Sunday, April 29, 2012

HMGS Midwest- Little Wars 2012

 I made a quick afternoon trip out to Little Wars in St Charles, IL yesterday. Never having been before I was interested purely as a spectator in on a couple fronts, mainly to see how one of these events operates from Historical gaming side of the aisle and also to (what else?, shop Historical miniatures!) Couple weird things going on, 1) this event has a cross pollination of some of gaming you see at Adepticon. being a week after Adepticon this is very odd. In fact the scheduled WFB tournament had ZERO registrants (we saw Rob the organizer there) there was also a Privateer Press event run by my pal, Felix who never ceases to get the bodies there, Adepticon just last week or not. I stopped by the table and he had probably a dozen players.  And # 2) for the size room they had there where alot of empty tables there, while we arrived late in the day, so it possible alot of there events where completed but for Saturday afternoon I was looking for a bit more in the tables and terrain department, I was a little let down there.

Our main goal (since we weren't signed up for any events) was to check out the vendor hall. unlike Adepticon where vendor space is very limited. and probably less than 10% of the total floor space Here it takes up probably 40% of the event including the flea market room. This was pretty awesome. I because of way vendors bring the ton of stuff there alot just in bags..I could have literally spent all day in the vendor hall rummaging thru various things. Out initial hunt was for various Historical miniatures that you just cant get a good feel for from the various websites or just arent pictured. We saw alot of usual suspects, we were both kind of looking for some classical antiquity 15mm Historicals as the subject has come up for our next Hail Ceasar campaign. However we totally struck out there. I did find alot of metal Crusader blisters (which you cant get in the US anymore, you know have to order overseas)  at good  prices however it wasnt enough to get me to invest because I couldn't find two of the same blister of anything I wanted (as in enough to make a unit) Hank from Gorgon was out with a great display showing Gorgon's fantastic stuff. I am eyeing a bunch of different Gorgon's 28's depending on what period we settle on next but since he's local it's not tough to get.

 ( awesome skirmish table , no idea what they where playing but love the table)

Then we stumbled up the Iron Wind metals both who currently does Battletech but also has all the old Ral Partha molds and still casts and sell them..It was a Fantasy/ Sci-fi- / Pirates geeks- miniatures paradise- thousands and thousands of loose pewter models in buckets going for $2 an ounce. Some  seriously great stuff in there, Once Chris and I got a load of that..we were finished and we spent the rest of time there scouring stuff...I found some kick ass. Orc's from probably late 80'early 90's. I think these are Bob Olley sculpts as they look very similar to my Reaper Orcs..anyway I got 14 of them for $20. Chris picked a mix of Pirates and Fantasy Figs...we spaced out on the flee market room and by the time we got there they where packing up..bummer as it looked like there was alot of cool stuff  there. Next year I am making this a priority to get out there the first. if its not right on top of Adepticon or we dont get a Hail Caesar tourney to make the Adepticon cut next year..this might be the thing to do.

 As an aside, I was speaking to the Iron Wind gent a bit about this insane amount of figures and the amount of molds there must be..he tells me alot of the stuff 75% of it isnt even on the website..where they might so 5 poses of something but really there are 20..I did some digging and found this interesting article on Iron Wind . HERE. Battletech is currently experiencing some growth I've seen so expect these guys around for awhile which is cool with the old Ral Partha coming along for the ride.

Finally I wanted to show this awesome 15mm game I saw.  We've been taking about 15mm for size consideration and expense when jumping around to different periods with Historicals. I quickly realize the trap. Yeah figs are cheaper..but once you get the just start expanding the game size as the scale get smaller. Currently in Hail Caesar we run three divisions of 300 points. We've been talking going 4 division or 400 points.. because it removes the 3 division triangle where games can implode quickly due to bad event (like strong flank push with multiple sweeping advances) with 4 Divisions these quirky game enders based on bad luck are minimized so for a more balanced game we've talking about 4 Divisions. Due to excessive model counts four divisions at 28mm maxes out an 8 foot table really quick, I say its basically playable but too crowded, if you really want to use alot of Cavalry and use them effectively. SO-  15mm solves that problem. BUT The new problem, as perfectly illustrated above is once you go 15mm, if you are like us the next thing you know, you are saying " hey well instead of 4 divisions a side", lets do 6, then 8, or even 10....Arghh...something to seriously consider.


Lee B said...

Sadly the Iron Wind prices are notably higher on their site for the classics. Gotta get em at a Con...

Rodger said...

Awesome looking game in the last photo!

Jeff said...

I totally agree with your thoughts on the models size, the smaller they are the more you get. Stick to 28mm,way more model choices, and if you want bigger games, table extensions get created. I am looking forward to so HC soon.

Anonymous said...

10 Divisions! Lets do it!!! We will have found the perfect way to make Hail Caesar take 12 hours!! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

Just kidding. I do believe that more divisions with potentially more units will make that game a bit more stable.

I <3 HC, but there is a bit of a 'see who's dice reward/punish first' thing going on occasionally.

Jason said...

I’m going to weigh in on the 15 vs 28 mm discussion. I don’t think your scaling up criticism holds up evaluating a game seen at a pretty significant con. Choose any con running big games of 28mm systems and you run into the same problem.

First some disclaimers; First, I’m going to focus primarily on mechanics and set aside the money issues between 15 and 28. Also, I’m not arguing the aesthetics. Obviously 28 models crush 15 when it comes to painting so if that’s your primary focus then 28 is definitely the way to go.

Now, consider a standard table size of 4 x 6, maybe 4 x 8 tops. Only a certain number of units can adequately fill this table without flooding it. You identified this issue yourself when you made the cavalry reference. I think an average wargame should fit into a maximum of 4-5 hrs. This is a super casual game replete with beer, banter and discussion. It isn’t unreasonable for a wargame in a tournament environment to run 2 – 2 ½ hours.

Certain rulesets have a sweet spot for the number of units they handle successfully in this sort of time frame. Consider a game of Star Fleet Battles vs a game of Firestorm Armada. Or LotR vs WFB. Apples and Oranges. You can certainly run a Starfleet Battles game with a Firestorm Armada amount of models or a LotR game with a WFB amount of troops. Could you get that game done in the amount of time it would take to run the same number of troops under a separate system? I doubt it.

15mm opens up the number of units available without constricting the ground scale necessary for tactical maneuvers. My guess is that a Hail Ceasar game at 15mm with a dozen units will run far better in the standard time allotted on a standard table than a WFB game at a similar number of units will. The real question is whether that tactical game with a high number of units is what you’re looking for in a wargame.


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