I was fortunate to attend the HMGS Fall In® gaming convention last weekend (November 3-6, 2022) in Lancaster, PA. The Maryland-based Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (H.A.W.K.’s) were kind enough to adopt me (a Massachusetts-based Mass Pikeman) and invited me to be a game master in their dedicated gaming room at Fall In!. They are a great group of folks and I am very grateful for their hospitality! Lancaster is a 6-hour drive for me – but the trip was well worth it.
There were close to 400 games – or more too many to count – at the convention. The event was amazing and very well-run for sure. I played in two games, and ran 4 of my own. As this situation begs for visual inputs, I will have A LOT of photos and a couple of video links to share.
Click on the photos for a better view.
Thanks to Chris Palmer for some of these photos below as well. I hope that you find these enjoyable.
Thursday Night, Marines versus Japanese, a Combat Patrol™ Game
After I set up my first game on Thursday night (for Friday morning), Eric Schlegel of the H.A.W.K.’s ran a pick up Combat Patrol™ game Thursday night. It involved US Marines storming a Japanese island. I played on the Japanese side and the USMC overwhelmed the defenders and won. It was a fun quick game. Here’s a couple of photos:
Friday Morning, “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”, a Feudal Patrol™ Game
After a good night’s sleep, I arrived early to set up my Feudal Patrol™ game of “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli”. It’s a pre-Spanish Conquest fight between the Aztecs and their neighbors the Tlaxcalans. The Aztecs attempt to conduct a raid of a Tlaxcalan village to gain captives for slavery and blood sacrifice, and the Tlaxcalans fight back!
The game went very well – as you will see below. The Aztecs made a valiant assault across open terrain into a hail of Tlaxcalan arrows – and went into melee. The Tlaxcalans were ready and gave as good as they got. In the end, they Aztecs eked out a minor victory 34-27. The casualties were separated only by 3 figures out of 18 total on both sides. Both sides were totally excited about their prospects and the battle. Here’s a gallery of photos from that game:
Near the end of the game, an official of the convention briefly interrupted the game – and to my surprise awarded me a PELA award (my first ever) for the time slot. PELA stands for “Pour Encourager Les Autres” which in English translates to “For Encouraging the Others”. These awards are defined by HMGS as going:
“to the games that best embody the positive traits of miniatures gaming, such as well-painted figures, great looking terrain, interesting scenarios, enjoyable rules, good sportsmanship, and an enjoyable time – events that do the most to “encourage others”.”
I was really shocked and honored – and as a cherry on the sundae I got a rousing applause from the players too. There were about 30 games in my time slot – so not a lay up to be chosen by any means. The award was a lovely Samurai figure on a plinth and a voucher for the vendor hall.
After picking up the morning game, I and Greg Priebe walked around the event before preparing for our evening game that we had collaborated on. Here is a gallery of just some of what was there- some truly amazing stuff.
I mentioned Dave Wood above – my West Point roommate – always good to see my good friend, my brother from another mother…
Greg and I then set up our game, Vikings vs. Aztecs!!!
Friday Evening, “Vikings vs. Aztecs!!!”, a Feudal Patrol™ Game
Greg Priebe and I had worked out this scenario over the phone and Zoom.
Obviously this is not a historical recreation, but a “what if”. Greg had brought the Viking figures and I of course brought the Aztecs – and we co-GM’ed the game.
The game went well. The Aztecs, led by Acamapichtli, needed to prevent the Vikings, led by Carl the Jarl and Brunhilde the Shieldmaiden, from raiding and looting various structures – and of course casualties counted as well for both sides. In the end, the Aztecs majorly triumphed – partly due to the Vikings having probably the WORST luck of the draw in any wargame that I have seen in 20 years. That’s not to detract from the Aztec play – which focused on defense and won the day. However, I did not tally a score. Here’s a gallery:
It was a fun game nonetheless and the players on both sides displayed excellent camaraderie. Greg also gave me a bunch of Viking sprues so that I could have my own Vikings too. I do have some old school metal ones, but I will (someday), assemble and paint these up to run this game again. I just need to help out the Vikings!
We then cleaned up and I then set up most of my next day’s afternoon and evening games – as I planned on playing in Chris Palmer’s Ozz game on Saturday morning.
Saturday Morning, “Wars of Ozz: Attack on the Emerald City”, a Wars of Ozz Game
When I had visited Florida and Buck Surdu (as described here) I played a Wars of Ozz game at Recon. Buck’s Wars of Ozz rules and figures are available from Sally4th in the UK here, and in the US at a dedicated Old Glory Ozz site here.
As I have factions (Munchkins, Winkies, Greater and Lesser Pumpkinheads), I wanted to play another game to make sure that I understood the rules since it had been a while. Chris Palmer ran his outstanding scenario of “Attack on the Emerald City“. This involved Nomes (yes, Nomes), burrowing underneath the walls of the Emerald City and undermining its defenses/taking out a wall section. Meanwhile, Winkies, Giant Bears, and Skeletons are assisting the Nomes by attacking from outside the walls. Quadlings and Tin Men inside attempt to defend, while Munchkins defend outside.
In the game I was outside the walls with a medium battery of Munchkin artillery, two infantry regiments (Tik-Tok and Landwehr), and a small Munchkin cavalry regiment. I sent the cavalry to disrupt the Nomes coming after my teammates rears (that sounds wrong but you get it), and succeeded so that they could face the oncoming Winkies and skeletons and not get hit on two sides. This was successful but the cavalry was badly weakened and did not reform until the last turn of the game. My artillery ended up in a counter-battery duel with a couple of Winkie batteries – and was wiped out. Meanwhile, my two infantry regiments held their respective grounds and heavily damaged two attacking Winkie regiments AND wiped out a regiment of Giant Bears. Then, my cavalry reformed and drove off the Nomes on my side. So, victory! Here’s a couple of galleries:
This was an EXCELLENT game and motivates me to hurry up and get to my Ozz figures. Of key note, Chris Palmer deservedly won a PELA for this game the day before! Congrats Chris!
As I had set up my afternoon game, after lunch it was time for:
Saturday Afternoon, “The Battle of Lake Texcoco”, a Feudal Patrol™ Game
I planned to run two of this scenario back-to-back. I had FULL tables for each iteration – and I’ll share each in turn. Greg Priebe was a BIG help at both games – thanks Greg!
The scenario is best summarized below:
In the first game, the Conquistadores sailed towards the Aztec war canoe fleet. The Conquistadores needed to fire their falconets and lombards into Tenochtitlan for Victory Points, while the Aztecs got their big points by boarding the brigantines. VP’s were also awarded to both sides for inflicting casualties. Some of the brigantines raised full sails – notably El Dólar (The Buck after Buck Surdu) & El Gregorio (The Greg after Greg Priebe). The other three brigantines are named El Perro de Guerra (The War Dog), & El Conquistador (The Conquistador of course), and El Marcos (named after, well, me). All made it towards Tenochtitlan but the Aztecs were able to board them all and disrupt them sufficiently. El Dólar ended up hitting an underwater obstacle at full speed and settled to the mud bottom, allowing the Aztecs to swarm over it. It’s cannon was unable to bear on the city, and no other ship managed a shot into the city. The Aztecs won a minor victory as no shot hit the capital – but killed a LOT of Aztecs. But the game ended with a score of 226-207 in favor of the Aztecs. Here’s a gallery of that game:
The game was a success, and I reset it for:
Saturday Evening, “The Battle of Lake Texcoco”, a Feudal Patrol™ Game
After resetting from the afternoon, the play recommenced with a different yet FULL slate of gamers. In this game the Spanish were more cautious, and that let the Aztecs close on them sooner. Unlike the first game, the Conquistadors did get one shot off at Tenochtitlan from El Gregorio – but it missed! The final score was 290-172 in favor of the Aztecs. It did not help the Spanish that an arquebus misfired/exploded and killed that arquebusier, another arquebusier, and Alvarado (a key leader). It was nice to have several HAWKS in the game – especially Greg and Chris and Geoff. Here’s a gallery of round 2:
Both games were well-received and I really appreciate the help in cleaning up from Chris Palmer, Greg Priebe, and Dave Wood as it was after midnight!
Videos links showing Fall In! 2022 and some of these games
There have been two videos on YouTube that I think are worth seeing if you want more shots of the Fall In! 2022 convention.
The first is by Walt O’Hara called “Fall IN! 2022 at sub light speed“. Click here you will see this video with some nice overall shots of many other games plus some amusing commentary. Chris Palmer’s “Wars of Ozz: Attack on the Emerald City” shows up at 1:52. Our “Vikings vs. Aztecs!!!” game show up at 2:09. His PELA comment was a joke of course- though I did win for my “Raid to Satisfy Huitzilopochtli” as discussed.
The second is from Little Wars TV, called “Fall In” 2022 Show Recap”. It is very well done and you can see a few seconds of me and my Lake Texcoco game at 10:50. Click here to see that video.
Thanks so much to the folks that ran the convention – it was outstanding. Special thanks again to the H.A.W.K.’s for bringing me in and making me feel welcome and a part of the group. Of course, to all who played in my games, please know how much I appreciated sharing my game with you.
Lastly, and as a side note, you may remember that I won a PELA. As part of that award, in addition to the miniature I got this:
So, I took my $12 voucher for my PELA and on Sunday morning after packing up hit the vendor hall. I decided to get some dice etc., and then saw a steel conquistador’s helmet. It called to me. Now it’s mine!
After a long drive home – I showed my wife. Somehow she was not very pleased! Oh well, sorry honey…still love ya…
Thanks for looking and to my regular followers I hope to post more figures soon as golf season has basically wound down.