This year I had planned to fly, so Ross and I ended up deciding to run a Dragon Rampant game, using my portable 1/72 scale plastic fantasy set.
|Portable fantasy game configured for an air trip the week before Huzzah|
My older son, Norman, elected to come up with me this year, so I met him at the airport on Friday morning, and we had an uneventful flight to Portland, arriving at the hotel and convention venue around 10:30. Huzzah has elected for easy planning, and has each day set up with gaming time slots, so that there are two on Friday, after lunch and after dinner, three on Saturday, one after each meal, and one on Sunday, after breakfast. I have not typically had much problem getting into games, but apparently Huzzah is getting to be more popular, because most of the games were fully signed up throughout the weekend. As a gamemaster, I was registered and had a badge, but I hadn't gotten around to signing up for anything in particular. I did a quick search through the registration books and found a few open things, which is how I ended up playing in a 1973 October War tank game using "picoarmor" and the Spearhead rules, an old set by Arty Conliffe. I was reminded that Arty's design philosophy was that commanders were constrained in their abilities to control events, so, like Armati (his ancients rules), Spearhead seems really designed to be a two player game. There aren't really enough decisions to spread them among multiple players.
|Picoarmor, more visible en masse than I expected|
Ross and I neglected out "best practices" handbook a bit this weekend, mostly due to my real life being a bit hectic recently, so we had not staged a trial game of Dragon Rampant by Skype beforehand. Therefore, when he proposed that we should do a warm-up game in the Friday evening time slot, it seemed like a prudent idea. We recruited a few other players and grabbed an empty table for a simple head to head slog between the six war bands we were using for the morning game. As a result, we made some pen and ink changes on the hand out sheets; for unfamiliar players the terminology used by the game seems to be difficult to pick up.
Ross had originally proposed that we use Scenario 10, The Alliance, from C.S. Grant's Programmed War-games Scenarios as the basis for our Dragon Rampant game. After the Friday night test, I was generally unworried about the scenario; the game tends to be a little swingy anyway, so sticking to scenario victory conditions was unlikely to be a main concern.
|Barbarians of the Cold Islands in action|
I had the tables turned on me, as it were, in the afternoon session when I found myself appointed commander of a Saxon force in a six player Saxon/Viking Lion Rampant game on account of my familiarity with the rules. I was able to get in a few solid attacks with my household mounted force, but, on the whole, the Saxon fyrdsmen seemed to be outmatched by the ferocity of the Vikings. The gamemaster used a similar concept to the reroll tokens, except that he gave out two per player and they were automatically worth a successful roll. As with my game, six players seems to me to be about the practical limit for any game in which players are acting approximately one at a time.
|54mm Accurate AWI foot in action|
|Ross's 40mm homecast WWI|
|Ross, Norman and me, at departure time|
Ross and I agreed to work toward a 16th century game using our 40mm collections again next year, so I guess I am committing to driving next time, as that project won't pack in flying luggage very well. I decided it was time to add to my mold collection for the period, and ordered some sample Landsknecht molds from Berliner Zinnfiguren, which carries a range from Artidee/Creartec, while I was sitting at the airport waiting for our return flight.
Overall, it was a fun convention, as always, and I am looking forward to next year.