A special thanks to Mike O'Brien for always being easy to work with and accommodating on the miniatures organization and execution. Also, a big thank you to Stewart Blain for running his Vikings versus Saxon game which was the high point of the weekend for me (which was full of high points).
Vikings versus Saxons
Stewart Blain ran his dark ages game using a slightly modified version of Hail Caesar. Dan and I played in his game he ran Saturday evening and enjoyed it so much we played again on Sunday morning (different scenarios). Stewart did something that made this game really great - especially for a convention game - each "block" (base of 10 guys) was a unit. No multiple bases ... just each base is a unit. Each group (division) was 6-8 units (bases). He also combined the combat stats into a single value (clash and sustained into a single "combat" value) - and handled any special cases with special rules. For example, he had a berserker model for some Hirdmen units - that model was traded in for +3 combat dice on the first round of melee for those units.
Lots of kudos to Stewart for running this game 4 times through the weekend - each with a different and interesting scenario.
I played Vikings in both games. In one scenario the Saxons were ambushed along a road while they attempted to escort an important religious figure - and more importantly - the ale cart into a local town. Pictures below of that game. I played the Viking "division" (group) closest in the pictures. I made steady and good progress towards cutting off the Saxons ... but the other two Viking divisions got mangled and as a result the Vikings had to retreat in defeat!
The second game had the Saxons raiding a Viking town. The Vikings had to "wake up" and take the field. Each turn the Vikings rolled a D6 to see how many of the units from each "division" deployed (starting with less armoured Bondi units first, then the Hirdmen/Huscarls). This was a great mechanic. The Saxons had some group to cover to get to blows with the Vikings. Each Viking group had 8 units so it really only takes 2 turns to get your stuff on the table (unless you roll really bad, but that didn't happen in our game). I had to pass my Hirdmen through my Bondi units to get the better troops into the front rank of my division ... this lead to some disorder which cost me a turn of being able to advance and potentially come to blows with the Saxons.
This game was great - I ended up starting out really bad --- lost units all the way to the point that if I had lost one more my division would be broken - BUT, I rallied (rather, my dice rallied), and I pushed back hard, breaking the Saxon division in front of me and killing the Saxon king to win the game for the Vikings.
We managed to play two games of Firestorm Armada. This was the first game Dan and I played on Friday night. My official first roll of the convention ...
... was a snakeeyes!
Oh well - I can't complain - my dice may have started off bad, but quickly turned around and mostly I did well over the weekend rolling those pesky things! :-) The Sorylians, RSN, and Dindrenzi all saw action over the weekend. Some great moments of exploding dice and critical hits resulting in reactor explosions ... highs and lows - both Dan and I had a lot of fun playing. I really had forgot how fun this game is.
Fistful of Pirates (Lead)
Dan ran his pirate game using the Wiley Games Fistful of Lead rules. Was a great time. I decided to get aggressive after some initial shooting and started charging into fight close combat. This had mixed results. One of my leaders ran in to finish off a enemy that was on the ground wounded and I managed to not only loose the combat, but my leader died! LOL! He must have tripped and impaled himself on the wounded pirates scabbard that was sticking up in the air. Oh well, what can you do!
Test of Honour
I pulled out my Test of Honour stuff. Dan played the classic "Seven Samurai" from the movie attempting to protect a local lady. I took on a evil Samurai warband attempting to capture the lady of the estate. Bad news, the evil guys won and dragged the poor lady away. It took a while to put a dent into those Seven Samurai ... but my dice really turned around in the last 1/2 of the game and is what gave me the victory.
I was really rather bad at taking pictures this weekend. I should have taken more - and using my good camera which I left up in my room the whole time. I think I was just really relaxed and enjoying myself and it just escaped my mind. There was lots of other stuff going on the whole time.
We all like to think about the large conventions and all they have to offer, but small ones can be great or even greater in ways. I really appreciated the crowd here - lots of great people, while a smaller quantity of games and people, the rooms were full (but not overly packed) and nobody was left with nothing to do. Several games looked great - not what you see at larger conventions for miniatures with a lot of repetition/similar looking games.
The convention staff was extremely friendly, easy to work with and outstandingly accommodating.
I got really lucky - parking right in front of one of the game rooms. Hotel was easy to deal with and there was a ton of food options around (mostly via DoorDash, but the delivery was really easy).
Long story short - I will be back at this convention next year.