Thursday, February 16, 2006

Owlcon TD Musings

Walter Eardley

Howdy Folks,

Once again I would like to thank all of those people who attended Owlcon this year. Without you, it would just be me hanging out with a bunch of Warhammer folks.

A special thanks goes out to Ken for letting us gather at his house on Friday during the day. An extra special thanks goes out to his lovely wife for bringing us BBQ for lunch. The Valentine from his daughter was a nice bonus as well. What can I say, an all around wonderful family. Thanks again!

Another special thanks goes out to Chris for his help on Saturday morning with the Starter kit session. We had two new players attend and both were able to learn the game and complete a scenario in the 4 hour time period. In my opinion, the Starter Kit is the perfect for this situation. My victim … err … Opponent was Johnny (a list lurker). He has both of the Starter Kits plus many of the modules and a good grasp of the basic rules. We played through War of the Rats with my Russians holding on to the last building. With another session or two, Johnny would be ready to hand me my head along with the rest of Texas. Chris’ opponent was Justin who was new to the game (I think). By the end of the 4 hour session, Chris had instructed him how to play and they completed the first scenario. I again can’t thank Chris enough for giving me a hand with this teaching session.

This year we were in the Main Hall all weekend. Over all, space was a bit tight with the main problem being storage of the game systems while we played. Friday night we had enough room for 5 games. On Saturday, we were able to get an extra table to spread out a bit. I actually really liked being in the main hall. Downtime between games was easily filled by wandering around and observing the other games being played. Food was easily accessible and reasonably priced. There were lots of interesting people to observe as well. It was not near as noisy as I expected. We also had a lot of folks walk by and comment about not knowing people still played ASL or wanting to know about the game. I handed out about a dozen flyers with our info about our club to people who showed genuine interest.

Parking is a royal pain in the ass. I think by Saturday evening we had the parking worked out by organizing our own shuttle service. Having to shut it all down by midnight was also a problem. The early closing time put me in the worst of all positions as a TD. I had to adjudicate a very close game between Ken and Doyle. It really sucked and I hope I never have to do it again. If they had another hour they could have finished. Of course, you guys had been playing Ace in the Hole for 13 freaking hours without taking a break for dinner. While it is not small it is not Hill 621.

Certainly one of the highlights for all of those attending was the unexpected appearance of Mike Reed (also a list lurker). I was disappointed I did not get to play against him. He seems like one of those folks you have so much fun sitting across the table from you don’t realize he is beating the crap out of you.

As far as my gaming goes, I played three scenarios over the weekend and looked up a bunch of rules for people. All the rules lookups were actually a very good thing. It is amazing what you can learn when you read the rules. Go figure …

My first game was Red Wave against Doyle. The dice gave me the Russians while Doyle took the Germans. This scenario should be renamed Red Rover because it is really a dog. We knew it was a dog so we gave the Russians the balance (removing a MMG for the German OOB). Even with the balance, I was not even close to winning the game. To add insult to injury, the only building I would have probably taken I set on fire with a crit from a Mtr shot. I was just trying to acquire the hex to make it a little hotter for Doyle who was about to advance into the building. The flame and subsequent blaze made it to hot for me.

My Friday evening game was Strength through Unity against David Stanaway our Card Carrying member of the Paddington Bears who drove up McAllen. David had to run a mixed bag of Belgians across board 16 against some 467s and a couple of leaders. My 9-1 directed MMG was too much for the right side and the 7-0 with an LMG and another couple of squads on the left were enough to keep the Belgians at bay. I would have to agree with David it is not something I would want to play again but was good for the compressed time frame we had on Friday evening.

On Sunday I matched up against Zeb in Blockbusters on the Nham Gumahuchie map. The dice gave me the defending Japanese. I feel I played a decent game and even had Zeb distracted for a while but Zeb being Zeb very efficiently rolled over my defense for the win. In true Japanese tradition, my OOB was entirely destroyed. I would actually recommend this scenario although replay value is probably pretty low. I am a sucker for this map. It is everything that is wonderful about PTO. Lots of jungle, in your face PB shooting. Lots of CC. The IJA fighting to the last man. What is not to like.

With the exception of having to call the one game, it was a very fun weekend with a bunch of great guys.


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