The Year of Missing Conventions…

Victoria’s GottaCon is running this weekend, and as I’ve just flown back into town from a work assignment elsewhere in the province, I’m missing the entire thing! I’d go for Sunday, but having been away for five weeks I’ve got too many errands to run and non-gaming real life to catch up on.

Worse, it looks like I’m going to be on a short turnaround and leaving town yet again for another work assignment later in March, so there’s a very good chance I’ll miss Vancouver’s excellent Trumpeter Salute convention this year, for the first time in four years. I was looking forward to doing either pulp gaming or Russian Civil War, too. There’s a great group of gamers and friends over in Vancouver, many of whom I only see at the Trumpeter show.

That aside, I am painting again, both Blood Bowl teams and other stuff. I even took paints and figures with me on my recent field assignment, and got some decent painting done in the hotel room a couple of evenings. There’s a great group of random thugs from Pulp Figures on my desk right now, and I’m going to be stripping the paint off my Amazon BB team and re-doing them from scratch because about half of them had the primer go on sort of rough. It was an old can and I was spraying on a colder than normal day; it’s the first time in years of spray priming I’ve had that sort of finish!

Martin’s Trumpeter Salute 2013 Photos

Martin, an long-time friend who now lives in Vancouver, has been slowly posting his photos from the recent Trumpeter Salute gaming convention. As I mentioned in my writeup, he’s got a significantly fancier camera than mine, a fairly recent Canon DSLR, and he also hauled a lightweight tripod to the show, so many of his photos are really excellent.

martin_rcw2

Bolshevik forces laid out before setup. Cavalry & armoured car, then the Red Sailor platoon, then a mixed platoon of Red Militia and Red regulars.

martin_rcw1

The Red’s left flank as the game begins. The sailors on the extreme left have already started to advance.

Martin’s entire set from my Even Whites Bleed Red Russian Civil War game is over on Flickr. He’s also got some good photos from the War of 1812 game we both played on Sunday.

Trumpeter Salute 2013 After-Action Report

Corey has already done a nice report from the field on his gaming Friday evening, with some great photos, but here’s the rest of the weekend from my perspective!

We headed over from Victoria Friday afternoon, making good time and even seeing orca whales from the ferry, which I haven’t seen in years. Friday evening I spent flying in Rene’s perpetual World War One air combat game. I was doing fairly well until a Fokker Dr1 slipped in behind my Camel and blew me away in one savage burst!

camel

Smoked Camel! Attempting to defend a Brisfit bomber, I let a Fokker Dr.1 triplane slip in behind me and he blows my engine clean off it’s mounts! Click to view larger over on Flickr.

Saturday turned out to be “Soviet Saturday” for me! I played the 30mm Dust Warfare skirmish system with Martin (an old friend) and his nephew Riley (this was Riley’s first gaming convention!) and another gamer in the morning, Weird War Germans vs Soviets over cardboard ruins Martin and I had been up until 2am assembling! It’s a fast system with some interesting features, and I want to have another bash at it at some point.

Saturday afternoon it was time for my big Russian Civil War game, with a full set of six players and loads of toys on the table – the White Russians had a SPAD XIII for air support and a field gun, while the Reds had a huge horde of cavalry, an armoured car and an armoured train! The cavalry did better this game than they have ever done before, completely shattering one wing of the defending White force by themselves.

reds

Red forces advance! Sailors on either side of the train and armoured car, and a huge Red cavalry unit in front, heading towards the woods!

We rounded out Saturday evening with more Russian-German action, this time a WW2 Eastern Front scenario of a scratch Soviet force trying to hold off flanking attacks by German panzers. The 15mm figures and vehicles were really well done, and the terrain was elegant. It was a close fight, with the Germans losing a fair number of tanks to Soviet infantry but being positioned by the end of the game to push their untouched reinforced infantry units into the Russian villages with their remaining tanks in support.

Sunday Martin and I played Colin’s very nice and well-run War of 1812 scenario, a re-creation of the Battle of Crysler’s Farm 200 years after it actually happened. I played the invading Americans with two other gamers, and we got our asses absolutely handed to us by the British/Canadian/Mohawk defenders. Nevertheless, we apparently did better than the Americans had actually done historically – we did manage to drive one of the two big British infantry regiments from the field, but the effort wrecked my brigade, while Canadian militia light troops and British cannon drove the rest of the Americans off!

1812

The Americans advance confidently toward the British-Canadian defenders. A few turns later they’d be lurching backward in a considerably less controlled fashion!

The rest of my twenty photos from Trumpeter Salute 2013 are over on my Flickr account. Corey and Martin (who both have more capable cameras than I do!) both took more great photos, so I’ll try to get some of those up here on the Warbard soon.

An evening in the air at Trumpeter Salute

Trumpeter Salute, the best annual miniatures convention on the west coast of Canada (sorry, Gottacon. Your relentless focus on GW turns me off) is happening again this weekend and I am again reminded of why I come to conventions: to be inspired.

This evening found both Brian and I playing aerial games, although he had considerably less success with his World War One 1/72 than I did in Leviathans, where I fairly handily destroyed a British aerial cruiser and destroyer. Our third member, recovering GW player Sean, was evolving. Or something involving tails. I didn’t ask.

And the spending has begun. I picked up some Saxons for my eventual Dux Brittanium, Sean some ECW/30 Years War and Brian also managed to spend a great deal of money. And we haven’t even hit Pulp Miniatures yet.

But now, pictures:

Leviathan cruiser on cruiser action

German World War One aircraft, 1/72 scale

British World War Two aircraft, 1/300 scale

More photos tomorrow, including of Brian’s RCW game.

GottaCon 2013 Photos

As is often the case at conventions, I got too involved in actually running or playing games to take many photos, but here’s a few pics from GottaCon 2013! These are all over on Flickr in my GottaCon 2013 Photoset.

Friday evening Corey ran and I played his homebrew fast-and-simple pulp racing game. You can read my Friday writeup for details, but basically it was Our Hero being chased by Evil Henchmen down a narrow, twisting country lane. Sheep, other traffic, skunks and an elephant got involved, and pretty much everyone crashed.

Friday night’s pulp racing game. Our Hero in the black car, two Henchpersons in the red & white cars, innocent but explosive NPC fuel truck getting in the way. Click to see larger over on Flickr.

Saturday morning I played a naval board game with a friend I hadn’t seen in at least four years. Great to reconnect with him again, and totally random – I just happened to wander by the board gaming area looking for something to do, because there was nothing in the miniatures or RPG area I was interested in!

Saturday afternoon was, of course, the first running of my Russian Civil War game. See Saturday’s writeup for a few more details; I’m also going to be posting a more detailed writeup on the two games later this week, because from identical starting positions involving identical forces over near-identical terrain, they wound up radically different games! I didn’t get any photos of the second game on Saturday evening, but the terrain involved changed only very slightly, so this overall table view will work for both games.

rcw_table

Looking down the length of my Russian Civil War table. Reds started on the long left edge; the Whites started in the hamlet ahead of the camera. As you can see, I’m a great believer in getting maximum table coverage, even if it’s just open fields with minimal effect on play! Click to see larger over on Flickr.

Sunday morning Corey and I wound up re-running his pulp racing game, with rules slightly tweaked after discussing Friday’s game. We have a draft system for vehicle damage, which is fun and adds to the tension and chaos.

corey-race

Sunday morning’s racing game, with Our Hero in the blue-and-white truck getting clean away to see the elephant. Best not to ask why an elephant, really. Click to see full-sized over on Flickr.

Sunday afternoon I played a short demo game of Infinity. The system is interesting, but the terrain being used was fairly bland, so I didn’t bother taking photos.

So that was GottaCon 2013! Same again next year, only more of it – as I said in my Sunday writeup, I’m pretty sure we’ll both be running more games next year, just to get the kind of gaming we like represented!

GottaCon 2013, Sunday

Short and frankly lazy day of gaming today. Corey and I re-ran our pulp racing homebrew from Friday evening, roping one person in. We’d tweaked the rules slightly, added actual damage to the vehicles, and the mayhem was just as pulpy, daft and destructive as ever!

I spent most of the afternoon being a spectator (and forgetting to take pictures, worse luck) and blowing the last of my GottaCon budget at various vendors. I spent the lion’s share of that at TableTop Scenery on three bases of trees, each base with a pair of threes in the 5-7″ tall range. Trees are the one major pieces of terrain I’ve never gotten around to doing, as good looking, largely gamer-proof trees can be fairly challenging to make. The TableTop trees are “bottlebrush” style, with a wire core and hemp branches shaped and flocked. I also picked up a random scattering of other things – more dice, a Munchkin booster pack, and four or five Reaper fantasy figures that were on clearance at one booth.

I also played a short three-turn demo of Infinity, a game I’ve been intrigued by for a while now. The game seems fast, rules light and incredibly lethal. I scored the free Intro Rules booklet (which seems fairly complete, actually) and a pair of infantry figures from the Nomad faction. I might paint them up soon, actually, just as a change from the Russian Civil War hordes that have lately flooded my painting bench. The nearly insane per-figure cost of the official Infinity figures is discouraging me from actually getting into the game, though. I know you don’t need many figures per team, but still, $10-15 for a single infantry figure puts one off.

Corey spent the afternoon running a D&D 4th Edition Essentials module for three or four teenagers, but didn’t manage to kill every single one of their characters. Pity, that.

I haven’t heard any official estimate of attendance from the guys who run GottaCon, but it felt busier throughout than the last couple of years, and a couple of the repeat vendors I’ve gotten to know in passing said it was a better year than previous ones for them. That bodes well for Victoria’s “big” gaming convention in it’s fifth year.

The one thing that continues to bug me about GottaCon (and has since it started) is the lack of non-tournament miniatures events. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that if GottaCon is going to continue to amuse me, as a gamer, I’m going to have to continue to arrange my own amusement, in coordination with my brother and a few other like-minded gamer friends. I’ll almost certainly be running more stuff next year, possibly making the double-header Russian Civil War games official, as well as working with Corey to bring back our pulp extravaganza games in some form. I may even try to organize an RPG session using Savage Worlds or one of the systems I enjoy, as an alternative to the endless parade of 4E & Pathfinder RPG sessions GottaCon’s roleplaying track is currently clogged with. We shall see!

GottaCon 2013, Saturday

Wound up running my Russian Civil War game twice, after interested spectators asked during the afternoon game if I was running it again during the convention. I said, “Sure, how about this evening?”, checked to see if the table was still free (it was) and wound up running the game again.

Exact same forces, same terrain setup, but two wildly different outcomes. Game one was a hard-fought but unmistakable Red victory against the defending Whites; game two was an utter rout of the attacking Reds, with minimal casualties amongst the Whites. Fascinating to see such different outcomes from the same starting position.

I haven’t even checked my photos from yesterday, but I did manage to get a few photos of the first game, at least. Full game report and photos (assuming they turned out!) later. Off to the Sunday gaming sessions!

GottaCon 2013, Friday

Spent the morning doing a few bits of last minute prep for my Russian Civil War game, mostly putting the finishing touches on the field gun and crew. Headed up to the convention site a few hours before it opened so I could get my pass ahead of time and avoid the 45 minute wait at the official doors time, then loitered in a coffee shop until just before the doors opened.

Going to the will-call pre-con ticketing turned out to be a good plan, as the lines were fairly long at the ticket door!

The evening session was taken up with a fairly quick, highly entertaining game of pulp racing run by Corey; the rules are super light, less than a page, and consist mostly of “roll something and make sh*t up, then everyone crashes!”. Scatter dice, FUDGE dice, card-based activation and possibly averaging dice are involved. Corey claims to have been sober when he wrote the rules, but I have my doubts. I ran over a skunk, an escaped circus elephant narrowly avoided being very large roadkill, one or two sheep weren’t so fortunate, and ultimately Our Hero crashed, his car nudged from behind by a Comically Evil Henchperson, and was unable to prevent the Dastardly Villain from marrying the Tragically Brainwashed Heroine. Pulp silliness ensued, in other words.

I even remembered to take photos, and one or two of them even turned out OK!

pulprace1

Early in the pulp racing game. The oncoming lane is blocked, there’s sheep in the middle of the road, a fuel truck has just pulled out to try to get around the obstacle, and here we come, driving idiotically fast! Standard pulp nonsense, in other words!

See the full GottaCon 2013 photo set on Flickr.

Full Production Mode

A quick look at my painting bench as a I get ready for Saturday’s Russian Civil War game at GottaCon. On the right, 15 Bolsheviks, a mix of regulars and militia/Red Guard types. Behind them across the back of the cutting matt, a unit of Russian horse. Behind them and currently being ignored, 10 American gunboat sailors from Pulp Figures. On the left of the mat, 14 Bolshevik sailors. Off the mat to the left, a batch of finished Whites from ages ago just waiting to be re-housed as I (yet again) reorganize my figure storage. Centre, a field gun — the crew are lurking behind the Red sailors. The CD has some new greenstuff banners I just primed, and a small pile of ready ammo that will form part of a loaded/unloaded marker for the field gun.

All sorts of things, mostly Russians, being painted. See text for details, and click for larger!

All sorts of things, mostly Russians, being painted. See text for details, and click for larger!

In other convention-related news, I’ve submitted my RCW game to Trumpeter Salute; haven’t had the event confirmed by the organizers yet but it’s nice to have it submitted.

Right, back to the painting mines! Four days to the game!

Prepping for GottaCon 2013

In just under three weeks our local big convention kicks off – GottaCon 2013 is February 1st, 2nd & 3rd at the Pearkes Recreation Centre.

I’ll be running a Russian Civil War scenario, possibly with a Back of Beyond flavour. It’ll be a variant of my Even Whites Bleed Red scenario from last year’s Trumpeter Salute convention, mostly because I haven’t yet come up with a more entertaining title than that!

gottacon_game

I’ve got Red sailors, cavalry and more Red regular troopers on the painting bench as we speak, and some nice scenery bits to add to my existing Russian scenery. Now, to get off the computer and back to that painting bench!