Friday, July 17
Checking in - No game for you!
Through pre-registering online, you are able to register for one event per day. What I did not realize (last year I was playing in the Bolt Action Tournament on Friday and Saturday) was that on site you are only allowed to register for one game as well (total of two games per day). Now, that's not to say that you couldn't walk up to a game and get in - if there is space available and the GM is okay with it. The point here is that register early to make sure you get in to the game that you really want. There was also limited availability on site; so even if I was able to register for multiple games, nearly all of the games that I was interested in (and had not used my one early registration on) were already filled. You've been warned!
It's 9am. Do you know where your wallet is?
The vendor hall opens at 0900. The line begins to form 15-30 minutes prior. I didn't stop to take a picture; I was on a mission. I had a plan and a shopping list and for the most part, I did not deviate.
- Phalanx Consortium
- This was my top priority. I had purchased the PDF of Maalintii Rangers in the hotel room the night before. Besides the Skirmish Sangin connection, I was targeting Phalanx because they were also selling the former Crescent Root middle east series on behalf of The "ART" of Wargaming. When I arrived, they had already sold two of the four buildings on the table and I quickly grabbed the remaining two (one being the smallest in the series). I also added two long wall sections (one with a gate). I picked up the newly released acrylic counters for Skirmish Sangin as well as one pack of the newly released Deltas.
- Eureka Miniatures
- Here I added figures for the upcoming Mogadishu scenarios in Maalintii Rangers, including the Somali gunmen super set and African civilians (to be used for the mob).
- Empress Miniatures
- I had on my list an SPG-9 technical and an M-ATV. The 1/50 scale M-ATV is impressive to behold, but also comes with a hefty price tag. I opted for the more conservative HUMVEE with .50 cal. They did not have the SPG-9 technical on display, but after inquiring, they did have them on-site for purchase.
- Brigade Games
- I had included on my list a few items to build on my Pacific USMC, but ended up only picking up a newly released Company B Mercedes LAPV technical.
- Thoroughbred Miniatures
- No purchases initially. Did return on Sunday for a few items to build upon my current collection which will focus on the Battle of Mobile Bay.
- Warlord Games
- No purchases; but I did browse the latest theater book - Germany Strikes! which will likely be purchased for electronic use with Amazon Kindle.
- Targets of opportunity
- There was a vendor with 40% off some items. Here I picked up a couple 28mm terrain pieces from Novus Design and a set of Army Painter brushes.
Boom! Clang!This is not some rendition of Charli XCX's Boom Clap - hey I have a 3 year old daughter, I've heard this song several hundred times. Anyway, one of my go dos for HCON 2015 was to play some ironclad game(s). I had already pre-registered for Jerry Frazee's BATTLEGROUP OVERLORD - HOLDING CARENTAN game at 7:00pm, so I used my one remaining game registration on Gary Cole's BLOCKADE RUNNER.
The setting is Charleston Harbor. The game system is the Under Both Flags module of Sail and Steam Navies by David Brandon. It is available in PDF form at the Wargame Vault.
The Confederates have been given four casemate ironclads to face off against four monitors and the flagship of the Union (in this battle), the USS New Ironsides. She had an intimidating battery of guns. But perhaps more daunting to the CSA fleet, was trying to penetrate the 14 armor of the monitor turrets with what seemed like less than adequate firepower.
I had been given the flagship for the Confederates, the CSS Columbia. This was the most heavily armed casemate in the battle, and as you can see, its best gun was only a 10 firepower.
The CSA fleet headed out to meet the incoming Union ships. The blockade runners would also be coming in from the Atlantic (opposite side of the table; Charleston is behind the camera in this view). The ironclads exchanged salvos but not much damage was done. Our GM made several references to "some of the worst die rolling I've ever seen." And there are lots of dice! It is a d10 based system and when you do happen to strike and penetrate the armor, it can lead to some 20+ dice being rolled.
When the first of the blockade runners did appear, she quickly scooted across the board. The initial movement caught the Union off guard, but the New Ironsides guns had plenty enough range and after a few salvos, managed to destroy her engines (or wheel box) and left her immobilized. The next blockade runner to enter the board suffered a similar fate, but much swifter.
At this point, the time was nearing an end and congratulations were in order to the sailors of the Union fleet. It was a fun experience, but I think I still prefer Smoke on the Water. I did have some interesting conversation with the gentleman to my left. Turns out he was visiting from Wilmington, NC. In speaking of ironclads, we discussed two of GMT's games which we both have and have played - Iron & Oak and Rebel Raiders. He mentioned he developed some home brew scenarios for Iron & Oak that focus on the battles around Wilmington. We exchanged emails and hopefully I will get a look at those in the future.
After the game, I spent some more time walking around the Exhibit Hall... (to be continued)