Cold Wars 2014 After Action Report

Rob Dean

Cold Wars has come and gone again. At least I was able to make it this year; last year’s convention was pre-empted by an unavoidable business trip.

Things were still uncertain at the time that games needed to be scheduled, though, so I was conservative in what I signed myself up to do. I booked two sessions of the same scenario, a Dark Ages Saxon/Viking skirmish. This was an extended version of the one I ran as a solo game last summer. I elected to do one session at 2:00 on Friday, thinking that would give me a shot at doing my shopping first, and probably time to do a turn through the flea market as well, even if I had to drive up on Friday morning. I set the second session for 2:00 on Satuday.

Due to procrastination, and influenced by the work/school schedules of my sons, I didn’t end up booking a room. I commuted up by myself on Friday, and then drove up with both sons on Saturday. Sunday is pretty quiet at HMGS conventions, so it wasn’t worth going up for one game in the morning.

Anyway, I had my three scenery boxes and three figure boxes (two humans, one farm animals) stacked and ready to go, so I was able to be on my way at a reasonable time in the morning. After dealing with an issue about my badge and membership status, I set my game up.

I’m not quite finished in that shot, still needed to put out the two main farm buildings. After completing the setup, I hit the dealer’s room for some serious shopping. I was a little disappointed to find that only one of the three or four possible dealers in 1/72 plastic attended, as my main objective was to fill out all the Greeks and Persians I want for my next project. I gave it my best shot, though, and came home with all but a few boxes, as well as several boxes of assorted 1/72 fantasy figures for the current small project. I placed an order after the convention to finish things off, and was a little distressed to find that HaT Persians are apparently not currently in production.

My first game of Athelric’s farm went well. I had five players rather than the eight I had room for. Possibly this was due to the timing; 2:00 turned out to be the opening time for the flea market, always a large crowd draw. After much ferocious fighting, the Viking players eventually carried off the livestock, though at the cost of two of the three Viking leaders. Given that I had to drive home, I didn’t really want to play an evening game. My Saturday game was the next game on the same table, so I packed the troops and left the scenery set up and headed home to meet the kids.

I remarked to them on the light crowd, wondering if I was started to exhibit the grumpy old man syndrome of thinking that things had always been better in the past. I will take this opportunity to say that I don’t think that I am. Saturday was as crowded as one might wish, and we had a hard time finding a parking space at 9:30. I was glad that my scenery was already in place. I dropped off a box of flea market goodies which one of the other HAWKs agreed to set out on his table, and took my soldiers back down to the HAWKs room to set up.

Norman also had a 2:00 Saturday game, one of his award-winning Bronze Age chariot scuffles, as described in his blog. When we had things squared away, we took a look at the flea market. My best find was not miniatures related, but a nice crisp copy of 1st edition Gamma World. I have been having some fun with 1970s RPGs lately, and my copy had gone astray some time ago. Of the 1970s games I used to have, Gamma World has the dubious distinction of being the only one not legally available in a .pdf edition, so I was glad to scratch that itch at a reasonable price.

I didn’t take very many pictures this convention, so I’ve only got one shot of my Saturday game worth posting:

Here the Saxons, aided by a few continental mercenaries hired by the local lord (generally to the right) defend their shaggy cattle against the Vikings. This game went better for the Saxons, who managed to kill the Viking leader and evacuate most of the livestock. I filled this game, and turned one walk-up player away, so the player/game ratio seemed a lot tighter on Saturday. I also found that I had somehow been listed in the program as a “kid friendly” game. I was using Knights and Magick, an old rules set that my group started playing when I was a teenager, so they aren’t especially kid-unfriendly, but “kid” here means middle-schooler, or surpervised late elementary schooler, not pre-numerate five-year-old. After some discussion, I was also compelled to suggest that the game would not work for the aforementioned five-year-old and his father. I will need to look into this in the future and see what the algorithm for making this determination might be. I used to be on the other side of that conversation, so I would prefer that correct information is out there. But the kids do grow up eventually…

Overall, it was a good convention, and we all came home energized for our projects…

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