Dragonflight 2000 convention report

This is a repost of an old article from the old Warbard pages – Corey

I went to DragonFlight 2000 in Seattle, WA at the end of August, same as last year. Here’s some pictures of the events I saw and ran, along with lengthy babbling on the whole thing… Enjoy!

My younger brother came down to DF2000 with me this year – it was his first time at Dragonflight, and in fact his first con ever, and a good time was had by all, mostly! We went down to Seattle by bus from Vancouver on Thursday afternoon, after taking the ferry from Victoria that morning.

The convention opened on Friday morning – admission for those of us pre-registered opened at 12:00 and went fairly smoothly. The miniatures scene seems to have been a bit thinner this year, compared to last year – fewer events, certainly, and somewhat fewer people around.

Display Ship Wars in mid-battle
Display Ship Wars in mid-battle

The first event I was playing in was Display Ship Wars, run by Greg Ullrich. This entertaining game used those big wooden ships ( right ) that you usually see on people’s mantle-pieces to play! It made for a very dramatic-looking table, and was good fun.

Big ramming on the big muddy!
Big ramming on the big muddy!

Friday evening, the game was one I’d played and enjoyed a great deal last year – Smoke on the Waters American Civil War naval action, with Greg Maggard and a lot of the same group that played the same game last year – great to see them again! This year, I decided to fight as a Confederate captain, attempting to hold off the perfidious North in their War of Northern Aggression. I commanded the cottonclad ram ‘General Lovell’ as we counterattacked a group of Union mortar rafts that were bombarding one of our Mississippi River forts.

Smoke on the Waters battle
Smoke on the Waters battle

Action on the eastern half of the river ( right, above – the boy in the background is Bill, Captain of the USS Switzerland) quickly turned into this massive ram-fest seen in the photo to the left , while I snuck my vessel up the far western channel of the river and began to ram and shell the Union mortar rafts (which was the whole point of the exercise, more or less!)

Union captains (Corey to the right) watch the action...
Union captains (Corey to the right) watch the action...

In the very back corner of the picture to the right , you can see my ship just after it has struck the first mortar raft, with the other three rafts strung out to the right, and my brother’s (Corey was, of course, a conniving Northern scumball… I mean captain…) tiny Union river tug – which did an inordinate amount of damage, because it was too blasted small to hit! In the foreground, two Northern and two Confederate boats charge towards each other, cannon blazing. Two Union captains (Brent, left; Corey, right) observe the action in the background.

Ramming round 2 starts up!
Ramming round 2 starts up!

The second big ram-fest took place towards the western bank of the river, and was notable mostly for the ramming of a fellow Union boat by the big ironclad ‘Essex’, which made a very nice hard turn – right into the flank of the USS Monarch, a smaller Union vessel! The CSS Arkansas (our only actual ironclad!) was sunk by ramming, and the snarled mess of ships stayed stuck together until the end of the game. We called the game because of time (the great curse of convention games, always!) and it was judged a marginal Confederate victory – we’d sunk the Union mortar rafts, but nearly every Confederate ship was battered, either fleeing or sunk! Happily for the South, most of the Union’s vessels weren’t in much better shape… The end of Greg’s game took us until after midnight, at which point we wandered back to the hostel for a couple of hours sleep before the next day’s festivities!

Dawn rises on a besieged Dwarven fortress
Dawn rises on a besieged Dwarven fortress

Saturday morning, I ran my own event, The Storming of River Keep, using Chipco’s Fantasy Rules! (FR!) 2nd edition and my 15mm fantasy figures. We started late, but the game went very well, everyone seemed to have a good time, and the scenario worked fairly well – there’s some things I’d change before running it again, but it was workable. The Dwarves had 1000pts of garrison troops inside the fortress, while the medieval human besiegers and their uruk mercenary allies had 2500pts. A 1500pt Dwarven field army was marching to the relief of their fortress – it started on the far edge of the table, while the besieging armies began the day twelve inches from the walls of the Dwarven fortress.

Siege lines edge closer to the walls
Siege lines edge closer to the walls

The human wizard used teleport to great effect, along with the various flying and spirit units of the allied medieval and orcish armies, to hammer the Dwarven garrison force pretty hard, and the Dwarven field army proved to be mostly too far away to help, expect for the massive airboat and soaring silver drakes, ( left ) which sped ahead to smash into the human siege lines. Again, we called the game for time, but it was a minor medieval/orc victory – the Dwarven garrison was smashed up, but the orcs weren’t in great shape and the Dwarven field army had barely started fighting.

Just after the FR! game, I had a good Full Thrust starship combat game with a GZG list-member, Mark ‘Hauptmann’. We compromised on playing styles – he plays cinematic and no aliens yet, while we play vector movement and I have an alien Phalon fleet – to have an enjoyable, short and nasty game of FT – we each lost two or three ships and his squadron started to leave the field first, although I lost more points-value worth of ships.

Vendor presence was better at this Dragonflight, compared to last year. I bought a number of scenery items, mostly from Terraform and JR Scenics – three of the Seattle-area games stores had fairly large sales tables set up. I bought an interesting boardgame called ‘Iron Dragon’, featuring railway building in a fantasy world, then wound up staying at Seattle Uni until 0300 (Three AM!) playing the game – it’s a fun game, with a solid system in it.

Sunday was quieter – no surprise. We only got up to the con near 11am, and there really wasn’t a lot going on at all… I had a pickup game of Full Thrust with another GZG-List member, but there was a massive difference in our customary playing styles which meant the game wasn’t totally satisfactory… Still interesting to meet some of the people I’ve been exchanging email with for a while! In the afternoon, I played a long open game of Silent Death, the space fighter game. It’s good fun and the minis are nice (too bad none of those photos turned out…) but FT is a better space combat game, for my taste.

On Monday, Corey and I headed home – took the very early 0745 Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver. The train is so much more civilized a method of travel than highway busses… Stopped in at Vancouver’s excellent Imperial Hobbies store for a last shopping spree, then took the ferry home after a very good long weekend!

Read my DragonFlight 1999 con report. (Discover how my biases change in ‘Smoke on the Waters’ depending on which side I’M playing!) Visit the DragonFlight website for more information.

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