Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cold Wars 09 in Pictures and Words

Ok, here is my more in-depth report on Cold Wars 09.
For whatever reason, this was one of the most fun conventions I've been to. Possibly because I managed to play in a game of Command Decision that didn't annoy me to the point that I swore I would never play in a game of Command Decision again at a convention. More on that in a bit.
I planned on leaving my house at 9am on Friday in order to be in Lancaster and all checked in and ready to hit the dealer hall promptly at noon. Obviously I didn't leave the house until about 10:15am, and while I was in the grocery store buying apples I realized that I had left my phone at home so... I managed to get to the con by about 2:15pm.

Met up with some friends, took a turn or two through the dealer hall (more on what I bought later), and after dinner was back in the hotel looking for something to do. My friend Jim was set to run a zombie game and my other friend George was going to put on a Spanish Civil War game. I kinda wanted to play the zombie game, but since my friend Kelly had already played it a few times at our club ( we played George's game instead.

In the foreground is a town being defended by the dirty communist Republicans, while the heroic Nationalists were attacking from the trees. I don't remember exactly what kind of troops the Republicans had, but the Nationalist forces were from the Army of Africa.

The game was OK. Basically we (the Nationalists if you hadn't guessed yet) had a bunch of guys, and we could get more if they all died, attacked a numerically inferior foe who were dug in. So straight up the gut and roll some dice.

While the scenario and the rules were just alright, the terrain was awesome. Also, it was all scratch built. The trees are from Sugarcraft, a company that sells cake decorations, but George made all those buildings from foamcore. Very nice.

After that game we played Kamikaze, a game which Roxanne, someone else I know from the MD club, created by modifying an old magazine board game and turning it into a miniatures game. In the center of the table were several American ships, and along the outside edge were 8 discs, one for each compass point. All movement was done from disc to disc and to the center. I thought this was pretty innovative but we didn't really move around the discs at all. The Japanese came in from the north and attacked the battlegroup. Afterwards some of the guys were saying that the games Roxanne has run in MD were better because there were more planes and multiple turns so the Japanese couldn't just go for broke and attack the American ships right away.

After that we played Werewolf which I've heard of but never played. Awesome game, perfect thing to play late at night at a con when most people are drunk or at least drinking. If you don't know what it is it's pretty simple so look it up.

Saturday after breakfast we strolled through the dealer hall again (I still think it's so cool to see so much wargaming "stuff" in one place). I was supposed to play in this soccer game but when I got there the guy had already started explaining the rules and there was about 8 people around the table and 6 of them were kids, so I passed. My friend Scott had just started his Sudanese Colonials game so I played in that. For those of you who are unfamiliar with miniature wargaming, "Colonials" is the period that features various conflicts from (mainly) the late 19th century between the great imperial powers and native forces. It's the one period that has a de-facto "official" set of rules, that being The Sword and the Flame. Generally, most Colonials games feature a small group of British soldiers being attacked by either hordes of Africans or hordes of Afghans. You will see the occasional Boer War of Boxer Rebellion game here and there, but it's mostly the former. Anyway, I do like Colonials games, even though I think people get carried away with making it tough for the British who lose every game I've ever seen, but whatever. Scott's game was kinda unique in that he used 15mm figures.

That's a lot of Africans.

Not a whole lot of British. Ok, we did have a couple of cavalry units too, but still.

And of course the British had to march from the far side of the table to the fort, with all of the Sudanese hidden and waiting in ambush. And of course the fort has already been captured by the Sudanese who are waiting to ambush the British there too. Didn't matter since the Brits were pretty much dead by the time they reached the middle of the board anyway.
But hey, I've come to expect that from Colonials games so it was a blast to play.
After dinner we played in a pick-up game of Command Decision: Test of Battle. Now, I really like these rules but I played in a game at an earlier con and this guy annoyed me to the point that I said I would never play this again at a convention. This game however was ok and I had a good time, even though we lost as the Russians. After that it was time for some more Werewolf and general bs'ing before bed.
Sunday morning was the usual last swing through the dealer hall and on home. Over the weekend I bought some Osprey books on the recent conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Check Your Six! WW2 air combat rules and some pre-painted planes to use with it, the new Age of Reason scenario book, and of course some magazines. I also bought the board game Clash of Monarchs from a guy in the flea market.
Well, that's it. Can't wait for Historicon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cold Wars 09

Had a great time. Check out the games I played. Waiting for the name of the other game I played.

It's late and I'm tired, so that's it for now. I'll write a more in depth entry sometime this week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Within the past 3 weeks I've seen Gran Torino, Coraline, Breach, and Watchmen. Some good movies there. Actually, Breach was pretty bad, but the others were good. Ok, Coraline was good. Very well made and beautiful to watch. But, like the book I read by Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere), it didn't wow me. There were no surprises, no thrills. And I don't mean there weren't any car chases or explosions (there weren't), I mean there were no moments when I said "Oh!" Gran Torino and Watchmen were awesome. I recommend Gran Torino to anyone, and Watchmen to anyone who has read the book (and liked it). Right now I would say Watchmen is my favorite comic book/superhero movie. Actually, it's one of the few comic book/superhero movies I've seen that I really liked. (For the record, I haven't seen Iron Man or the new Batman movie. I also haven't seen Ghost Rider, but I'm sure that sucks.)

Anyhow, the movie that is better than of all of these is Eastern Promises. I'd never heard of it before the other night when I was flipping around the Directv guide and saw this movie with Viggo Mortensen in it. Viggo Mortensen + organized crime = press the record button. Little did I know that it was directed David Cronenberg and told a tale revolving around Russian organized crime. The best part is, it was awesome. The best crime movie I've seen since The Departed, and right now I'd rate it higher than The Departed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Saw Watchmen tonight. I've read two reviews of the movie, one bad (Washington Post) and one average ( While I agree with a lot of what the IGN review said, I loved this movie. Also, while the ending is pretty implausible, I thought it was better than the one in the book.

Something I think is kinda funny though, is the way the movie is being marketed as a superhero action movie, which I guess it sort of is. But, I saw this guy who brought two kids, one looked around 10 the other maybe 6. The guy gave me the impression that he hadn't read the book and was unaware of the subject matter that was going to be portrayed in the film. This movie aint Spiderman. Hell, it isn't Batman either.