Adventures in Arizona – Friday

[Background: I have traveled to Arizona for the forthcoming ConsimWorld Expo, a gathering of gamers. The plan is for me to blog about the games, of course, but also little snippets of my general experiences here. Well, that’s the plan.]

I spent Thursday travelling. I left the house at 5.00 AM and, subjectively, got to my hotel in Scottsdale Arizona about 4.00 AM Friday, having gone first to Heathrow, then Phoenix.

The flight was remarkably easy, and I managed a decent amount of sleep. The kosher food served was even edible, apart from the meat in the main course. (If the IDF is ever looking for a new supplier of boot leather, tell them to get in touch.)  There was so much food, however, I did not go hungry.

I had a very pleasant surprise during the stopover at Heathrow; after passport control and before security, in the transfer area, I bumped into Yan Tiefenbrun en route home from the Paris Air Show. I was in another world, trying to tune out the general hassle, and it was Yan who spotted me. It was so good to see him (and his colleague, Michael) and spend time before they caught the flight to Glasgow. (No, I was not tempted to join them.)

I had not been able to get a room at the convention hotel for Thursday night, so took the opportunity of booking a room in Scottsdale so as to do a bit of looking around at a different part of the Phoenix area. Old Scottsdale, in particular, is very touristy – in a nice sort of way.

Highlights:

  • I stayed in the Hyatt Place in Old Scottsdale. The room was big, clean, fresh, comfortable, and had all I needed. The staff were pleasant and helpful.  (No, this is not a paid endorsement; it was a nice play to stay, and I wanted to give them a mention.)
  • Everything of interest was in walking distance. If you feel suicidal. It was so hot, that walking was not really practical.
  • I took a cab to Scottsdale Fashion Square, a huge modern mall with lots and lots of shops. To my inexperienced, 99% were chain stores of one type or another.
  • There’s a free bus service round the Scottsdale area, so I used that to head to my next stops which were within a short enough distance of each other so as to allow perambulation.
  • Guidon Books is a wonderful store specializing in American Civil War and Western history. I picked up David Powell’s book on the Chickamauga campaign.
  • Poisoned Pen is another wonderful store, this one specializing in crime. I had to hold back here, but did manage some purchases for reading over Shabbat.

Although I enjoy reading on my tablet, and love the convenience of being able to get books electronically, instantly, I still very much enjoy browsing and buying in real bookshops. And, of course, there is still nothing quite like reading a (physical) book.

I could have spent hours in these shops, but time was against me, as I needed to get to the convention hotel in time to get set for Shabbat.

I now realize I did not take a single picture; I was too busy trying to take in the sights and sounds, and clearly was not in camera mode. A shame, because there are parts of Scottsdale that I wish I had more time to explore and photograph. For example, there’s an interesting waterfront development. Next time! It is more important I get pictures of the games at ConsimWorld Expo.

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ConsimWorld Expo Haul

A late post: here are the games I acquired at ConsimWorldExpo:

I also bought some ziploc stuff from Victory Point Games and Minden Games. And acquired the ATO 2011 (?) Annual and the first issue of Decision Games‘ new magazine and game Modern War.

The post is late because I have had hardly any time since getting back. But over the last couple of days I, at last, managed to open the boxes, check out the contents and decide where I want to start with these additions to my evergrowing ‘to be played’ queue. Some of these items will definitely skip the queue.

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ConsimWorld Expo

A hall of games and gamers

Tempe, Arizona is a University city. It hosts the Arizona State University campus with 90,000 students, making it one of the biggest – if not the biggest – in the USA. (The Dean, apparently, wants to increase the student numbers significantly.) But when I arrived for ConsimWorld Expo, the term was finished and the city was quiet; very quiet. For example, I visited a huge Target store in the middle of the day and there were not enough customers to form a football team. Spooky. Continue reading

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ConsimWorld – Games Played

The main games I played at ConsimWorld Expo were:

Hell’s Highway

In Hell’s Highway, Rob Bottos and I teamed up as the Germans against Richard Dupraw and Michael Roso. We played the Besieged scenario which is the campaign game on one map.

The British forces landed reasonably well and skipped into Arnhem, but could not take the bridge. There then began a long, bloody fight which went back and forth as each side threatened to seize victory. The US paratrooops, backed up eventually by the arrival of 30th Corps, smashed their way through the defending German forces and seized the bridge at Arnhem, but could not get into contact with the remaining paras. Unfortunately for the Allies, a German flanking move cut off their supply and the game finished as a narrow German win. Had there been one less hex penetration by the German forces, it would have been an Allied win.

The game was one of my best ever gaming experiences. The other players were brilliant to play with. It was fun, fun, fun. Challenging and engrossing without the headache of fighting over the rules. Whatever we got wrong, we sorted out amicably. I can safely say that if our side had lost, I would be saying the same. So, a big thanks to Rob, Richard and Mike.

The pictures of the game in progress are here.

Bulge

In short, Rob and Michael won (as the Germans) by smashing two of the USA’s (Richard and me in command) big units and grabbing 3 Victory Point hexes, all in time for the first Sudden Death Victory check. In one battle, they outscored us by 5 hits to one (with roughly equal chances) and then repeated the same feat in the same turn. Short and sweet. Again, fun to play. So much so, that although I dislike the ‘bucket of dice’ combat system, I sought out and bought the new game with this system, namely FAB: Sicily.

Combat Commander

I played (and lost) one scenario against John Leggat. He was patient, as it had been a while since I had played the game. As usual, it was chaotic and fun. Great entertainment.

 

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amAZing

Earlier this week I returned from the ConsimWorld Expo (a week long wargames convention) held in Tempe, Arizona.

Once I am caught up with various backlogs, I hope to post a wee report and some pictures. For now, know that it was a great convention: fine facilities, nice hotel, well organized, and warm and welcoming people. And the games were great, too.

It was sad to leave Arizona, but good to be heading home. (One of the few instances I journeyed to Israel for cooler weather!)

Goodbye Arizona

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