Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cold Wars 2013

A couple weekends back, we made the trek to Pennsylvania for Cold Wars 2013 for some gaming, shopping, and selling.

Promptly on arriving (and after an inauspicious 90-minute detour) at the con, I signed in and headed straight to my first game, "Duke Morrison and the Mounties." Nothing like pulp action first thing in the morning. I played some dastardly French trappers allied with the alien invaders and some bootlegging gangsters, facing off against the noble Duke Morrisson ("I hate that guy.") and his backup from the Royal Canadian Mounted.

GASLIGHT is very popular with the HMGS convention crowd. It's not my favorite ruleset, but it works well, and the players seem to have a lot of experience with it. And I'm an easy sell, so give me a French trapper named "Rattler Ralph" and I'm good.

Mounties make their way across the ice. Minis were primarily from Pulp Figures, and man, great stuff.

One of my favorite parts of the game: the Mounties had their brave canine companion, Yukon King, along for the ride. Any time a baddie targeted King with an attack, everyone, good guys and bad, spontaneously went 'BOO!' And when King won the roll and was fine, everyone went 'YAY!' It was fifty shades of awesome.

Evil French trappers hide in ambush in the woods, taking (ineffective) shots at the Mounties.

In a moment of ill-planned aggression, the trappers charge out to engage in fisticuffs with the good guys. This... doesn't end well for our foul henchmen.

The aliens' subterranean lair awaits!

After the game, picked up a couple hot items at the dealers' hall, mostly things I thought might sell out by the second day. Sadly, I put off a couple purchases from Acheson, and true to form, they sold out by the time I made it back with my cash on Saturday. Next time.

Another thing that caught my eye was test models for All Quiet on the Martian Front, a new 15mm War of the Worlds game. Definitely will be checking that out more later.

Friday evening was playing Songs of Our Ancestors, the Quar ruleset from Ganesha Games. I'd played some Ganesha rules previously, so I knew what to expect, and I have to admit, they worked pretty well for a large con game. Measuring sticks aren't my thing in general, but really speed things up. (And card activation really is faster than dice.)

Basic layout. Road runs from south to north. To the east of the crossroads, a tavern that we Crusaders had to 'pacify.' North on the road is the brewery that the Partisans had taken over. A supply depot was located on the road leading west.

I admit I am a sucker for blind movement. Each player had a couple chips to assign their troops to, plus a couple blanks to move around. Chips remained until encountered by an enemy and successfully spotted. So the game started with a game of cat-and-mouse, as players positioned, angled, and tried to ID what was real and what was a decoy.

Two brave Quar. Those trees were also pretty nifty, and theoretically easy to make (and shockingly sturdy.)

The tavern! The terrain was very cool.

My job with the Crusade was to protect the caravan, which came in on the south of the road, and needed to make it to the supply depot. I was particularly bad at it. My first encounter with the enemy was when my leader was killed in an ambush in the forest. The forest in which we were hiding, to ambush the partisans.

The brewery, which the partisans decided they would blow up instead of seize. Those fiends.

Half the caravan gone, my surviving troops lead the survivors through the relative safety of the forest to  reach the depot. Fun game, even if it did really cement my not-winning streak for the day.

Maurice and Aaron spent their Friday doing up the Flames of War doubles tournament. You can check out Maurice's full report here.

Their first game, which by all accounts went splendidly for them.

Their second game, on a nifty desert board.

Friday night was spent playing Zombicide and Lords of Waterdeep, both highly worthy board games.

Following are a few table setups I observed while wandering the con. I love wandering the con, so much eye candy. As a renter, I don't have a huge amount of space for terrain storage, so I am often impressed by some of the layouts I see at conventions.

I believe this was for the big Resident Evil game, and wow. The rooms were covered until they were encountered during the scenario, so the players really didn't know what they were getting into. Lots of narrative potential there.

The bluffs here were massive. So cool.

Old West table setup. Simple, but highly playable. We'll be trying out Blackwater Gulch in the near future, and one day I am eager to try out 7tv for a Wild Wild West game.

Saturday morning was up early for the Wally's Basement flea market deal. Didn't make quite as much as at Historicon, nor did my Imperial Guard sell as well as I'd hoped. Nevertheless, took in enough cash to cover most of my purchases in the dealers' hall (mostly Rebel, Acheson, and Old Glory.) So, success. Took notes for what to bring to Historicon come summer.

This is what happened to my Saturday night. Good times.

And when I finally made it home Sunday, this was greeting me on the front door. Note my daughter took the time to not only illustrate our bad cat knocking my minis off the table, but also the other cat scowling at him.

For more reading, Maurice gives us his con coverage here, plus some great tables by O My Ruritania! and gaming by the inimitable Doctor Merkury. I also missed the Santa Claus vs. the Nazis GASLIGHT game, but wow.

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