Saturday, July 21, 2012

Historicon 2012, Friday

We are having a BLAST at Historicon.  I cam with a friend of mine, both of our wives and my son. All of us are having a tremendous time - we're already planning to attend next year. Some of the games I've played in have been the closest, epic gaming I've ever done. Some pics and thoughts after the jump.

Fireball Forward

My buddy and I got our start in wargaming with WW2 using Crossfire.  We really enjoyed it, but thought the rules needed a little tweaking. I also wanted a little more out of the tank rules, but after waiting for years to see some sort of update, we've given up and are looking for a new WW2 rules set. There are tons of Fireball Forward demo games being run, so we decided to give it a shot.  Wanting to see how the tank rules perform we picked a North Africa scenario: 17 panzers racing to break through a thin line held by a meager 9 British Cruisers acting as a rear guard.

As one of the British players I spent the entire game on the edge of my sear.  My crummy Cruisers were no match for the Panzer IIIs and IVs bearing down on us, and the light Panzer IIs were a dangerously close to swinging around our flanks. The tank rules were simple bu just detailed enough to give each tank type its own character.  There were little extra rules that added some chrome - variable range on tank guns based on the attack roll, the chance of running out of ammo or getting a gun jam, considerations for moving.

The scenario we played was perfectly tuned. It was a tense battle throughout, but with some VERY lucky die rolls the British were able to knock out a number of panzers before scooting their remaining three tanks off the board edge, their mission complete.

No kidding, this was one of the best games I've ever played. We instantly became huge fans of Fireball Forward, and are hoping to get into another game before the con is over.

More War Games at Historicon

I played other games (including a demo of Bolt Action which was available at the con) and took snaps of a number of others.

Fanticide (?), a fantasy skirmish run by Architects of War that incorporates fantasy terrain features.

Hail Caesar.

Disappointed I couldn't get a chance to command those elephants!

Sharpe Practice

Sharpe Practice.

Command and Colors Samurai

Dungeon Conquest - Tribute to Dave Arneson

The last game we played of the day was going to be a fun little dungeon crawl my pal Mike was looking forward to.  I like to concentrate on historical games at Historicon, but I play everything and really love the old school Dungeons and Dragons rules.  I was happy to try out a fun little beer and pretzels game to finish off the day.

Three teams of four players each selected a character and began in opposite wings of a large cavern dungeon.  Our goal was to make our way through the cavern, collecting three "key crystals" which would teleport us to the final chamber where we would need to claim two ruby gems from the eyes of a demonic statue, all the while being attacked by nefarious dungeon denizens.

Our party.  My wizard is on the right :)

We begin to make our way into the caverns.
The cavern complex. The final chamber awaits us in the upper right of the photo.

Our party made our way through the cavern, slaying monsters, destroying their crystal pylons and collecting our stones. As we got deeper into the dungeon, we started skirmishing with the other teams who were also in pursuit of the jeweled eyes, and in no mood to see us snatch them away.  Luckily, our team got our keys first and teleported to the final chamber with another team in hot pursuit.

Two teams face off in the final chamber

Blue wizard blocks the door against 8 enemy players. 

The final chamber became the site of the most epic fantasy battle I've ever played.  Our two teams were locked in combat with each other, while the dungeon denizens raised a wall of fire to keep us at bay to summon more monsters to the final chamber.

Our team managed to slay the bulk of the other team in the chamber, which only resulted in both teams joining forces to stop us! Our meager band of four now had to contend with 8 other players, plus the enemy monsters run by 4 GMs. Yikes!

We had to pull every trick in the book out to survive. Our fighter made a suicide charge to delay the enemy teams! The wizard held another critical doorway by himself (yes, the wizard acted as a meat shield). The cleric suddenly saw an opening to dash to the demonic statue to pry out one of the two eyes we needed! As our team members fell under the onslaught fo the enemy teams and lizardmen guardians our final character, a paladin was only steps away from victory. With a tricky gambit involving a Ring of the Ram and voluntarily failed save, the paladin found himself pushed directly to the statue to pry out the final stone and claiming victory. It was nuts!

Our cleric prying one of the eyes from the statue,

Our paladin pries the last gem out, flanked by a silenced lich, a horde of enemies just out of frame.

Ok, maybe you had to be there. But that game required more brain power and effort than I've applied to a game in, maybe, ever.  Great game, great GMs, great players, truly one of the best gaming experiences I've had. So yes, I'm sure there are some purists who'd turn up their nose at a dungeon crawl at Historicon, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.



  1. I'm sorry you couldn't get a chance for Hail Caesar but glad you enjoyed the con

    Perhaps I can stage the battle again in MD and you can come and "drive the Ellies!"


  2. Thanks Miles! I'd love to have a chance to get in a 'make-up' game of Hail Caesar. Let me know if you schedule a game!