Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Historicon 2014 AAR

Once again I had the opportunity to attend Historicon this year thanks to my lovely wife who had our two kids to herself for the weekend.  I did end up coming home early due to one of them getting sick but that's another story.

I showed up on Thursday morning and had a brief tour of the dealer hall before attending Warmaes' Illustrated's Battle of Arklow 1798 game hosted by the extremely knowledgeable and friendly Duncan MacFarlane.  We played using the Black Powder rules, which are a "roll to activate" system where your troops don't always do what you want.

Naturally being of almost 100% Irish descent I chose the Irish side.  The situation was a three-sided assault on the town of Arklow by at least 10,000 Irish rebels, who were primarily armed with pikes, against a few thousand British (actually mostly Irish in British service as described by Duncan) well armed with muskets and holding some very defensible terrain.

This game lasted for four hours and for quite a long part of that time the four brigades on the hill (two commanded by yours truly) did not advance very quickly.  The Irish in the center were repulsed while further down the table the other flanking force was also delayed.  Ultimately we broke the British lines and put heavy pressure on the bridge leasing in the direction of Dublin but could not secure it and thus the game ended in a British victory, albeit one with significantly higher British casualties than the historical battle.

My brigade deploys

 The British position at start.

Nice hats.

Three brigades advancing.  

The center brigades storm the British lines.

This flank looks open but the Irish are too slow to take advantage. 

The bridge leading to Dublin and freedom for Eire.  

 Duncan points out that horses are rubbish against pikes. 

Heavy Irish casualties in the center.

My brigades are delayed by Scots in a hut.

 This brigade failed to move for 4 turns. 

Finally my fine boys are pushing over the bridge, which was a choke-point as the left side was entirely impassable.

Pressure develops on the bridge as British forces concentrate elsewhere.

Changing across the bridge for Erin dear. 

We finally break through to the road, but too late to affect the course of the battle.

The British outside the town are decisively flanked by Irish units.  But time ran out before we could seize the bridge and victory.

The Arklow game was certainly a gorgeous spectacle but quite frustrating for the Irish generals as we could not move our troops and the terrain was so difficult.  Many thanks to Duncan for all of his hard work and research!

On Thursday night I decide to play a game of 40k 7th edition with my friend the Consul and his son.  We played 1750 points and the first Maelstrom mission using the new objective cards.  COnsul and son played Tau and I played Black Legion per usual.

Initially I had little on the board...

...but some bad rolling kept my APCs alive!

Eventually the Chaos troops were able to seize more objective points and slay the Tau commander for a victory!

On Friday I ran the SAGA dark age skirmish game tournament.  It consisted of 4 rounds and allowed players to drop in and out, which was odd but I handled it as a Swiss tournament otherwise, counting victories first and kill points, etc. as tie breakers.

We had about 14 players overall and a good mix of factions although we saw one from the Russo-centric supplement.

First round was Clash of Warlords, where you simply need to kill the enemy warlord to win.

Battle commences!

 I actually played the first round as a ringer, using Strathclyde Welsh against Vikings.  I was roughly handled when a mighty charge of my hearth-guard resulted in almost all of them dying.  none of my dirty tricks was enough to get me in a good position and after a desultory attack on the Viking warlord my own warlord was assassinated by a long-range charge of Viking hearth-guard.  

An intense discussion...

Second round was battle at the ford.  Yes we did terrain swaps between rounds!

Some impressive Bretons arrayed for battle.

Scots face Vikings.

As I did not play the other rounds, I was able to run a demo of SAGA in the interim for a few nice chaps. 

A big scrum for a small crossing.

One game came down to 6 models on the board!

Round 3 was Secure the Baggage a fight over three baggage units with one side trying to get them off the table and the other preventing that.  

Bretons with sheep plan a quick trot across the table.  The managed to create a corridor the Scots could not penetrate and ran away with the baggage, literally.  

Well painted Scots lined up to oppose them.  

 Round 4 was Sacred Ground...hold the key terrain pieces for victory!  On table 1 are the Bretons vs. some tough Vikings.

Scots again!

Franks on the advance.

Wait, are those unpainted bases?  -1 manliness point!

Another view of the Franks. 

Battle lines are joined!  Push!  Push!

Somehow I am missing pictures of the final game at the top table, but the Bretons pulled out a convincing victory by rushing the hills and racking up serious victory points.  The Vikings struck back hard, absolutely gutting the Breton forces, but it was not enough to overcome the Breton lead and Bretons took 1st place with 4 wins.

Generous prize support from Gripping Beast and the WWPD site ensured that all participants walked away with some loot!  Thanks so much to our sponsors and for everyone who came and played in the tournament. Also thanks very much to Eric Lauterbach who provided the bulk of the terrain, which made the tournament possible, and who allowed me to jump in as TO to keep the tournament going.
Overall it was a great event, sportsmanship was very good and a great time was had by all.

Dignified players.

 The mandatory Viking roar!

 Later on Friday night I got in another game of Saga, and then a game of Formula De as taught by the irrepressible Throckmorton of Throck of War and WWPD fame.  Formula De is an amusing race game invovling crashes, smashes, screwing your opponent, and much wailing and crying.  I crashed my car on the final turn of the course in a doomed attempt to get second place.  Good fun.

On Saturday I managed to sell everything I brought to the flea market (ok two books did not sell) and made a small amount of money.  I shockingly had little I wanted to buy at the dealer hall, settling on the new Dust rules and cards as well as a box of horse to fill out my Strathclyde Welsh ranks.  I think I spent less than I ever have at one of these cons.  Weird.  

I got a call from the wife on Fruday that my youngest had a fever, so I planned to come back Saturday night if he was not better.  Alas he did not get better, so I snuck in one more game of 40k against the Consul's Eldar before taking off around 8 pm.  Can you tell we like the new edition?

All in all, it was a great con although it was cut a little short for me.  I hope to hit another HMGS con soon.  


Jason said...

Thanks for running the Saga tournament. It was a good mix of scenarios and my Scots and I had a good time.

Tom Keegan said...

Sorry I missed the SAGA tourney. I should be able to run it again for Fall In.

DeanM said...

Wow that Black Powder game looked fantastic.

Steven MacLauchlan said...

It was great seeing you, hope the little one is all better!