Historicon 2003 ReportBy Terry Callahan
I went to Historicon 2003 and came away feeling good about the overall experience. We left Shiloh, IL. Wednesday morning and arriving at Hagerstown, MD in the early evening. We met Tom Sparhawk, who drove up from Lynchburg, VA. We spent Thursday morning at exploring Antetiam Battlefield stopping at the West Woods, Cornfield, and Sunken Road and then finished at Burnside's Bridge. The weather was beautiful for walking and we had an enjoyable time at the battlefield. We departed Antetiam for Lancaster around 11:30.
After stopping for lunch in Harrisburg, we went onto Lancaster, PA and Historicon. We checked into the Con around 3:30 and then I waited in the registration area to get into another game Friday. We went down and looked around the dealer area before going back to the hotel and dinner.
Games Glorious Games:
Thursday evening I signed up for Tom Sparhawk's Bomber Game. I took a flight of three B-17's and got them all off the end of the table with very little damage to any of the planes. I attribute that to the fact that they were flying in the center of the formation receiving cover from the rest of the groups. I saw that Tom had made some minor changes to the forms that I had not seen. This was to the Damage Location page eliminating the superficial damage on that sheet replacing it with hits to the plane. My German fighters were two ME110G's. After hitting a lead B-17 in another group, I swung around to get behind a group on the other side of the formation. Since the ME110 and B-17's both have the same level speed I had to time the interception just right. I got up behind an outside B-17 and put eighteen hot on the plane. The next turn a different B-17 from the group fell back from the formation and slipped over behind my original target. The B-17 was actually a YB40 gunship. Rather than risk my ME110's to the YB40's fire as I shot at my original target, I changed targets and began to shoot at the YB40 with both ME110's.
I got several shots at the YB40 but did not shoot it down before the game ended. I had one of my bombers lose three engines and it was on the way down when it was last seen. The rest got through to the target. My bombing run produced 20% and 3% accuracy, which was mediocre. This was the first time I played the Bomber game without running it at the same time. I had a good time and enjoyed the game thoroughly.
Friday Morning I played 25mm French and Indian War "Race to Fort LeBoeuf" presented by Bob Moon. I commanded a force of British Regulars that had to capture Fort LeBeouf from the French. There were three other American, Canadian players each of us having different orders and victory conditions. A French and Indian raiding party was returning to the Fort at the same time that I was to assault it. The French came out of the fort to help repel the British and American forces. The French did make their marginal victory conditions. The game was fun and simple along the order of Brother Against Brother rules. However, there were several significant differences. These were in the area of formations and morale. I bought a set of rules from Bob for $3.00. I hope to use them in the future with the possibility of adapting them to American Civil War.
Attack on the Illustrious
I hosted a Blue Sky Blue Seas game of an air attack on the HMS Illustrious by German and Italian air forces. The game was tightly flown with on Italian torpedo bomber shot down and the other's torp misdirected. The 12 German Ju87B's tangled with the British Fairy Fulmar fighters defending the fleet. The fighters and a couple more by anti-aircraft fire shot down several Ju87's. Two did get through and made hit on the deck of the Illustrious doing only minor damage. Finally, a flight of Ju88a's entered the fray. Far above the defending Fulmars, the bombers came in on a shallow dive toward the carrier. The First plane of dropped it bombs and made a direct ht on the carrier's deck. A roll of five dice produced 64 points of damage after all the doubles were re rolled for additional damage. The player rolled five sets of doubles. Players had a good time and I saw several possible modifications that could be made to the scenario. The game took just over two hours to complete.
Napoleonic Naval - High Seas Combat
In the evening, I played a Napoleonic Naval Game using the rules Close Action. There were 16 players each commanding one ship of the line. There were three new players while the rest were knowledgeable of the rules. The Allied fleet of French and Spanish were squared off against the British fleet. The highlights of the game were the striking of its colors by a British ship, the collision of two Allied ships into the British ship that had struck its colors. For the several turns they were entangled the Spanish ship took repeated broadsides and stern rakes from passing British ships. Eventually the Terrible struck its colors too. I caught fire and exploded damaging five or six other ships. My ship the French Guilleme Tell did well participating in the rakes and broadside that caused the British ship to strike its colors I got some other good shots in on several other ships including the HMS Victory. A critical hit roll that because of the range did minimal damage followed this long range hit. Towards the end, I had to move away from the fleet to avoid being fired on by four enemy ships. The GM called the game at 10:30 PM and declared it a marginal British victory due to the losses it had suffered and there still being several Allied ships with minimal damage but were scattered over the battle area and need time to reassemble into a battle line. I enjoyed the game after I had the mechanics explained to me. I will look into expanding into this area, as it has a simple movement and the fire resolution is straightforward.
I ran another game on Saturday morning. This one was a continuation of Bomber! and the mission that started at DiCon03. There were four players, we got across one, and half maps to the target. This part of the mission was unescorted as the P47's had been pretty well shot up over the English Channel. We saw the usual early problems with getting too close to the bombers and losing several German fighters in the first two turns. Once the players got the mecahnics of movement and the tactics down they stayed away from the bomber and strated to go for the percentage hits on the B-17's. We saw three bombers shot down. Two bombers were shot down with fuel tank fires and the third when the tail plane was shot away. There are two stragglers with lots of damage that had not aborted. The mission will reach its target at the Fall Command Con in St Louis and begin the return part of the mission.
I did not play a Saturday afternoon game but went and took a nap after going to the dealer hall and buying lots of little stuff. We all went to dinner and then back and played a rousing game of Johnny Reb 2.5. Dawn at Chickamauga. I lost badly around 2:30 am. However, while I was out maneuvered my dice rolls were spectacular. The first four of the night were 11, 11, 8 and 10. Later I was shooting down the road with a 12# napoleon at a column of Confederate infantry regiments. The range was two feet and each regiment was given a taste of shot leaving the road with two less figures. I even lobbed a shot over a routing Union regiment and got two figures on the stand with a roll of 11. At one point I faced a grand battery of four artillery batteries lined up at less than a foot. Good rolls did not win the game though we were just over powered in the end.
General Impressions This was my first time to Historicon, it was not a crowed as I envisioned it, everyone said they thought it looked like attendance was down. The organization for the games I played was done well but a couple of the other guys had problems finding their games. There was lots of food stands though a bit expensive. The Dealer hall was good with lots of miniature stuff to buy, which I did. The Flea Market had some good buys. I bought some F&IW 25mm figures. I hope to go back next year.