Historicon 2007 After Action Report, Part 2: Friday

Between exhaustion and 3mg of Lunesta© (being a doc *is* handy at times), I slept very well for the first time in several days. Joe and I had the expanded continental breakfast at our hotel and were out to the dealer's area by 9 AM. I had decided that my other objective was to expand my collection of 28mm terrain. I didn't find much new in that regard (lots of 15mm stuff, though), and after passing by the Wargames, Inc. booth several times I decided that after looking at their Hovels Northern European village for many years, that I might just as well buy it now! I already have their Eastern European and Spanish villages and have gotten extensive use from them over the years. So, I left with a lighter wallet and a heavy bag of resin buildings. The Annex (Golf pro shop) actually had a numbert of interesting dealers this year, and I found a neat 28mm medieval bridge along with some cottages and a smithy with accessories. Now with a very light wallet and TWO heavy bags, it was time to meet Jim Mauro in the Showroom to start set up the Hostile Realms game at 10 AM. It was a good thing that we did, because it took every bit of the three hours, and then some, to get it all ready to go.

For those of you who don't know Jim, he's almost as insane as I am when it comes to running big games. Jim had been painting for a couple of months to complete the armies that I set up for the game. In the end, I think he brought about 200 units of 15mm Fantasy figures, each unit, beast, and character having a color coded base with a label detailing its stats in a format that was cryptic at first, but once used a few times, fairly easy to understand. I was punching out and collating the Sequence Deck cards for eight decks for almost 2 hours myself! After consideration, we decided that the game as we originally envisaged it was probably a bit too complex and ambitious for a new rules set with players who were unfamiliar with them, and so by default we essentially wound up running 4 simultaneous but separate side by side games. Overall, that worked well for our purposes

The match-ups had The Empire of the Steppes vs. Gonfor and Rhodon (think LOTR),

Orcs vs. High Elves,

Lizardmen vs. Mountain Dwarves (thanks to Rob for providing the Dwarvish army),

and finally the Sultanate of Harran (with Elephants and Wyvern) vs. the Followers of the Light (think Teutonic Knights plus magic and gunpowder).

I'm afraid that I don't recall too much of who played which army, except that my good friend Barry Frandsen played the Empire of the Steppes. Barry was a huge help in playtesting these rules, but his familiarity with the rules and indeed, the army was to little avail as events unfolded. The forces of Gonfor bottled him up quickly, preventing his myriad of weak but annoying horse archers form getting the room they needed to threaten the flanks of the enemy. Still, the Baked Clay soldiers and Nagas gave a good account of themselves before the army collapsed under the assault of the enemy. Elsewhere, the Orcs and Elves fought to what looked like a bloody draw (the Dragon was awesome in combat), the Dwarves defeated the Lizardmen (the Dwarvish War Wagon seeming particularly annoying to the reptiles), and the Sultanate of Harran soundly thrashed the Followers of the Light, the Wyvern seeming almost invincible. Rob's Dwarf army also included a unique "Beer Wagon" model, in honor of which Rob supplied 2 kegs of Dwarf Beer to keep the players in both games well lubricated!

After round one (1 PM to 5 PM, we straightened all the troops out and set up for round two (7 to 11 PM). Fortunately, Joe fetched one of the Roast/Barbecued beef sandwiches form the outside grill for me, so I had enough fuel on board to get through the rest of the day! The second round had a lot more veteran Piquet players, so we introduced some of the Relics (magic items) into the second round. Those games seemed to go smoothly, and curiously the results were exactly the opposite, the Empire of the Steppes (under Christian) soundly defeating Gonfor,

the Elves (under Andy Cowell) and Orcs (Herman) once again seemingly fighting to a bloody draw,

the Lizardmen (Pat Velas) scampering all over Rob Chellis and his hapless Dwarves (I think Rob rolled almost all "1's" during the game),

and the Followers of the Light (Chris Velas) routing the troops of Harran (Michael).

A few anecdotes observed from the games of Round 2... In the Steppes/Gonfor game, the Characters included Khan Noonian Singh, The Ruby Khan, and Mad Alin Khan, with Grand Shaman Chainee and Shaman Dubyah in support. At about the midpoint of the game, Dubyah decided to cast the powerful spell, "Firestorm", at the enemy. The odds of casting the spell successfully were best if the range to the target was 6" or less, so the eager Dubyah sited the impact point at exactly 6" away, targeting the front units of the advancing enemy hosts. Unfortunately, Dubyah hadn't done well in Geometry in Wizard School, and forgot that the spell had an effect radius of... six inches! KAFLOOM!!! The spell managed to incinerate not only a considerable number of the enemy, but also some of his own skirmishers, Grand Shaman Chainee, and Dubyah himself as well. It is rumored that shortly before the casting of the catastrophic spell, Dubyah was heard mumbling about "Nuke - clear Weapons". I couldn't have scripted something that perfect if I had tried!

Note the ball of smoke indicating the detonation point for Dubyah's Folly, and the now notable lack of units in front of it!

Note the ball of smoke indicating the detonation point for Dubyah's Folly, and the now notable lack of units in front of it!

Meanwhile in the Followers of the Light game, the dreaded Martyrs came into play. These are basically a cloud of unarmed religious fanatics, eager to die for the Cause; each time one is killed, a unit of massed Zealots is recharged with Spell energy and can cast a Lightning Bolt spell! The Followers player (Chris Velas assisted by Jim) of course pushed the Martyrs out in front of his forces, and the Harranites cooperated by slaughtering many of them, only to find themselves targeted with many a righteous lightening bolt! Thereafter, Mike, the Harran player, seemed terrified of these completely incompetent and otherwise useless peasants, giving them wide berth! In this battle, the vaunted Wyvern was disordered, then outflanked and destroyed, while the Elephants ran for their Southern home, trampling many friendly units in their terror.

Christian rolls for the Empire of the Steppes while Andy Cowell calculates!

Christian rolls for the Empire of the Steppes while Andy Cowell calculates!

Overview of the Evil side of the table: Herman, Pat, and Mike, all hotly engaged

Overview of the "Evil" side of the table: Herman, Pat, and Mike, all hotly engaged.

The cleanup, again affably assisted by Joe and many of the players, was completed by Midnight, and it was two very tired but fired up fellows who were happy to go back to their room and sleep. Thanks again to Jimmy Mauro for the enormous amount of work he did to make these games a success. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the rules into print in time for sale at the show, but we hope they'll be available by the end of September. I'm confident that you'll enjoy playing these rules if you like Fantasy gaming at all.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Page Last Updated On: 18 Aug 2007