I managed to get down to St. Charles, Illinois this year for my first Little Wars 2012 Convention.
This was the first time I have attended Little Wars and I was quite impressed. I have attended some local HMGS Midwest events in Michigan but never their flagship convention.
The first thing I observed at Little Wars 2012 was the DuPage Convention Center which in relative terms is quite small. Though for the purposes of the Little Wars show it was more than adequate to have a vendor area and about 60 gaming tables. There was also a small room for the flea market which was quite honestly like shopping in a phone booth.
Judging from my first year I would say the convention is about 80% historical and 20 to 25% fantasy but the quality of the tables, terrain and scenarios is actually higher than what I have seen at both Origins and GenCon (excluding the Duke’s stuff of course).
My first game was a 54mm miniature version of the boardgame Battle Cry. We played the Battle of Antietam and I commanded AP Hill as well as having overall command of the Confederates. This game saw some great action in the center of the battlefield where the Union tried to force my infantry out of trenches and then on the Confederate right flank where I repeatedly pushed the Union forces off a bridge they were trying to pass. The Confederates won the game with a climatic command card that allowed all my Generals to attack all over the map with a +1 to their attacks.
I stayed from late Friday to Sunday afternoon and got in a game every day which is actually a testament to the many games being run. I started the day in a WWII scenario as a unit of American Airborne tasked to free POWs from a German POW camp a la The Great Escape. We succeeded in a game marked by a climatic truck/car crash when one of my last surviving paratroopers had to a ram a German armored car off a cliff to make way for the rest of the convoy of POWs – sacrificing himself in the process.
I next played a game of Aerodrome. Which is a miniature WWI airplane game played with Wooden control panels and roughly 1/32 scale airplanes. Though it was my first time playing the mechanics are very much like Wings of War so one of the judge’s asked if I had played before. Our side won the first game I played which was a straight on dog fight. The second game was an attack on enemy balloons and rushing ahead of my other planes I was shot down rather quickly by enemy Anti-Aircraft and planes trying to pull off a rapid attack on the enemy balloon.
My last game was a 15mm miniature reenactment of the Alien movie. This game was still in progress development wise so there was some problems with balance as the Aliens all started on the map at once and moved very fast. I was tasked with trying to call down a rescue and needed 6 uninterrupted turns at a control panel to do so. However by turn 4 I was overwhelmed and ended having to take over another unit elsewhere on the ship with Ripley attached to it. This saw the most dramatic moment of the game as my Ripley in a “repair mech” took on the Queen Alien. Though the mech was destroyed Ripley bailed and eventually nailed the Queen with a lucky shot that got through her armor. This caused all the lesser Alien spawn to have to roll to do anything and eventually allowed us to corner the King Alien and kill it was well resulting in a marginal victory for the humans.
All in all out of four games I played in I received three Legion of Honor medals for the show! Not bad for my first appearance!!