Tuesday, August 29, 2017

No Sword Like a Broadsword

As my last few posts should have made clear, I was down in Hamilton this past Saturday for Broadsword 4, put on by the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Veterans Association.  It's a one day convention with a mix of miniatures and boardgames, and some that blur the line between the two, like my friend Mike's game of Conan.

After an early start, I picked my friend Ron up along the way, he was putting on a game of his homebrew 6mm operational level WWII rules (which I played, so more below), and we had a fairly decent drive into Hamilton.  Much better than the drive home!

Getting there we hobnobbed a bit with some of the other early arrivals that we knew and ran into Robert who we'd met at Hotlead in March.  I later learned Robert had built his own 1:1 scale Dalek and I'd probably seen it at the Ottawa Comic-Con last year!

I'll start with the games I played in, which were the morning and evening sessions, before I get to the game I ran in the afternoon.

First up was a game of Might of Arms with Mike M., set in the Northern Crusades circa 1197, which the Danes coming to civilize the poor, pagan (yet heroic) Estonians.  As you can probably tell, I was an Estonian, holding the right flank with Ralph on my left.  Mike and Dan were against us.  We had a stream with a lot of woods and rough round around it to use as our defensive line, and we made use of it, only our left flank had a gap in it between the wall of our village and the stream.
 My part of our line, before we actually put our troops into position.  I had a five medium infantry units, three went to defend the river line, two on the hill as reserve.  My five or six skirmish units either went in front of the mediums to chip away at the incoming Danes, or on a wide right flanking maneuver, eventually coming at the Danish subheavy foot from the flank and rear.

 The view toward's Ralph's side of the table, again before our final set-up.

 The lines are starting to meet, with the Danish mounted knights coming up against Ralph's heavy and light horse.  Mike is bringing his infantry in behind, and Dan (the Danish left) is angling some of his infantry to the right to hit our entire line.

 Dan's subheavy foot have gotten through my skirmishers, though some are still behind, firing into them when they can, and Dan's trailing unit is about to have guys on three sides firing at him.

 The Estonian left at the end of the game.  A hole was punched into our line and the knights were a-coming in against our rear, but their right had totally fled the field and we had our whole reserve to deal with them if we hadn't called the game at the point (an Estonian win!).

My side of the battlefield at the end of the game, after the Danes had routed away.  My skirmishers nickle and diming them on their way in, plus the defensive advantages of the stream and rough ground were more than the attackers could bear.

After that game, I checked out RAFM and 6 Squared Studios, who were there as vendors.  I didn't need any bases from 6SS this time, after making that buy in May, but from RAFM I was able to pick the two packs of Crucible Crush Pulp Figures (sculpted by Pulp Figures' Bob Murch), which included a guy who looks an awful lot like Silver John, from the awesome series of stories by Manley Wade Wellman (greatest name in the history of names) and another guy who looks like he should be a night stalker in 1970s Chicago, if you know what I'm saying...  I also picked up an old west store which will be perfect for my 1885 Riel Rebellion project, it looks a lot like one of the (or the only) store in the old pictures of Batoche.

Blackfyre Productions also had a great-looking table (I think they had two) as they're part of the Ontario Hobbit Adventures society (?) / collective (?) that plays Middle Earth SBG:  Ents vs. Uruk Hai:

Jumping ahead to my evening game, I played in Ron's WWII game against Robert, this one generically representing part of Gazala in 1942.  I was the defending British, Robert was the attacking Italians (it was his choice!).  Ron's game is area-movement and card-driven, the cards letting you move and shoot, or use artillery/air power, or some special events (like engineers putting down minefields).

I only got a couple of shots of the game, here's things near the beginning:
 The town and entrenchments are under my control, I've already lost a truck to long-range fire.  The Italians are in the distance, trying to spot my weak point.

This is at or near the end of the game, as the Italians ran out of time (cards) without taking any part of the town.  They'd done a good job of swinging around my left (the red smoke markers are where their vehicles died; yellow are my dead vehicles), but a carefully placed anti-tank minefield made them take the long way, and a spoiling attack I made with my Bren carriers really distracted them.

Now back to the afternoon, where I ran a game of Song of Drums and Shakos, "Out of La Marisma".  A squad of French hussars and a full squad of French carabiniers tried to seize a crossroads and road exit from British rifles and light dragoons in 1813.  There was a lot of rough terrain on the board, which channeled things a bit, but it was also the debut of a few buildings I've bought/built/painted over the last while, including a Spanish windmill only finished the Thursday before!

Robert played in this as well, commanding the French hussars, and also on his side was Harry (with the carabiniers).  The British rifles were under the command of Dan S., and my friend Brian from KEGS had the light dragoons, who had to wait a couple of turns to saddle up before they got into action.  The French victory conditions were to either take the crossroads by clearing the mill and granary of the British, or get a certain number/type of troops off the western exits, or just drive the British off the field completely.  The British had to stop all of that from happening.

The British rifles set up with their marksman hidden in the windmill, three riflemen in the mill on the second floor, and Lieutenant Lovecraft (it was a Mythos themed convention!) and three more riflemen were around the bridge.  The light dragoons, under Sergeant Reilly were saddling up behind the granary.

The French hussars decided to ride along the small trail to the main bridge, while the carabiniers would take the southern road towards the windmill.  
 This is about where things turned really wrong for the French, the riflemen in the open had moved into the swamp (good protection against cavalry!) and the riflemen in the mill had clear targets.  Also, the French carabiniers were rolling terribly!  About four turns in a row either the officer or the group he was ordering rolled a turnover.  They barely budged and the hussars were hung out to dry.

 More from that moment, you can see the smoke coming out of the mill.  And things get worse for the French as the light dragoons are up and on their mounts.  I really wanted this shot though to show off the windmill!

Near the mid-point of the game, despite the near-destruction of the hussars (4 out of 5, including Lieutenant Tindalos), the carabiniers are opening fire on the combined light dragoons and riflemen who are still out on the field.  Everyone's trying to hide behind shrubberies!  The riflemen soon retreated to the granary, and the light dragoons behind it to regroup and await the French moving towards the road edge.  One trait I gave the light dragoons to help balance things was Individualistic, meaning they couldn't be activated as a group.  It worked pretty well (and is pretty historic), though it frustrated Brian!

 Another shot from that moment in time.  The French were still rolling some really ill-timed turnovers!  The British had a couple, but nowhere near the frequency of the French - and all pretty troops had Elan, which with an officer or NCO meant they only needed to NOT roll a 1!  I'm also showing off my new roadside cross here, from Hovels.

The end game for the French - they've gotten close, but between some fire coming from the granary and their decision to tackle the light dragoons hand to hand, their end was nigh.

And that's a wrap for me at Broadsword 4 - a lot of fun at my second time at that convention, it was good to see a lot of friends again, and make some new ones.  I think my game went well, probably one of my best jobs at GMing, and SDS seemed to be popular.  A couple of the guys in the game had really wanted to play some Ganesha Games live and this was their first chance.

A few other AARs from Broadsword have shown up already too:
and on Facebook, the KEGS page.

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