Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Historicon Day 2 and 3

After a somewhat disappointing Day 1, I returned to Historicon on Day 2 with my 8 year old son, Liam.  We had gone to Historicon last year for the first time, and had a ball, primarily playing games intended for juniors, put on by the "H.A.W.K.S." - the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers.  This year was no different, as we played several games put on by them.

Warriors:Rescue the Kits

Sneaking throug the woods on the right flank
First up was a scenario based on the "Warriors" series of books by Erin Hunter.  Our game apparently recreated the climactic final confrontation of book 1, where the cats of the Thunder Clan attempt to rescue their kittens, stolen by the treacherous Shadow Clan.  There were 6 players, 3 to a side, each controlling 4 cats - Liam was on the Thunder Clan side, and we were informed that he was controlling "Firepaw", the hero of the book.  Liam's allies charged to middle of the field and engaged the conniving Shadow Clan in front of rock formation where the kits were being held.  Liam meanwhile, sent his team of 4 through the woods on the right flank, until 2 of the Shadow Clan cats broke off to engage him.  After a few twists and turns, Liam's 4 cats led by Firepaw started to get the upperhand against the 2 Shadow Clan cats.  The GM reminded the players that the goal was to rescue the kits, but Liam chose to battle to the end.  Meanwhile, his allies in the middle eventually got the upperhand as well.  At the end of the 2 hours allotted time, the game was not quite over, but it was clear that Thunder Clan would carry the day.  The game was a fun start to the day!
Firepaw leads the assault

Team Rocket's Gambit

That's a lot of Pokemon!
Next up was a game based on the Pokemon franchise.  Now, I know next to nothing about Pokemon, and Liam isn't a particularly big fan either...but I discovered that he knows more about it than I thought he did (I'm sure it's discussed at school quite a bit).  The GM, William Acheson, had a beautiful table set up, and dozens upon dozens of Pokemon characters on the table.  We had 3 players per side, and the goal was to control a portal of some type located on the top of a hill in the middle of the board.  I could quickly tell that I was in the minority in terms of Pokemon knowledge.  I think I offended one young lady on our team when I told Liam "I think you should move your racoons to the front".  From her, I got a very indignant "Those are NOT racoons - they're Zigzagoons!"  (I just had to look that up). 

Don't trample the lettuce!
I ended up getting drafted to play some characters, as there was one opening at the table.  So, I had to control my own pieces, as well as help Liam.  Why did he need help, you ask?  Well, even though this was billed as a kid's event, the rules were more complicated than any miniature game I had previously played.  Each turn was broken up into roughly 12 segments - Place orders (of which there were 7 or 8 order types) cast magic, reveal orders, "stand and shoot" fires their first, "charge" orders are resolved, "rush" orders are resolved, "stand and shoot" gets to shoot again, "advance" is resolved, "run away" is resolved, finally melee happens.  I'm sure I got that wrong, but you get the gist.  And for each of those segments, there were particular rules and dice rolls that had to happen.  Not to mention terrain effects.

The game was scheduled for 3 hours, and at the end of three hours, we weren't particularly close to a result.  The GM gave a slight victory to Team Rocket (not us, alas) due to the fact that they had people (er...Pokemon) on the hill, but I think given another turn or two, we could have pushed them off.  So, while I appreciate the level of detail of the table, and the work involved...I think this was a bit much for a true "kids game".


We had circled a lego pirate game to play next, but after 5 hours of straight play, and checking out the game, we decided to pass (it was being run by a gentleman who had run a similar game last year, which ended up being out least favorite).  So we took the opportunity to do some shopping in the dealer area.  I ended up getting talked into buying some starter sets for Wings of Glory (formerly Wings of War) - the WWI aerial combat game.  This turned out to be a bit prescient....  After checking into our hotel, we were deciding what to play that evening.  We had picked out a spaceship game, but before we went there, we wandered by one other table...

It was Beauty that Killed the Beast

Let me post the description here:

As Fighter Command orders your Long Island squadron to
New York City with a rendezvous point of the Empire State
Building, you wonder what is going on? When you check with
Flight Control about your target, they respond with “You will
know it when you see it” Kids Rule for 2 hours
Inbound towards the Empire St. Building...Wait..what is that?!?!

I think you know what's coming....sure enough this was a King Kong scenario...using the Wings of Glory rules, which I had just purchased.  The GM, Cliff Brunken had found the King Kong scenario on boardgamegeek.  Basically, Kong stood on a hexagonal Empire State building, and each turn rolled a die to see where Kong would go.  Kong had the same reach as the range of our guns, so we had to get in close...too close.  Oh, and we had to make sure not to fly into the building, or shoot Fay Wray. 

Get close...but not too close...
This game was the highlight of the Con.  First of all, Cliff made it super fun, especially for kids.  He made Liam the flight leader, and through some "GM's grace", made sure that Kong fell at the hand of our intrepid leader.  Second, Cliff really put some effort into the game.  Unfortunately, his aerial phot of Manhattan didn't get made on time, but his Empire State Building and Kong were great.  Wings of Glory doesn't have any plans that match the planes from the film (he was using the recent Peter Jackson version for models), so he had that model plane, at the same scale, imported from Japan and painted to the right specifications.  My only complaint was that by random chance, it was a little too easy for us to accidentally shoot Ms. Wray...but you have to do what you have to do to save an entire city.  My wallet is lucky that the particular vendor that carried Kong statues was sold out, or I would have likely bought one on the spot.

Dinos vs. Nazis

Himmler is about to be carried back to the nest.
My buddy Grant was running a Star Wars scenario on Sunday morning, but we were too late to get tickets for that.  So, instead we opted for another scenario.  It's 1945, Hitler realizes his only chance to win the war is to use a time machine to travel back in time and eliminate the enemy early on.  As he powers up his time machine, with his loyal minions nearby, a Soviet artillery shell explodes nearby, causing the time machine to travel back 4 billion year to the age of the dinosaurs.

Not looking good for Eva Braun and her bodyguard.

In this game, we played the dinosaurs, and our objective was to eat as many Nazis as possible.  They were worth various points, and we had historical Nazis, as well as film and TV Nazis (Col Klink, the eyepiece guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark).  I'm not so sure the game is balanced all that well, as some dinosaurs have it easier than others - but then again, Liam's Pterodactyls outscored my T-Rex - and hey, you're playing Dinosaurs eating Nazis, so who can complain?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, "Beauty Killed the Beast" and "Dinos vs Nazis" both sound great! Add Wings of Glory to the list of things we should play...