Gaming at DragonCon 2014
I ran a large Hive and the Flame scenario at DragonCon this year. Last year I could only bring as much stuff as would get on an airplane. This year we drove down and had all the game that would fit into a Ford Ranger with a small camper shell!
DragonCon is not known to be a Gamer’s convention but I think it is far more gamer friendly than its reputation would indicate. They had a large amount of space in the Hilton. Although the space is in the basement it is well lit and the A/C down there works great! There is also a small food cart in the gaming area which makes getting a bite very convenient. The space is also on the same floor as the loading dock, which made getting all my figs and terrain in a fairly easy chore.
I had intended upon doing the large floor layout I had done at origins and DieCon but with all the traffic at Dragoncon decided it would be safer for the figures not to be on the floor overnight, so I did a large table game instead. I put out a lot of the terrain I had used before, Blue Moon’s Alamo as a ruined Colombian Mission and Monday Knight’s French farmhouse as a Hacienda, as well as a small village. Roads were from Hallowed Ground and rivers from Armorcast. Trees were Adventure Terrain’s.
A lot of the alien figs are from Rosa, which is 3D printing bugs from Rachael Mayo’s original artwork. Others were Scott Flower’s molds which I hand cast from during the winter months. Also there are bug figures from Ral Partha, Khurasan and several other makers. Human troops include TVAG, kit bashes, Arun’s Objects May Appear Shapeways store and Old Glory 15mm minis.
We started gaming after the parade finished on Saturday and ended about 6 PM Sunday so we played a total of around 12 hours in two days. The smaller table and its denser terrain layout favored the defense so I beefed up the Bug forces somewhat. I also tried to ensure that as random reinforcements came on they were balanced out by some extra help to the other side (I only did this once, when the humans got a number of air units on a single turn)
The Bugs rolled forward and were able to get into the refugee stream fairly quickly and the road became an unpaved linear slaughterhouse. Every turn the bug player kept advancing forward and overran more of the poor helpless civilians. The human player was never able to get a unit powerful enough to stop them. They had enough trouble just slowing down the main advance. As has they have proven in the past the Amazonian native workers provided far more staunch opposition then their stats would indicate. The Colombian Presidential Lancers were wiped out early on by a unit of flying lancers. As is also the case the bug flying lancer units troublesome to the human players, moving fast and attacking in unexpected directions. Those and the Supra Major shooters are consistently some of the most dangerous of all Hivemembers.
For their part the humans made great use of their ornithopters and then their more powerful armored aerial gunboats. The first of the bigger ships that came onto the table was used to prevent a unit of flying lancers from swarming the battery of Colombian Krupp guns. It was boarded by the aliens and although it wiped out that unit and preserved the artillery it was almost knocked out (It lost 19 of its twenty hits, and it came down to the last die roll with a single flying lancer and the ship having a single hit left).
The hacienda (Casa del Linegen-Defended by 15mm Elanor Parker and Charelton Heston from Blue Moon) stood up to the alien attack until the final turn on Sunday, when Heston was mortally wounded after defeating numerous giant bugs as they overran his position. His dying action was to ignite the remaining powder charges for his cannon blowing many of the “Damned Dirty Bugs” into oblivion!
When it came time to call the game the Bugs were advancing and eating refugees but the human line had not been broken, even though they had lost more than half their ornithopters, one of their big flyers was crippled and several ground units had been wiped out. It was too close to call, so by referee fiat and with player concurrence it was deemed a draw.
In all I had a couple of dozen players over the two days and everyone seemed to have a very good time!