Consimworld 2014 – Bulletin 1

[If you get here by mistake, and have no idea what Consimworld might be, I recommend you follow this link. Otherwise, do read on...]

Why Consimworld?

I got here by accident. I planned to go to the USA in 2012, specifically for a games convention. I tried to kill two birds with one stone by encouraging my good friend Marcus (who lives in the UK) to meet me. Originally, I was targeting the World Boardgame Championships, held in Pennsylvania. But Marcus preferred a drier climate, and when I suggested we try out Consimworld in Tempe, Arizona, he said it was a perfect fit. (I can confirm: it is a dry heat!)

Unfortunately, Marcus’ health was such that he had to cancel, so I came on my own. And I had a blast. A friendly crowd among whom I made some good friends. I had to return to Consimworld. And so, two years further on, I am back. And it’s as good as I remember.

Sunday/Monday

Rob Bottos and I teamed up as the nasty Germans defending the Reich in a game of Hell’s Highway (a John Butterfield design, produced by Victory Games). Our opponents were Jamie Shanks and John Alsen.

Rob had an enlarged version of a fan created map printed up. Unfortunately, it had one or two mistakes. (I mean, who is going to miss the odd bridge in a game about Market Garden?) After sorting these out, we started play.

John commanded the British airborne forces trying to get into Arnhem. Rob opposed him and did a great job. The British forces never took the Arnhem bridge, and those brave souls that made it into the city were eventually ground down.

Jamie commanded the 30th Corps ground troops, and the American airborne forces trying to clear the crossings at Nijmegen. I was opposing him. I started well enough, but badly screwed up. The net result was that despite Rob’s good work, we had to concede.

Highlights: the weather kept the allied air strikes and air reinforcements away for the first few days. However, when the cloud cover broke, their air strikes were deadly. In terms of bang for your buck, the air forces were the most effective.

More: at the height of the action, I tried to use an allied ground unit as part of the German forces to attack one of its own side… Ooops!

A great game. Shame we lost, but it was still highly entertaining and rewarding. (I’ll try to get some pictures up, later.)

Somebody needs to get this system applied to other campaigns. It is playable, fun, and seems to be a reasonable reflection of this level of WW2 combat.

Tuesday

Along with Jamie, John, and Rob, I had a go at Silent Victory. This is Gregory M Smith’s soon to be published game of Pacific submarine combat – a sort of Good Guys version of his well received The Hunters game of U-boat combat from Consim Press.

Jamie and Rob both managed several successful missions before succumbing to the fates. I scraped through only three missions before I ran my sub into a minefield and the end. John, however, was still going strong, slowly and methodically clocking up successful missions and tonnage sunk.

Greg was on hand to run us through the game, pointing out the differences between the two submarine games, and keeping us right. He kindly let us make our own operational decisions. These are also known by their more normal name of “mistakes.”

If you liked The Hunters, you will probably like Silent Victory at least as much. It’s an immersive (sic) experience in which you can almost feel yourself in the action. Great stuff.

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.