On October 20th, there was a Devens game day at the former Ft. Devens in Massachusetts. I was interested in attending for a couple of reasons. First, I am trying to get to more gaming events in the area. Second, I was stationed at Fort Devens while I was a member of the 39th Engineer Battalion (Combat) from 1989-1992, so I was intrigued to see the post again in its new configuration. Fort Devens was closed as an active duty US Army post in the 1990’s, and Massachusetts has redeveloped the post by bringing in a lot of industry. Still, some of the post is used by the reserves. In fact my old battalion area seems to have been saved and redeveloped for the reserves. That area is all fenced off now and I did not want to photograph the area and draw unwanted attention to doing so! Other buildings and barracks areas are untouched since closure, with actual trees growing out of the edifices yielding an apocalyptic/Walking Dead look. This blog post is a bit late, but I did get wrapped up in the baseball ALCS and the World Series, which were both won by the great Boston Red Sox!
The actual game sessions were held at the Fort Devens Museum. There were three games there – a WWI game, a naval game, and a pulp game. I did not get any pictures of the naval game but you can read about in an excellent post here. I focused on playing a WWI game (given that it is close to the centenary of the end of that conflict). The board is entirely scratch built, and I believe the rules were “Trench Warfare”, but I am not sure. The game master, Bill, did an excellent job, and I wanted to share his board as it was excellent. The event clearly tried to recruit younger gamers, which was admirable for growing our hobby.
The game ended in a draw, but I enjoyed it a lot.
There was also a pulp game that I did not play in, but that looked interesting.
Lastly, I looked around the museum and looked for anything related to my old unit. The only thing I saw was a donation from a former lieutenant from the 1977 time frame. I do think I could find a few things myself. Interestingly, I am a local, and the 39th had members who for the most part live in other parts of the country. I do commend the museum for trying to resurrect the posts history from WWI until closure.
My thanks to the folks who set up this event and to the folks at the museum!
Many of you who follow my blog have read about Buck Surdu, my good friend and author of multiple wargaming rules systems. Of course, he is a fellow West Pointer so that’s in his favor! He is a major shaker and mover in the H.A.W.K.’s (Harford County Weekly Kriegspielers) in Maryland, and has been involved with BARRAGE for years.
Little Wars TV interviewed Buck, and I thought some of you would find this interesting.
This will be a very short blog post – but for those of you who love the old Archive Star Rovers figures, this will touch your heart! As many of you know, I have been collecting and painting Duck Wader, Star Ducks, Power-Armored Frinx, and a number of other Archive gems. I use them in Combat Patrol™ retro-sci-fi games – many of which my daughter Ellen Morin and her fiance Chris Smedile have played in and enjoyed.
Ellen’s birthday is in September, as is mine, but we did not get around to celebrating until the first Saturday in October. She got me a couple of very cool gifts. One was an awesome Boston Bruins sweater (cannot have too much Bruins gear by the way). The other was a painting of Duck Wader and some Frinx breaching a wall, with Star Ducks jet-packing through the air above! She used photos from my blog to sketch and ultimately paint the scene. I think it was an awesome gift! Here is the painting below:
The H.A.W.K.’s held their BARRAGE convention in Havre de Grace, Maryland at the end of September 2018. They had over 70 gaming events, and it had been on my “hoping to attend” list for most of 2018. Also on my wish list was to be able to run my “Attack of the Warbots” game using the Combat Patrol™ card-based system. I was hoping to attend but was unsure (for several reasons) up to a week beforehand as to whether I was going to be able to go or not. In the end, the stars aligned, and I also got to run my game! Box checked!
There was a lot going on here – and I saw a lot of great games. The following is just a snippet, through my eyes, of the experiences that I had. The games and the game masters that I saw did an incredible job. Truly impressive. Certainly, the H.A.W.K.’s put on a great gaming convention and my kudos to all of them and the other game masters.
I started on Friday with running my latest iteration of “Attack of the Warbots” with my Archive, Mega Miniatures, and Wargames Supply Dump figures, all of which are OOP. I had seven players, with three on the Warbot side, and four on the defending side. Of note, I was lucky to have had as players both Buck Surdu (my old West Point buddy and the author of the Combat Patrol™ rules) and Dave Wood (my old West Point roommate who introduced me to tabletop gaming in 1982). I also had the good fortune to have Greg Priebe playing alongside Buck – and Greg wrote the Star Wars supplement for Combat Patrol™. Buck is very fond of ducks (in a good way of course), and was in command of Duck Wader and some Star Ducks, while Dave was on the Warbot side with a couple of Mark 1 Sphere tanks. Greg commanded the Aphids and the Frinx. A few other players were there but I did not get their names (sorry). The Warbots needed to recapture a lost Mark 1 before the defenders could repair it and get it off the board.
I then turned into a player, and decided to try a Lion Rampant game ably run by Philip Jones. We were the Vikings who had seized prelates, monks, and treasure in a raid, and were trying to escape to their longship, while being pursued and blocked by Welsh troops.
Our casualties mounted! The game points were tallied, and rightly called for the Welsh. I did find the system fun, and Philip ran the game in a very fun way.
After this, I was walking around, and was recruited for a “What a Tanker” game run by Brian Lipscomb. It was set in North Africa, 15mm scale, with the British set against the Germans and Italians. Brian asked if I wanted to have a German or Italian tank. Being a sucker for a challenge, I of course said Italian. I was given a Fiat M13/40 tank.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this game and the mechanics. Brian is a superb GM. More on that in a bit…but this was a fun way to end Friday!
On Saturday, I had really looked forward to playing Buck’s Sea Lion game. There weren’t enough players, so it was called, BUT I wanted to share the unbelievably beautiful game set up. Buck will run this game at Fall In and you can read about a play test of the game here.
So again, I wandered around, and saw another Brian Lipscomb “What a Tanker” game, this time set on the Eastern Front. After Friday, I was happy to give it another go. I was teamed with two others who had not previously played the game. We had a certain number of points, so I volunteered to take a lesser tank (a T-70 light tank) so that they could have better ones – in this case a T-34 and an SU-76.
At this point, Don Hogge and Buck Surdu visited the table put up a dollar each for anyone to kill me! Talk about motivation! We were being outmaneuvered by the Germans at this point, so I moved back and used my kill points to upgrade my T-70 to an SU-85.
The scenario that Brian devised also had infantry (controlled by him as the GM and using a random events chart) – with the town as an objective. I used the SU-85 to hammer the German infantry as Soviet infantry was arriving. I killed four stands and got a bunch of kill points. I reminded my teammates that I had started off as a T-70, and they gave me one extra kill point, which allowed me to get a monster ISU-152. At the same time, the Germans were reinforced with a Jagdpanther and a Sturmgeschutz III.
Immediately I maneuvered the ISU-152 to hit more infantry. The Germans decided to try to get me with their Jagdpanther and the Sturmgeschutz III. I moved my tank destroyer next to a building to face the Jagdpanther down the main street. He fired.
I returned fire and destroyed the German tank destroyer.
At this point, the Sturmgeschutz III was maneuvering to get a flank or rear shot on me. As the ISU-152 is very heavy and slow, I was only able to spin to face the Sturmgeschutz III. It was a question of initiative – and I got it, hit the German assault gun, and got kill #6 for the weekend (and the $2 bounty on me!).
I then participated in a play test for a near future warfare scenario using cyber warfare with the Look Sarge No Charts system. It was run by Dave Wood and was interesting to do.
Every BARRAGE there is a pickup WWI air combat game that is a hoot. I’ve never managed to get a kill in the game before, but I did this year as a German. Eventually, I got shot up and had to glide home.
The last tabletop game that I played in was a First Boer WarCombat Patrol™ game. I was on the Boer side and we had to defend our wagon from being seized by the British. The game was fun, but there was a low point. We had a couple of players from New Jersey who vanished mid-game without so much as a notice that they were leaving. I think they hated defending. Anyways, we struggled on and ended up winning the game. The other players were great sports, and were great company.
After this game at the end of the con, I got to play in the traditional LARP pirate game. I had a nerf crossbow (treated by the GM as a musket) that took out Buck with a shot to the glutes. My weapon later misfired, and the resultant damage took me out. That LARP is always a fun game though!
The flea market presented many vendors and items for sale. I grabbed a Verdun game that I had last played with a gaming club in Monterey, CA in 1985! I’m not sure when I will get to play it, or with whom, but it was OOP in 1985, so a nice find! Buck and I visited the Verdun battlefield in 1987 or so, so it was nice to get this game here.
I must congratulate again the H.A.W.K.’s on a well-run con. Little Wars TV attended and filmed so you can see more of the convention here.
Thanks for looking and as always, I love any feedback!
The July 2018 session of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club was fun time for all. We had an epic battle using the Combat Patrol™ gaming system. The battle (called “Get The Data!”) was between the attackers (an alliance of the Texican Space Rangers and the Hurraku Space Phraints) and the combined forces of the Robot Peacekeepers and the Space Dwarves. The objective for the attackers was to seize weapons design data from a computer in an abandoned and ruined factory/research facility. The defenders mission was to exact a high price in casualties from the assault force.
So why did I align the Texicans and the Hurraku? One picture in the Star Rovers game shows them having a drink at Moondog Maude’s Cantina – so I went with that.
I assigned points differentially for the attackers and the defenders based on the mission. The Hurraku attacked on the defenders’ left, and the Texican Space Rangers attacked from the defenders’ right. The defenders also had Robo-Sentry guns deployed run by RT22. I also gave them Roberker, a flame-throwing giant robot to help with their defense.
The game was fun, and when the tide turned, the attackers did a good job of exploiting the openings presented. I love it when maneuver is executed well. The Texican Space Rangers aggressiveness resulted in nearly 50% casualties, but helped the Hurraku press their assault on the other flank. The defenders did get some very unlucky morale results, but so did the attackers so it was a wash there. Next time I run this scenario, I probably will include some defensive indirect fire support as well as some time constraints on the attackers.
Still, it was a fun session, and I am appreciative to the players! It was nice to meet everyone, and I’m glad that they got to learn the system so quickly. Our next session is tentatively scheduled for August 18th.
This gaming convention was held January 19-20 in Havre de Grace, MD, which is close to Aberdeen. It was a blast and well-run by the HAWKS gaming club.
I played many games over many time periods and genres. Mostly I played a lot of Combat Patrol™ games!
Second Boer War (modified Combat Patrol™)
Poland 1939 (Combat Patrol™)
Napoleonic Era -Bridge at Vittoria (Fate of Battle)
Civil War skirmish (Brother vs. Brother)
Star Wars (modified Combat Patrol™)
Moro Insurrection (modified Combat Patrol™)
Tavern LARP (Blood and Swash)
You can see many more photos here of all the games, including the LARP that concluded the 1.5 days of gaming. I’m here wearing a Boston Bruins sweater or a West Point sweatshirt in these photos.
The first game I played was a Second Boer War scenario where the British were attacking the Boers defending a hill and farmstead. I played the Boers. The Brits needed to kill or capture the Boer leader, which they failed to do, so this was a good start for my day.
The second game that I played in was a scenario involving a German attack on the Poles in 1939, run by Buck Surdu. I was on the Polish side with two other players. The Germans had 4 Panzer 38(t)’s, and several squads of infantry, including some antitank rifles. The Poles had about the equivalent amount of infantry, but fewer machine guns. For armor, they had two TKS tankettes, one with a 20mm gun, and one with a machine gun. They also had 2 Wz. 28 armored cars. The surprise of the game was that German armor was decimated by the TKS with the 20mm (killed 3/4 of the panzers before being knocked out by the last panzer). In the end the game was called a German victory, but I felt we acquitted ourselves well.
The next day I first played a Napoleonic scenario run by Dave Wood. I played on the French/Swiss side against a Portuguese and British attacking force. Their objective was the Vittoria Bridge. Eventually we were routed.
I then played in a Civil War skirmish for a short time between games using the Brother vs. Brother rules. It ended up being a draw.
I then moved on to a Star Wars Combat Patrol/Frostgrave mash up scenario, where I was on the side of the Droids vs. Clones of the Republic. We were supposed to grab crates of goods and move them off the battlefield. Our sides leader was killed on turn 1, and later the game had to be halted due to GM Greg Priebe’s refrigerator blowing up at home…sorry Greg!
The last game was a Moro Insurrection scenario involving US and Moro troops trying to seize cattle from a pen. We had about 6 players. Buck Surdu ran this game using the Combat Patrol™ rules. I had a squad of US infantry that got caught in the open by the Moros, and got pretty shot up. It was a very bloody affair, with the Moros winning by getting the cattle.
The last event was a LARP using the Blood and Swash rules. Three teams competed for a treasure chest. I was a Man-at-Arms, and got involved in a pretty close battle with Buck Surdu, another Man-at Arms. I nearly killed Buck, but he managed to kill me first. The good news for Buck was that his side won.
I had a great time, and want to thank all the HAWKS for a great gaming convention!!
Buck Dave, Ellen, and Chris early in the game before the carnage unfolded. Last weekend, my buddy Dave and I drove up to Massachusetts to visit another buddy, Mark (“Ma’k”) for a day of gaming. Dave, Mark, and I used to game at West Point. Mark has recently gotten back into gaming, and we […]