Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cold Wars 2011 AAR

I apologize for the delay on this one. Work was busy the first week back, and I was out of it most of this week with strep throat. OK. On with the show...

I arrived at Cold Wars early Thursday afternoon. I was feeling a bit under the weather (yes, its been a rough beginning of the year), so I was a bit medicated. After enjoying a spicy dinner at the crazy Thai place, I kicked off the weekend with the Dismounting Armies DBA tournament. I played one of the classic "cheater" armies, the Anglo Normans (i.e., post-conquest Normans). In my first game, I played against the East Franks, which were very similar. I managed to shoot one of his knights pretty quickly, going up 1-0. Then I maneuvered to get a couple of double overlaps, but couldn't seal the deal. My opponent kept coming back, and slowly picked off my guys. He wen't up 3-1, but we managed to have two quick kill situations, one on my side and one on his. He won both rolls, so I lost the game 1-4. My next opponent played the Early Byzantines. It turned out to be a bad match up for him. He had mostly cavalry while I had all knights. I don't remember much of the action due to the cold medicine, but I do remember basically grinding him down with bad match ups. I won 4-2. In my final game, I played the Medieval French, one of the other classic "cheater" armies. I managed to do something right, and get my crossbows in front of his knights and my spearmen in front of his bows. He dismounted his knights to take on my bow, but I managed to work my knights into his blades. On the other side, my spearmen were making progress against his bows. I was up 3-2 and deliberating a move when they called "5 minutes", so I just said f--- it and charged a spear into an overlap position against a bow. I rolled a six, he rolled a one, and I finished the tournament 2-1. I ended up coming in third place, which wasn't bad for someone high on sudafed.

I felt a bit better Friday. I was supposed to teach a painting class at 10:00 and one at 3:00, then play in a DBA even that evening. At like 9:30 I found out that they messed up the schedule, and my classes were back to back at 12:00 and 2:00. I had a little bit of extra time, so I watched the beginning of the double DBA tournament and then walked around the flea market. I picked up a couple of stands of Gallic cavalry and warriors (you can never really have enough), but that was about it. I showed up around 11:30 for my first class, got everything set up, and no one made it. :-( It turned out that no one made any of the noon classes because of the scheduling snafu, so I gave one of the other artists a private class on painting horses. I did have two people show up for my 2 PM heraldry class, and they really enjoyed it. Its definitely a cool feeling when you teach someone something and you can see that they get it. One of the people attending does 1/300 aircraft, and we discussed some techniques for painting that as well. They complimented my both on my work and my teaching, so it was a very cool experience. I go to the crazy art college, and I'm a bit intimidated by some of the people there. Some of them are real artists, as in, have sculpted stuff for miniatures companies or have painted stuff for commission. I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable there, and it really is a cool experience.

Friday night I got sucked into playing a game of DBM in 25mm instead of the DBA tournament. To be honest, I was still a bit tired, so I didn't mind a quick game. I played the Sciri, which is a Germanic tribe from the end of the 4th century AD. The army was composed of knights, warband, bows, and some allied Hunnic light horse. It was an army borrowed from a fellow DBM gamer, and it was painted beautifully. I played against a random Chinese army consisting of spearmen, bowmen, cavalry, and chariots. The guy set up in the corner, utilizing temporary fortifications to anchor his wing. I sent my warbands after his spearmen, my bows after his bows, and my mounted troops after his mounted troops. I figured, I have no idea how these armies work, so charging seemed like the right idea! I managed to gain an early advantage. The combined weight of my warband and bows broke his smaller spearmen command. Then his cavalry absolutely crushed the Huns. Ugh. I sent the knights in after the cavalry and chariots. I started to grind them down, but then he managed to break my warband command. Things were starting to get pretty hairy, where one or two losses on either side would determine the winner, when I made a rookie mistake. I advanced a column of knights, but left a kink in the line. Sure enough, I lost a combat in front of them, recoiled into the column, which killed the one guy needed to break the army. Oh well, it was a good game!

Saturday was the double DBM tournament. My partner and I played an Early Vietnamese army, affectionately known as a "wall of junk". It consisted of a bunch of inferior bow, a bunch of warbard, a bunch of mediocre light troops, and three elephants! The army had roughly 140 elements, which is more than double the size of my Norman army! Crazy. Our first game was against the Neo-Elamites, a biblical army with a very similar composition (IOW, wall of junk). Both armies stretched from board edge to board edge, so there wasn't any fancy maneuvering. We managed to get the favorable match ups, so ended up with a slight advantage. Since there were so many troops on the table, we ran out of time before either side completely broke. They did break one of our smaller commands, but we broke his C-in-C's command, so we won via points. Our second game was against the Later Achaemenid Persians, which was composed of a bunch of cavalry, a bunch of Greek hoplites, and a handful of lighter troops. They demonstrated on my wing, and sent the other cavalry command into our bows, where it was promptly shot to pieces. We simply charged the warband into the spear block, quickly breaking it in several bounds. It took us several more turns to break their army, but not before they broke the warband command. Ironically, the spearmen did more damage after they broke! Anyways, we had won again, so we were headed to the championship game! In that, we played a Bosporan army, composed of knights, light horse, and assorted light troops. We lined up with the auxilia in some bad going in the middle, the two bow commands on the wings, and the warband as a reserve. The Bosporans did a general advance, hitting our three main commands with knight attacks and adding the light horse to the center attack. Our middle command and right commands collapsed, but we managed to break their C-in-C command. We had lost two smaller commands, while they lost their biggest command. Now it was a race to see who could break the final command. I was doing alright holding off the knight command on the left, killing a knight and some light horse, and devastating the light infantry supporting them. Once again, I was in a situation where the next element lost determined the winner. They charged in with the knights, my bows held off a couple of attacks, but couldn't stop them all. My command finally broke, breaking our army. We were one element away from breaking theirs! Yet another close game. It was disappointing losing in the finals, but it was very cool actually making it there.

I did some shopping every day of the con. Overall, I thought it was a bit mediocre. I was mostly focused on ancients, and there weren't a lot of things to get. In addition to the Gauls, I got a half dozen Hundred Years War English longbowmen, a couple of army books for various games, an interesting book on the Mongols (which I'm halfway through by now), a used copy of Hornet Leader, and a copy of Steel Wolves (which I've been lusting over for quite a while). I was hoping for more in the way of painted guys, but most of the vendors either had Second World War or Napoleonics. Very few had ancients. No worries, though. I have enough unpainted lead to last me for quite a while.

The show was definitely a success. I had a lot of fun playing DBA and DBM. I also really enjoyed the painting classes. I ended up with a pretty packed schedule, so I didn't have a chance to play any other games. I don't remember seeing any crazy setups, although I didn't do much exploration beyond the NASAMW room. I do wish that Historicon and Origins weren't so close together, since I can only go to one of them. I am looking forward to Fall In. It should be a lot of fun as well.