August 27th, 28th, and 29th 1999 I was down in Seattle, WA for the DragonFlight convention, held on Seattle University’s parklike campus just east of downtown Seattle. I had a great time, shot most of a roll of film, and wish I’d shot more. Here’s the best of the photos, and some notes on the games.
Friday 27th: Registration was only mildly chaotic; I was able to get my con package fairly quickly, to find that all four games I’d requested had been open, so I was in.
That afternoon, the game was Circus Maximus, chariot racing in ancient Rome’s hippodrome, with 15mm chariots on a spectacular big wooden track.
The game had about a dozen of us playing, all GM’d by Ken Cassidy, who was also Miniatures Co-ordinator. It was a great game – very tense, with high-speed turns, spectacular crashes, and lots of action. Too bad my chariot was one of the spectacular crashes – and on the last half of the last lap, too!
That evening, we went forward 2000 years or so, and got considerably damper… The American Civil War naval ruleset Smoke on the Water and a Mississippi River scenario GM’d by Greg Maggard entertained eight of us until nearly midnight.
Below, we have two of the traitorous Confederate captains (can you tell I commanded a Union ship?!?) and (under the hat) our long-suffering GM, Greg.
The game ended with a marginal Union victory, of sorts. All the ships were mauled, especially mine, which by game end was drifting downriver (into Reb territory, dammit!) burning and abandoned by her crew. Few of the other ships on the table were in much better shape, but the Rebs had come off worse – the Union still had one ship (the Essex) basically untouched.
The photo left shows the action on the Big Muddy, later in the game. My ship (the USS Cairo) is the burning ironclad in the center – I think the crew had abandoned her at this point. The USS Essex is the large grey ironclad on the far left, near the island (where it had run aground!), while the two ships behind mine are both Reb cottonclads, both mauled by my guns. The large two-stack ship to the right is a Union cottonclad, and the two burning ships tangled with her are Rebel rams. The other Union Cairo-class ironclad is half-visible to the far right.
To the right, a number of my fellow captains: 3 Union on the right, and one of the prefidious Rebs on the left.
Saturday: I started early, playing two games of Chipco’s Fantasy Rules! 2nd Edition. I also met a bunch of the guys from the Chipco-L email list, which was good. However, I didn’t get any photos of the FR! stuff. The first battle was against a first-time FR! player. He took my 1000pt Orc & Goblin army, vs a 1000pt Dwarf army. His goblins and orcs swarmed my valiant dwarves, but the dwarf gods were not smiling, and they were cut down in their steel boots. My opponent and I both enjoyed it, and what better way to introduce a new player to a game than to have him thrash you convincingly at it? A great fight…
The second FR! game was against an almost-new player to FR! – he’d only played once or twice. This time, I took my Medieval knightly army, and he had the Dwarves. The Dwarf gods had woken up by this time, it seems. Although I did major damage to one of his flanks with my charging knights and their footmen supporters, his formation was flexible enough to form a new flank, while his main line of tough Dwarven axemen mostly held against the knights. Another great game – although I do have to say that I really do win games sometimes! Honest!
That afternoon, I played a great game of Limeys & Slimeys – Pirates vs Royal Navy. “The Governor’s Daughter” was the scenario, GM’d by Bob Seagle – Admiral Bob! I was one of the RN ship captains, along with three others, versus four slimey pirate types, including Ken Cassidy.
This was a spectacular, visual game. The board was huge – it must have been 8′ wide by 12′ long. The shore and terrain were well done, especially the two pirate fortresses.
The ships, though, made the game. Lovely resin models, 8″ to 12″ long, most finished with masts, minimal rigging, and all equipped with crew, cannon, marines, and details. The three RN frigates (I commanded the HMS Enterprise) were about 10″ long, mounting 12 cannon – six per side. Of course, following my luck the whole convention, I got my ship sunk…
On the left, the RN troopship commander (in white) moves his three small vessels, while on the beach ahead of him his Marines are moving through the pirate village, with their landing craft left on the beach. Behind him, two pirate players look on – Ken in the ‘diplomacy’ t-shirt, and another gentlemen. (Except that pirates are never gentlemen!) Back on the table, the enourmous pirate vessel that entered after the RN is just visible to the far right – the unloaded troopships are chasing it along, while the three large RN frigates engage the three pirate ships in the bay.
To the right, the three RN fighting ships engage the pirate ships in the bay, as the pirate ships attempt to escape. My ship, Enterprise, is in the middle foreground, anchored and pounding broadsides down the bay. The RN ship behind mine is firing both broadsides, one into a moored pirate ship and one into the large fortress. The third RN ship, Adventure, is entering the bay to the left. By this point, the small pirate fort to the far left had been completely silenced by RN fire, all it’s crew killed. In the very back of the picture, you can see the Royal Marines advancing through the village, searching for pirates.
To the right, a good overview of most of the table, on the second to last turn of play. By this time, my ship had sunk, from a combination of pirate gunfire and running my stern into the rocks below the large fortress. My ship is visible (off table) just to the left of one of my fellow RN captains (in plaid shirt), who looks very pleased with himself. The gent to far right (in yellow) is the other RN fighting captain. (Gent in black to left is an interested bystander.) On table, the large pirate ship (with the sails) is on center stage, preparing to cravenly flee the field after doing the final damage to my poor ship. The RN Adventure is below the fortress, firing a broadside at the large pirate ship. Inside the bay, three pirate ships and one of the RN’s drift in a tangle. Boarding actions and gunnery have killed off almost all the pirate crews, but the RN ship has nearly struck her colors. Off the picture to the left, the Marines are embroiled in terrible struggle with scurvy pirates, taking casualties but generally coming off well. The remaining pirates are preparing to flee into the jungle, probably abandoning the Governor’s daughter before they flee.
A great time was had by all, I think. I’ll grab a chance to play this game again next year, if it’s offered. Thanks and congratulations to Adm. Bob for the event!
Sunday: There wasn’t anything on that really interested me, and I was getting a bit ‘conned-out’, so I spent Sunday prowling around Seattle – discovered some great second-hand bookstores in Pike St. Market, and discovered that ALL of Seattle’s games stores are way, way out of town, so I couldn’t get to them.
Overall: This was my first con, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to… but it seems fairly well organized, I had a bunch of great games, met a load of great people, and do plan to be back next year. Next year, look for a big, big FR! event from me – 2000pts and several players per side, or something. Better organized than this year, anyway! See you in 2000!