I spent the weekend at Dragoncon in Atlanta. Previously I had been told that gaming at Dragoncon was pretty much a redheaded step child.
If it is then then gaming is the stepchild of the Rockefellers! Gaming was located in the basement of the Hilton. Yes it is the basement but it was a huge, well lit, well ventilated (the A/C was rocking!) space.
The low ceiling did make things a bit on the noisy side but the Hilton staff was very hard working. Trash was removed rapidly. There was even a hotdog stand (on Saturday and Sunday-the dogs were pretty good and 3.00 each).
Between Richard, his nephew Ben and I we had three sets of tables-I had a double for The Hive and The Flame, and Ben and Richard were running two different games, one was Steampunk Bash-build your automatons and take on the other inventors. The other table used the same rules but was automatons versus 3D printed bugs.
The pair ran nine games between Friday and Monday-The bulk were Bugs versus people and were on Saturday and Sunday. The average at the table was five or so, so almost fifty people got to play with the new 3D printed miniatures.
I ran games on both Saturday and Sunday. This was the same basic scenario I ran at Diecon in June. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders were defending the San Juan Mission from a huge Swarm Raid. Since I was hauling everything by air I had only three types of combat bugs (major and super major crushers and major shooters-and of course drones).
The Mission is Blue Moon’s Alamo-which is now mostly painted, and so looked even more impressive. I had a lot of really positive comments about the model. It was defended by a group of TVAG Rough Riders, Old Glory 15mm Boxer Rebellion American Infantry, guns from both companies and a number of 2 pdr Hotchkiss and the very lovely 7 inch siege mortars done as 3D printed models from Objects May Appear, Arun’s Shapeways store. I’ve never heard that the 7 inch has ever been available in this scale before and although the 2 pdr has been this is the most accurate 15mm produced to date.
The combat bugs were all hand cast from the molds that Scott Flower (my wife is very understanding about the use of the kitchen stove!). The drones are Khurusan mantis-men. I really look forward the new 3D printed critters, which will be based on Rachael Mayo’s amazing artwork. These will be spot on for the game and available in both 15mm and 25mm and there will be over 25 different prints in each scale.
The game Saturday started about noon, after folks filtered in from the massive costume parade. I ran it as a “come and go” event. Over the course of the afternoon I figure we had about twenty people throw dice and a similar number spend more than a few minutes looking over the table. The bug players lacked a bit on continuity as people came and went. This may have affected their strategy. They attacked in a series of waves. The human player was forced back off the front wall three times, once by each wave but at no time was the firing line in the main courtyard broken. The waves of bugs washed up against them and got whipped out before the next wave came in. This allowed the humans to defeat them in detail. The gun crews left their weapons and used their rifles when the bugs got in close and the repeaters did great destruction. Even with that it was still a very near run thing. The first wave launched a charge and rolled terrible dice for movement. The charge fell short. This gave the defenders an extra turn of fire, which they used to good effect. It was a pretty clear human victory, although certainly a hard fought one.
Sunday began badly. The carrying case with five glass top boxes of bugs was dropped. Two boxes had their glass shattered and of the two hundred plus bugs in the boxes about a dozen didn’t need to be re-glued. It took three of us about 90 minutes to get them all put together again (no disrespect to all the King’s Men and all of his Horses as well). The near disaster seemed to have fired the bugs up though. In one massive wave they marched resolutely on the Mission. This day it was the human players who misjudged. They developed a defense in depth, with three lines of riflemen. Unfortunately this meant that the wave of bugs was fired at by only the first group during its approach. By the time the first group fell back onto the second there just wasn’t enough time to attrite the wave. The bugs rolled right over the wall, and other groups flanked past the chapel and into the coral. From there that group was into the long barracks.
Over one hundred bug figures got into the mission. The end would have been quick.
I didn’t get much of a chance to roam around but what I did see was impressive-Winter came in a DBA game as Lannister met Stark for the throne of Westrose. there was a lot of battletech as well. Nice looking terrain and big miniatures.
The Dragoncon gaming staff did a great job. I hope to be there again next year!