Monday, September 12, 2011

Battle of Port Republic and Warcon 2011

Last weekend I was at a wargames convention in Helsinki. Boardgaming is a popular hobby in Finland and wargaming has so far been a small part of the conventions held by the finnish boardgames association SLS. The first convention for wargames specifically was held last year, so Warcon is still in the process of establishing itself as a yearly event. There still wasn't much of a crowd but I'm sure once the event cements itself into the calendar of the gamers around Finland it will become popular. SLS managed to secure support from GMT games and they were most kind to send some copies of Manoeuvre and Command & Colors games to help promote the genre here.

I took part by arranging a small demo table to promote historical miniatures wargaming. I made a small table for the Battle of Port Republic, fought during the American Civil War. The rules used were the original Fire & Fury rules and the miniatures were 6mm figures from Baccus. I was quite pleased with the table and although I did only one demo game during the weekend, there was a lot of interest in the spectacle. Here's some pics:

The table is 100 cm * 120 cm. Small, but in 6mm, it encompasses the same area a large 28mm game would.
A union division holds the northern half of the field.
Jackson sends the Stonewall Brigade against a force which outnumbers them. Will Ewell arrive in time to reinforce?

The detailed resin buildings by total battle miniatures really add to the visuals.
The battle heats up as the confederate reinforcements arrive. The union division found itself outnumbered and was routed. Note how different the colours look like in the picture with a different white balance setting in the camera. I think I prefer the previous pictures. This one's too yellow.

Apart from miniatures gaming I also got a good dose of wargames which fit in a small box. I started off with Attack Sub, and Avalon Hill oldie, which was a light card game set in the not-so-distant future when the cold war erupts into open naval conflict between USA and the Soviet Union. It was a fun filler game, although not a very deep simulation.

In Attack Sub, players try and get a better contact to enemy vessels while reducing their contact to his. Then it's torpedo time!
Then I played a game of the new Sid Meier's Civilization game. Not a wargame really, but I like Civ games so I was interested. It does capture the essence of the computer games but it's too optimization heavy for me, and I don't think the victory conditions are balanced.
Next up was Commands & Colors: Napoleonics, my second play of this C&C game. I kind of like what it adds to the series but in the end it's still the same old C&C. I was in a losing position tactically but I managed to win the game with a couple of lucky rolls. Like Memoir '44, it is a game of chance in the end.
My saturday ended with a game of War of 1812, which I keep around to teach new players how to play block games. My opponent was no newbie though and I ended up losing with the british.

Nothing Gained But Glory
On sunday, I was in for a treat. I have been trying to get a game of the Musket & Pike series on the table for years, but I've had trouble finding the opportunity or the opponent. Now I had both, and I had recently bought Nothing Gained But Glory for its smaller scenarios to teach myself the system with. The scenario was the Battle of Warksow, fought between the swedes and a coalition led by the danish sometime in the 1600's. I couldn't find anything on the battle from the Internet with a quick google, so I suppose the designers have been spending time doing their homework in the svensk krigsarkivet.

Musket & Pike didn't disappoint. Once we got the game flowing, the rules were quick to learn and we didn't do that many mistakes with them. Learning how to use the forces available properly is a different matter altogether. I think the game was mostly about both players doing magnificent yet poorly planned cavalry charges and having our cavalry wings scattered in the four winds. This time the swedish lost, but it was partially due to forgetting to use a paralyzing rule on the danish after their general was wiped out in an aforementioned cavalry charge. Still, it was good fun and I'm happy I own two boxes of the series now.

The battle of Warksow took up my sunday and after that it was time to pack up and come back home. A fun weekend and it was nice to meet people who aren't afraid to play wargames (it feels like many boardgamers have an allergy for hexes and counters). Here's a few pictures I took from the games.

Normandy '44
C&C: Ancients tournament in progress.

Crusader Rex

Race for the Galaxy. Guys, that is a multiplayer solitaire game, it's definitely not a wargame!

A prototype of.. something.

Hannibal is at it again.

Some game I've never heard of before.

A Game of Thrones
Twilight Struggle was popular.

Alone in a crowd: Steel Wolves, the solitaire naval wargame

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