The wonderful Barrage wargaming convention was held back on September 27-28 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. It is run by the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKS), and I have attended the last few years and run a few games there as well as a GM. This year marked the 25th Anniversary of the convention.
The trip was enjoyable – and even though it’s been over a month since the event – I wanted to share some of the pics and details of the event from my perspective. It’s not an all-encompassing review – but hopefully it will give you a flavor of the event and some nice views of some worthwhile and visually interesting tabletop games.
I drove down from Massachusetts and arrived Thursday night (the night before the convention) to help the HAWKS set up. As a bonus, we got to play a few turns of Eric Schlegel’s Antietam: The Cornfield game using the A Union So Tested rules set. It was a fun start.
The convention started in earnest on Friday – and I got a chance to check out some amazing tabletops. Bill Molyneaux had a brilliant Boxer Rebellion game that had incredible terrain. I did not get to play this game, but would have loved to try it.
I walked around Friday’s game and took some pics of a few games I loved seeing (but did not get to play) before I got into playing a Feudal Patrol™ game. Here you can see a Napoleonic game (run by Dave Wood), a Gundam game, and a really neat G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. Sherlock Holmes themed game (run by Sam Fuson). There was a Flames of War Tournament. I have not played that game despite having (as regular readers know) a TON of FoW models. The games looked a bit crowded figure-wise – and maybe that’s normal for that game. Note the US TIE fighter (the gamer said he did not have a proper US plane so he painted this model)…not sure about that particular add personally.
I really wanted to try another game of Feudal Patrol™. I had played one at HUZZAH! run by Duncan Adams earlier this year. Feudal Patrol™ is a novel skirmish game (yet unpublished) and is similar to Combat Patrol™ – except it is for pike and shot periods and earlier. I am hoping to write an Aztec supplement for it for Buck.
Chris Palmer ran a War of the Roses scenario involving securing an abandoned supply train of three wagons. It was just the two of us, but as Buck came available, he joined in on Chris’ side. I started off well, but in due course I got my ass handed to me by Buck and Chris! Still, I was glad to try it and I feel confident that this will be another great system by Buck.
After this game, I walked around and took some more shots of some cool tables. There was a 54mm scale ACW game, and a 54mm medieval mayhem game. Greg Priebe had a Poland 1940 Combat Patrol™ game for replete with an armored train. Lastly, there was an Aliens-inspired scratch built table that was impressive. These shots are below.
The last game that I played on Friday was with Dave Wood and another player. It recreated the scenario made famous by the events portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down. The rules were Force on Force, which had an interesting set of mechanics, but very complicated for a short game. We actually ran the game twice, with Dave and I as the Americans. All agreed that the scenario was impossible to win for the US. Still, the GM Carl Olsen made the experience enjoyable.
That finished off Friday. Saturday presented an opportunity to play the massive Combat Patrol™ Star Wars Battle of Hoth scenario (from The Empire Strikes Back) of the Battle of Hoth that Buck and Greg Priebe ran at Historicon. It was pure eye-candy (as you’ll see below), and a blast to play. We had a full table of 10-12 players. The Combat Patrol™ Star Wars supplement was used – and was easily picked up by the players who were new. Buck and Greg did an outstanding job of running this massive game.
I played with several other players on the Imperial side with the goal of destroying the Millennium Falcon before it could fly out of the cave it was hiding in with the other rebel ships. We succeeded in eventually knocking out the shield generator with an AT-AT. Subsequently the Millennium Falcon was destroyed when our forces could get a clear shot. A strategic victory was had for the Empire!
After the victory, I had some time before I needed to set up and run my Normandy Breakout scenario for What a Tanker© that I have previously run a few times. I took a few more shots of some interesting games. One of these was a Dungeon Crawl run by a gentleman (sorry as I forgot his name) who makes his own miniatures out of small bits of wood and paints them really well – check them out below.
After this, it was on to setting up and running my Normandy Breakout game. I have really gotten this game to be a great gaming experience – based on both my opinion and consistent feedback from the players. This time, I had between 9 and 11 different players as some came and went.
The Germans made some very good decisions on terrain use and vehicle selection. The Allies did not choose enough reconnaissance vehicles, and were less effective using terrain as a whole. The Allies did not do a good job at crossing the table – with only a M10 Wolverine (by Dave Wood) and an M5 Stuart (by Buck Surdu) crossing the board. To be fair, the dice abandoned the Allies at a few critical junctures.
The Germans chose expensive vehicles, such as the Panther D (Greg Priebe), Jadgpanther (Andrew) and Tiger II (run by a woman known as April or “Queen Tiger” in the game), but used them effectively to stop the Allies. This put them in a points disadvantage, that they made up with their kills. Don Hogge’s used his SdKfz 233 very well to delay and harass the Allies. The Germans lost no vehicles, and the Allies lost a total of 5: a Dingo scout car, an M3A1 Stuart, an M10 Wolverine, and two 17-pounder Achilles. The Allies vehicle choices hurt them (not enough tanks and reconnaissance versus tank destroyers). This had not happened in previous runs, and is a testament to the German players having a good plan. The final score was 160-123 in favor of the Germans. I will continue to run this game – it has never been the same twice.
After picking up, the last game I played in was a Roman Circus Chariot game with rules by DeWitt. My chariot flipped and I lost – but it was fun!
And the flea market was outstanding!
Thanks to the HAWKS for a great weekend!
And thanks to you, dear reader, for looking – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!