I’ve been Recruited!

Back home from Recruits, and boy, did I have a great time! I got to play in some great games, met some really nice folks AND managed to keep from spending too much money at the various vendors. Recruits is a three day convention, with some gaming on Friday night, a full day of gaming on Saturday, and a morning session on Sunday. Being a gaming lightweight, I drove up Friday night (but not in time for gaming), got a good night’s sleep, and was at the registration table at 8:00am on Saturday, with a large cup of coffee in hand.

Lee's Summit High School Field House

Lee’s Summit High School Field House

Despite my previous assertions that Recruits takes place in Kansas City, it is situated in Lee’s Summit, which I thought was a suburb of KC. I suppose that it technically is, but barely! It’s certainly not convenient to the city, proper. Lee’s Summit seemed nice enough. Sort of Anytown, USA, from what little I saw, but I wasn’t really there to explore the city’s charms.

The convention, itself, is held inside the field house at Lee’s Summit high school, which might lead you to think that the convention is a rinky-dink affair. Rest assured, it’s not. The facility was completely adequate to hosting the games, vendors, silent auction, painting classes, and other things going on. There’s a reasonably priced concession area on site, which is very convenient when trying to maximize your gaming time. The climate was never hot or stuffy in the facility, and the sub-amateur photographer in me was very happy at how well-lit the field house was.

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Wilson’s Creek

Speaking of gaming time, I participated in three games that Saturday. The first game I participated in was Wilson’s Creek (an early American Civil War battle in the trans-Mississippi (southwest Missouri, to be exact) in 9mm, using the Fire and Fury rules system. Fire and Fury is Regimental Fire and Fury’s older brother, and is, ostensibly, for brigade sized units; however, this game of Wilson’s Creek was played with regimental units. I have to say, the conversion to smaller units worked quite well.

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Trying to make order out of chaos…

Ironically, the Wilson’s Creek game was put on by Alex, who I already knew from gaming with Grady West’s bunch. Alex is another denizen of Northwest Arkansas, and had a full table of six player (three on each side). I was on the Confederate side, and had about half of the Confederate Missouri contingent under my command.

If you know anything about Wilson’s Creek, you’ll know that it was, effectively, a surprise attack by a smaller Union force on a larger Confederate force. The Union intent was to make a spoiling attack, throwing the Confederates into disarray, so that the US forces could safely maneuver to a better supplied position in the vicinity of Rolla, Missouri.

Being caught by surprise, the Confederates started off in complete disarray. I had three or four generals that I was controlling, and they had regiments in quite different areas of the battlefield. My first challenge was to assemble something that resembled a coherent force! I was moderately successful at this, but soon ran into a serious problem that was endemic to my force-the majority of my regiments consisted of three stands-If they took one casualty they were considered spent, and one more would eliminate them from the field. Typically in the various Fire and Fury systems a regiment can take some real punishment, but my guys effectively had a glass jaw. An interesting problem to try to deal with.

edit later

Save the horses!

The historical Union plan consisted of a ‘main’ attack, which was actually something of a diversion, intended to allow a second force under Sigel to maneuver around to the rear of the Confederate position and create havoc. In our game, this consisted of Sigel’s forces making contact with, and otherwise destroying, the large group of Confederate cavalry mounts gathered in the rear position. The Confederates in that position needed to gather up the mounts while across the battlefield the rest of the Rebel force (including me) dealt with the bulk of the Union forces.

A union charge, all along the line

A union charge, all along the line

After getting my troops formed up, I managed some small success. I stormed “Bloody Hill,” routing a large Union regiment and seizing a Union battery, and, I suppose, technically took the hill. Unfortunately, this victory was short lived, as my elated (and winded) Confederates were raked by enfilading fire from the one remaining Union battery, which was followed up by a very timely Union cavalry charge. My collection of small regiments was shattered by taking the hill, and the rampaging cavalry.

On the far right of my area of the battlefield, one of my comrade generals faced a similar cavalry charge against his flank, and a few bad rolls later there were a LOT of Missouri rebels streaming towards the rear. Our dastardly (yet smart and effective) Union opponent followed up these cavalry attacks with a general advance by his infantry, and a couple turns later we were thoroughly whipped.

Things didn’t go much better on the other end of the board. Sigel was able to destroy enough of the Confederate horses to ensure that a strategic, as well as tactical, victory was won.

I had a great time, in spit of getting my butt handed to me. I was particularly impressed that we were able to play a large six player game to a definitive conclusion in around three hours, which leads me to think I need to pick up a copy of the original Fire and Fury. Hats off to Alex for running a great game!

Bloody Morning Scout 1755

My second game was in the afternoon, and it was a real treat. The game was set during the French and Indian War, and was played using the “This Very Ground” skirmish rules. Figures were 54mm. 54!!!! Hands down, this is the most beautiful game I’ve participated in (and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’ve been lucky enough to play in some very handsome games). My jaw was sore from all the dropping.

Starting Positions

Starting Positions

This game had four players per side. I somehow ended up as overall commander on the British side. In brief, the situation was that the British had sent out a patrol, seeking to make contact with and identify the location of the main French body. Unfortunately, that contact came in the form of an ambush by a large force of French regulars, their Indian allies, and some dreadfully accurate shooting fur trappers. The game started after a single shot had been heard in the deep dark forests that flanked the road.

Those woodland indians are just a bit fierce!

Those woodland indians are just a bit fierce looking! (You should click on this one)

Aren’t these Indians just fantastic? On a side note, 54mm figures weigh a lot. Very satisfying to move around the board.

Our forces consisted of two parts. The first was some British regulars, a couple of units of Colonial regulars, and a 6lb gun secure behind a fortification. The second part was the patrol, which consisted of two units of Colonial regulars, and some Indian allies.

Our plan, such as it was, was for the Colonials to clear the road and fight a delaying action while the Indians retreated down the road and out of danger of the ambush.

Despite our plan, the Indians were quickly wiped out in a crossfire. The patrolling Colonials were shot up, but they did a decent job of making a fighting retreat, delaying the enemy and causing a few enemy casualties along the way.

Here come the French regulars...

Here come the French regulars…

Here you can see the Colonials fighting off hordes of Indians and beaver trappers advancing through the woods. French regulars have come onto the road, and will have to withstand the fire of the 6 lber.

Oh, teddy.

Oh, teddy.

Here the delaying Colonials have been driven back from the woods, and Indians are trying to close the gap to the British redoubt.

Bad photo, beautiful figures

Bad photo, beautiful figures.

Getting a bit desperate

Here they come.

The French commander (coincidentally the same guy that gave me a thrashing at Wilson’s Creek) did a good job of screening his regulars with his Woodland Indians. We did wipe out one entire unit of French regulars, but they kept getting closer and closer and closer…

edit later

Getting a bit desperate… (This one’s worth clicking, too)

To win, the French needed to have a unit behind the redoubt, in an undisrupted state, for a full turn. The Brits had to prevent them from getting there.

The penultimate moment...

The penultimate moment…

Unfortunately we ran out of time, just as the French regulars breached the wall, and killed the 6 pounder’s crew. So, they got in, but the Brits didn’t get a responding turn to try and drive them off. While we probably could have eliminated the rest of the French regulars, I’m pretty sure we would have been swamped by rampaging Woodland Indians very soon thereafter.

Chris, the GM of this game, did a fantastic job. The terrain and figures speak for themselves.

I was really impressed with This Very Ground’s firing mechanic. Essentially, each unit has four points of ‘volume of fire’ available. You can spend four points to fire off a full volley, in which every figure in the unit participates. Two points allows you to fire half the figures. One point represents ‘fire at will’ and lets up to three figures shoot. Volume of Fire is a limited resource, and could only be regained, at a rate of one per turn, by not firing. Managing your volume of fire was a key aspect to the game, and was a tremendous amount of fun.

As overall commander, I would have done a number of things differently had I had them to do over again, but I’ve never had so much fun losing two games in a row!

War of 1812.

The last game I played in was a War of 1812 scenario in 25mm. We were using a set of homebrew rules by a very nice gentleman from Saint Louis. The rules were interesting and idiosyncratic. There was a glory point mechanic which awarded glory for causing enemy casualties. These glory points could then be spent to do a re-roll at critical points in the game.

I was on the American side on this game, and managed to do my part holding a wall against a massive British onslaught, mainly through the expenditure of mass amounts of aforementioned glory. Had a good time.

Don't fire (canister) until you see the whites of their eyes!

Don’t fire (canister) until you see the whites of their eyes!

———————–

The Rest

I failed miserably as a roving blogespondant. There were tons of games going on. Some of them were simply exquisite. There was a large Seven Years War game that particularly caught my eye, and there were a couple of large Napoleonic games that were also quite spectacular. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of these. There were a couple of WWI aerial games. One of these was quite large, with around 15-20 players, planes on 6′ tall telescoping antenna, full scale barage balloons, and all kinds of cool stuff. The game looked to be 1:144 scale, and judging from the excitement of the players, must have been incredibly fun. Again, no photos. Also not appearing in this blog post are the large number of vendors in attendance at the game, including some booksellers with significant stocks of military history, uniform guides, prints, and various bits of interest to any historical gamer.

As far as loot, I picked up a couple of boxes of Wargames Factory 28mm AWI figures, which I plan on doing some skirmish gaming with a few years down the road. I also acquired a 1:72 kit containing a jeep, kubelwagen, and kettenkrad for the princely sum of $5. I also picked up a copy of a book on the Revolutionary War as seen through British eyes. Which reminds me, in the near future, I’ll have to let you all in on the 15mm AWI project I have cooking.

So….Recruits gets a strong A grade, from me. Next year I’ll take off Friday afternoon so I can get some more gaming in. Maybe I’ll even try to put on a game.

Enough blathering by me. I’ll leave you with a (very) few random shots I took at the convention.

US Cavalry vs. Native Americans

US Cavalry vs. Native Americans

D-day

D-day

1/72 Furball of Death!

1/72 Furball of Death!

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Comments

  • daggerandbrush  On 09/21/2014 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for this report! I love reading about conventions and the beautiful tables that are on display. This 54mm FIW game looks magnificent. So does the aerial combat game.

    • arkiegamer  On 09/22/2014 at 5:35 am

      You’re quite welcome! The FIW game was truly superb, though after looking at the prices for the figures, I have NO interest in pursuing the scale. :)

      I’ll try to do a better job of playing the roaming photographer at the next convention I attend. There were so many other games that would have been worth getting pictures of (and stealing ideas from).

  • Frank Arey  On 09/21/2014 at 9:05 pm

    Glad you had a good time, Tim. That looks like a lot of fun.

    • arkiegamer  On 09/22/2014 at 5:37 am

      It was! It’s a bit of a haul from Little Rock, but I’d say it’s worth trying to go sometime in the future.

      • Frank Arey  On 09/22/2014 at 12:37 pm

        I agree. Do you have the dates for next year? I’d like to go, and allot some time to swing by Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas.

      • arkiegamer  On 09/22/2014 at 12:41 pm

        I’m afraid I have no idea, other than sometime in the fall.

  • 40kterminatus  On 09/22/2014 at 12:00 am

    Nice pictures and report. Good to see the teddy bear fur being used :)

    • arkiegamer  On 09/22/2014 at 5:38 am

      Thanks. One thing is for sure; you don’t have to worry about those 54mm ingots of lead floating on top of the fur!

  • Jamie Mott  On 09/22/2014 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Tim, it was great to meet you at Recruits this weekend. I’m glad the “thrashing” I gave didn’t turn you off to gaming. Anyway, I hope to see you and your crew at Twistercon in Oklahoma City next March.

    • arkiegamer  On 09/23/2014 at 6:54 am

      Likewise, Jamie. I made my post-thrashing morale check, I guess! I hadn’t heard of Twistercon, but it sounds very doable-I’ll put it on my calendar.

      I wonder if we couldn’t put together a little Tulsa-NW Arkansas get together once a year. The groups are small, so maybe three to four tables and a long Saturday of gaming would suffice. If you think there would be any interest from the Tulsa folks, I can run the idea by the guys here and see what sort of reaction I get.

  • Chris Cluckey  On 09/22/2014 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Tim. Thanks for the kind words re my game, your great sportsmanship and your willingness to lead the beleaguered Colonials. Your blog is fantastic – you got some great photos! Bests, Chris

    • arkiegamer  On 09/23/2014 at 6:57 am

      Thanks, Chris. I appreciate that. I’m going to be sure to keep an eye on your blog so I can steal your terrain ideas!

Trackbacks

  • By 2014 Year’s End Wrap-up | ArkieGamer on 12/31/2014 at 8:33 am

    […] cool people over the course of the year, and had a lot of fun. I attended my first convention, Recruits, and have been reading a lot of history in conjunction with my gaming. Those two statements […]

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