Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Convention report: Midsummer Conquest

Last weekend I went to Midsummer Conquest.  This is a small local con and it's initial year.
I do my best to support local conventions, basically in the idea that if I support them they'll continue to exist and maybe grow larger and I'll benefit from having wargaming conventions within an hour drive away.  I was only able to go Friday afternoon / night and all day Saturday so I missed Sunday.


I took Friday off to hang out with the family in the morning before vanishing for a day and a half.  
I arrived around 1 or 2, said hello to people I knew and began set up for my ACW game that began at 4:00, called "The Mountain Pass" (or some such).  A fictional scenario where the Union is trying to push off the Confederates on a ridge in order to open up the pass for the rest of the army...

Also going on at the same time were a zombie game and What a Tanker.  Each game had a few players but no one was full.  I got one player, Mr. HL who often plays in my ACW games.  1 player was fine with me because it meant that I could play.  : ) 

Also, I knew it was going to be a small convention so all the games that I hosted were small 2 versus 2 affairs that could be 1 vs 1.  For example: in this game the CSA had 2 medium sized brigades of 3-4 regiments.  A player could control 1 brigade or both without much more effort. 

So HL took the CSA and I took the glorious USA.  No detailed ARR but some photos with some pithy captions..

glorious Union deployed to take the ridge

obnoxious rebels defending the ridge

"We're going up there boys!"

Aim the guns!


cave in the flanks and roll up the line...

And after I cleaned up the table I played some What A Tanker (more on this later)

One thing that was super convenient; I got to leave all my ACW stuff overnight in the locked room so I didn't have to transport it twice.  Especially as I was gonna be back first thing in the morning..


Back early the next morning the second game that I was running at 10 AM: more ACW.  This time it was the "Caldwell Clears the Wheat Field" (or fails to do so in this case).  This is one of my favorite historical scenarios.   There were naturally more games going on this morning, so the players were spread out some but I fish hooked two of them:  Mr HL again and Mr. C(last name unknown).   Mr C took the CSA while Mr HL and I took the USA.

Again, no detailed AAR but pics and captions...

The table is set, the scenario begins!

I like my bright yellow Wheat Field


Keep Advancing!

Over the wall!

And that's as far as we get...
(I like that series of 4 pics, where the Union just advance from right to left...)

That game played faster than I remembered, so done by 1 and cleaned up in time to play a few more hours of What a Tanker.

What a Tanker is everywhere I look these days so I was cool to finally play it and the internet is correct: it's fun and easy, if not a little too simplistic.  It reminds a little bit of the Songs of (whatever the genre)  activation mechanics and definitely tops out at a certain number of tanks / players. 

When WaT was over, it was early Saturday evening (or late afternoon, depending on how you see things).  There was something of a gap in the schedule, as nothing was really happening until 7 PM. 

Luckily for me, I had the forethought of bringing my Age of Sail ships with me.  So I quickly set up a game of Post Captain for anyone who wanted to play.  A quick scenario where 3 French SOLs take on 2 British SOLs.  Each player got 1 ship. 

Everyone enjoyed PC, even though I was more rusty at the rules than I thought I would be, so kinda muddled it.  We played for about 2.5 hours and got in about 8 turns, with my ship taking the worse of the damage because I sailed my French 3rd rate out ahead of the formation and took on both of the British.  After my ship struck with only moderate damage but a poor command check, the game ran a little smoother.  It was my first time presenting PC at a con and it went well enough.  So I'll be doing that again in the future. 

Lastly the end the night, I joined a game of Zombicide Black Plague.  A cooperative game set in some sort of high medieval fantasy setting infested with zombies.  I've never really heard of it before, I played the game mainly because I wasn't ready to go home yet and end my day of gaming and I was tired of miniature games.  besides, I like boardgames.  But the game was actually really fun, played well, good mechanics, and we won!  the host said that the players win about 1 in 4 times.  Of course, that doesn't take into account that we were all natural born zombie killers. 

Overall Thoughts:

The venue of McCellan Center was very nice, easy to get to, easy parking, clean, etc..  I didn't stay in a hotel but commuted from home.  There was some limited food available that I couldn't eat due to my diet restrictions but others seemed well-feed enough, and there were fast food restaurants within driving distance.  All the activities were basically assigned their own room (like there was a miniature wargames room, a board game room, a roleplaying room, etc. and all the rooms were big) so sometimes you felt a little isolated from the rest of the con, but on the plus side it was never crowded and I didn't have to shout.  Plus Friday night I was able to leave my stuff in the locked room for Saturday morning, which was super convenient.

No lie it was a small convention but I was well aware of that going in.  I have no idea of numbers and spent almost all my time in the miniature wargames room so I have no idea if the other rooms were packed or not.  For miniatare wargames: I won't say there were a lot of games going on but I will say there was always something going on (if that makes sense).   There were some cancellations.  I don't think any game had a full set of players.  All games did look nice and fun.

For myself, I had a great time for my day and a half of fun.  I'll be back next year.

And now..

After all that gaming excitement the last 2 weeks, I need to re-organize my stuff.  I'm a mess.

Thanks for reading, comments appreciated. 


  1. Good job on your convention games. Say, what are you using for a painting light?

    1. Thanks Jon. I couldn’t really say about the light. It’s a huge thing that the wife got me for Christmas years ago. I think the brand is Ott.

  2. Thanks Stew, enjoyed the post and think you got involved in some fine games. I like the look of Caldwell clears the wheat field. I like my tactical armour game and get the impression that What a Tanker is a load of fun, but too light for my tastes. The naval game interests, is PC an internet set of rules? I have Fighting Sail from Osprey, but have never heard anything positive enough to want to buy some nice vessels.

    Sounds like you had a great time - Good!

    1. Thanks Norm! I agree on both counts: WaT is really a simple system and very light, and Fighting sail doesn’t really work. I also heard so much negative feedback on those rules that I didn’t consider them a purchase.
      There’s an in depth review of Post Captain on my blog of you want to check it out. Under the AoS label. πŸ˜€

  3. Excellent report. Bery much enjoyed following along. Your ACW games look super! Hope this convention is sustainable. I’ve come to appreciate small regional cons and game days more in the last few years.

    1. Thanks Ed! I also enjoy these small local cons. As long as you come prepared there is fun to be had. πŸ˜€

  4. Good report! Glad you were able to spend as much time at the con as you did.

  5. Sounds like you had fun and your ACW games looked suitably impressive, well done.
    Just putting the finishing touches to another Brigade F&F game for my club and finished my first snake rail fences.

    1. Thanks Tony! I’ll be looking forward to your post. I still need to get in a game of BFF. πŸ˜€

  6. great report. I was at the previous convention held at the AFB and got a chance to see what was happening in the other gaming areas when making the long trip down the hall to the rest room from the front area. If this convention was similar there would have been a good number of board game and role game players in the other areas.

    1. Thanks Will. It’s true; the one time I wandered into the role playing area the tables were well attended. πŸ˜€

  7. Nice report with pics and pithy comments! Sounds like a fun convention, always good to support local stuff!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain! I did have a good time. I feel one must support the local events so that they remain available. πŸ˜€

  8. Minis look great, but I have to admit, I'm rather envious of your terrain - it really is terrific.

    1. Thank you Fire! I’ve put a lot of effort into terrain and I’m glad it’s paying off. Though each piece is nothing special, I think they all work together pretty well. πŸ˜€

  9. I really should make an effort to get to local cons... looks like you had a good time, and the games seem fun too.

    And I am sure it was not as hot as the State Fair, which was what I was doing that Saturday.

    1. Thanks Laz! And don’t worry, there’s plenty more local cons coming up.

      I don’t envy you being outside in that heat. I am definitely more of an inside person. πŸ˜€

  10. Looks good. Though I still think they are asking far too much on ticket price considering it's such a small Con. Merely one reason I didn't go.

    Your games though looked fantastic mate. I seem to recognise some of those CSA troops....

    1. And good looking troops they are!
      I agree though: the ticket price and even the volunteer requirement to get in free are just on the steep side.