Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Huzzah 2018 through the Mists of Time

Well, I'm home!

How was it? In short, every one of the 2,000 kilometres that make up the round trip  was worth it. It was a great Con! Three days of looking and playing and discussing and generally talking, and talking.  I'd say I'm all talked out but Rob and I have been exchanging notes on next year's Huzzah game so perhaps not quite.

Anyway,  Gary (my friend and passenger from Nova Scotia) and I arrived at the South Portland Doubletree Hilton on Thursday in time for a late supper with friends Eric and Vicky from Maryland. On Friday the convention doesn't start until after lunch so I volunteered to help with a few minor set up chores after breakfast then got my game set up early.

Setting up begins on Friday morning as Gamemasters and Vendors arrive and get to it.

I had a full slate of eight players, mostly friends and acquaintances from past conventions.  There were two brothers who were a little short in terms of height and  experience but they have played in my games before and their dad has done a good job of raising and  'training' them so the three made a good team controlling the German infantry and artillery (with the occasional bit of coaching from the veteran opposition ). 

The game was too fast paced for me to keep track of everything that was going on for all 15 turns and 4 hours but it was close fought and not decided until the second last turn. There was an impromptu reprise of the game on Sunday so I'll save the details and my thoughts on the two games for another post.

1/72nd Dragon Rampant 'Fantasy'.

Friday evening had been set apart for Rob and I to get in a test game of our Dragon Rampant event to see how the scenario and armies would work, train me up a bit and make sure we were agreed on how everything works. We were fortunate enough to snag some friends to fill in and make it a 6 player game. I'm still not really sold on the rules but they worked much better than I expected and I was much more comfortable about our event. My main worry was that my Black Cauldron army seemed to be less worth its points than the others, especially if it got caught in open ground by cavalry.

Saturday morning was the real event and as it turned out we had some "no-show"s so I filled in and took the Black Cauldron force myself. I had originally thought my armies were going to be part of the defending alliance but it turned out we were the attackers. The enemy who was heavy in cavalry and archers were on the defence and immediately launched an all out offensive. Luckily there was a good bunch of people around the table and a pleasant couple of hours were spent before I was crushed completely.  Prometheus in Aspic had donated a small 3D printed fantasy/medieval tower kit to me last fall which I awarded as a prize to my direct opponent who had suffered the least loss and inflicted the most damage of any player in the game.

The Queen reviews a few of Gregory' brave soldiers.
More nostalgia for my 54mm heyday!

Once we cleaned up I was more than ready for lunch but had to stop 2 tables over to see Gregory Arofan's With the Colours in the Late War setup.  I just missed the award of the VC to a young fellow playing with his dad. Unfortunately I was tired and hungry and it was time for him to clear the table for the next GM so I didn't get to try it then but we had a good chat and I have the link and a...few toy soldiers so I will give it a go.

25mm Saxons vs Normans 6 player Lion Rampant game being picked up.

Rob was signed up for a Viking/Saxon Lion Rampant game after lunch and I didn't see anything else that tempted me so I checked it out.  There were no free spots so I snuck back up to my room for a delightful and much needed nap then came back out to wander around checking out vendors and games and stopping to chat with friends, returning to watch the end of the Viking game.

Al Coughlin's AWI game. Ah nostalgia for my 54's!
The Brits are largely Accurate, ATKM and Imex.

Saturday night I had an invite to help test out Keith Flint's Honours of War using 54mm AWI armies and the introductory scenario.  Pushing 54's around a table with friends, rolling dice and talking miniatures and wargaming, how could I resist?  I can't really comment on the rules other than that they seem to work but aren't my style. I like long moves, handfuls of dice and a minimum of tables and modifiers. However, it was a most enjoyable evening.
The Americans recruited primarily from AIP and ATKM.

That brings us to Sunday morning. There are generally fewer games on Sunday as some people head home early and what games there are often fill fast. After checking out the options we decided to run my 1914 game again with Rob taking the Germans and Norman the Allies. Once that was done there was time for a long lunch then I hit the road north just me and a Audiobook of RE Howard's Conan tale "The People of the Black Circle". I forget what had happened to Gary... 
 (OK not really some friends dragged him off into the hills for a pre-planned week's holiday) .

One more shot of the 54's for old times sake. These are ATKM cavalry nearest the lens. Good luck to Ken in his new venture and hopefully ATKM will rise again one day. 


Just to give a taste of some of the variety of land, air and sea games, historical, fictional and fantastical played in the 6 rooms in 5 time blocks, each of 4 hours. (There were more small figure games and more big battles not to mention more air and sea games than seen in these random clips.)
(Not 100% sure if the FB links will work for everyone or not. If a Non-FB person could test it and let me know I would appreciate it.)

A very small part of the massive Bolt Action Stalingrad.

 A Trench Raid at night. The B&W painting was amazing!
"Cold hearted orb that rules the night, steals the colours from our sight"

Pulp action in Shanghai for all ages. A perennial favourite.

Next up a debrief on the WWI games and a look ahead at plans for the next few months now that the sudden WWI distraction is done.


  1. Ross Mac,

    Judging by what you have written, you seem to have had a great time.

    The show looks a little more low key than the larger US conventions ... and all the better for it, I am finding that I get so much more out of attending the smaller shows in the UK than I do the larger ones.

    I am very pleased that your game went down so well, and look forward to reading more about how it went as soon as you have recovered from your travels.

    All the best,


    1. It may not have as many games, vendors and people but it is more relaxed, has enough of everything and is 'just right'.

  2. Ross,
    Thanks for showing us the snaps of the CON and a write up about it- sounds as though you and friends had a great though busy time of it all. Seems like this CON is very much like more of a Home-Grown affair -relaxed and not overly commercialized. Big trip though well worth it. Regards. KEV.

  3. Nice report. I wasn't able to get to Huzzah! this year it's always a great time.

  4. Ross,

    Thanks for sharing those pics. They look great. Glad to hear that your game went well. I'm delighted to see Mr. Arofan beavering away. That game has given me some real pleasure over the last few weeks.

    1. I enjoyed chatting with him and having him play in my game. Its a shame I didn't get to play his with him there but I will try it.

  5. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I am glad it went well for you.

  6. Looks like you had a blast. Some great photos of what looked like a great con. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Looks like you had a great time ! , sadly we don't seem to have conventions like this in the UK .

    1. Mike Lewis (Black Hat) and the Littlewars Revisted crowd held a similar though smaller event for 54mm gamers and plan to do so again.

  8. Enjoyed your take on the con. Similarly, this year's experience for me was more "distributed"--as in lots of things in series--as opposed to last year where there more "peaks and valleys" if that makes any sense. It might be that this year there wasn't the usual featured game (like last year's Stalingrad, or the pirate extravaganza of earlier). This made it a bit more low key, but I liked it just fine. No lack of things to experience and see, and no lack of people to visit with.

    1. Its surprising how different people's experience of a con can be.

  9. Looks like a great afternoon, plenty of inspirations. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thanks for posting all of the pictures and commentary. Looks like a very nice show, indeed and a most successful one, indeed. Were there many vendors?

    1. There about...a dozen? vendors. Some of just about everything, lots of nice 25/28's esp and terrain and books and rules but lots of other things as well. Sunday is flea market day. I managed to escape with one used book and one small pack of miniatures.