ConsimWorld Expo, incorporating MonsterCon, is a wargames convention that takes place in Tempe Arizona. Run by John Kranz, and his team of helpers, I have been fortunate to attend a couple of times, and have always had good experiences. This year, it was the same, and I even met a gamer from Palestine. As in, Palestine, Texas. (Apparently, it’s pronounced Palesteen.) Who knew?
I played OCS Sicily II, from MMP, with myself as the Commonwealth forces, Randy Strader as the USA commander, and Bill Quoss in charge of the Axis. I had played the system a little, but all solitaire. This was my first face-to-face encounter, which – thanks to Randy and Bill – was great fun, and a huge learning experience. So far as the game went, the Allied landings suffered badly, and we did not get off to a good start. That allowed the Axis to form an all too effective defense line, backed up by monster artillery units in reserve, and we were doomed to fail. But it was fun trying.
One point I must make is that the downtime in these games – when your opponent is taking a turn – can be huge. In fact, I saw one OCS table where the players had set up a smaller OCS game to run during the main game downtime! This downtime cannot be avoided – unless you play solitaire – but it probably means I will never tackle one of the multi-map East Front monsters of OCS. I might try out Smolensk, newly released, though as it is a one map game.
I also played a lot of The Last Hundred Yards, designed by Mike Denson, and due up soon from GMT. This is a tactical WW2 game with a genuinely different – and fun – perspective on combat at this level. Do check out the online resources for this. I won a few, lost a few, and had a blast.
Mike has a light NFL themed game called Momentum Football which I tried out and is fun. I don’t think this has a publisher, yet. I am unsure as to the intended market, as it is not a simulation, and football may be less attractive to the euro crowd. I could see this being successful with father and son gaming sessions, with the father keeping track of the game’s progress, leaving the son – or daughter – to concentrate on beating up on dad – or mum. Anyway, we’ll see what happens.
Probably the shortest game I played was when Clark Daggs set me up to join a four man Titan game – an oldie from Avalon Hill. I did not know you were eliminated by losing your Titan in combat. Guess who did that in the very first combat of the game? Oh dear, I can only hope for a rematch next time!
Chris Fasulo had the Guinness World Record largest published wargame on show, Death Ride Kursk. I heard a figure of 23,000 counters… The maps took up most of the breakout room. Hugely impressive. Of course, I somehow seem to have missed taking a picture of any of it.
There was also a breakout room full of GMT’s East Front Series. It is similar in scale to OCS, but with a much more streamlined supply model, and an asymmetric turn sequence. On the whole, it looks less complex, albeit the downtime issue is probably just as prevalent. The guys there looked to be having a a good time, and I regret not taking the opportunity to check on their progress more often.
The flea market was overrun to the extent there were several overflow tables. I don’t know why there was so much on offer compared to previous years. Prices seemed to be, in the main, reasonable. The auction, however, was definitely a buyer’s market. Way too many games went for well below market prices. I would not recommend selling stuff here, unless your aim is to get the game to a good gamer’s home.
What follows are a selection of my pictures, taken on my phone. The glare from the perspex sheeting used by most, combined with the hall lighting, does not make it easy to take good pictures. That’s my excuse, and I am sticking to it. Most of the time I was gaming, or otherwise too involved to take pictures. I certainly didn’t take notes, so I have no clue what some of the games are.