Historicon 04

Pennsylvania is a green and pleasant land...
but muggy..luckily I brought  a breeze with me this year!

Showing up

Well.. I was packed.. I had shipped my figures off to Don Effinger. He had received the hermetically sealed package days after I had sent
it, all in good condition. All I packed was terrain for the Imperial Meltdown (more about this later), the super secret awards for that
event, five days of cloths that could get soaked through with gaming sweat... a bandana...and the carry-on full of magnetized based
cavalry and ready to go. All the figures I had mailed or carried were for the Meltdown, as I was intending to use Vince Salvato's EIR
for both the doubles and the main tourney on Friday.

Don and Rob Broom greeted me again at JFK and we were off to New Jersey, then Pennsylvania. Of course we chatted about WAB, sales of
my book, the new guy at WHW, Allen flipping out, you know.. the usual :) A quick stop at Roy Rodgers Monmouth Courthouse battlefield
rest stop and we then made the final leg to Lancaster. The drive goes so quick because there isn't a moment of quiet.... otherwise as soon
as Rob and I stop talking about something interesting Don will start blathering about Civil reenacting :)

So we arrived and got checked in this year at the Macintosh, which is not a bad offsite location. Since Don, Vince, and Mike Bruck, were in
the Host I had a safe place to stash my stuff, so the "Frogger" run across the highway wasn't all that big a deal (especially late at
night or early in the morning. The weather was ok too.. only a couple of really muggy days. I enjoyed this hotel much more than the
Canadiana... that one has had its name struck from all temples, and parchments...

Wednesday night found us in the bar in the Host drinking beer and chatting, saying hey to the guys when they showed up, talking about
Allen wigging out... you know the "usual" :)

The next day was the first dose of high cholesterol at the Host's buffet, as Mike stated. I tend to eat up a big breakfast that sticks
to my ribs.. sometimes I can go for the rest of the day... of course I do have massive reserves!

Then we vended for hours... I didn't find too much new, didn't have a concerted plan, and kind of bounced around. I found some Mirliton
Condotieri for a budding AoC list. I was thinking of buying the whole mass of a Han Chinese/Chin army, but backed down when I
realised I still hadn't completed most of the Indians I purchased at HCon last year. The good new stuff was Molniya's Timurids, but I
wasn't interested, too out of period for me.. maybe Ken Winland will consider some Western Skythians and Getae? It looked like Newline
Designs had redone their Indian elephant, I stupidly did not buy one to compare at home to my finished ones.

I was disappointed by Navigator's new Alexandrian line, pumpkin heads and not very crisp detail. However I felt that their Hypaspist would meld into my Foundry late Successors, maybe.. so I bought a coiple of packs. The cavalry were a real disappointment and I stayed away from them. I
was also disappointed with Battlestandard's display of their new Macedonians. It was nice to see their Late Persians on display (even with the
giant horses). This of course meant that the only decent new range of Alexandrians is brought to us by A&A, who did not seem to be represented. Vendel
figures are carried by Brookhurst, but I don't need any more of those, and tend to stay away from adding them in since they are so big.

I took solace by buying way too many Newline figures, outfitting a Seleucid pantboy phalanx, more Greeks, and other odds and ends I
didn't have. Other than a few books, that was my vend.

Tom Opalka and Steve Schifani observe the mighty Sassanian/Indian alliance


Mike Bruck and I decided to play as a team in the doubles both of us brought 2k of EIR, both armies were mostly the same... nothing fancy.
I was borrowing my 2k of excellently painted figures from Vince Salvato. I had decided to play EIR for three reasons, one they are
noted by many as being weak and difficult to win with, and two I was tired of playing my own Macedonian lists, and three, I was unable to
finish my Persian cavalry in time :)

Mike and I first played Rob Broom and Don Effinger's Mongols and Successor AoA armies. It was a killer combination for Mike and me.
We hardly got untracked against the looping Mongols. Our plan was to use cover to slip around their left flank. But their human shields
and elephant delayed this effort. Eventually we were able to start to push the center against some nomads that stuck their necks out too
far. Unfortunately instead of charging, my Romans ended up fleeing and compiling of 10's routed back a bunch of units... the end of the
game saw these routers counted as points and the Mongol/Successors moved on.


Mike Bruck and I teamed with EIR against, Rob Broome (mongols) and Don Effinger(Successors)

Mike an I then faced Duncan MacFarlane's truly ancient Hinchliffe Sassanian army (used as AoA Persians) and Tom Hamilton's Indians. Duncan's army was
an old mix of Hinchliffe Sassanians painted to a high standard by Peter Guilder, methinks I've seen these in print before :)
This was a test of our ability to defeat two shootist armies. Mike took on Duncan's Persians and I took on the Indians. This was another
game where I couldn't quite get untracked. The first 22 longbow shots struck home against my legionnaires without me making even one save.
Since I only had 60 legionnaires, well you can see how devastating Tom's luck was. I pulled back my whole wing to get away. Tom started
to move and that broke up his firepower, so I tried a quick reversal. This caught him off guard and I actually was able to get into hth
combat with my much depleted units. However I didn't have enough gas left and my counterattack crumbled.


Mike tries to work his wing, my attack bogs down against Duncan MacFarlane and Tom Hamilton

Two fairly luckless games for Mike and I... the good news it was just the doubles, and I was happy to slough off the bad luck! I went
back to the room that night thinking about what I had done wrong with an army I don't use too much (occasionally I will play with Rich
Norton's EIR locally, so I have only played them 3-4 times myself).  After the doubles it was dinner and room gab over a few beers.
Thanks to Vince for running the event which seemed to go without a hitch.



Friday morning saw us begin the singles tournament. Don as usual had everything organized, from set terrain tables, to well though out
deployment for the set-up. My first opponent was none other than Duncan Macfarlane again and his shooty Persians. He set up three of
his four noble cavalry blocks across the center, deployed his levy spara to this left with his elephant smack in the middle. Skythians
patrolled his flanks. You can see Duncan in the photos warning me not to pull and “stupid Roman tricks” on him J

My OOB was the same as yesteday's doubles:

General (mtd)
ASB (on foot
1x15 veteran legionaires C/S/M
2x15 regular legionaires C/S/M
1x15 raw legionaires C/S/M
(all with lt. armor)
1x12 auxilliary foot with throwing spears
1x10 auxilliary cavlary throwing spears
1x11 auxilliary archers with bucklers (Cretans)
1x11 barbarian skirmishers
1x35 germans with throwing spears L/S/M

Duncan tries to warn me not to abuse my "stupid Roman tricks", my EIR carefully advances under cover.

After last night's debacle, I had decided that I would just try to play well with the Romans, and utilize all the "stupid Roman tricks"
to the fullest. I deployed in Wellingtonian fashion on a reverse slope, all on one wing. The skirmishers patrolled the right wing and
were to hold a wood against his army. Also, units that could be shot at, were in testudo.

This time things went well for me. I used a hill to march in column toward his right flank. Initially his Skythians got a shot off at my
cavalry... but then I was able to charge them and they ran off the table. In the center his fire against my testudos was ineffective so
he concentrated on the Germans. They absorbed round after round of fire and were whittled down but never lost heart. Every shot against
them was one more fresh legionary creeping forward. By use of terrain, column and testudo my fresh legions confronted his Noble
cavalry. On my right my unit of skirmishers messed up his advance and could not be rooted out of their woods. In the center I held back,
then the whole army rushed his cavalry. A couple units broke back but got away, I followed up and the same happened... finally his General
routed and that sealed things as his unit stopped making panic checks.

Duncan was an excellent opponent and has a clear grasp of all the rules (including reminding me of my warband checks :) This was a nice start after yesterday's luckless doubles... I think Duncan learned that he couldn't stay static too long against troops maneuvering towards a flank.  I felt I had played well enough this game and was rewarded with a win for the effort.


Other games get rolling

Game two saw my outnumbered Romans facing Al Revere's massive and dynamic Dacian army... he had gobs of them in units of 32, 40, ...gobs of
them! We deployed in the "Take and Hold" and I pretty much gave up on taking or holding and was intent on surviving the hordes. I deployed
mostly to my right with auxilliaries and cavalry holding the extreme left. My plan was to work the fringes of a large wood and hope that
would mess up his army cohesion. I moved first and zipped across the table in column (fewer missile troops to worry about here). This was
kind of a weird game.. things went too much like clockwork for me. As I predicted he was having trouble with the woods, my Germans were
flanking it and were rapidly trying to get on his flank. In his center he tried to move his masses forward, but they got in each
other's way. The curse of the 6x4 foot table. I continued to move on turn two.


Al Revere's Dacian horde awaits my punch.

His turn saw the beginnings of a disaster that usually one
can only describe in an ancient sourcebook. Almost all his front line skirmishers failed their warband tests... this made them charge fully
ranked and deployed legions front on.... needless to say they were slaughtered. The pursuing legions rolled forward and smacked into two
of his units. The resulting combat saw one 32 unit break, and the other barely held. That Breaking unit caused some other units to
break. His round saw a Chieftain cause my left hand legion to burn stubborn. My round saw me sorting out the mess. His next turn saw off
my cohort in the center, but his General panicked because fleeing mobs were causing panic tests everywhere. Eventually his general's
mob and others ran off the table as I was getting in position to push them off with legions... Al gave in as this game was not going
his way. This was shaping up as a good luck day for me, diametrically opposite to
the day before.


Revenge against the Indians as I slowly creep onto his right flank.

The third round saw me face Tom Hamilton's Indian once again. We were tied on VP's so off I had to go through 'No-man's land' once again.
Tom deployed the same as the night before, infantry supported by elephants. I deployed the same as against Duncan earlier, with only my Germans holding the extreme right wing.
Initially things went bad for me as he got off a full shot at my cavalry on the left and they ran off the table. But by judicious use
of testudo, terrain, and columns I was able to creep up on his right flank... this time after only losing two or three legionnaires to fire
(I actually rolled some saves!!)... as he concentrated on the Germans and other long range targets I gave him.. my skirmishers were
whittled down but my auxiliaries finally took a wood which began the unhinging of his line. On the last turn (we only got to turn 5 with
all that shooting) my veterans destroyed his unit of light chariots, and three of my cohorts were close on his flank.... I felt the end result
was well in grasp. However, time constraints set in and we were forced to end the game at that point. It turned out to be a draw
slightly in my favor.

I was lucky to end up in third place with my borrowed army, but I felt I had done justice to the EIR this day.  The fact that I had
reversed yesterday's disaster against the Indians made we walk away feeling very good about how I had played the army to the hilt, and
used every Stupid Roman Trick possible.

Next was preparing for the "Meltdown" the next day. Click the link to go there:


WAB AtG Imperial Meltdown


Saturday Night action

After eating and relaxing on Saturday night we tried Mike Bruck’s brand new trireme’s out. We used the GW rules for naval action and had a good relaxing time. The rules were a bit dicey as narrow triremes could not accommodate many boarders, myself and Mike Reardon managed to board Rob Broom’s vessel and were driving the crew back to the stern. Don Effinger’s admiral tried to jump aboard but fell into the drink.. splash J


This made me happy J


It was a great Historicon for me.. too short! Eight games of WAB, some I actually played well, others I just managed to hang on in. I got to vend, and play, and have a few beers with the guys I only get to hang out with on the internet throughout the year. It is always worth the expense and hassle to get there, but is over far too quickly.

Now I really motivated to have a big new army for next year!