Monday, January 9, 2012

Kinkkucon 2012: Miniatures gaming aplenty

Kinkkucon is a boardgames centric con in my hometown of Kuopio and is held each year in the first weekend of January (the one after new years'). It is dominated by eurogames and FFGames but there has always been a small group playing wargames and miniature games. I always complain that my lovingly painted miniatures are just buried in cardboard boxes and never see any play so I tried to remedy the situation this year. I ended up playing almost every miniature game I have in my inventory so I'd say I was succesful.


The convention started on thursday and most of my afternoon was spent hauling boxes and boxes of miniatures and terrain to the convention site and trying to put them in a safe place. Luckily the convention was in my hometown as I had a full carload of stuff and brought some more the next day. I did manage to squeeze in a game though.

Warhammer Quest has become something of a Kinkkucon tradition for me and a few friends, and we actually had a living party from last Kinkkucon to continue our adventures with. For those of you who don't know, WHQ is a classic dungeon crawling game from the 90's, made by Games Workshop. It is a continued development from HeroQuest, of which I'm sure everybody should have at least heard legends about. WHQ is good fun. It is very difficult on the lower level characters and most adventures we've had at Kinkkucon have ended in partywipe and a victory for the Dungeon of Doom. The game is also notoriously random and known for the utterly broken campaign rules, but I have a soft spot for the game and it gives me the excuse to paint a few fantasy figures every now and then without the need to commit to a larger project. This time I spent friday morning painting the Chaos Warrior character of one of the party members. The same Character who has now stacked enough non-magical armor so that average enemies can't touch him and minotaurs will have a hard time scratching him. *sigh*
It came out ok for a quick morning paintjob, even though I couldn't get the highlight on the helmet to look remotely ok. I got the chance to test out the GW snow thing, which is basically short strand white static grass. Viewed from a distance it looks like a nice, fluffy coat of snow, and can be used to do simple snow bases really quick.


On friday I got to play some more of GW's minor games. First, I played a couple of games of Space Hulk. After Blood Bowl, I think this is my favourite of the GW "Specialist games" because of the ease of play and the quick, adrenaline filled atmospehere. I own the first and third editions of the game and this was the first time I played the third edition with a completely painted set. I played Alarm Call with two different opponents. The first was against an experienced hulk player as the marines. I failed quite quickly and the match took about 10 minutes or so. After the match I noticed the librarian has some rather useful spells I could have used, but I didn't remember to use them. My mind was attuned to 1st edition Deathwing when the librarian could only use force points to augment close assault.

The second match was against a new player. I took the opportunity to teach the rules to a new player as the game was still set up, and although Alarm Call is hardly an introductory scenario, my opponent played a fantastic game. He lost half of his team in the early stages, but the librarian and the sergeant of the team hung on, trying to complete the mission to revive fellow marines and escort them off table.

The blood angels move back-to-back in search of fallen comrades.
The last required marine is woken, but the genestealers are rushing in from every direction.

He woke up the requisite last marine and made his way towards the exit. At this point I had lots and lots of blips on board and thought he'd have no chance to survive. Boy was I wrong! By blocking his rear with a psychic barrier and thus preventing the genestealers attacking from behind, he concentrated on the way out. I had a huge horde of genestealers to throw at him and throw them I did. On one turn, I think the librarian shot 6 genestealers in a overwatch area of two squares and killed one in melee. On the second turn he failed overwatch but killed something like 7 genestealers in melee and I don't think he needed to spend a single force point! How's that for a probability anomaly? I was left quite humble and impressed.

The evening was spent playing Mordheim, GW's fantasy skirmish level game. Again I took the opportunity to teach the game to new players, and managed to get no less than six players on the same board. The warbands involved were Skaven, Undead, Reiklanders, Middenheimers, Dwarves and Beastmen. We had two teams of three fighting a king of the hill type scenario. It got a bit chaotic and confusing with so many warbands, but at least it worked as a good tutorial. The second game we played was with four warbands in two teams, and it was a better experience for multiplayer Mordheim. I got to play with the ruins I based some three or four years ago for the first time!

Middenheimers, Reiklanders, Skaven and Undead fight for the control of the village square.
 Oh yeah, I also played a quick game of Genial in the morning, just for logging purposes :)


Saturday was a big day for me as I hosted a Fire and Fury game with no less than 9 players. We played an almost complete first day of Gettysburg, which I'll discuss in detail in a separate post.


Still tired from the last day of gaming, me and my regular ASL opponent decided to play a small scenario,  s105: Going to Church. The name was appropriate and it gave us a chance to play with the british OOB I purchased last autumn. It was a simple scenario pitting elite canadians against the SS defending a church.

I played the SS and took the opportunity given by the scenario to split all my squads to half squads. The only downside was a reduced range but since the scenario called for the canadian to break all the multiman counters in the church, I reasoned it to be a smart move. The scenario states that the canal doesn't exist and that all hedges are treated as stone walls.
The Canadians cautiously advance to my LOS, but I hold fire, determined to hang on to my protective concealment as long as possible. The Canadians get in position to fire encirclement to my forward teams and make life difficult for them. I'm lucky with my interdiction rolls and manage to rout to the church unharmed.

The Canadians attempt to encircle the church from the north and catch some fire in the open ground.
With a solid morale value of 8 they easily cross and man the wall north of the church. I do a stinker of a move next turn and skulk my forces out of sight, only to advance them into defensive position later. This robs the canadians a chance to shoot with most of their forces. It's a gamey move but hey, my opponent pulled the same trick on me once before. Payback!
On the last turn the Canadians try to overwhelm the defenders but as the SS had only lost one half-squad before that, the attempt was doomed to fail.

The match went poorly for the Canadians and we were left with a feeling that the scenario isn't balanced. It was a nice little game and now that I think of it, I think it was the first game we've played when we hardly needed to touch the rulebook. It was a good game to finish Kinkkucon and head home after that.

Overall, I was very happy with the games I got to play and I thank the organizers for the opportunity to play in a con without having to travel hundreds of kilometres!

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