Chariots and Such: NOVAG Game Day Winter 2014

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the NOVAG leadership, the NOVAG Game Day was held at the Centreville Library on Saturday 15 February 2014. I like this venue a lot, it’s relatively easy to get to by everyone, adequate parking, close to a lot of food choices, and as far as I know, free for us to use. The down side is its on the Western side of Fairfax County and we could probably have one on the Eastern half, or at Victory Comics, or something, just to spread it out a bit. For the time being, though, I like Centreville just fine.

It was also cool to see Dennis Largesse, pioneering game shop owner of the LITTLE SOLDIER in Alexandria (mentioned here), drop by for a visit.

Dennis Largesse

NOVAG Game masters had ten events on the schedule. For the most part it appears that they came off as advertised.

10:30 am – Battle of Chickamauga, By Mike Pierce

Chickamauga, Regimental Fire and Fury rules

10:30 am – Command & Colors Napoleonics , By Eric Freiwald

Command & Colors Napoleonics, rules: GMT

10:30 am – Jousting Tournament, By Brian DeWitt

No Pictures

11 am – Stop the Goeben, By Bill Cira

Stop the Goeben GHQ rules

11 am – The Trenches of Onganjira (German South-West Africa, 1904), By Roy Jones

No Pictures

11 am – Kloster Kamp, By Tim Tilson

Kloster Kamp, rules Black Powder

12 pm – The First, By Roxanne Patton

No Pictures

12 pm – Fireball Forward, By Mark Fastoso

1 pm – Air Force/Dauntless, By Dennis Wang (see previous blog post for a dissection of this event)

3 pm – Roman Chariot Race, By Brian DeWitt

I attended with my son, Garrett (15). As I’ve said in the previous post, we arrived at noon thirty more or less. We played AIR FORCE/DAUNTLESS almost immediately and my reactions to that game are captured in the previous blog post.

There was a nice assortment of games out and I liked them all. I wanted to play in the Goeben game but it didn’t end until we were well into the Air Force game, which is what I came to play. We brought a few board games and were going to put out one to play amongst ourselves when Brian DeWitt asked us if we’d like to play his Roman Chariot game. We were game for that!

And off we went!

Both Gar and I have long experience in Chariot racing games. Gar has played my Fast Shuffle Chariot Combat Racing game in the past and other chariot games, I am an old hand at Circus Maximus, Circus Minimus and various chariot games. So both of us are of the mindset that when it comes to chariots, spare no effort to get out and get ahead of the pack if you can. ANY which way you can. I have played Brian’s rules before, or something close to them in 54mm scale, by another GM at a HMGS convention. They are relatively simple at four pages. The big problem with games of this kind is that once the field thins out a bit it becomes clear who will be the winner, and people tend to glaze over until the end. I didn’t think that happened here.

The Race is 2.5 laps. Going into the first lap, we are still bunched up. And the attacking has already started, top left.

Garrett’s chariot met its grisly end fairly early. That suited him, he shrugged and went back to scrolling up and down Redditt. Of course, his stiffening corpse and wreckage added some challenges to the course.

So long, little buddy!

No time to remain sentimental, I had a race to try to not lose. Brian’s rules have elaborate drafting mechanics so I got to the rear of the conga line to avoid having to deplete an endurance chip (black or green poker chips).

For some reason I ended up (in the Orange chariot) the target of a lot of the other racers, as I did here when they tried a squeeze play:

YIKES! Get me out of this

Too bad for the guy on the left, his homicidal efforts got him in hot water. In Brian’s rules when one chariot rams another, there is a dice differential roll which can run into the negative numbers. When he rolled a two and I rolled an eleven, he knew he was in trouble.

-5 or more on the attack table ended up flipping the ATTACKING chariot. See ya later, Doofius!

The joy of being attacked continued unabated during the next turn.

Ramming someone into the wall (in this case, me in the Orange Team) is an age-old tactic in chariot race games.

I was actually expecting to die going around the last curve (for me), as I had to go over a wreck somewhere, I didn’t have that many options. Actually driving over Garrett’s corpse only jostled me a little bit and I got back to the inside lane quickly, tearing down the track ALL OUT that turn

I knew it couldn’t last! Fred Haub’s chariot rammed me, I guess he was a little miffed I tried to do for him in the preceding pass. I skidded into the wall and disintegrated.

Sadly, keeping an “all or nothing” pace has its risks, and my ticket got punched going into the last lap. I shrugged off driving over wreckage, a whip attack, and rammed another chariot (Fred Haub’s, ineffectually) on the way down to the end, but got rammed back for my pains, damaging the chariot even more. It was actually the corner strain test that did for me; I lost control during the turn and skidded sideways into the wall; the chariot turned to flinders. And that did for me!

I like chariot games.

So that was NOVAG’s Winter Game day for 2014. Lots of fun, easy to execute, and relatively cost-free. Thanks to the NOVAG leadership for putting this on, and the Fairfax County Public Library system for hosting us.

Slideshow of the entire game day

Slideshow of just the Chariot hijinx