Saturday, May 18, 2013

Huzzah! 2013 After Action Report

I was able to make it up to Portland, Maine for my second Huzzah! My sons and I were very favorably impressed with the convention and the hosting club, the Maine Historical Wargamers, last year. Unfortunately, they were tied up with work and school this year and were unable to attend. That left me and Irene, my signficant other, to do a little road trip. Work owed me several days of comp time, so we headed up the east coast on Thursday, May 2nd. After an uneventful trip, we arrived safely around 8pm.

Since the convention didn't really kick off until Friday evening, and Ross wasn't arriving until the early afternoon, Irene and I had a chance to explore the Portland waterfron area for a bit. Although it didn't actually open until Saturday, we stumbled across the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum's equipment yard. Maine is noted among railroad fans as the home of several railroads in the early 20th century that used a 2' track gauge (vice the standard gauge of 4' 8.5"). The equipment was scaled down to match, so it's all small.

Irene is here, giving an idea of the scale of a caboose/baggage car/coach combination apparently once owned by the Sandy River and Rangely Lake Railroad.

Ross and his crew of Nova Scotians arrived around 3:00, so we headed out to dinner.

Ross and I were both signed up for an evening game with Chris Parker. He was using a Command and Colors variant for the American Revolution, in a Guildford Courthouse scenario. I didn't dodge fast enough, and ended up ss the commander of the Americans, which included the responsibility of drawing and assigning the cards. I haven't played too many games of any of the variants, just a few Memoir '44 scenarios, but Richard Borg designed the game to be easy to pick up, and the variations involved were too minor to complicate matters significantly.

Ultimately the British overran our second line, of slightly better militia, without too much difficulty, and then had problems beating the third line, which made the overall game a draw.

I was signed up first thing the next morning for a 25mm Robin Hood skirmish game. Home rules medieval skirmish is usually a safe choice for some sort of fun game, and this was no exception. As the Sherriff's men, we were tasked with preventing Robin Hood from exiting the board after a raid. I chose to dismount my troops and advance into the woods on our left flank, anticipating that the Merry Men would be hotfooting it for the cover. They were delayed, though, for reasons beyond my ken, and it took me longer to get into action than I had anticipated. I cleverly left my less prudent colleagues to ride into action in the open against the swarms of Merry Bowmen, and they did have problems making headway.

Eventually the Merry Men tried to sweep through the woods. Despite the best efforts of my henchmen we ended up as the sweepees as Robin and Little John's bands burst through my cordon. I think that game ultimately ended up as a draw, or slight Rebel victory, as they did exit signficant forces and inflicted wounds on several of our personal characters

After lunch, I joined Ross again for a Funny Little Wars game run by Mike Fischer. I'm getting a little creaky to be crawling around on the floor...I guess I need to track down some Pilates or yoga again sometime soon. The game was a hybrid of modern dice based combat and Little Wars toy cannon fire. While I seemed to have the cannon under control during some firing range practice before the game, I quickly found that I could not hit a target during actual combat. Parade ground soldier, no doubt...As seen above, the two objectives being disputed by the combatants were the bridge, to the left, and the town, to the right. My average shooting dice eventually ended Ross's attempt to retake the bridge with cavalry, which I had reached first, but my colleague's attempt to take the town did not meet with success. This game, therefore, was my third draw, more or less, of the weekend.

In the evening I found myself in a pulp-ish free-for-all in an Asian port, with a score of charming ship models by Mike Paine. I am not at my best in a free-for-all, it seems, and attracted the early enmity of another player. After using my superior firearms skill (having taken the character of Allan Quartermain from those on offer) to extricate myself from this situation, and wishing to remove myself from the vicinity of the player's backup character, I ended up wandering about the board somewhat ineffectively, although I did end up acquiring a reputed magic carpet (perhaps from E. Nesbit's The Phoenix and the Carpet?), so I didn't end up sailing off the board empty handed.

Due to the distance, we needed to get in an early start on Sunday, so I didn't play in the reprise of Ross's Relief of Fort MacDuff game, based on the War of 1812 actions at Fort Meigs in Ohio.

Ross and I are considering scenarios for next year. It was nice to have a gaming weekend without gamemastering responsibilities, but I will be ready to run something next year.

I ended up coming home with a couple of books from one of the book dealers, one on actions in Somaliland in the early 20th century and the other Christopher Duffy's Military Life of Frederick the Great. Both of these pertain to projects I already own, so it's safe. :-) I also won a package of Renedra tents and tombstones in the doorprize lottery, and came away from the Funny Little Wars game with both the rules and a box of Armies in Plastic colonial British, so I wasn't quite so non-acquisitive as I had hoped.

Ross and I had plenty of time to discuss the status of joint projects, and I expect to be commenting on those discussions sometime soon.

For those within range (whatever that might be for you) of Portland, I highly recommend Huzzah after my two experiences.

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