Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guns of August, After Action Review

ODMS Convention Page

The convention was a great success, from the perspective of the staff. I can only hope the gamers felt the same way! (comment about your experience, please!)

On Thursday we got to the hotel (a day before the official start) to meet with the hotel staff and make sure everything was ship-shape. The tables we rent were late getting there, so some of the ODMS guys helped to set them up right, so that everyone's games would go off with a minimum of disturbance over the weekend.

After all the setup (and getting the hundreds of sodas and snacks loaded into our Hospitality Room), there was a round of boardgaming in the gaming area (the tables have to be broken in, you know). The Vendors continued arriving all evening, from all over the eastern half of the US, and set up their fantastic wares.

The Thursday night boardgaming was terrific. I played a really neat game of Reef Encounter (polyps anyone?), and then proceeded to totally Borg out in repeated games of Commands & Colors: Ancients (for those who don't know, Richard Borg is the designer of C&C:A).

The Reef Encounter game was with Anita, Heidi and Jeremy, and was a lot of fun. Jeremy was king Shrimple, getting his prolific shrimp all over the ocean floor, and it turned out that his Parrot Fish ate the most coral.

The C&C:A games were mostly against Wayne, but I also played against John Snelling as well. the battle was the same for each game - the Battle of Leuctra. Every time I played the Theben army, and every time I got the Sacred Band killed off by the Spartans. The first game was the most humiliating, as Wayne's Spartans totally eviscerated me in about four turns. I actually won a game or two, but still lost the Sacred Band each and every time. I guess they weren't that Sacred after all.

Friday came, and there were plenty and plenty of miniatures games, as well as a whole lot of board games. I had to leave the convention in the afternoon for a few short hours, but in the evening when I returned, I got to run my "Neil Thomas" rules Napoleonics game. It was an a-historical scenario - set in 1813 Saxony, with a British force facing off a French force twice its size, trying to buy time for the Prussian command in the area to arrive and help against the French. The British were played by Paul Knight, the Prussians were played by Scott Kidd, and the French were played by two players new to the rules, whom I did not know, but whom were real gentlemen to play with. The game went well, with Paul playing the role of a British commander very well (form a defended and anchored line of Infantry and hold it against repeated French assaults). The Prussians finally arrived, and the French decided that they had enough. My apologies to my players for not providing some really good player aids (the game needed quick-reference sheets).

Saturday came, and during the day all I did was to help out with the convention (spending many hours in the morning working Registration and meeting many of the great gamers who came to play at our show). In the afternoon, I got to spend a few short hours enjoying the hotel swimming pool (highly recommended) with my Daughter and some friends, and spending time talking to new gaming friends as well. Very nice.

Saturday afternoon, our Boardgaming room was a complete hit! It was filled to overflowing with boardgamers playing old and new wargames, and the Euro-games library that we had in the Hospitality Suite was really put to good use, with a bunch of gamers checking things out (most popular - SmallWorld and Steam). Tons of gaming in the Hospitality suite as well - Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, and so on.

On the Wargaming front, everything from the old SPI classic 1918 to the much newer Washington's War were being played. There was also the double blind Axis and Allies game (each player only knew where his own pieces were, not even his allies). Neato.

Napoleon came and visited the convention on Saturday afternoon, and stayed until about 5:00 or so, when he gave an address to the gamers and bid his Adieu. Afterward, the great Guns of August Raffle took place, and thirty great gaming prizes were raffled off.

Saturday evening brought a new round of gaming for all involved, and I got to run my game of The Sword and the Flame. It was a total fun-fest, with the Anglo-Indian army attempting to rescue a small command of Miners waiting for transport down a river, and suddenly attacked by hostile hill tribesmen. This time, the British and the Indian troops were able to rescue the miners. A few casualties, but it was a successful operation.

Late night Saturday there was more gaming. Card gaming, to be sure. Plagues and Pestilence, which I (miraculously) won. I almost never win those kinds of games, because there is almost always a "pile on chuck" phase, but this time I drank some excellent imported beer, and played it cool, while my fellow Medieval City Builders were busily destroying each other with mongols, vikings and bubonic bonbons.

Sunday came, with more gaming and final shopping in the great Guns of August Hobby Bazaar, and afterward the vendors started breaking up and heading home, and the final games were played, and we all sang hey nonny nonny and bid each fare-thee-well until the Williamsburg Muster.

It was a great time, and I hope you can make it to our next show!

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