Historicon 2007 After Action Report, Part 1: Wednesday

I had a very busy time earlier in the week, and was behind with the final organization of all the troops, terrain, and other paraphernalia that we cart to Historicon each year. Around 11PM Wednesday, I got to the Renaissance games. As I started to pull the figures that I needed for the Renaissance War College games, I made a most unwelcome discovery. We had a flood back in April, and the water reached about 4" in the basement in about 6 hours. We pumped it out over several days, and fortunately sustained little damage aside from shorting out some circuits. As I reached for the bottom tier of boxes on my storage shelf, I found that the rising floodwaters had gotten just high enough to fill the inverted lids of the plastic shoeboxes that I use for storing my troops - that meant 4 boxes worth of waterlogged troops, about 250 figures. Fortunately, the figures themselves were unharmed, but the glue on all of the bases had dissolved, and the bases themselves turned to mush with blackened flock. With a very deep sigh, I put my reserve supply of Litko Aerosystems bases to use, spending about 2 hours gluing the figures on and then painting the bases green. While the glue and then the paint dried (no flock, not enough time for that, especially with the game scheduled for Thursday evening!), I organized every thing else and brought it upstairs. Finally made it to bed around 3PM, but of course I was so pumped up that sleep came only fitfully. Jim Mauro tells me that he takes the entire week of Historicon off - not a bad idea if I could afford that much time out of the office!


For once I didn't have to make rounds at the Hospital before leaving, so I was up early making sure that I hadn't forgotten anything. Joe arrived right on time, and after packing my bags (almost forgot about that) and camera, we loaded up quickly and were on the road by a little after 9:30 AM - a record for us! There was just enough room left in Joe's trusty Intrepid for the loot we'd procure at the show. As usual, the trip flew by as Joe and I shot the breeze about work/school, family, history, friends, and especially wargaming. I had already started reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story based upon the life and times of John Hawkwood circa the end of the Hundred Year's War, The White Company, and as the miles strung out behind us, I realized that my next project was going to be the Hundred Years War. I already knew that I wanted to do the 1809 campaign "Crisis on the Danube" for the 2009 show, but hadn't made any decisions about next year. More about that later...

We arrived in Lancaster shortly after 3PM, checked into our hotel, and registered for the Con. The parking lots seemed very full for Thursday afternoon! After clearing up a problem at the Game Master's Help Desk (the 2nd running of my Hostile Realms game appeared in the online PEL [Preliminary Events Listing] but didn't make it into the printed program for some reason), we headed for the Dealer's area.

Overview of the dealers area

After checking in at the Piquet booth and greeting Brent Oman, Jeff Valent, and Jimmy Mauro, I made for the Age of Glory tables, and promptly bought 10 packs (plus they gave me an extra free for buying 10) of Perry late HYW longbowmen and mounted Men at Arms. Beautiful figures; I've already started the first Longbow unit! Thinking about the 1809 campaign convinced me that I didn't have enough French Napoleonic Line Infantry, so I bought two 28mm scale Regimental Packs of the great Sash and Saber figures. $100 for one hundred 28mm figures - hard to beat that deal! I'm just sorry that their 40mm lines have been so successful that they haven't made any additions to their 28mm stuff in several years. Oh well, gotta make what sells best! Picked up three handfuls of 40mm round bases for $10 at Gale Force Nine (I use them as bases for Generals/Commanders)... a very good deal there, too. I spent the rest of the time perusing the dealer's area, but didn't see too much that caught my eye (plus I'd spent about 60% of my planned budget in an hour). I met back up with Joe and we headed off to the Ballroom to set up my Band of Brothers 2nd edition three ring circus called Renaissance War College. Joe and I finished setting up more or lees on time (by 7PM), with some help from Peter Hess of the Renaissance Wargames Society, as well as timely aid by Tony Gullota, who set up the Sequence Decks for me. Thanks again, Tony... next time we just have to remember to *shuffle* them after they're set up!

On the left side of the 20 foot table was the battle of Arbedo (1422), featuring the early Swiss vs. Milan. Peter Hess of the RWS was one of the Milanese players, whilst Tony and his daughter, Rachel, took the redoubtable Swiss. As usual the awesome Swiss Pike Blocks defeated all that stood before them, but the Milanese were gradually able to defeat some of the Swiss Halberdier units.

Milan break through at Arbedo

By the middle of the game, this resulted in a situation where almost every unit had potentially exposed flanks. As the Milanese mounted Crossbowmen successfully infiltrated the mountainous terrain across the rushing alpine stream, the much needed Swiss reinforcements form the Canton of Zug finally started to appear, emerging from the mountain passes. At the end of the game, it appeared to me that the outcome was likely to be similar to that of the actual battle - the Swiss left the field in good order, leaving the Milanese holding the battlefield, but having suffered many casualties. As a result of this minor defeat, the Swiss greatly increased the proportion of pikemen in their armies.

Arbedo 2

On the left side of the table, the battle of Sudomer (1422) was set out. The first action of the Hussite Wars, this scenario has a line of the newly developed Hussite war wagons deployed, flanked by lakes on either side, opposed by an impressive array of Catholic "Crusader" infantry and cavalry. I think local gamer Tom Downs assisted with the Hussite heretics. I love this scenario! It looks boring at first glance, but once again, after initial reverses, the Crusaders broke through the Wagon fortress on several occasions, only to be contained by the Hussite reserves and then ejected from the position.

Crusaders assault the Hussite Wagon Fortress

Thus, the predicted "short victorious war" was not to be had by the forces of Orthodoxy. As you readers might know, it is as a result of the Hussite movement that we Christians now take Communion in Both Kinds, prior to that the wine being reserved for the clergy only. Smetana's musical tribute to his Czech homeland, "Ma Vlast", uses Hussite hymns as themes in the last two movements.

In the center of the table raged a big battle based upon Ceresole (1544). Local gamer Peter Celella was one of those playing the French, while Christian and his brother Michael had their baptism of fire with Piquet, handling the Imperialists. The ponderous pike formations took a while to get into action,

and the French cavalry seemed uncharacteristically timid,

but by the end of the game the Swiss pikes ahd routed the Italian mercenaries of the Imperialists,

and the massive Spanish Tercio was facing assailants on all three sides... although that is just the kind of situation that the elite "walking fortress" was uniquely well suited to face.

Many of the players were gracious enough to assist Joe and I in packing it all up. As usual, Joe's assistance in set up, take down, and in helping run the games was invaluable. After the game, we had a drink at the Host's bar and chatted with Jim Mauro, Jeff Valent, and Rob Chelis about the set up for Friday's Hostile Realms game for an hour or so before sleep deprivation dictated a return to our hotel and bed.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Page Last Updated On: 18 Aug 2007