Dragoncon 2013

I spent the weekend at Dragoncon in Atlanta. Previously I had been told that gaming at Dragoncon was pretty much a redheaded step child.

This is what the gaming area looked like in the afternoons!


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.

Another view of the gaming room in the Hilton

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).


Test prints and poster

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.

Bugs and Bash!


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.


Youngsters love to kill bugs!

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).

Blue Moon's fabulous Alamo. A wonderful model. It survived rough handling on the way to Atlanta. The case in which it was packed was ejected from the luggage conveyor. It caught air and landed inverted with a mighty crash. Thank goodness for resin!


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.

No paint yet but from front to back is the US Army 7 inch siege mortar and the tiny 2 pdr Hotchkiss from Arun. There is a 15mm figure for scale



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 mission's defenders await their fate

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.

Here was where the bugs lost Saturday's battle. Their charge fell a few inches short of getting in the fortress.


The bugs did get in, but they were so weakened they fell before the defenders



Super Majors get in, but are so few in number that they too were wiped out.


The remaining Super Majors attempt to clear Teddy Roosevelt and his standard bearer from the gate. They failed and were forced back by the Rough Riders! This was the end of any hope the bugs had

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.

Here comes the Bugs! Again the gate sees a major attack

Other bug columns head for the chapel flank. Things look grim for the humans!


The bugs overrun a pair of 3.2inch breechloaders


This is "Pepper Jack" the last remaining shooter from its unit. It engaged in an extremely ineffective duel with the corner mounted Gatling Gun. They fired at each other for about five turns without inflicting much harm.The Bugs break in. One group clears defenders from the rooftops. Another has swarmed over the low wall and wiped out the humans in the churchyard. In the background is a column that is about to scale the chapel wall itself.




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!