Monday, July 21, 2014

Historicon 2014: Overview

I will have a number of additional posts over the next 2 weeks or so involving the five games I ran and the one I played in, but from that alone you can tell it was a very busy convention for me! Overall, it was a great show and I had a blast from start to finish. As usual, I am already thinking about my plans for next year!

    I left home about 8:40 AM Wednesday, only 10 minutes after my target time, and arrived at the hotel in Fredericksburg a minute or two before 3PM, coming directly through Baltimore and Washington, with heavy traffic only the last 10 - 15 miles or so. This route works as long as you can get through DC no later then about 2PM; this is the 3rd year in a row I have been able to make the trip in a reasonable time. I did some paperwork for my games in my hotel room, which was ready for check in at 3PM. Tim arrived from London a little after 4PM, and after relaxing a bit, we had an early dinner at Pancho Villa's and Warrentown road. Food was fine, about as good as you'd expect to get for Mexican style food in Virginia! We headed over the the convention center about 7PM to register and scope out the location for the tables where our games would be run. We immediately noticed the carpet on the floors of the main exhibition hall, and it was obvious then and as the convention proceeded that the addition of the carpet (along with the partitions, which were first used last year) made a major improvement in the noise level. Hardly quiet, but certainly bearable, and nothing like the noise-induced tinnitus we all had by the end of the day back in 2012! We chatted with a few friends as we encountered them, and then headed back to hotel room, as Tim needed to begin his recovery from the effects of  jet lag!

    Tim and I had the free hot breakfast at the hotel Thursday AM, and he headed over to the Convention about 9:30 AM, while I continued to work on paperwork for my games, arriving at the Convention about 11AM. I set up the table for my Galactic Knights spaceship games (post on that to follow), and ran that from 2 - 5PM, while Tim ran his WW I East Afrika scenario (likewise), with the very able and amiable assistance of Will from Monday Knight Productions. Those dual, side by side games went very well. Tim, Barry, and I had a fast food dinner in the main Exhibition hall, and then I set up the "Piquet/FoB insider" Chariot Wars Pulse of Battle game, using my Egyptians and Assyrians (post to follow there as well). That went great, and was a lot of fun!

   Friday we arrived at the Convention hall about 9:30 AM, and Tim ran his game for the second time, with yours truly playing the British reserve command for the first 2 hours or so, before turning it over to Adolfo for an hour or so, whilst I attended to an urgent professional matter via multiple cell phone calls. As my Montmirail game was to be ruin on that same table, once Tim took down his game, I started setting up the table and troops for my Montmirail, 1814 games, with the welcome assistance of Tim and Barry. I made a very brief tour of the dealer hall (seemed like fewer vendors and lighter foot traffic from a very cursory visit, during which I bought nothing more than some paint brushes and a few Vallejo colors at Sgt Major Miniatures. Tim Gabriel, Michelle and I all headed over to Ruby Tuesday's for a tasty dinner including some *vegetables*, and then returned for my Montmirail game. That game started at 7PM. and finished at about 11:30 PM (posts to follow once again), and was great fun as well. At the conclusion, we just returned the troops to their deployment areas for the refight on Saturday, and left the table set up.

  On Saturday, we arrived at the dealer hall about 9:30AM, by which time the parking lot was already packed. I ran my Montmirail game again, which ran from 10AM to about 2:30 PM, playing quite differently from the night before. After taking down the game with the help of Tim , Barry, and Gabriel, Tim and I had a tasty early dinner at the Outback Steakhouse, after which I made another brief tour of the dealer's area, purchasing some very nice 28mm wagons for Old Glory/Blue Moon; lots of potential uses for those! I also introduced myself briefly to Glen Drover, who was packing up his fantastic looking C&C based gridded Napoleonic game based upon Leipzig, 1813. I then set up and ran my second set of Galactic Knights games from 7PM to about 10:30 PM, before returning to the hotel for some much needed sleep!

  Sunday AM, Tim and I shared Breakfast with Michelle and Gabriel (and Fritzi!) at the Crackerbarrell, after which I made a brief return to the dealer hall, buying a new box of the Gale Force Nine bargain bases (40mm round - see future post on Drift Markers for Galactic Knights), as well as more D10's for Galactic Knights. I made a brief impulse trip to the Sunday Flea market, and found 4 Osprey's I'd been looking for at reasonable prices, then headed home starting at 10:30 AM. The traffic was quite heavy most of the way, so I didn't get home until about 6:15PM; timing is everything!  :-)

Asa always for me, the best part of the convention was seeing old friends, and making new ones! In chronological order, here are some pictures I snapped rather hurriedly and randomly of games and/or terrain that looked interesting;

Troubles brewing in the old West....

and on the Frontier!

Attractive, functional jungle terrain sets the mood for ???

A nice table using a plain green felt mat as the base, with lots of terrain elements set upon it. 

Very blurry picture of part of the table for the "Sword Beach" games, IIRC - they were already starting to take it down when I snapped this hasty photo. 

Beautiful figures for an FOG-Renaissance game.

Close up of some of the pike blocks.

More Frontier action

A simple but attractive winter battlefield.

Intricate terrain boards for a 15mm Amercian Civil War game, 15mm.

I took this picture to show what I thought was very clever use of irregularly shaped pieces of tan shag carpet for hills, including some with two "contours" of same. Cheap, attractive, durable, and... light!

6mm Napoleonics; I thought that the use of square blocks of contrasting colors on the felt table covering was well done and effective.

More to follow later in the week!


Monday, July 14, 2014

FoB2 cards arrive, just in time for Historicon!

Brent Oman, at Piquet, Inc., managed to deliver the brand new Field of Battle, 2nd Edition cards (2 decks per set) to me on Friday, just in time to include in my Historicon packing. Here they are, still in their shrink wrap!

FoB2 cards - I have self printed literally dozens of  Piquet/FoB card decks myself over the years, but these are extra nice, and shuffle much better!

I am completely done with painting as of tonight, having finally gotten my printer working by moving it to my old, non Internet connected Windows XP machine. That allowed me to print out the flags for the new 2nd Grenadiers and Chasseurs a Pied of the Guard, so they are finished and packed up for the trip to Fredericksburg, VA on Wednesday AM. The new cards will make their debut appearance at the Battle of Montmirail there!

Happy Bastille Day to our friends in France!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Galactic Knights: The Four Fleets

As I head down to the wire for Historicon next week, I thought I'd take the opportunity to post "group shots" of the four fleets I have for Galactic Knights (ex-Starfleet Wars):  Entomalians, Terrans, Avarians, and Carnivorans.

First up is the fleet of the Entomalian Empire. This was the smallest of the set a few months ago, but is now the largest. I haven't mounted them on flight stands, and I am not sure that I will. The Entomalian ships have more critical hits, making them more durable in combat. 

Frontal shot of the Bug fleet - coming right at you! In Galactic Knights, the Entomalian ships have heavy armor, but no shields.They also have Grav guns, which ignore enemy shields although they have reduced range and limited field of fire. 

Head on shot of the Terran Solar Federation fleet... a long, long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away!

Also not mounted on flight stands. In Galactic Knights, the Terrans have sort of all around ships, without any striking strengths or weaknesses. 

Final, rear view of the Terran Fleet, as it jumps out of hyperspace!

The Star Fleet of the Avarian United Worlds.

In Galactic Knights, the Avarians have superior fighters and fighter launchers, and also feature the powerful Rail guns, whose effectiveness is tempered by being limited to firing only in the forward 60 degree arc. 

A final shot of the Avarian fleet; they are mounted on my home made flight stands, using heavy washers, nails, and epoxy for their construction. 

The Star Fleet of the Carnivoran Republic. 

In Galactic Knights, the Carnivoran ships also have heavy armor, and their fighters are played differently. All but their largest ships lack shields. 

Carnivoran missiles temporarily disable the shields of the target, rather than causing direct damage. The Carnivoran ships are also mounted on my old, home made flight stands. 

The Terran Fleet, all packed up and ready to go to Historicon. The lack of flight stands makes them easy to pack and store. 

Likewise the Entomalian Fleet. I bought these tackle boxes back when I was a Resident, over 30 years ago, specifically for these ships. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Escape pods

Along with the Merchant Fleet from Brigade Models in the UK (seen on the blog last month), I got several packs of these Escape Pods:

They should make useful markers; one use would be to show the locations where ships were destroyed!

Here are a few markers shown with a Terran cruiser for a better idea of size. The hexes are 2".

Merchant fleet and various tokens, packed up and ready to go for next week!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lord of the Two Lands, and High Priest of Every Temple...

Those are two of the traditional titles of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. As I had the rest of my Historicon painting done, I painted up this pair of resin statues that I acquired at Historicon back 6 or more years ago. Ken is doing the terrain for our Historicon games using Pulse of Battle rules by Brent Oman. It will feature my New Kingdom Egyptian army against his Sea Peoples - Canaanite Alliance.

These Colossi  should fit against a convenient cliff face somewhere, Abu-Simbel style!  Like the sculptures of the Greeks, Assyrians, Mayans, and other ancients, in their day these were painted in life-like colors, and not left as the bare stone we are accustomed to seeing millennia later. 

I also finished off this Pharaoh on foot, another of my bargain Essex close out purchases from Wargames, Inc. I also got enough other Essex figures for another unit of archers, and a unit of Egyptian slingers, but I don't "need" them for next week's games. Nope, seldom is a wargames army ever really "done", LOL!

The Pharaoh's costume looks a bit plain. I think I'll tart it up with some lapis lazuli and carnelian stones on his neck pieces and bracelets, and a more intricate pattern on the central panel of the red girdle. Gotta look the  look, to talk the talk and walk the walk (like an Egyptian), ya know!

Authentic Egyptian music being hard to come by, we'll end with  a bit of Kulture from the poet, Shelly:

OZYMANDIAS (Referring to one of the alternate throne names of  Ramses II)

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1819)

And here is a closeup of the jazzed up Pharoah, front...

and back. Definitely a bit more regal looking!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"Bugs, Sir; Millions of 'em!" (Entomalian Fleet Part 7)

The Entiomalian Starlet has long been the weakest of my four fleets of starsgips. As they ought top outnumber everyone else, this situation could not be allowed to continue... and with this large group of smaller ships completed today, it will not! Added to the Fleet today were:

Two more Stellar Destroyer Leaders (underside seen here).

Entomalian SDL's seen on a 2" hex grid.

That will make 4 Entomalian SDL:'s altogether.

2 more Entomalian Cruisers.

Entomalioan SC"s

The detailed undersides typical of the range.

5 new Starbombers.

Entomalian SB's

Added to the three I had already had makes 8 total!

Undersides of the Entomalian SB's. 

Five new Entomalian Destroyers./

Entomalian SD's.

Added to the three existing ships of this class, there will be 8 of these as well. 

Underside of the SD's.

Six new Entomalian Star Armored Pursuit Ships. 

Entomalian SAPS.

SAPS typically have fighter defense as their primary role.

Undersides of the SAPS.

I also added another 16 Entomalian fighters.

These are the "Heavy Fighter" flavor. 

Plus another 10 Entomalian missiles.