Colonial Barracks-A GREAT TIME!
I flew down to New Orleans for Colonial Barracks II this weekend. I’ve been part of the Sword and the Flame family since last year when they let me publish The Hive and the Flame. Lori Brom had been a dream to work with as I wrote a Victorian Science Fiction version of her father’s classic miniatures rules.
I got in very late Thursday. Friday morning I roused myself and sought out the convention. After a bit of confusion on the part of the front desk staff I located the event space and came face to face with Lori Brom. She was even more pleasant in person than she had been over the Internet. I also met her father Larry, creator of so many excellent miniatures rules, as well as several others of the Brom family.
Due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy many of the folks scheduled to come down couldn’t make it but the Jackson Gamers were well represented. I wasn’t scheduled to run anything until Saturday so I watched an excellent American Rev Game done in tradition 40mm Semi Round figures cast using Prince August Molds.
I went to dinner at the City Diner, which is but a short walk from the hotel. A huge bowl of Jambalaya was followed by a serving of Tres Leche cake (with carmel drizzled whipped cream). It was stunningly good. It was also about 45,000 calories and I could barely walk back. Luckily the ground was level!
Saturday I ran my two games. Since I flew down I had to take a very limited number of figures. I brought three boxes of Media Crushers and drones and a number of British infantry and four various steam tanks. Getting them through TSA was a bit of an adventure.
I borrowed some basic terrain and did a basic Hive and the Flame game. I ran the same general scenario twice. The initial game was conducted longways. The Bug players elected to have their forces arrayed in two groups, one forward and the second further back.
The British players used scouts effectively and were able to smoke out the hidden bug units. The Bug player had attempted to make an end around flanking attack behind some hills. This was detected by scouts as well and the British player deployed to fend them off. The British fire was generally effective and the three front units of Bugs took heavy casualties. In particular drones were killed in one of the units causing it to become torpid.
The Bug player attempted to get drones from one unit to another. Two of the scouts came into hand to hand combat with the moving drones and managed to keep the drones from getting to the second bug unit, so it remained torpid.
On the British right flank the Bugs got into close combat and quickly ate an entire 20 figure unit.
The British regrouped and were able to fend off the bugs and prevent them from closing by directing massive firepower at them. The second group of bugs was never able to get far enough forward to get into the action.
After lunch (again at the City Diner!) we were back at it. This time I had the action across the short end of the table.
According to those present this was the first ever game of any of the Sword and the Flame Games that had more female than male players.
The action started on Turn 1. The Bugs had forward deployed four of their six units. Those four units were spotted as soon as they moved and came under fire very quickly. They took some casualties but came on forward. Turn two and three saw massive firepower directed at charging Bug hordes and deadly melees shattering British units. Casualties were extremely heavy on both sides. One Bug unit rolled three ones on three six sided dice for a charge movement and failed to make contact. A second charge attempt fell an inch short of contact. Movement dice failed the bug players several times, and in critical situation.
The British formed square under the icy cool command of veteran Lori Brom. The Bug hordes broke on them like waves.
Turn four saw the Bugs in close combat. One of the Bug groups lost all its drones and ran amok. It attacked one of its brother units just as the first bug unit was entering melee with one of the British units. The British were wiped out, but the Bug Units were badly mauled as well.
The Bugs overran two of the tanks, destroying both of them, but taking massive casualties in the process. By the end of the game the Bugs had been reduced to only a single unit under effective command, with two leaderless torpid units wandering aimlessly across the the battlefield. Two of the British infantry units had been wiped out or had routed. One was badly mauled and the other had held up very well. With the two remaining tanks these were able to pour fire into the last Bug unit.
The melees had been extremly close run things. What can only be described as mighty dice rolling by Lori Brom resulted in the squares holding. The game balanced on a razor edge for four of the six turns. Dice rolls and tactics allowed the British to defeat the aliens, but only after suffering massive casualties. It was a victory for the human Queen’s soldiers but a near run one at that.
After that we went to (you guessed it) The City Diner. This is ONE of their pancakes!
I has their fried chicken Which was amazing!
That night a huge Anglo Egyptian Game took place.
Sadly I didn’t get to see any of the Sunday games.
I had a really great time at Colonial Barracks. The miniatures were great, the terrain wonderful, but most importantly I got to meet some of the people I’ve “known” from the web or from gaming magazines for years. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it again next year and perhaps find a way to get more Bugs and more Steampunk down with me!