Club members gathering ahead of things getting rolling on Game Day.
Our club recently held its "Game Day" event. For our regular gaming, we convene once per month on a Friday evening for "Game Nights." In addition, we normally schedule one Saturday per year for a "Game Day"--often, this is to run a special event, either a big game or some other format that we can't do on a game night. This year, things got knocked around by circumstances, and our featured "big game" (based on an engagement from the Seminole Wars--US Cavalry vs Seminoles in Florida), got pulled at the last minute when COVID took down the host (he's fine, thankfully). I was going to run my Joust for the Fun of It Game alongside the featured game in order to provide more seats for the game day. Rather than cancelling the event, I still put on my game, and the call went out to the membership to put on two other games (which was answered in style). In the absence of a "big game" that would run all day, we were prepared to run a mini convention, with each game being run in a morning and an afternoon session. More on that later in the post. As it turned out, attendance was impacted by the weather, with a coastal storm swirling into the area promising wretched conditions later in the day, some scheduling complications of several club members, and the COVID hitting a few others (aside from the host of the originally scheduled game).
Nevertheless, we still had three game masters and twelve players in the room for a 9 a.m. start on a Saturday: although it was easy to feel a bit disappointed at the turnout given the circumstances this time around, I have to remind myself that our club still mustered 15 people to play historical miniatures on a Saturday morning--not bad, really, and not to be taken for granted. I was quite busy setting up and then running my Joust for the Fun of It game, so didn't get too many shots of the action in progress, but here's the report...
PIRATES, THE ROYAL NAVY, AND AN EVIL GENIUSCarnage Convention in Killington Vermont.
BATTLE OF LUNDY'S LANE, WAR OF 1812Mark N, seated at left in blue shirt (fellow bloggist of of Come on My Brave Fusiliers! fame) stepped up and ran a 28mm War of 1812 game using a variant of Mr Madison's War rules (streamlined and faster playing, I'm led to believe). If you skip over to his blog you'll see his report as well as many images of his astonishing collections of War of 1812, American Rev, and Crimean figures (recommended).
Not only do Mark's games stand out for his splendid research and brushwork, but also for their visual appeal, with large figure count battalions of 16-24 28mm figs.
JOUST FOR THE FUN OF IT
And as mentioned, I put on my Joust for the Fun of It! game. It was a successful dry run of my transport and set up system--I learned a few things that will help when I next set this game up. One thing I found was that I can stack my boxes and they provide the equivalent of a handy side table where I can keep those bits and pieces that come in handy when running games.
One new bit of kit that I used in this game was this whiteboard. It was suggested that between rounds it would be good to let players know what the standings were (ie, how many points each player had as they went into each round, which would help to inform how they would manage their match). This turned out to be a great suggestion that really adds to the game experience, particularly as players enter the last round with the standings being tight. I bought this small white board (with easel), but it didn't fit in with the rest of the theme (all chrome and metal, with a cork pinup bit on the bottom). So I added the wooden frame, covered the cork pin up board with the jousting graphics at the bottom, and produced a themed tile for each team (numbered 1-6 along with their color). I write the player's name over the number and at the end of each round I record the score under the respective tile.
I was engaged with running the game and so didn't get any in progress shots. As it turned out, my game was the only one that ran in the afternoon (some folks couldn't stay, and a few others had some distance to drive and didn't want to be on the road as dusk approached and the weather got worse). Both jousts were four player affairs. The morning session was a real cracker, with the players being separated by only a few points (I think the first place player had something like 38 points and the "last", fourth place, player 34. The afternoon session was also a barn burner, with the first place player at 37 points, the next two tied at 34 (the second place determined by tie breaker), and the fourth place player at a distant 22 (poor Randy had the worst run of luck I've every seen). In both the morning and afternoon sessions, the front runner was overtaken by another during the last round and wound up coming in second. I've run a good number of jousts now, both in the club and at a convention, and the outcomes have thus far been pretty close like this. So I'll take this as an indicator that the game system provides good balance and is viable.
All in all, it was a fine way to spend a rainy Saturday: indoors with friends playing at toy soldiers!