Friday, September 7, 2018

Pacificon Game Convention AAR!

Been awhile since I posted due to Blah blah blah - who really cares - ON WITH THE GAME CONTENT!

Pacificon AAR

Pacificon is a game convention in the SF Bay Area over Labor day weekend.  It's a good sized convention; it's not as big as Kubla but bigger than the local Sacramento cons.  I was able to shuck my hundreds of responsibilities for 4 days of gaming with only little ol' me to worry about.   πŸ˜ƒ
I had the games that I was running all prepared, armies organized, and early Friday morning I gathered all my stuff together and headed off on the 2.5 hour drive.  

everything needed for 2 games of ACW, plus a bonus look at daughter number 1's artwork.

I stopped to see some friends and have a late breakfast in Fremont, and in the last 20 mins of the drive managed to NARROWLY miss being in car accident... I had to preform like a split S maneuver in order to save myself and the car; this resulted in the all my carefully packed plastic tubs full of miniatures and terrain careening all over the car...damaging some.  

so after the first sense of relief that myself and the car were unscathed, there was a big feeling of annoyance that my stuff got damaged and disorganized. 

what a mess!  my nicely organized units all...disorganized.

fixed!  that's more like it.
Now let's go see how the CSA looks


Age of Sail

Friday afternoon through the evening I played in an Age of Sail game hosted by Steve M. using his 1/1200 ships (mostly GHQ) and rules he wrote called "74."  The situation: 6 British Ships of the Line (SOLs) versus 12 Spanish SOLS in a battle loosely modeled on the Battle of Saint Vincent.  

British in the middle

It's a small fleet game set of rules, so I commanded 4 ships of the Spanish including the Flag ship the Santisima Trinidad; which while having a monster of a broadside (she did have 4 decks after-all) was absolutely terrible at everything else.  Slow, hard to maneuver, low morale, and a crew of untrained farmers.  My other 3 ships included 1 good one (fast, good crew, good broadside), 1 decent one, and 1 more SOL that was really just there to take hits.  

my flag ship

The game rules use preplotted orders for movement (writing down # of inches forward, turns and such) which is fun.  Sometimes your opponent will  Zig when you thought they were gonna Zag so you steered yourself out of position.  But when you guess right and line up a good shot it's very rewarding.  

And get this-- we Spanish WON!  3 British ships struck to 1 Spanish ship struck.  Talk about history rewriting itself.  I chalk it up to my born with natural superior seamanship skills (only recently discovered) and some extremely lucky dice.  The Santisima managed to pass every moral check she had to make and she had to make many because after the first scratch to her bulwark she needed a morale check if a British ship even looked at her meanly.

A giant mess in the middle of the table

It was a fun game, the people in it were nice, good attitudes, laughs, and some fun talk about AoS Miniatures and games.  Most were of the opinion that the best ship miniatures were made from GHQ hulls with Langton masts and sails, bc GHQ masts were brittle and Langton hulls were ridiculously big (but..but... my ships are all Langton hulls and sails (and I like them just fine.)


Saturday morning I played in an AWI scenario; BUNKER HILL, put on by Matt H.   Always a fun scenario is Bunker Hill.  This game was also GOR-geous with really well painted 28mm miniatures and terrain.  Extra fun: whenever a figure was removed Matt provided a casualty figure to lay on the table, so eventually the table got strewn with wounded soldiers which I just thought looked cool. The rules were Brother Against Brother which I haven't played before but gave a good game.  

my troops!

facing off against Bunker Hill

side discussion: Aggressiveness (no I don't mean between the actual players) and Convention games.
Let me tell you something about my wargaming self; I am not a particularly brilliant strategist, nor am I particularly lucky with dice, and I'm not all that good looking but:  if you need a player to aggressively attack an objective in a miniature wargame then I AM YOUR MAN!   How many convention wargames have you played where you were the defending player but the attacking players never really got the attack going so you just sat there the whole time with not much to do?  It's not a problem with me because I like to attack, and attacking drives the action of the game.  You want me on the attacking side because if there is anything consistent about me is that I will attack the objective!

So when it came time to pick sides I immediately volunteered to play the British.  Now there were supposed to be 8 players in this game but 4 never showed up so I got to play all  of the 8 units of regular Grenadiers who were to assault the hill.  PERFECT!

The hill is mine!

It was another fun game, good people and good GM.  At the end of turn 8 my British had decidedly taken Bunker Hill with 3 units in the trench.  Victory for the British!


Saturday night from 6 to 11, I ran one of my ACW games of Regimental Fire and Fury, the Barlow's Knoll scenario.  You can read about a previous play test HERE.

The game went faster this time with the CSA making an all out assault up the hill and driving the Union back.  I chalk this up to the minor changes I made on the CSA flank where I took away one element of broken ground, released the brigades on turn 1 versus turn 2, and tweeked where the units set up just slightly.  I also gave the CSA players a small pep talk about needing to attack though they needed no encouragement! The game worked well with 5 players (3 CSA and 2 USA), though in the future I will make it a 6 hour game instead of 5 as I think the extra hour will work better.  We did manage to play through to a good result though and the players were happy.

The CSA flank attack

View from the Union side

More thoughts about GMing later.
I am very attentive to the players when I run a game which is why I don't get many pictures during it.

More Age of Sail

Saturday morning found me at another AoS game, this time with the rules  Form on Admirals Wake with GM Robert B.  Now, it was this very same GM and rules that was my first AoS game ever about a year ago, so it was fun to see Rob face to face again and tll him how he started a whole new wargaming genre for me, how it's HIS FAULT that I now have 6 ships and plans to continue to grow the fleet.  Rob B uses Sails of Glory ships for his game, and mentioned that he had close to 80 of them.  But he doesn't really play SoG because he doesn't like the rules.

The situation; 2 British and 2 french squadrons that are basically the same face off  to see whose Broadsides and sailing is superior (2 3rd rates and 1 2nd rate per squadron).  I took the British this time in the lead squadron with the plan to beat up wind and then drive down onto the French which worked out really well.  In the end I had 1 ship that was crippled, while my opposite number had lost 2 ships and had the last running for it's life.  All in all, i think 4 French struck their colors to no British for another resounding British victory.  For the Con this makes me 3 and 0, not that anyone keeps track of these things (except that I do secretly on a score board that I keep under my bed).   I was also voted best British captain and received a SoG ship of the line for a prize!  most unexpected!  Rob was also very generous in that he gave us all a copy of the rules and the QRS which will come in handy when I start running my own Form on Admirals Wake games.  I already have the rules but lack a hex sea mat, plus you really need about a 6-10 ships per side in order to give players enough to do.

More ACW

Sunday night I hosted my other ACW game with Regimental Fire and Fury , a battle based on the battle of Port Republic but with the history changed some to allow for a more fair game.  The Fire and Fury website has this scenario as a free download that one can find HERE (look for 'Port Republic what if" scenario).  I made some changes to it like I sped up the reinforcement schedule and changed some of the deployment, all of which is boring to talk about so I won't go into it now.  At one point there were 6 players but settled into 5, with 3 CSA and 2 USA.  3:2 seems to be a good ratio for RFF with 3 being on the attacking side.  

CSA attacking from right to left

Now from left to right

The game was supposed to go from 4 to 10, but everyone was having enough fun and the game was close that we ended up playing past that, and I got to step in for a Union player and play a few turns even which was fun.  CSA victory as the union finally hit the "greater losses" negative modifier and began to melt away.  

Another good group of players for this game.  Special guest star of "Yellow Admiral" on TMP who played on the CSA.  It was nice to meet face to face!  

Other Games:

In some of my few spare moments I walked around and took pictures of other games that I wasn't involved in, because that seems to be the thing to do when you have a blog. : ) 

A Rank and File ACW game

Songs of Drums and Mohawks or some such similarly named.  

Big Battle Cry

What a Tanker, in the snow

A huge game of Bolt Action

Thoughts on GMing Games at a Con

So I ran two games, both ACW.  I had a really good time GMing at this con and was reminded why I do it in the first place.  And while it is nice when people compliment your toys (your game looks great!),  I do get extra warm fuzzy feelings when people compliment my GMing style, and tell me they had fun playing and that I did a good job explaining the rules and running the game overall.  When people tell me they had a good time during my game, I feel good knowing that I helped make their Con experience a good one because I want everyone to have as much fun as I am.  I consider both my GMed games to be big winners, which makes me 5-0 for the Con, what a streak! (i'll go mark my secret score board really quick).  


What a great time I had, even with the near car wreck.  While I might not be always lucky when it comes to dice, I have always been pretty consistency lucky when it comes to who is playing in the games that I am playing in or hosting.  While some people might be more boisterous (yelling out what numbers they need and having large reactions to the dice) and some more reserved (quietly looking over the QRS, rolls a die without fanfare, and nodding the head just once at the result) everyone I came into contact with were great players with good attitudes.  Hurrah for all of us.  

It's just too bad I couldn't sqeeze in one more Age of Sail game.... but wait!

Some More Age of Sail Games

  Monday morning I left the convention to head over to another friends house Mr PC.  Before I moved to the Sac area I used to live about 10 mins from him, which made it extra embarrassing when I got lost on the way over.

We planned on playing some AoS games so I brought my ships along to show him Post Captain.  We played a small scenario of 2 French 74s trying to capture an isolated British 1rst rate.  Turned out to be pretty fair fight.   We didn't finish it because I got there later than planned so about halfway through  we switched over to Sails of Glory, mainly for the reasons that I've never played it and he had it in the shrink wrap for the last 3 years.  I gave him my newly won SoG ship of the line.

I thought SoG was a fine game.  We kinda had to learn the rules while playing but I did like the way the ships moved around with the cards and thought that the ship management was simple enough with the deck board but still you had some choices.  Ship management is basically expected in any AoS game.

It's a Hard Life at Sea.

So as I mentioned earlier, I got into near car wreck on the way down, and the tub that held the ships went flying, resulting in some damage.  Real SOLs are sturdy machines of destruction but the miniature SOLs are dainty little girls.  
Anyway, while sitting at the kitchen table with P and examining the ships and talking about our plans and projects, we left left the ships out of the tub on the table and adjourned to his basement to look at wargaming stuff.  When we returned we were met by P's wife who told us that while we were down stairs the cat had jumped up on the table and knocked about the ships even more, even crashing one off the table onto the floor..

The 1 on the left is actually pretty unscathed, the rest have minor to major damage.
Total damages from engagements with a near car crash and a cat.

I don't have a cat, so I never saw it coming.  
I obviously have to find a better way to store and transport these things...
This is twice now that these ships have been destroyed.  ((shipping disaster)
(don't worry BW, I don't need another medal).  πŸ˜ƒ   (Special thanks BW)

But get this, the cat is named Tsunami.   
So all that damage is the result form the near car crash and then the cat / sea monster / tidal WAAAAVE!
Thanks for reading!  Comments appreciated as always.  


  1. Good to see a journey begun in chaos, due to the close encounter resulting in much figure mayhem, end in triumph. While the Bunker Hill game is superb, your ACW games were no less handsome. Congratulations on a victory at Bunker Hill and for surviving your two ACW games.

    Looks like a good convention.

    1. Thank you very much for your very kind words Jon. I’m flattered that you thought my games looked that good. I did have a good time and it’s a pretty good convention. πŸ˜€

  2. Looks like you had a great time despite the "interesting" trip there. Great looking games, hope other than the cat damage repairs don't take you too long.

    1. Seems like I can’t keep these ships together! Hopefully it will be like last time and the damage looks worse than it really is.

  3. So many beautiful and diversified tables, looks awesome! Loce the Age of Sails one...

    1. Thanks Phil! I do think AoS games look nice bc the ships look cool. πŸ˜€

  4. Always a wince-inducing moment for anyone who has been there to see minis scrambled (or cat-batted). Good on ya for being able to carry on and run your games. Excellent convention report: looks like a good event. I have come to prefer running games vs playing in them (although it's close).

    1. Thanks Ed! All in all, it wasn’t too much more effort to re-sort the troops back into their units, and reglue some trees back together.
      Sometimes playing in games wins out over hosting games because then you don’t have to set up or take down. On two days I played games in the morning and ran them at night and that makes for a good day. πŸ˜€

  5. Lovely Con Report mate. Glad you came through unscathed, though sad to see those poor ships damaged. Again. More bubblewrap required methinks.

    1. I know right? These ships seem to have a hard life. I’ll have to figure something out soon. πŸ˜€

  6. Great post, glad you avoided injury on the journey to the show. looks like 4 days well spent with some great games going. I am betting that Ponyri game (Kursk - Bolt Action) was a lot of fun. Like your Bunker Hill game, but a shame to see the sailing ships needing the shipyard again!

    1. Thank you Norm. What was funny is that it turned out that I knew the two guys who were running the BA game. The terrain for that game was really terrific.

  7. Awesome pics. Lots of cool games being played and run by yourself. Sounds like a perfect weekend.

  8. Well that all looked epic, some fantastic games, love the Bunker Hill game especially , will be searchingly out the acw scenarios, bummer about the crash, but I love your philosophical approach to the cat.πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks Matt. Sometimes a cat is like a force of nature. There were lots of good games that I didn’t even get around to photograph.

  9. Nice report sounds like you managed to avoid injury which is more than you can say of you're ships, thankfully my cat is too old and my dog not interested in my hobby stuff, great looking games both yours and everyone else's and sounds like great fun,I take it you've got under your bed to update your secret tally? Nice art too in your first picture!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain! Yes, nothing was really hurt except for the ships and some trees. It was a fun weekend full of games and more shouldn’t be asked for. Not only is my super secret tally updated but also my list of games played in 2018 here on the blog.
      My daughter can be especially proud of her art.

  10. I'm glad you had a good time. Hope to see you at the November and January conventions

    1. Thank you Mike. πŸ˜€
      We’ll see about the other ones.

  11. First of all, big congratulations on winning with a Spanish fleet! You should be able to dine out on that story for quite a while. And yes, your games do look wonderful. Those ACW games really give the right feeling, and I would be more than happy to play in any of them.

    So the cat's name is Tsunami, huh? Well, if that's not proof that God has a sense of humor then I don't know what is. From looking at the photo, it appears that your British ships got the worst end of the deal this time. If that's the case, you could order yourself a replica Legion of Honor right here: :)

  12. Thank you BW, and I’ll consider the medal.
    As we realized that the Spanish were actually winning we started looking around suspiciously like we were doing something wrong. πŸ˜€

  13. Maybe a large sabot base for each ship? Something to make it harder for them to tip over at least.

    And thanks for posting about all the games. Sounds and looks like a great time.

    1. Something. I need to figure it out. Either a permanent solution that is able to accommodate future ships or something else but not too work intensive or expensive.

      I don’t think the problem is tipping so much as it is flying through the air and the a sudden stop...

    2. More powerful magnetic bases in a steel (or steel lined) box?

    3. Yes, we’re thinking along the same lines. But my first step is to repair them all first and then they can exist safely on my hobby desk. πŸ˜€

  14. Some nice looking games. Glad you are unscathed by MVA but sorry for your terrible loss of lead.

    1. Thanks Salt.
      I cannot believe that I missed that opportunity to tie in the title. Well done! πŸ˜€