My BARRAGE XXII Recap, September 2018

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.

09282018 BARRAGE Attack of the Warbots
My flyer for the “Attack of the Warbots”
1 Barrage my game set up
Game set up from the attacking Warbot side.  I got set up early, which is why there seems to be an empty hall, but it filled up quickly.
2 inital casualties
Early action – the defenders gained the initiative and the Red Warbot squad on the left of the photo took casualties from effective Star Duck and Aphid fire.  The Warbots smartly maneuvered a Mark 1 tank to attempt to breach the rusty steel wall defenses.
3 initial casualties
Closer view of previous action showing Aphids in a bad place.
4 warbot explodes
Aphids strike back!  They get a critical hit on a Red Warbot’s power plant, triggering a catastrophic explosion (smoke plume), which damaged several of its nearby comrades.  This made this fire team have to make multiple morale checks (as shown by the red beads).  One of these pinned the team in place for the remainder of the game.  As the critical hit catastrophically destroyed the smoky Warbot, that plume would restrict line of sight for that pinned team as well!
5 wall about to go...
Dave Wood prepares to destroy the wall with his Mark 1’s Death Ray, and…
6 wall is breached
…the wall is breached, frying a few defending Star Ducks.
7 duck casualties mount
Roberker moves towards the breach.
8 Duck Wader atttacks
Meanwhile, on the other flank, Duck Wader used a Force Leap to engage the Green Warbots in melee.  He was able to give the Aphids on that side a brief respite.  Wader got initiative again before the Warbots, and was able to Force Leap back to safety after damaging several Warbots with his light saber.
9 tank stopped
Back on the right, the Warbots get one of their two Mark 1’s within a few inches of the building where the captured tank was being repaired.  SSG Canvasback (yes, he has a name!), the 2nd Squad Leader, fires his Quackers Repeating Blaster and got a lucky hit, knocking out the tank’s left auto cannon sponson.   This allowed enough suppressive fire cover for the Star Duck Squad led by SSG Gadwall to close assault the tank with satchel charges…
10 duck close assault
…and successfully knock out the Mark 1!!  Roberker, a giant flame-throwing robot was following closely behind, but another critical hit from Greg Priebe’s Frinx immobilized the giant robot, stalling the attack.
11 stopping the Warbots
At the same time on the left flank, Duck Wader again Force-leaped over the wall into the midst of the Green Warbots, and launched a Force-Blast attack.  This sent waves of destructive energy through the closely-crowded Warbots.  Many were damaged, and one even had a power plant explosion, which caused even further damage to that team and multiple morale checks due to a second explosion.  These morale checks eventually disrupted the attack as the Green Warbots either ran off the table, or got into a massive traffic jam at the breach.  Here, you see Duck Wader after he had dispatched the Warbots.  He was wounded, but had wreaked havoc on the Warbots.
12 happy defenders
At this point, the other Warbot tank was immobilized, and the game was called as a defenders’ victory.  It was a near-run thing as the defenders were unlucky in rapidly repairing their captured Mark 1, but they would have been able to complete the repairs.  Here are some of the happy defenders – Rob Dean, Buck Surdu, Jim Stutzman, and Greg Priebe.

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.

13 Lion Rampant
“Llandaff is in flames, the bishop and his monks carried off- but the men of Glywysing have the Vikings trapped between two forces as they try to get back to their ships. Will they break through or will Bishop Cyfeilliog be rescued?”
14 Lion Rampant roster
My forces
15 Lion Rampant Vikings move out
Our initial deployment – Welsh would block us and harry us from the rear.
16 Lion Rampant Dave Wood prepares
The Welsh harry from the rear and Dave Wood prepares for battle.
17 Lion Rampant running
Vikings moving out.
18 Lion Rampant running
Crossing the river and all looks good…
19 Lion Rampant traffic jam
…until Welsh forces combine to slow and stop us.
20 Lion Rampant monk escapes
A monk escapes!

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.

21 What a Tanker start
My M13/40 tank sheet.  Brian did a nice job with using magnets for managing data on the sheets.
22 What a Tanker M13 chasing the Honey
I am pursuing a rear shot on a British Stuart “Honey”.  He slipped away, for the moment…
23 What a Tanker M13 goodby Crusader 2
Don Hogge pursued me in his Crusader II to take the pressure off the Honey.  Don shot at me and missed.  I rotated, fired, and smoked his tank.
24 What a Tanker M13 goodby Honey
This allowed me to renew my approach on the Honey.  I got hit with minor damage to my running gear.  I returned fire, and got the Honey with my first shot.  That’s two tanks!  Later, I finished off a Matilda II for my third kill (on the deep left) – and all this with an Italian M13/40!

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.

25 Sea Lion

26 Sea Lion
Rear of the table
27 Sea Lion women
Some Women’s Land Army troops
28 Sea Lion beach
Great scenery – these are the Germans assaulting the beach.
29 Sea Lion beach
Another view of the beach and wharves.  Landing craft in front held two 35(t) tanks, and a Panzer III.
30 Sea Lion shops
Nice bars with British sailors and folks hanging out…or are they?

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.

31 What a Tanker T70
Love what he did with these data sheets and the magnets!  This is for the T-70.
32 What a Tanker T70 kill
I maneuvered alongside the T-34 and put the killing round into a Panzer IV.  Kill #4 for the weekend.

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.

33 What a Tanker SU85 upgrade
My upgrade 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.

34 What a Tanker ISU152 upgrade
My last upgrade – the ISU-152.

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.

He missed!

I returned fire and destroyed the German tank destroyer.

35 What a Tanker ISU152 takes out jagdpanzer IV
My ISU-152 nails the Jagdpanther.  Kill #5 for the weekend.
36 What a Tanker ISU152 takes out jagdpanzer IV burning
Jagdpanther burns.

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!).

37 What a Tanker ISU152 takes out sturmgeschutz burning
Kill #6!

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.

38 LSNC near future play test
Dave explaining the system.
39 LSNC near future play test
Assault on the hill.

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.

40 Aerodrome game
WWI fighter game – I had the red plane in the center.

The last tabletop game that I played in was a First Boer War Combat 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.

41 Combat Patrol Boer War
Boer War game

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!