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