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Carnage 2011

I recently attended Carnage on the Lake in Eastern Vermont.  It’s the only real convention in my home state and the only one that under three hours of driving.  There seems to be some sort of family emergency or sickness (once ended up with a 2 year old in the hospital the day before) that always seems to foil my plans for this con.  This year I made it for a full day, quite an accomplishment.  I even managed to make ONE game I was interested in, even better.

My Three Games

Lobositz with Carnage and Glory rules

I was most excited by this game as I’m a huge SYW fan and I have created this game in 6mm, so what’s not to like.  It was in 28mm at the con.  Now, I never understood why folks would use 28mm for large battles, I always felt the smaller scale offered more of a big battle feeling and 28’s would leave me wanting.  Boy, was I wrong.  The 28mm figures were beautiful and I instantly fell in love with the figures and game setup.  I still like my 6mm armies for SYW, but now I’m going to be painting 28mm Austrians and Prussians for some Sharp Practice at the next opportunity.

This game offered my favorite opponents, Prussians vs. Austrians, in my favorite period.  The new thing for me was playing Carnage and Glory, a computer controlled diceless system.  It was OK at best, I didn’t mind it, but the lack of dice left me wanting.  I was destroyed on my side of the table (I controlled all the Pussian cavalry) and only won two of the many melees fought, not very Prussian.  If I could have seen my bad rolls all game, that would have let me feel a little more involved in my losses, perhaps I would have felt more responsible for the performance of my troops.

My second shock (the first time I learned of this) in the game was that all of the figures were purchased painted from China.  The guy who ran the game bought them all.  He was a top shelf bloke, but I was surprised.  To me, painting is a major part of the the whole.  This seemed to be somewhat of a norm as I found out.

Civil War with Volley and Bayonet

This was some sort of Civil War defend the hill scenario, I was on the hill with Union troops trying to keep the rebs at bay.  I only played in this game as it came the closest to my interests, ie, they were using muskets.  Otherwise I find the civil war TERRIBLY BORING in every way imaginable.  Just not my cupa.

Volley and Bayonet seemed OK, not much flavor but got the job done.  I’m not really a fan of one stand units, but they were pretty and it was a game at a con, so I imagine on a larger scale, you could get quite a good game going.  No command tension in this one, the troops do what they are told and it’s a game of maneuver.

Some other Civil War game with Fire and Fury

My AWI game was cancelled, but I found some of the guys I had been playing with throughout the day running another Civil War game.  Again, take the hill with your bland, faceless Civil War troops.  Nothing against the guys running it, they did a great job, I’m just not really sure how you spruce up a Civil War game.

Fire and Fury has some command tension, which was OK, but I found moving up to 16-20 tiny stands of troops when you move a unit to be VERY FIDDLY.  Enough to put me off the system.

There were lots of 10mm troops in this one and very nicely painted.  Again, all purchased painted by the owners.

Finishing Thoughts

  • I found out that I really don’t like gaming the Civil War.  I always knew it held little interest, but now I know I don’t even enjoy moving them around the table.
  • I was surprised that so many people buy their troops painted.  The looked great, but I can’t imagine much satisfaction in owning/using them.  But that’s just me.
  • I don’t like games with large numbers of stands in a base.  It seems that you can do it in a much better way and I think many modern rule sets are doing that.
  • Only one game had any type of introductions between the players.  I believe that if I hadn’t introduced myself to some of the players, we could have spent 4 hours at a table and not know each others names.
  • Gamer funk seems to be prevalent in the Sci-Fi area of the hall and less so in the Historical areas.

He are some pictures of varying quality of the wonderfully painted and presented SYW figures in my Lobositz game.  I commanded the Cavalry of the Prussian right flank and was trounced.  The computer allowed me to win about 2 of maybe 15 encounters.  After the first few losses, it was 2:1 against me for the rest of the battle, since my guys were constantly rallying and returning.

 

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More Pictures From The Visit

Just a few more pictures from the visit.

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Visit to Saratoga National Historic Park

This weekend I was going to the Lake George area with my family for a family get away. I made sure to add a precondition that if we went that close to Saratoga we had to drop by the battlefield.  So the kids turned out to be to skinny to play at the waterpark for long and that meant that it was time to head to Saratoga National Historic Park on Sunday.  It only opened April 1st and we visited on April fifth, so I was quite lucky it was even open, Ticonderoga doesn’t open for another 2 months.

p4050123We showed up and found this charming soda machine at the entrance to the visitor’s center.  Any long time readers will know that my wife is English, and while she has lived in the states for 7 years now, she will always be English.   Now, she can tell you all about Roman roads and a little about the Beatles, but she’s fairly un-knowledgeable about the rest of her countries history, especially the colonialism/repression parts.  I asked her to stand in front of the soda machine and this is the picture that I got for my troubles.

Once inside the visitor’s center, I was promptly informed that the driving road in the park is closed due to downed trees from a recent ice storm.  Aaaarrgghhh!  What are the chances?  The “good” news is that it will be open by April 11th.  I’m not sure when I will make it down here again.  A trip to the store involves hours of planning and split second timing for us to accomplish with the three young ones.  Oh well, must make the most of it.

They did have a few nice things inside here.  The first is an electronic map of the battlefield and an audio presentation that goes with it. I really enjoyed it.  Here’s a couple of pictures showing the lights.  They move to different p0ints on the field.  Quite nice.

Over View Photo
Over View Photo
Assualt on the Balcares Redoubt
Assault on the Balcares Redoubt

They had a room with things that might be interesting for children drug along to the museum.  One of them was a small display of a fortification and some playmobile-esk type guys to position around a cannon.

The younger me would have loved it just as much as the older me.

I will post more pictures from the visitor’s center in another post as they all don’t require explanation.

So the driving track is out of commission, “You can still walk the area”, you say?  Well, I would have loved to, but it was past nap time and the walking trail isn’t conducive to strollers (we did try!).  Here is the reason I wasn’t able to walk to the Balcaras Redoubt.

They are worth it, you just have to take a back seat some times.
They are worth it, you just have to take a back seat some times.

The only thing I could see from the Visitor’s Center.  It was in the distance tempting me.

Balcares Redoubt From Afar
Balcares Redoubt From Afar

I will return someday to take better pictures.  But even with my limited access I enjoyed myself, it would take a lot for me not to.  What are the odds that the driving path would be blocked when I was there.  I’d be more upset if I lived more than 4 hours away.