Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barrage 2012

Each year, the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (of which I am a member of sorts) hold a one-day convention called Barrage. For the past couple of years, the convention has been held sometime in January or February, but this year the convention featured both a new, less blizzard-prone date of September 15, and a new location in the Havre de Grace Community Center. So Friday evening I made my way up from Germantown to join my dad and my brother in attending this year's Barrage.

(My attempt to record this event for posterity was almost foiled by my camera's SD card--I got home only to find that all the pictures I had taken were gone! The good news is, a bit of poking around on the internet was able to turn up a free program capable of recovering them, called TestDisk, which worked OK on my slightly antiquated MacBook. The bad news is that the recovered photos are a bit grainier than usual. Still, better than nothing!)

We showed up at about 8:30, in time for Dad to unload a pile of stuff onto one of the flea market tables.  At about 9:00, I got drafted into a game of Fireball Forward; WWII North Africa in 15mm. The Germans needed to get their armor units past the British defenses and off the table; the British goal was to hold them off for seven turns. WWII is not my usual forte, but the game went pretty smoothly at first, as we (the British defenders) laid out a selection of concealed trenches and minefields and waited for the German attack. We did a number on their infantry before being forced out of our first trenchline, but as the game wore on it became apparent that our anti-armor capabilities would not be sufficient to prevent them from simply plowing through our lines with their tanks. Even our generous supply of off-table artillery was unable to dent their armor, and by about turn six, the majority of their armor had exited the table.

One of our unfortunate anti-tank guns. Apparently I'm bad at not running out of ammo...

That one stand held the forward trench for a good while, despite the forces arrayed against it.

Enemy commanders plotting their moves.

Our infantry shake their fists impotently as the panzers roll through.

While that was going on, Dad was running his one game of the convention--"Hannibal at the Gates," a re-fight of the Second Punic War battle of Trebbia, with simple rules intended for kids. I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention, but I think the good old Roman legions managed to stand off Hannibal and his elephants this time.
Carthaginians on the left, Romans on the right.

After lunch, my brother and I both ended up on the German side in Richard Heffner's WWI Aerodrome game--always a lot of fun. William managed to make it to Ace over the course of four rounds; I managed not to get shot down, which can be an accomplishment too--I credit the green and orange camouflage on my plane, which blended in nicely with the battle mat. (Although in the last round I did suffer a critical hit on the very first turn, which compelled me to head for home. Doesn't count, though!)

My plane in the foreground.


Two of our deadliest pilots. (And Dad, who is just kibitzing.)

I did end up in one more game--a WWII air action featuring P-40 Tomahawks and Brewster Buffaloes against Japanese "Sally" bombers, which was mostly an exercise in how not to attack a bomber formation--we only managed to take a couple of them with us before getting shot down.

Buffaloes prepare for their attack run.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day of gaming--I think the new space is an improvement, and it seemed like there were plenty of games and plenty of people. Hopefully next year's Barrage is just as good!

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