Battle Group Boston’s HAVOC 2019 (or HAVOC XXXV) is in the books. This previous weekend in Shrewsbury, MA was a Friday-Sunday gaming marathon that saw me run two games (“What a Tanker”in North Africa and “Attack of the Warbots” using Combat Patrol™). I also played in three other games: a First Boer War scenario using Combat Patrol™; “Look Sarge we are Invading Russia” using Look Sarge, No Charts™; and another “What a Tanker” game on Sunday. I have not been blogging much recently as my prep for the event took a lot of time. So, this post will share some shots of the events, with more focus on the games that either I ran as a GM or participated in as a player.
Of note, it was very nice to have my West Point classmate and good friend Dave Wood from the Maryland HAWKS make it up to play in my games and run two of his own. It was also great to see attendance and gaming from the Mass Pikemen, especially Mike Morgan, Leif Magnuson, Chris Comeau, and others.
On Friday, I ran “What a Tanker – North Africa” and had a full table. I was able to roll out my new Bonus Attack cards that I created for the convention. They were very popular in the game and I will be expanding my use of them in the future based on the scenarios I run and the historical aspects of the specific theaters and scenarios/battles. I will adjust their use, and how I allow tank replacements going forward. Still, the game went very well, and I earned an award for the “Best in Time Slot”! The Axis battled back from early losses and defeated the British 104-58.
Saturday, I played in two games, and ran a third. The first one Saturday morning was “First Battle of the First Boer War” using the Combat Patrol™ rules system as modified for this era. It was a fun game, with the Boers holding off the British as they attempted to seize a wagon. In the end, the Boers prevailed.
There were many other games – over 56 I believe, and I did not get a chance to take a picture of all of them, but here are some shots below.
The next game went up in operational level and down in miniature scale. Dave Wood ran “Look Sarge, We are invading Russia”, using the Look Sarge No Charts set of rules and 6 mm microarmor. The Germans held off the Russian counterattack, and won the game. Both of Dave’s games were very well-received.
Skipping to Sunday, Leif Magnuson ran a nice What a Tanker game using 28mm tanks in an Eastern Front battle. It was a lot of fun, and the Soviets eked out a win. Leif also won an award for “Best in Time Slot” – well-deserved. This meant that our club (The Mass Pikemen) won two awards – and both were “What a Tanker” games!
“Ivan is a Tanker” run by Leif Magnuson.
Flashing back to Saturday night – I ran an updated “Attack of the Warbots” game. The game was a success, as the players had a great time.
At this point in the battle, Duck Wader made a power leap with his Sith powers, and drove his light saber into the Warbot tank, resulting in its disabling just two inches from victory.
Nearby, Roberker, a giant robot (with flame-throwing arms) was the Warbots’ last chance. The Frinx shot Roberker a bit, and its resulting morale check caused a miracle result – apparently the robot lost face, ran away in shame, and blew himself up!
The death of Roberker was followed by raucous laughter from the table – even from the player who had it happen to his Roberker.
I was tired after the weekend, but it was a great time. I want to thank all the players, as well as the GM’s, and especially Battle Group Boston for another fun convention!
I have been very busy – too busy to effectively write blog entries lately. I have been working on terrain and game support for the two games I will be running at HAVOC on April 5th and 6th. Each will support 10 players – and its my goal that all have a blast! So, in the interim, please enjoy these two announcements – hopefully I get some other stuff painted and blog-worthy for you dear readers! The link for the convention is here.
I am looking forward to seeing a number of friends – including my old USMA classmate (and HAWKS member) Dave Wood who is also running a couple of games – so that’s exciting too.
I’ll be running these two games!
I updated this game with my Space Roos and have new terrain!
Finding a gaming convention that is close by to my home has been somewhat frustrating for me over the last few years. Since I returned to the hobby, I have attended a few BARRAGE events in Maryland , but that’s it.
Imagine then that there was a con 15 miles from my home AND that they have been having it for 34 years (and I never knew!). The event was the three-day (Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday) HAVOC convention, run annually by Battlegroup Boston. This year was HAVOC XXXIV, and I learned of it through the New England Wargame Groups List page on FaceBook. It ran from April 6-8, and I am really glad that I could attend, but it was a last-minute decision. I was also hoping to let folks know about our group, The Mass Pikemen’s Gaming Club in Central Massachusetts.
In this blog, first I’ll discuss the two games I ran, then share some photos and eye candy of some of the convention.
I managed to get 7 players for the game, which was great. I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked as I was running the game. The players really had a great time and there was a lot of action. No one had ever seen these figures before, and the mass of the Mark 1’s surprised them all! I used a number of Armorcast sci-fi structures as well on the board, and they worked great.
While all this was going on, the Warbots on the right closed with the Robo-Sentry guns and the Star Ducks defending the wall. In this game, I have the Warbots use the Japanese Combat Patrol™ deck, which has different morale results. A morale card result caused one Warbot team to make a Banzai charge at the last surviving Robo Sentry gun, which was jammed. This enabled the Star Ducks to hit the team with direct fire. When the Banzai charge was over, another morale check caused this same team to flee the game, stifling this assault. The Frinx just got their captured tank fixed as the game was out of time. Due to the casualties inflicted by the Warbots, I called the game a draw. The players all were highly excited by the game and loved the ease of use of the Combat Patrol™ decks for all aspects of the game.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my game was nominated for the “Al Award”. From the HAVOC website, this is “presented for the game with the most stunning visual appeal. Our crack team of experts (expert team of cracks) will vote on the game that made us say “Wow!”.” I was honored to be nominated, but even more so to win! Thanks so much for this to Battlegroup Boston! A great con it was to be sure – and I felt very welcome here by all the club members.
The second game I ran was on Sunday, which was “GO FROGS RIBBIT – STOP THE BUGS”. It was a battle between the F.R.O.G. Commandos (with Star Duck reinforcements) and two Archive Star Rovers foes – the aforementioned Aphids and the Hurraku Space Phraints. So, basically, it was insectivores versus insects, albeit big bugs. The Frogs were defending a wooded area between two rivers and specifically their sacred pond. The insects’ objective was to seize the pond, and to dispatch as many amphibians as possible along the way with extreme prejudice.
I ended up with four players for this game – one for each attacking bug side on opposite sides of the board. Star Ducks would reinforce the Frogs as a special event card was pulled during the game. The Frogs would use the regular decks, while the bugs would use the Japanese decks. The Space Phraints also had a Sith. Here again, the players quickly adapted to the Combat Patrol™ deck. All were new to the game.
The Aphids got into the fray first with their Grav Cycles, while the Aphid infantry and the Space Phraints advanced.
The Aphids however did effectively draw the Frogs to their attack, weakening the side facing the Hurraku Space Phraints. This would have consequences.
At this point, the Hurraku gambled and turned the tide of battle. Linda (the Hurraku player) decided to take advantage of her Sith’s power of “Rage”. This ability causes a Banzai attack. This also removes all stun markers from her troops while they charge at the enemy and engage solely in hand-to-hand combat (or just melee as we are talking about bugs and Frogs). The Hurraku also all have the same activation number until the banzai charge ends, resulting in a true mass attack. Here (in melee) the Hurraku have an advantage as they are very tough fighters. They also move fast normally, and the “Rage” improves that movement by a factor of two.
At this point, a Star Duck squad jet packed in as reinforcements, but it was not enough. They jet-packed in to defend the pond.
The players here had a good time and were good sports. The tide swung from one side to the other. In the end, the “Rage” Banzai charge was decisive.
I will now share some photos of the two games I played on Saturday morning and afternoon (I did not play Saturday night). I played a Bolt Action scenario run by Friedrich Helisch. The scenario was a 1941 German attack on a Russian-held village. David Shuster was on the Russian side, while Friedrich and I played the Germans. This was my first try at Bolt Action.
This was a points-based game, and our taking of the second building allowed us to win by 1 point, so it was very close. As for the rules, I am on the fence, but more than willing to try them again at some point in the future.
The second game I played was a Gaslands scenario. I had heard this was an interesting game and thought I’d try it out. In this game you get so many points to choose and arm 2-3 vehicles (performance car, regular car, and pickup truck). The goal is to run over (3 points) or shoot (1 point) pedestrians (in homage to Death Race 2000) instead of the usual zombies on the game board. You can attack your opponents, but their destruction does not get you points (you do eliminate the competition). The movement is very much like X-Wing.
I played with two other players, who chose to max out two vehicles, while I did three lesser-armed vehicles. I chose to go after the competition and eventually had one of two vehicles to be the last on the tabletop. However, at this point the game masters deploy invulnerable Monster trucks to hunt you down and end the game. I just missed my last pedestrian which would have tied me for first. The game masters (Michael Eichner and Erich Eichner) did a nice job, and this was a fun game. The table looked great too.
I thought that I should share some photos of the rest of the con. I did not get to see as much as I would have liked, but there were a lot of very cool games. Kudos to all the folks at Battlegroup Boston, as well as the GM’s and players! Please share your thoughts in the comments section – thanks for reading this blog!