Russians.

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A murder of crows from Reaper – my first piece for Legends of the High Seas.


Early War French – Completed

Lately I’ve been trying to finish up my WWII platoons that are in a partially finished state, so I started with some low hanging fruit by completing my Early War French. By “completed” I mean that I have no unpainted French left in the house. I’d like to add in some motorcycles now that they are available, but I digress. Here’s a photo dump.


French Harbor Town – Part IX

So finally I finished up the impetus for this project – the Brigade Games U Boat.

Being a gaming piece first and foremost I wanted it to be easy to store and transport, so decided to not go overboard (see what I did there) with the detail. I made the decision early on to leave it as a three piece affair and to magnetize as many pieces as possible.

The kit came with a single 20mm, the 8.8cm deck gun, two periscopes, an UZO pedestal and the posts for the railing at the aft of the conning tower. Surprisingly missing were the iconic (to me) horseshoe shaped life rings. I was able to find some 1/48th scale ones on Shapeways along with a more detailed UZO and a circular range finder.

Assembly of the guns was pretty straight forward, and I magnetized the bases of these along with the periscopes and the UZO. I then used some solder to create the aft railing. I affixed the life rings but decided to leave off the RF antenna. It was housed in a box and I didn’t want to sacrifice any more real estate in the conning tower as I wanted to cram some based figures in there.

After that it was a matter of firing up the airbrush and giving it a coat of paint. The markings are hand painted and are my interpretation of the U-201 coat of arms and snowmen.

Additionally I scabbed together a couple of gangplanks from basswood strips. The rubber dinghy is from Bandai and the supplies are from the scrap box.

Finally I’ll put the finishing touches on the figures for the orders of battle and gin up a few play aids.


French Harbor Town – Part VIII

We finally had a short break in the weather, so I was able to fire up the airbrush and finish the Opel Blitz and the sea wall. The truck is from Rubicon and built straight from the box.

I created the sea wall by 3D printing the stone cap pieces which I then affixed to lengths of 90 degree angled styrene. I then created the wall by cutting sections of G-scale corrugated sheet and gluing them to the angled pieces. The backside of the plastic sheeting had the shape I wanted for the wall corrugations. The dock cleats are an O-scale model railroading product. I may circle back and airbrush the stonework a bit more if I have enough time.

Up next I’ll start working on the U Boat.


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