Huzzah, the annual convention excellently run by the Maine Historical Wargamers, took place in Portland, Maine, from May 15th to May 17th.
This was my fourth Huzzah, and my favorable reports on the previous three events led my club, the Hawks, to dispatch an expeditionary force this year. Counting our remote member, Ross Macfarlane, we had eight in attendance, and hosted seven official games.
Ross and I have typically been deciding on our Huzzah games at the previous convention, so we had known for a long while that we were planning on running two Charge! games using the Prince August 40mm home cast figures, as part of the ongoing action in the Not Quite Seven Years War. Having chosen the project, the decision to drive was made for me, because the stuff needed can't really be brought on an air trip. So, I and my SO drove up on Thursday, and were ready to start bright and early on Friday. Huzzah added a Friday afternoon gaming block this year; if things keep going this way, perhaps Friday mornings will be next...
Ross and my son Norman both arrived around lunch time on Friday, from opposite directions. Ross and I are working on a set of fast play Old School fantasy rules as part of what I've been calling the Aurora Project. We wanted to take the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting to put a game on the table as part of the rules development process. Hordes of classic 25mm fantasy figures would have been difficult to carry along with the 40mm NQSYW figures, so I brought my 6mm DBA/Hordes of the Things box and we improvised a bit.
We hastily drew up a scenario in which a combined force of elves and men attempted to drive off a force of orcs and allies before they could complete an elaborate spell to destroy the castle (seen below around the middle of the table).
The woods, visible around the middle of the table on Ross's side, turned out to be a significant factor, as the humans and the elves got separated and their attacks were not coordinated. Mounting casualties eventually caused the elves and men to retreat, and the orcs were able to complete their spell and destroy the castle.
With that experience, we can now proceed with rules refinement.
Ross and I staged the first of our NQSYW games Friday evening. The scenario was "A Chance Encounter" from Scenarios for Wargames by CS Grant. This is a meeting engagement, in which advance guard from the two armies (the Northern Alliance and the Pragmatic Coalition) attempt to seize and hold a strategic village. In this scenario, both sides had approximately equal forces, with a balanced mix of light infantry, line infantry, cavalry, and artillery.
As it played out here, the Coalition forces were able to seize the village before the Alliance forces reached it.
However, to the south of the village, an extended cavalry melee commenced, which was eventually won by the heavier Alliance cavalry. As usually, terrible casualties were suffered by the Wachovian Hussars. As night fell, Coalition forces held the town, but were surrounded by Alliance forces, and the ultimate victory would have depended on whose main body arrived first the next morning. I'm sorry I didn't make some notes on the strengths and positions, as it would have made an interesting follow-on scenario for a future game.
Our second game was on Saturday afternoon, and was Scenario 1 from the same book. I got so involved in actually running the game that I didn't get any pictures of it myself. Here's one taken by Chris Palmer, Pragmatic players to the right, Alliance players to the left:
In this situation, an advancing Pragmatic army was faced with an Alliance army holding a defensive position based on two towns, supported by three small redoubts. The Pragmatic players chose to mass their cavalry opposite the open area to the right of their line, and the Alliance players also deployed their cavalry in the same zone. The Pragmatics planned to demonstrate against the town on the left, strongly attack the town in the center, and advance behind a cavalry screen to seize the redoubt on their right. The demonstration on the left eventually proved too costly for the Wiegenburg regiment, which was forced to withdraw. In the center, the Pragmatic attack handily carried the the town. On the right, the attack was delayed while the cavalry battled it out. Eventually weight of numbers told for the Pragmatics, and the Alliance cavalry was forced to retreat, but the melee last long enough for the sun to be setting before the attack on the redoubt could be carried out. The Alliance army was deemed to have held the position long enough for reinforcements to arrive, stalling the Coalition advance. All in all, with a marginal win and a defeat, it was not a stellar little campaign for my forces. While we can often beat our traditional rivals of North Polenberg, the stouter troops of Rosmark have proved to be too hard a nut to crack in recent encounters, and it may finally be time to sue for peace...
Huzzah runs an informal flea market on Sunday morning. I was pleased to find a box of Exin Castillo castle blocks, which are nicely sized for 25mm figures.
My younger son has been looking for an expansion to the Exin castle I've owned for years, and was very pleased to find that I had acquired a "12", one step up from the "11" we've had, so I expect some sort of castle-based scenario in the future. I was able to re-home a bunch of the Reaper Bones figures, particularly the ones from Bones II, and then used some of that money to invest in a group of vintage Hinchliffe Byzantines and allies, which I'll report on later.
We headed home around lunchtime on Sunday, and I was able to use the amazing elements of modern technology to coordinate our Gencon event registration while in the passenger seat on the way home.
Overall, it was a great convention, and I hope to be able to attend again next year, if my son's college graduation isn't the same weekend...