Last weekend the Cold Wars 2023 gaming convention was held in Valley Forge, PA at the Valley Forge Casino Resort. I participated as a game master and as a player. I ran three games of Feudal Patrol, played in two games of Wars of Ozz, and participated as a player in an American War of Independence (AWI) game. I really enjoyed the convention – and personally had some special moments as you will soon see in this post. I, a Massachusetts “carpetbagger”, am grateful once again for the welcome, hospitality, and friendship of the HAWKS club, especially Buck Surdu, Greg Priebe, Chris Palmer, Dave Wood, and Eric Schlegel – who all contributed to making my experience a memorable one. I also want to thank the players who chose to play in my games. I also must thank the HMGS staff and volunteers for making the convention work so well.
I thought the best way to share this with my readers was to focus on photographs – with a little bit of description. Some of these photos came from Chris Palmer and others on Facebook, and some are from myself.
This was on Thursday night in the HAWKS room and was a playtest of a set of rules being worked on by Buck Surdu, Chris Palmer, and Greg Priebe and other HAWKS. Basically it is taking the Wars of Ozz/Eagles and Empires engine and applying it to the AWI. I needed to set up my first game (The Battle of Centla) so that I could play on Friday morning in a Wars of Ozz game without any concerns. I played on the British side with 3 line regiments and two grenadier regiments. I had nothing but open field in front of me and a mission to take out an American gun battery that was surrounded by colonial infantry in soft cover commanded by Chris Palmer.
I advanced my troops as quickly as possible but got shredded by canister as I git close – though I did do some – but not enough – damage to Chris.
I got trounced but it was not a situation that I think I could have attempted differently, but hey, it’s a game and a playtest at that.
Wars if Ozz – Winter of Discontent (Wars of Ozz)
This was a “bring your own brigade” game GM’d by Chris Palmer – and to help I brought both my Winkie and my Munchkin brigades in case they were needed. As it turned out, I commanded the Munchkins, and faced my own Winkies!
Several different factions are shown below.
And here are some more – click on the images for a better view:
The board was fairly open with some hills and woods in a wintery scene.
It was a fun game, though I felt like I was a bit torn fighting my own troops!
That Winkie cavalry attacking player rolled 5 dice for hits – not a single miss (the roll was amazing) – and those hits would be doubled due to impetus. All 5 hit rolls yielded 10 hits – and that took out fully 50% of Tik-Tok’s regiment in one fell swoop. Tik-Tok routed, but I was able to rally it and keep it in the game.
While successful in their attack, the 20th Winkie Light Cavalry was now disordered – and my Munchkin battery and my own pony riding cavalry took the opportunity to hit the zilks from both the flank and the rear, and sent them into a retreat.
The Winkies then attacked – buy mainly piecemeal – and the Munchkins were able to hold and repel both charges by the Winkie Sharpshooters and their ally the Lesser Apes. The artillerists did abandon their gun when the apes hit, but short range canister and a round of melee had already sent the Lesser Apes packing.
In the middle of the game was a big scrum between the brigade of Ice Trolls, Elves, Dark Elves, and that of the Teddy Bear Infantry, Teddy Bear Artillery, and the Toy Soldier Cavalry.
The game was a “good guys” victory!
The Battle of Centla (Feudal Patrol)
On Friday afternoon, I ran the Feudal Patrol game of the Battle of Centla – a battle between the Maya and the Conquistadores under Hernan Cortes.
The Spanish needed to reach the Maya city or kill 50% of the Spanish, or kill Tabscoob, the Maya leader. The Maya needed to prevent the Spanish from achieving their victory conditions, kill Cortes, or kill 50% of the Conquistadores. In the game, the Maya do get reinforcements, and the Spanish do not. Time is not on the Spanish players’ side.
I was happy to be able to use some of my new beach-adjacent jungle bases here.
The Spanish were not initially as aggressive as I expected – though as the game progressed they did start to advance.
Unfortunately, the Spanish needed to take some risks – and Buck moved Cortes up and into the fight. This was very appropriate given the state of the game at that point. A Maya warrior got a lucky hit on him and cut off his leg – yielding a victory for the Maya. This game is very cool – I have run it several times and both sides have won in the past.
Surprise Aztec Raid on the Spanish Outpost (Feudal Patrol)
After the Friday afternoon game (Centla), I quickly got my next game ( this was held on Friday evening) set up with a lot of help from Buck, Dave Wood, and Greg for Friday night. This is a scenario as described below:
The game went back and forth and it was not clear at all which side would eventually win. There was a lot of action.
The Spanish used their war dogs and arquebuses to good effect – but the Aztec Elite troops berserked and fought bravely.
Finally, both the Aztecs and the Tlaxcalans started taking prisoners for sacrifice – and gaining victory points in the process. Eric Schlegel successfully fired his falconet again with langridge at a swarm of Aztecs, taking out several of them in the last turn. This was to be pivotal.
I tallied the points – and it was a TIE! 46-46! I call that play-balanced!
I then set up my massive Battle of Lake Texcoco, which would be played on Saturday afternoon. This way I would have all the time I needed to enjoy my next game as a player on Saturday morning – which would be the Wars of Ozz game described next.
War to Save Yule: Battle for the Bauble of Time (Wars of Ozz)
After a short sleep, I played in another Ozz game on Saturday morning. This one was the second of three linked Wars of Ozz scenarios that Chris Palmer and Buck Surdu ran pitting the forces of the Ice Queen, Aurora, versus those of Babbo Natale (really Santa). Aurora wants to seize the Bauble of Time – a magic item that can bend time and lets Babbo deliver all his toys in one night. Of course, Aurora wants it for her own evil purposes. The Bauble was hidden in one of three buildings – and the neither the forces of Yule or Aurora knew which one. The goal of the attacking Ice Queen was to search each of the three areas – which meant that her forces needed to clear defenders from them first. I played on the Yule side in this game, on the Yule’s far left flank.
The three possible search zones were as shown below.
Here is a photo of me by Chris surveying the battlefield:
The forces defending the buildings/search zones on the Yule right and center were overwhelmed. Only the one on the Yule left held.
The odds were in favor of the Ice Queen at this point with 2/3 search zones in her control.
In the end we were lucky as the Bauble was in the last search zone and safe from the Ice Queen, so a victory for us. Chris would run a second follow on game later that I will share a few pictures of at the end of this post with others that I did not play in or GM. I did play in the 3rd linked game as well – more on that game in a bit.
The Battle of Lake Texcoco (Feudal Patrol)
I always look forward to running this game – yes it’s massive but more importantly a lot of fun. Basically there are 5 brigantines loaded with conquistadores and primitive cannon (lombards or falconets) that need to cross the tabletop and shell the other side of the table – where the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan is located. Opposing them are 21 war canoes filled with Aztecs hell-bent on boarding the invaders’ ships and stopping them. VP are awarded for shelling the city, boarding a brigantine, sinking canoes, and for casualties on both sides. The Spanish have to try to navigate the uncharted waters to do this too.
The players were excellent!
The Spanish moved out and avoided collisions with each other or the islands. Only one got stuck on an underwater obstacle (El Gregorio) – resulting in the Aztecs getting a “Burst of Exuberance” which allowed it to be boarded first. Eventually, all of the brigantines would be boarded to greater or lesser extent.
The Spanish held on and were able to get three ships to shell the city.
Of course, there was even more boarding!
The game was pleasantly and briefly interrupted at this point by the HMGS staff. As it turned out, my game was selected to be honored with a “PELA” award 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”.”
This was something as a GM that you can really appreciate! I was really honored – and it was nice to get applause from the room and my table too. I think that there were about 30+ games in my time slot – so this was tough to get. The award was a lovely knight figure on a plinth and a voucher for the vendor hall. Thanks HMGS, it has a place of honor at home! Thanks players!
In the end, the Spanish narrowly won the game by a score of 367-316. If the Conquistadores had made one less shot into Tenochtitlan, it would have been only a one shot victory.
As this was my last game to GM, I was able to get most of it picked up (thanks again to the HAWKS for all the help) – and get into playing my last game of the convention.
War to Save Yule – Ambush or Fighting Retreat (Wars of Ozz)
This was the third Ozz linked game run by Buck Surdu. In the second game, the forces of Yule held on to the Bauble of Time. Here, the Ice Queen’s forces are ambushing a convoy of Babbo Natale who is trying to get the Bauble to a safe place. I did not get as many pictures of this game – but I played on the side of the Ice Queen this time. We ended up taking the Bauble (Giant Evil Snowmen charged the convoy and stole it). It was a lot of fun.
I was on the far left flank of the Ice Queen’s forces – and I after the Toy soldier cavalry and the Teddy Bear artillery beat up my Ice Trolls and Krampus, I was able to flank the Teddy Bear battery with Dark Elves. This attack sent them fleeing and the rear middle of the battlefield became congested with forces. Meanwhile, Chris Palmer valiantly pursued the Snowmen with the Toy Soldier cavalry. Luckily for our side, the Snowmen escaped into woods where the cavalry would not move as quickly – with the Bauble. Victory!
Other Game Photos
There were of course many other games – and I tried to get some photos of them plus I have included many from Chris Palmer. This is not all of the games at Cold Wars by any means.
For the gamers, please enjoy these here! For the GM’s, kudos on the work you put in on some amazing games, and apologies in advance if I get any descriptions wrong here.
Battle of Hanau, 1813
Dave Wood’s Fate of Battle game in 10mm looked amazing.
The Natives Return to Schlegel’s Ferry
Eric Schlegel had a really cool board for his colonial Chesapeake game of Feudal Patrol.
Let’s Play Combat Patrol – France 1940
Greg Priebe ran a France 1940 scenario for Combat Patrol.
Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD) Playtest
Dave Wood ran a few WOOD games with amazing set ups.
War to Save Yule – River of Ice (Wars of Ozz)
This was the first of the linked Ozz games. This is the one that I did not play in as I was running my Aztec raid game.
Counterattack Near Dubno (Battleground WW2)
Don Hogge’s always popular WW2 games are so cool. This was a 28mm game set on the Eastern Front on June 28th, 1941.
Forest Encounter (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Gravity Front)
Here’s a look at Kevin Fischer’s game set up.
Got Skogskatter (SAGA)
James McWilliams ran a couple of SAGA games.
Pierce’s Hill, Philippines 22 December 1941 (Combat Patrol)
Buck Surdu ran a very cool looking game set during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941. He worked hard to get the 1941 look right – and he nailed it.
Let’s Play Feudal Patrol! – Viking Raid
Greg ran his introductory Feudal Patrol Viking Raid game and had a full table!
Can the Ratlings save their homeland again from the army of the Necromancer? (Wars of Orcs and Dwarves)
Dave Wood ran yet another visually stunning game – and for fun he used my Winkie Cavalry and Infantry in the game, plus my Lesser Apes. The feedback I got was that they acquitted themselves very well while I was off in Mesoamerica!
Al Capone Comes to Schlegel’s Ferry (Blood & Swash)
Another great use of Eric’s terrain for a 1920’s game.
Concord to Lexington – Theme
Geoff Graff ran this game of 15mm figures set in my home state in the beginning of the AWI.
Test of Honour – The Last Yamashiro (Test of Honour – Quick Play)
I saw this in the adjoining room to the HAWKS – WOW what a set up! GM was David Hill.
At the other end of this beauty was a harbor and ships too.
WWI – Battle of Gnila Lipa (Fall of Eagles WWI)
This set up caught my eye as well – GM David Rollins had a huge table for this battle between the Austrians and the Russians in WWI.
Mars Attacks – Beach Head! (Wings of Glory Tripods and Triplanes)
What a concept – Martians in Tripods taking on Spads and Nieuports in the aftermath of a post-WWI meteor shower! GM was Mike Jacobs.
As I said, this is a big post but I hope that it was enjoyable to look at. Sorry if a game you were or that you ran in was not included – but I’m sure somewhere else there are photos for the world (at least I hope so)!
That’s it for now! Feel free to comment!