Thursday, July 27, 2023

My Historicon wrap up


  I am back, had a chance to recover and get a few things done around the house.  Historicon is in my rear view mirror and here is a chance to wrap it up.  How was it?  What was best?  

A big surprise was finding this picture of me in Jim's Khartoum game in his blog!

  Considering it was put together at the very last minute everything sent smoothly.  The drive down and back were good (except for traffic in Connecticut).  We stayed off site from the Convention Center and the hotel was clean and ok.  Plenty of food options around us. We used Uber and Lyft to get back and forth and again it went most smoothly with a single huccup.   The new (to me) center was very large and very open with plenty of room for lots of games.  In some rooms the lighting was poor, but on the whole they were very good areas.  Plenty of room and good solid tables.  Unfortunately the flea market (or I believe its called bring and buy on the other side of the pond) had odd hours and was terribly crowded and noisy with much pushing, shoving and trampling.  After a moment I abandoned ship and avoided it.  I am sure there were bargains to be had but it was not worth it for me.  

  There was also a really nice lobby with plenty of seating.  This was a really big plus for me as from time to time noise and crowds got to me and caused a terrible headache.  Here is could sit for a moment, close my eyes and reboot and then I was feeling normal.  This help dramatically and made a huge difference.

  Eric and Jim's games were outstanding and well worth the trip down.  Not much to say that I have already said except to once again thank both of them for playing in their games.  They were both a experience I will not soon forget.

 I did buy a few things.  A batch of civilians from Venture Miniatures.  Never can have too few people to decorate and add interest to your games and background.  

  The Osprey book US Soldier vs British Soldier War of 1812.  I have this on my Kindle but found a very good used copy and had to pick it up.  A most useful and good guide to the two sides. Highly recommend.

  I also picked up the revised hardback edition of Charles S. Grant's The War Game Companion.  My paperback copy is falling apart from use and this will be an excellent replacement.  One of my favorite miniature wargame books.

  My truly favorite part of the convention was meeting old and new friends.  I have been corresponding with Eric and Roger on the Fife and Drum forum for years but this was first we all met. I hope thus will be the first of many meetings.   I had met Jim Purky while doing a battlefield tour way back in 1997 and I was delighted the remembered.  I borrowed a picture from his blog of me playing in his game! And every convention I look for my old friend Robert Mulligan from my days in the Brigade of the American Revolution.  I was delighted to find him within my first hour there. I was especially happy to met in person Joerg Bender from "Things From The Basement.". Joerg makes the wonderful MDF buildings you see on my table.  Many of these are from Minute Man National Park where I worked.  Lastly thank you to my friend George for all the driving and the companionship.

  So there you have it.  A great time and a wonderful experience.


Monday, July 24, 2023

Battle of Queenston Heights 13 October 1812


   On Saturday I got to play in an outstanding game of the Battle of Qeenston Heights.  You do not see too many War of 1812 in North America games and having walked the battlefield I just had to play in this one.  Best of all it was put on by Eric Turner who is on the Fife and Drum minuatures forum.  Before the game Eric, Roger Boschetti and I got a chance to met and talk.  We have known each other on the forum for a number of years;  but finally got a chance to actually met and talk in person.  Huzzar!

  All figures and terrain were made by Eric.  The game board has the heights and village of Queenstown Canada which is across the Niagara river from the United States.  Atop the heights is a heavy gun battery in a redoubt.

  Historically  the invading American army of mixed regulars and militia were to cross the river in a number of waves, land and capture the battery and town.  A small force of British regulars and Canadian militia defended while more troops were in the area and could march to the sound of the guns as reinforcements.  Historically nothing went right for with boats being swept down river, others landing in the wrong spot and most of the New York militia declaring crossing to Canada would violate their constitutional rights and refused to cross the Niagara river!  

  To represent this each turn the American player could load four boats with a company of Infantry.  They could pick US Regulars, New York Militia or US Artillery crews without guns for passengers.  Each boat then rolled a D6.  A 3-6 the boat crossed the mighty Niagara River and landed the soldiers.  A 1or 2 it got swept down the river!  For those unfortunate boats swept down river subsequent rolls could return it to the US shore and they could try try again.   If the boat had Militia As passengers they first had to roll to see if they voted to cross!  Simple, but eloquent system as were all the game rules.

  On the first turn the Americans managed to land three of four boats on the Canadian shore.  Advancing up the cliff musket fire was exchanged.  Unfortunately for me  my two companies failed their checks and retired back down the beach.  There they stayed for the next three turns!  Morale is simple in the game.  You roll 2D6 and have to roll the number of figures in your company or less.  If you fail they stay where they are and lose a figure.  By turn five my companies had disappeared.  Hardly a good start for me.

  During this time one boat missed its landing spot, went down river and landed by Hamilton Cove.  This represented Lt.Col. John Fenwick who actually did land there.  Historically he was quickly surrounded and captured.  In our game  he avoided this fate and instead marched to attack the village of Queenston!!

  By turn six more US regulars had landed and launched an attack to capture the village.  With Fenwick's help the Canadian militia were driven back and the village taken.  An attack on the redoubt by a company of US Infantry  was driven back and more British reinforcements were arriving all the time. Buildings in the village went back and forth in close combat.

  Feeling sorry for me I was given a new company of the 13th US Infantry as well as the US artillery crews without guns.  As British troops were drawn off the fight  to help over at the village I marched up the hills, drove off the Grenadier company of the 41st, and advanced towards the redoubt.  Busy firing at troops in another direction I charged the redoubt and drove off the Royal Artillery gunners!  Huzzar!  My moment of glory as I captured the redoubt.  ( Please note in the future the number of schools and base ball fields that will be named in my honor 😊)

   Alas, all glory is fleeting.  More and more British regulars and artillery were arriving.  In addition the New York militia held a vote and refused to cross to a man.  A small company did land but the war cries of the Mohawks caused them to high tail it to the boats and return to New York!

  As the game ended what was left of the US regulars were being driven out of the village and masses of troops were marching towards the redoubt.  The game was call for a British and Canadian victory which surprisingly mirrored the historical events very well!

  A outstanding game by Eric.  He kept the game running smoothly.  His rules were simple yet eloquent.  Best of all his humor and historical comments enlighted and entertained us.  It was a pleasure to play in the game.  Thank you!


Sunday, July 23, 2023

Khartoum:The Game


  On Friday I was lucky enough to get a spot in Jim Purky's game Khartoum.  Based in the final attack in the movie I have watched and read about Jim putting this together for many months now on his blog.  Its been a tremendous amount if work on his part which has resulted in a magnificent game.  And I was lucky to play in it.

  The game is set up over three tables which represents the Nile River, two parts of the city and the dessert.  There are spaces between each section for players to walk through to command their sections.  Everything is in 54mm.  The figures are mostly plastic and all terrain, buildings and ships built by Jim.

  The center piece us a beautiful reconstruction of part of the city of Khartoum.  The government palace sits by the river and commands the city.  Various buildings, market stalls and such add interest and variety.

  The citizens of the city, soldiers and visitors are everywhere.  Its sort of a "where is waldo" game finding them.  And most amusing too!

  By the river sits a steamer paddle wheeler with cannon and gardnier gun.  The city walls are garrisoned and ready to defend the city.  Artillery is placed in towers or corners of the walls.

  But out in the desert are the The Mahdist army led by The Mahdi.  There are thousands of them.  And ships in the Nile too!  All posed to attack and take the city.  

  Rules used are written by Jim.  They simple and each player gets a set of them.  Easy to understand and quick to understand they are the very type of rules you want to have at a convention.  Dice and rulers are provided for each player.

  The game starts with the Mahdist army advancing on all sides of the city.  The defenders open fire, knocking numerous soldiers down but still they come on.  My portion of the walls I defended was a corner wall out towards the desert.  My rifle fire was very good (roll 6D per figure) but try as I might my artillery could not hit a thing!

   Soon the enemy were at the wall and ladders were set up.  My men pushed some over (roll a 4-5-6) but more came up. Soon up the ladders came the enemy.  Once one figure made it onto the wall a gap appeared in my defenses and more and more dervish jumped in.  We fought hard, but soon my command was wiped out!

  At the gate the doors were blown open.  Waiting for them were my last defenders behind a wall.  We shoot down many  enemies but numbers told and again we ere wiped out !

  Around the city by the river we did better defending.  One wall at great cost actually drove off they enemy.  

  But more enemies appeared and soon the sailing ships of the Mahdi arrived to overwhelm the river boat.

  And now they poured into the market place and poor Gordon prepared to met his fate.

  Three hours passed too quickly.  It was fun, it was entertaining.  A perfect game for a convention like this.  Thank you Jim for letting me into the game and thank you for your hard work.  It was amazing!