Saturday, December 4, 2021

Historicon 2021: HMGS Next Gen

Surely one of the best kept secrets in HMGS (East), is its affiliated but separate HMGS Next Gen program. From their website:


HMGS Next Gen, Inc., was founded in August of 2020 as an extension of the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society. Our goal is to seed and fund the growth of game clubs in the United States and around the globe. By facilitating game design thinking along with game based professional development, HMGS Next Gen will grow the hobby and the critical thinking that it fosters.
 
Currently, HMGS Next Gen is working with public and private universities, secondary schools, along with libraries and corporate organizations. We are composed of facilitators who have seen, first hand, the value of games as a learning tool. Games provide participants with an opportunity to explore diversity, teamwork and camaraderie. This is done through analytical thinking, leadership and stress management. The key developmental points carry over to real life skills that are used on a daily basis. To that end, HMGS Next Gen will provide game based services to support the development of our ever burgeoning client base. These services include both supplies and grant funding for new and growing game clubs. Supplies can include items such as paints, miniatures, rules, board games, roleplaying guides, and other components as needed. Monetary grants can also be provided for a club upon receipt of a simple grant application.
 
Another game based service and aspect of the HMGS Next Gen mission is the facilitation of “game days” for all levels of clubs. Given that not every environment has a seasoned or professional gamer, we would provide the service by partnering with experienced facilitators. This allows us to access already prepared facilitators who have the supplies and means necessary to run a fantastic and worthwhile event. HMGS Next Gen has run games on topics such as the Roman Empire, the American Revolution, and World War Two, and has the ability to expand this offering to almost every point in history.
 
When looking at corporate organizations, HMGS Next Gen can also provide professional workshops and training sessions on topics ranging from diversity training to decisive decision making, depending on the needs of the client. Using games as a teaching tool gives all participants an opportunity to connect, work together, seek advice, and grow.
 
Finally, HMGS Next Gen plans to hold a yearly conference designed to bring together clients, professional speakers, educators, game designers, and others for the express purpose of gaming and game theory exercises to explore their benefits in the classroom and boardroom.

In all, there were 24 games listed in the PEL under the HMGS Next Gen banner, all run in the Maple/Juniper double room, and at least 8 GM's involved , including myself. It was tight quarters at times, and the location was very out of the way at a site noted for being spread out. Youth participation, not surprisingly, was mostly seen on Saturday. Unlike Historicon, most younger gamers would have been in school on Thursday and Friday. 


Thursday

Limey's & Slimey's - Ed Regendahl


Fiery Reef - The Midway of the South China Sea; the first running of this game was Wednesday night; the only Wednesday night game in the PEL!


Fast forward to current time. The PLAN (Chinese Military) have attempted to take Taiwan back. The Taiwanese have blunted the invasion, inflicting heavy casualties. The PLAN now set their sights on the Philippines and are building up reserves on the Spratly Islands for their next move. However, the Allies (US, UK, and NATO) have moved a large invasion fleet to take Fiery Reef with its large airfield.


Presented by Mike Fatovic. 


The Great Heathen Army - 865AD - GM John Spiess
Rules: Halberd, Mace, & Great Sword (Advanced)


After many raids, King Aella of Northumbria finally captured the Viking leader Ragnar Lodbrok. Legend says Ragnar was executed by being thrown into a pit of snakes. This didn't sit too well with Ragnar's sons, who invaded England with the largest Viking army ever assembled. This wasn't a mere raid, but had the goal of conquering all four kingdoms of East Anglia, Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex. First up, Northumbria, as the Vikings seek their revenge. 


Battle of Cape Ecnomus - 256BC


The Roman and Carthaginian fleets of galleys are facing off in the Mediterranean for control of the sea. 


David and Andrew Waxtel present two years of modeling 28mm scratch built galleys and over 300 figures.  Considering all that effort, they ran this game 5 different times over the course of the convention.


More Limeys and Slimeys - "the classic game of plundering pirates battling for control of unsuspecting merchant ships.", this version listed as run by Ed Sitter. 


Battle of Nottingham - 867AD by John Spiess; With the kingdoms of East Anglia and Northumbria under their grasp, the Great Heathen Army of Vikings set their sights on Mercia. On the open plains outside the Village of Nottingham, two great shield walls are about to clash. This one is going to be brutal.


Cape Economus again with the huge scratch built Triremes!


I ran my first Ramses game with To the Strongest!, "Foes East and West" on Thursday AM. 


The Last Kingdom - Alfred the Great strikes back
Only Wessex, The Last Kingdom, stands in the way of the Viking invaders. In May 878AD, Alfred the Great rallied the fyrds of his shires and faced down the Vikings at the Battle of Edington. The fate of England will be decided on this field. 

John Spiess invited me to play in this game Thursday evening; he was the other player on our side. 


He soon regretted the decision. Robert, in the orange shirt, opposite me had very hot dice!  This is a buckets of dice style game, and I don't think he had a single cast that was even average!


I usually have pretty good dice, but that night mine were stone cold. I hardly threw an average result all night, some being amazingly bad. I managed to lose the battle with John's troops hardly even getting engaged! At least I polished off the enemy Knights! After the game, John good naturedly begged me never to play on his side again, LOL!


Friday


Paleo Diet - Neolithic hunting!  I couldn't find a PEL listing for more information. 


Gnome Wars: The Joust, run by Jim Stanton.
Come and try your luck in the Gnome Joust. Rules Taught, Quick, Easy. FUN!!!


I ran my second Ramses game with To the Strongest!, "They Came from the Sea" on Friday AM. 



The Siege of COVID Castle, November 1187;  Rules: Tactica Siege


After the surrender of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, a terrible outbreak of a plague started to take place, now occupied by the Saracens. Saladin has received word from one of his Imam's that a potion exists, as well as the wizard who developed it, and both are at the COVID Castle. Saladin must take the castle to save his kingdom. Will the Crusaders be able to hold the walls and keep control of the potion?


The PEL list the figures (? Elastolin) as being 54's, but I think they are more like 90 mm!


GM : Mike Fatovic


Saturday

Blood and Plunder.. I think this one slipped in from my other phtos, not a Next gen game, but nice anyway!





Jim Stanton ran this game of underwater fishing; I couldn't find it listed in the PEL. Very unique!


I ran my third Ramses game with To the Strongest!, "The Battle of Kadesh" on Saturday AM. 


Gnome Wars, run by Jim Stanton on Saturday night.


The description in the PEL doesn't seem to fit the game at all.


It qwas obvious the players had a great time in this one!


Castle with Golem!


Imjin War Convoy Escort, run by Yuhan Kim, one of 6 Yale students who made it to Cold Wars on Saturday. Rules: Ronin. 

: A small force of Koreans are escorting several valuable artillery pieces, which a group of Ashigaru and Samurai seek to capture. Who will emerge triumphant in this fast-paced skirmish?
I contributed a table cloth and a few trees to Yuhan's effort. 


I ran The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, with Field of Battle, 3rd edition, on Saturday night. 


Closeup of some of the figures awaiting packing up for the trip home after the 2nd Running of COVID Castle on Saturday. I think COVID Castle was run three times - understandable considering the effort to bring that much LARGE kit with you! 


Sunday

I ran my 15 mm renaissance Galley game, Oars and Cannons, Muskets and Swords! using Galleys and Galleons by Ganesha Games. It was one of only 6 Sunday games in the PEL. 


War College

I also attended interesting lectures at the HMGS War College on Friday, "Youth Gaming, Best Practices" with Paul Lawson, and "From War and Peace to Princess Ryan's Star Marines - and Back Again", by Mark Mclaughlin (the perennial Ney of our Snappy Nappy Campaign in a Day events). I think it was the second event he attended that I asked what he did for a living. He replied "I design games!"  I replied, incredulous,. something like "But what's your day job?". An interesting overview of his somewhat accidental career as a professional game designer, which also touched on some discussion of involving youths in our hobby.  

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Historicon 2021: Ramses II, The Battle of Kadesh

I ran the Battle of Kadesh Saturday AM; here the initial chariot ambush by the Hittites pveruns most of Division Re, as expected. . 


We had 5 players which worked out OK. I gacve Jeff (blue shirt), the only veteran player, command of doomed Division Re, and eventual reinforcements by Division Ptah. A second Egyptian player had Division Ammun's chariots and Infantry, and the third had the Pharoah's small command, plus the arriving reinforcements of Division Set. 

Following the successful ambush, the Hittite Chariot Reserve issued forth from Kadesh. They had some success of their own at first, but the superior numbers of Division Amun eventually defeated them.

Jeff's remnants of Division Re (he managed to preserve several Light Chariots), reinforced by the arriving chariots of Division Ptah, was enough to stymie further action by the Hittite Chariot Divisions 


First one part and then the other of the Hittite Infantry finally marched onto the filed, and started to cross the river Orontes. Pharaoh Ramses II was happy to cheer on his elite Sherdan guards as they charged into and over them them.  


With that, the Hittites lost their last Victory Medal, and called it a day. Thus the battle of Kadesh closely resembled Ramses' account, although the great man himself was only briefly in any real danger. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Thoughts on Field of Battle for New Players and Convention Games

First, let's be clear; with players of some experience, or solo games, I like Field of Battle just fine as written.  In fact, it's my favorite game by far!  However, the vagaries of the sequence deck can sometimes be challenging, especially when it is a long time between MOVE cards, which drive much of the game's energy. Hence the following thoughts, which I plan to employ at the next FoB game I will be running, the battle of Eylau, February 8, 1807. 


For FoB3, each side's sequence deck has almost the same composition:


3 Each:

MOVE
MELEE
ARTILLERY FIRE
INFANTRY FIRE
ARMY MORALE


2 Each:

TACTICAL ADAVANTAGE

1 Each: 

MOVE ONE COMMAND



Variable
1 - 3 LULL
2-4 LEADERSHIP
? 1 SPECIAL EVENT






Without unduly changing the character of the game, it could be played with small 10 card decks, with one each

MOVE
MELEE
ARTILLERY FIRE
INFANTRY FIRE
ARMY MORALE
LEADERSHIP
TACTICAL ADVANTAGE
LULL
UNIQUE EVENT
MOVE 1 [D6] COMMAND[S]

The MOVE ONE COMMAND becomes Move D6 (or it could be D4, or D8, etc depending upon the game/size), BUT the commands activated cannot belong to the same player (unless there are more activations than players, but even then no more than 2 per player). This is mostly to avoid players standing around with little to do.

For Eylau, the  UNIQUE EVENT card will be used as follows:

Each time the Russians turn the card, roll a D6; on a “1” heavy snow develops. All movement is halved, and all fire takes place at one range band farther than measures; no long range fire is possible. Once heavy snow begins, it lasts for the rest of the game; no need for any additional rolls thereafter!

For both sides, may propose a special action for any ONE unit or officer. 

GM will judge if the action succeeds, or if there will be a die roll to determine success.



Initiative:  Roll C-in-C's LD vs LD as usual, but compare the results similar to the Initiative roll:

Tie = both sides pick up all their cards, shuffle their decks, and then roll again
Difference of  1,2 = 1 Card
Difference of  3,4 = 2 cards
Difference of  5, 6 = 3 cards
Difference of  7,8 = 4 cards
Difference of  9, 10 = 5 cards
Difference of  11, 12 = 6 cards


I have also updated the back of my QRS with a summary of the cards and their effects. 

Also, for Eylau, at the start of the game, roll for one special characteristic for each player; it may be assigned by the player to any one officer they are playing:


D12 roll

Special Effects

1

Poltroon: DOWN 1 for all Rally rolls, BUT may always withdraw at FULL rather than half speed! 

2

Epileptic: LD roll of 2 also = no move. May re-roll failed leader survival tests

3

Fabian: DOWN 1 die type for MOVE rolls (Can go down to a D6!), BUT may *always*  expend 1 segment to change facing or formation.

4 - 9

No special effects

10

Aggressive:  UP 1 die type for MOVE rolls. 

11

Charismatic: UP 1 for all Rally rolls

12

Heroic: all units in his Command Group get UP 1 in Melee while he is in charge, but roll for Leader  loss on D8 instead of D12



Sunday, November 28, 2021

Historicon 2021: Fuentes de Onoro


6 PM Saturday night at Historicon was the time for my large Peninsular War game, Fuentes de Onoro, using Field of Battle, 3rd edition. The scenario is included at the end of this post. 


We wound up effectively having 6 players, which is a little bit light for a game of this size. Only one of the participants had ever played Filed of Battle before, which made things a bit challenging to coordinate as well. Additionally, the players at the other three games in the room were having a great time, which was fantastic, but it made the noise level quite high... although nothing like Saturday night the first year in Fredericksburg, after which *everyone* had tinnitus!


I was very happy with the look of the game. I didn't get to take many pictures due to assisting players with learning the rules. 


FoB/Piquet veteran, Freddie Avner (green sweater) was a big help, teaching the rules to the players on his half of the field. 


Although I had "stacked" the sequence decks a bit, as I usually doe for a convention game, making sure that there was at least 1 MOVE card in the first few cards in both decks, on the second initiative roll of the game, after turning just 2 cards, a tie was rolled and the decks shuffled before the cards appeared. It took a long time for a French MOVE card to appear after that, resulting in a long range exchange of cannon fire of long duration.  


The French finally got on the move, and launched attacks along the line. For the most part, the British were up to the task of repulsing them. There were quite a lot of French reinforcements available; given the number of players and the unusually slow pace of the game, I opted to leave them in their boxes. It became clear that Massena would not be able to reverse history... this time!


This game lead to my having some thoughts on how I might modify Field of Battle, 3rd edition, for Convention Games/New Players. That will follow in a post immediately after this one. 


The Scenario:

S18:476 Battle of Fuentes de Onoro, May 5, 1811 Saturday, 6:00 PM, 5 hrs, Players: 8, Location: Maple/Juniper: MJ-5 


French Army of Portugal

Commander-in-Chief:  Marechal Andre Massena

Exceptional, LD D10

Sequence Deck: Average   Morale Points  54 units * 62 MP



II Corps, GD Jean Reynier 

Skilled, LD 12


1st Division, GD Pierre Hugues Victoire Merle

Average, LD 10

5 Leger  DD 6, CD 12

6# Foot Battery DD 6, CD 12

 

2nd Division, GD Etienne Heudelet de Bierre 

Average, LD 10

1 Legere  DD 6, CD12

4 Ligne  DD 6, CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6, CD 12

 

VI Corps, GD Louis Henri Loison

Skilled, LD 12


1st Division, GD Jean Gabriel Marchand

Exceptional LD 12

1 Legere  DD 6, CD 12

5 Ligne  DD 6, CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6, CD 12

 

3rd Division, GD Claude Francois Ferey

Skilled, LD 10

3 Ligne  DD 6,  CD 10

1 Legion  DD 4,  CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 12

 

 

VIII Corps, GD Jean-Andoche Junot

Skilled, LD 10


2nd Division, GD Jean-Baptiste Solignac

Average, LD 10

4 Ligne  DD 6,  CD 10

1  Legion  DD 4,  CD 10

12# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 12+1

 

IX Corps, GD Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Compte d’Erlon

Skilled, LD 10


1st Division, GD Michel Marie Claparede

Skilled, LD 10

4 Ligne  DD 6, CD 10

2 Converged Grenadiers  DD 8, CD 12+1

1 Legere  DD 6, CD 12

6# Foot Battery  DD 6, CD 12

 

 

2nd Division, GD Nicolas Francois Conroux

Average, LD 10

4 Ligne  DD 6,  CD 10

1 Legere  DD 6,  CD 12

6# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 12

 


Reserve Cavalry Division, GD Louis-Pierre Montbrun

Exceptional, LD 12

2 Dragoons  DD 6, CD 12

3 Chasseur a Cheval  DD 6,  CD 10

1 Hussar  DD 8,  CD 10

1 6# Horse Battery  DD 8, CD 12

 

Army of the North (cavalry), Marechal Jean-Baptiste Bessieres

Skilled, LD 10

Dutch Lancers  DD 10, CD 12+1

Grenadiers a Cheval  DD10, CD 12+1

1 6# GuardHorse battery  DD 10, CD 12+1

 


Anglo-Portuguese Army

Commander-in-Chief: Lt Gen Viscount Wellington

Exceptional, LD 12

Sequence Deck: Average     Morale Points  41 units * 47 MP

 

5th Division, Maj Gen Sir William Erskine

Average, LD 10

1 Portuguese Line (Brunswick)  DD 4,  CD 10

4 Line  DD 6,  CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 12

 

6th Division, Maj Gen Alexander Campbell 

Average, LD 10

3 Line  DD 6,  CD 10

2 Portuguese  DD 4,  CD 10

Portuguese 6# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 10

 

Light Division, Brig Gen Robert Crafurd

Exceptional, LD 12

1 95 Rifles  DD 8,  CD 12+1

2 Light  DD 8,  CD 12

1 Cacadore  DD 6,  CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 12

 

Portuguese (Brunswick) Brigade, Brig Gen Charles Ashworth

Average, LD 10

2 Portuguese (Brunswick)  Line  DD 4,  CD 10

6# (Brunswick) FA   DD 6,  CD 10

 

Cavalry, Maj Gen Stapleton Colton

Exceptional, LD 12

1 Portuguese Light Dragoon  DD 4,  CD 10

1 Dragoon  DD 6,  CD 12

1 Hussar  DD 8,  CD 10

1 Light Dragoon  DD 6,  CD 10

2 x 6# Horse Battery, RHA  DD 8, CD 12

 

 

Column Commander: Lt Gen Brent Spencer

Commanding 1st & 3rd Divisions; Skilled, LD 12

 

1st Division, Maj Gen Miles Nightingall

Average, LD 10

2 Guards/Fusiliers  DD 8,  CD 12+1

3 Highlanders  DD 6,  CD 12

1 Highland Lt Infantry  DD 8,  CD 12

1 KGL Line  DD 6,  CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6, CD 12

 

3rd Division, Maj Gen Thomas Picton

Exceptional, LD 12

1 Fusilier  DD 8,  CD 12+1

2 Portuguese Line  DD 4,  CD 10

3 Line  DD 6,  CD 10

6# Foot Battery  DD 6,  CD 12

 

 

Spanish, Don Julio Sanchez  (NO MP costs for losses!)

Average, LD 10

1 Guerilla Infantry  DD 4,  CD 10

1 Lancer Cavalry  DD 4,  CD 10.


Map from my freind James Fisher's Avon Napoleonic Fellowship blog.