I am back! Whew, what a break in posts. Summer vacation and a new school semester conspired to limit both gaming and posting. Fortunately, I am back in action.
This weekend I attended the excellent Recruits Convention in Lee’s Summit, MO. This was my second year attending, and the best experience of the two. Recruits is a mid-sized (maybe on the small side of “mid”) regional convention drawing vendors from at least as far away as Denver and Nebraska. At only $5 for an entire weekend’s admission (events run Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon), Recruits is tough to beat. Plus, proceeds go to support the local high school’s strategy gaming club; that’s a cause I can get behind.
For those unfamiliar with the area, Lee’s Summit is about 20-30 minutes south of Kansas City. The convention is held in a high school gymnasium, which works extremely well. Vendors line the outer walls and dedicated gaming tables cover the center. I like the open layout because I can easily see everything going on, spot acquaintances, and wander. A snack bar offers very passable fare suitable even for a meal (and, more importantly, bottomless coffee). The gym’s foyer houses administrative functions, a paint-and-take station, and, on Saturday morning, a large silent auction. Terrific food and drink options are within a 5-minute drive of the venue, though these options are not walkable.
The range of vendors this year was excellent. I would say there were easily 150% as many vendors this year as last year, but I only have a hunch and (probably) faulty memory to back that assertion. Still, vendors ranged from well-stocked professional gaming stores to people selling off collections of models, games, and books, to a few ladies selling hand-made gaming goodies. My kids especially appreciated the latter because they walked out with a color-able, washable dragon doll.
Apart from gaming, the convention offers a staffed paint-and-take station and a Saturday morning silent auction. Anybody is free to place sale items, though the convention staff takes a 10% cut of revenue to offset costs. This is a great opportunity to liquidate items collecting dust that I am too lazy to list on eBay…though I seemed to walk out with more than I sold…
Now, onto the meat of the convention–gaming! I actually didn’t get to play much this year due to the demands of hosting a game and other family obligations, but I did get to wander around quite a bit. Wandering led to inspiration in most cases and jealousy in others. Some of the work on display was fantastic! Pictures with short descriptions of just a few games are below. Most impressive, at least in terms of apparent player enjoyment, was “wooden wars.” The GM hosted table- and floor-based variants with exquisitely detailed wooden troops arrayed on fields of battle built of wood blocks and playing cards. No dice were involved–shooting was “old school” in that it demanded players lob balls at opposing formations to literally knock down their opponent’s forces. The GM’s motto was also a winner: “It is as historically inaccurate as a musket ball.”
Keen-eyed observers may also notice a lot of young attendees and games, like the ingenious Battle for Legoland, that catered to young players. This was great to see, and one more reason to support this fantastic event.
I ran a game of Chain of Command based on the 13 June 1944 actions of I Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division SW of Carentan. The game almost didn’t happen because I forgot my ground cloth at home. Luckily, a gentleman vendor loaned me a spare–thanks Tim, if you are reading!
Four players, two to a side, refought a piece of what became known historically as “Blood Gulch.” Our game provided the bloody result, though most of the blood shed by the little plastic and metal men duking it out fell on a hedgerow. Leaders fell left and right and the plucky German sniper made is first appearance ever appearance in a tree. The culminating assault by the paratroopers against heavy odds was also memorable in its spectacular failure–the paras’ dice pool was only one short of the 4:1 auto-defeat ratio (35-9) and resulted in pretty predictable results. All players picked up the game mechanics and were running on their own within a couple of phases, though only one had experience, and in his case it was in only a couple games. I have never played a bad game of Chain of Command, and this weekend continued the streak. What a fantastic system!
Hopefully more posts will appear in the near future. I am almost ready to start playing through 29, Let’s Go!, a pint-sized CoC supplement from TFL. I am also almost complete with a long-simmering 15mm sci-fi project. Finally, I am transitioning to more boardgaming because time for miniatures work seems to be drying up, so look for more reports on that front!