HAWKS (a wargame club in Hanford County MD) puts on their annual convention in September. Originally, I had no plans to attend this year, as it was my birthday, but I had some free time at the end of weekend after all, and decided, why not?
I made pretty decent time getting there but there was no way I could get into the morning game slot. However, I did get into noon games. My friend Bill Acheson was running a game called STARFIGHTERS by Wiley Games and I sat in as he was getting started. This was a fun game with a lot of see-saw action. In this scenario, the starships at the Mars Spaceport are fighting off an alliance of various bad guys (Most of the lore is derived from the “Terran Trade Authority” universe, which I was only dimly aware of).
I liked the rules. They are from Wiley Games, who specialize in “Fistful of Lead” and all its variants. Starships is one of these– model agnostic, not set in any particular universe, with adequate rules for creating and statting out new ship types from a fictional starting point. All actions are card driven.
I like this game system– it rewards aggressive decision making. I invested in the PDF copy from Wargame Vault. I have some space ships I printed for A Billion Suns that I can try for this and I’ve found some TTA designs as STLs. There is a TTA facebook group and a vendor that make TTA style miniatures.
So probably this will be a fun future project. Bill put on a good game and I enjoyed it.
The convention as at the Havre De Grace Community center which is a nice space for a small convention. There were some local vendors present and a flea market. I got the same space port map you see above for 20 dollars and an old box of Empire Flagellants from GW. Not planning on playing GW but they have a certain look I like, like cultists. There were some great games present. My good friend Bill Molyneux ran a 54mm scale Antietam game that got rave reviews and there was a Jedi Barge battle (from Return of the Jedi) that really caught my eye. The other big showcase event (for me at least) was the giant 1:1200 scale greek galley game that was already started when I showed up. I’m going to play that some day!
My 2PM game was a Judge Dredd game run by the guy from Dad’s Hobbies. I like that guy, he’s very exuberant and brings the fun. I also am a big fan of the 2000 AD universe and all the various crazy characters involved from decades of comic book content. Personally I’m more of a fan of Rogue Trooper but Dredd is a close second. This was using (I think) the Warlord rules (newish) and figures from (mostly) Warlord Games, with a few older minis from the Mongoose Publishing version. This was a standard multiple factions on the table with hidden goals and victory conditions. I played a sort of Robot Master criminal boss whose name I forget. I had several robot minor characters that were not exactly heavy hitters and a couple of really good ones (War Bot and Sentry Bot). My secret goal was to hack into the robot control terminal at the Aerodrome and enslave all robot units on the board. Since random placement put me right next to the Aerodrome, I managed to get my goal done quickly.
The other factions were “Batman” who had come through a time warp in search of “Harley Quinn” and her gang. Her goal was to rob a bank, his goal was to capture Quinn. The Cultists had their own goal. I gave them plenty of space. There was a “Mister Freeze” gang. They released the Four Phantom judges at some point.
I’m not sure but I think the Judges must of had the victory condition of killing robots. They came around the corner and started shooting innocent robots right and left.
The Judge Dredd game was a fun experience and played quickly. Like a lot of games designed by Warlord, Activation happens by chit pulls from an opaque bag. This process started with Bolt Action and also Cruel Seas, and probably other games by them, but those are the ones I know.
My faction won this as we executed our victory conditions and enslaved all robots on the board, using them to attack others– and we did it before anyone else achieved theirs. We even destroyed the Batmobile! The other factions also achieved partial victories of some sort. Harley did rob a bank, but got entangled with the Batman. The Batman did capture Harley, but it’s unclear if he got her back through the time warp field in time. Mister Freeze gang did release the Phantom Judges, but on the last turn. Just another grand old day in Mega City One.
Speaking of a grand old day, I got some food and came back to jump into Meggo’s Fury Road Game, “Oh What a Lovely Day!” The scenario is lifted right from the movie, and is essentially the War Rig moving across a table accompanied by their Vuulvalini allies on motorcycles. The scale is 28mm, and the kit bashed vehicles are a joy to behold.
The combat system is a bit anemic and (I think anyway) makes the job of the pursuer very difficult. Game design is always a balancing act. Sometimes simple action, say “Shooting out a tire to slow a war rig down”, can get real complex, real quick. First you shoot off the armor cover. This just leaves you with a tire you need to shoot.. again. Shot out tires slows the War Rig down by 2 inches a turn, so it seemed like the smart play was to swarm the tires. Nope. Bullets wizzed all around and ricocheted off a plain rubber tire in the left rear so much we figured it had been shot (but not damaged) 12 times. Fortunately we managed to slow things down so much Doug Schlagel pulled up next to it and shot out the engine. The War Machine ground to a shuddering halt, with Max bleeding out behind the wheel with the shrill pop pop popping sound of the five wives taking the easy way out instead of being returned to Immortan Joe and slavery. It wasn’t such a lovely day for the War Rig crew and passengers.
At that point, it was time to pull chocks and head home with an hour and 40 minute drive ahead. Congratulations to the HAWKS club for a fine convention and a worthy effort. Barrage is a great way to spend some time on a Fall Weekend.
See all pictures on IMGUR:
Fistful of Lead: Starfighters (Wiley Games) First look