Sunday, July 28, 2013

Historicon 2013: Saturday

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2013-07-20 08.53.19, a photo by The Gonk on Flickr.
Stayed up late again, got up early again. Still, no real plan. I wandered around looking at the games, and fortunately was able to hop into one of the best looking games at Historicon-- a speculative game of the Battle of Fort DeRussy, an ACW Brother Against Brother game.

S-221 Fort DeRussy, Louisiana - March 14, 1864
American Civil War; 9 AM; Length: 5 hrs; Hosted by: John McConnell; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Brother Against Brother (Modified); No. of Players: 12.
A small Confederate garrison of holds the fortification known as Fort DeRussy in front of a much larger Union force at the start of the Red River Campaign. Just a few weeks later, this same Union army will be defeated at the battle of Mansfield. What if the Confederates had moved a little quicker, and the Union army a little slower, and instead the two armies fought over possession of the fort? Under 15 permitted with an Adult.
I, unfortunately, didn't take as many pictures of this beautiful game as I should have, but you will have no problem finding others. This huge, fun, beautiful game really stood out.
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To facilitate such a large game, the GMs had made a pretty simple rules modification. Instead of an activation card per unit, they had Union/Confederate Red/White/Blue/Green. When a side/color combination was called, everybody typically had a unit designated by that color to activate. It worked really well. The game was large but went reasonably quickly.

I came out of it a tad discouraged, through no fault of this great game. I have been poking at 40mm FIW for quite a while. I own both This Very Ground and Brother Against Brother to play with them some day. Yet both rules left me a bit unsatisfied this con. I had fun with both and would definitely play both again! But I wondered about the fairness of TVG, and BAB was really written for a much larger figure count than I would be putting on the table any time soon. But, the con wasn't over quite yet. After taking an easy lunch and lounging around the con a bit, I secured a spot in:

S-279 Muskets & Tomahawks: Battle of Bloody Run 1763
French & Indian War; 6 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Thomas Keegan; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Muskets & Tomahawks; No. of Players: 6.
In the pre-dawn hours of July 31, 1763 Captain Dalyell sallied from the besieged Fort Detroit to punish the insolence of the Native Americans by burning their villages. Pontiac, well aware of the British plans, lay in wait for the overconfident attackers, eager to fulfill a prophecy that the British would be driven from America. Will Bloody Run flow with British or Native American blood?

More Pontiac's Rebellion anniversary gaming!

I have held Musket & Tomahawks in my hands repeatedly. It's from the maker of Saga, which I enjoy, although they are altogether different games. It's just $40 for the rules, for a game I most likely won't play any time soon! 40mm FIW is definitely one of those "someday" games. I get the figures out and paint a unit every now and then, when the whim strikes. $40 for yet another set of rules I won't play is just a waste.

And yet...they gave a really great game. I have usually disliked spotting rules, but I thought they worked well here. My Light Infantry could not see the natives in the woods until they were right on top of me! Not just that, but the figure count wasn't really out of line with what I could reasonable accomplish, even in 40mm. And, I probably had half the figures for this very scenario right now! I came out of this game stoked up and ready to buy M&T and a bunch of Sash and Sabre!

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My two Light Infantry and two dummy markers skulk through the corn fields, providing flank security to the regulars marching up the road towards the Indian village.

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All the irregular units started as hidden markers, which made spotting even that much more difficult.

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The Light Infantry take cover along a wall and wait for things to develop. Pontiac sneaks to the forest edge and his braves fire a desultory volley. The lights return a statistically highly improbable roll and Pontiac's braves evaporate.

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Like Last of the Mohicans, the natives burst from the woods and fall upon the regulars. Fighting was tough, but the regulars manage to hold their own. Roger's Rangers received some cold revenge from the FIW with only Roger himself returning to tell the tale.

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The spotting table. Simple and deterministic, I liked it.

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In the end, neither side had achieved their primary objectives. Each player had a secondary objective, and the Brits pulled out a narrow victory based on scoring those. Tom, the GM, has his own write up of the game here. Draw?!!? What?!?! It was CLEARLY the Brits by a nose. Harrumph...

Fortunately, the dealer hall had closed by the time this game had ended. I dithered the next morning about swinging by the hall on the way out of town and at least picking up M&T, but in the end, declined. I need to get more figures painted. I have about 40 more figures left from the initial purchase, wow...possibly 2007. Possibly even before. Wow, time flies when you get old.


  1. You got to play in a couple of super looking games, Andy, and it sounds like the games were as good as the tables look!

    1. Yes, I took it a bit easier this year, playing in five games versus nine last year, but they were quality games and I was satisfied.

  2. I was there to see your Ironclads in action. Beautiful! How did you model your river though. Is that clear plastic on a wood table or is there something underneath it? Thanks and again well done...

    1. The river is a mottled red brown felt oversprayed with multiple colors of brown/tan spray paint, creating an illusion of depth (or at least trying to) by spraying the middle darker than the sides. Over top of that is a sheet of thick plastic sheet to give it a nice smooth glossy surface. John Mc. (using wife's account!)