HAWKs Expeditionary Force Attends HUZZAH! in Maine

Chris Palmer      This past weekend a group of the HAWKs headed up to South Portland, Maine to attend the HUZZAH! gaming convention.   For the past few years the HAWKs Expeditionary Force has tried to attend a regional con, within a day’s drive of our base in central Maryland, to expose our games and rules to folks who don’t often get to play in our games at the HMGS-East conventions we usually attend.  In the past we have all headed to the con in one vehicle; but this year, due to a number of folks combining the trip north with personal vacations or other business, we ended up for the most part travelling separately.   As the only two members who were just heading up for  the three days of the con, Eric Schlegel and I shared a ride up.  It took us 9 hours to make the trip from Maryland to Maine, and we rolled in to the hotel around 4:00 PM Thursday afternoon.

A view of the main gaming hall.
    Friday morning, those of us who had arrived on Thursday went to the Cracker Barrel next door for breakfast, and then returned to the convention hall for a quick game of Munchkin while we waited for things to get started.  The main hall was very nice, large, and brightly lit.  Then con staff all seemed helpful and happy to have us at the con.
A fun game of Munchkin
     The first game we ran was Dave Wood’s “Hell’s Highway” game using “Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII” rules, an 6mm figures. Despite having a full roster of 6 players preregister for the game,  only three showed up, so HAWKs Duncan Adams, and Eric, and Dave himself filled in to to take the other commands.
A view of Dave’s “Hell’s Highway"game
    The game went well, though things were slowed down a bit by Dave doing double duty as both player and GM.  However, we were all thrilled when Dave was awarded the prize for best game in his time slot.
Dave wins best game for his time slot.
   For the Friday evening ssession, I ran my War of the Roses game, entitled "Warring Roses in the Mist”, using “Bear Yourselves Valiantly” rules, and 10mm figures.  I had a full slate of players show up, and as is usual with the LSNC series of rules: though players initially look overwhelmed after the rules explanation, the rules are in fact intuitive enough that by turn 4 they were practically running the game themselves.
A view of my War of the Roses game.
     The game was real nail-biter with the fortunes seesawing back and forth.  All seemed lost for the Yorkists, when their center collapsed and both their archers and men-at-arms went fleeing back to the nearby town of Barnet.  The commanding player was not deterred though, and thrust his remaining units of  knights into the hole;  actually charging forward into the teeth of the enemy.  A series of heroic melees took place where the brave knights were assailed from all sides.    It was fun to see, as when the knights were charged from the flank or rear, and they would roll their “To Stand” dice check, they would often get the “Counter Charge” result, which allowed them to turn and face the new threat.  Though the brave knights were eventually worn down, they disrupted the Lancastrian center enough that they were not able to get momentum and exploit the hole in the line; and the knights bought enough time that the routed men-at-arms and archers were able to rally and return to the battle.
     In the end, the battle was declared a draw as neither side had gained a significant advantage, both wearing each other down equally.
    At the same time my game was  running Rob Dean and Ross MacFarlane were running a “Not Quite Seven Year’s War” Imaginations game using 40mm homecast figures, and the classic “Charge!” rules.  Because I was running my game simultaneously, I was not able to get any pictures.
The height of the battle as the heroic knights holding the Lancastrian center charge forward to hold the line.
     The next morning, Bill Acheson ran his game in the Saturday morning slot.  The game, entitled “Panic in Pan Chaka”, was set in the Tekumel universe and used 25mm figures and “G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.” rules.  The game was full of players, and myself,  Eric, and another fellow pitched in to run the NPC creatures that inhabited the jungles on the table.
Bill, in hat, giving the players their rules briefing.
     The players were given command of a hero and an accompanying party and tasked with investigating a strange object that had been spotted in the jungle.  Along the way they faced many of the denizens of the Tekumel world.   Unfortunately, time ran out just as the first parties reached the objective, so they were never able to truly investigate what turned out to be an ancient wrecked spaceship.
Adventuring parties leave the safety of the Imperial City to explore the jungle beyond.
     In the afternoon session Rob and Ross ran another  "Not Quite Seven Year’s War" Imaginations game using 40mm homecast figures, and the classic “Charge!” rules, entitled “Not Quite Fontenoy”.  They had a mostly full table, with Eric pitching in to take on the the commands. 
A view of Rob and Ross’ table.
   The table was beautiful to see and attracted lots of onlookers.  In the end, the forces of the Pragmatic Coalition were not able to seize their objectives from the hearty Northern Alliance defenders.  
A table full of brightly colored 40mm figures is a joy to see.
     In the evening session, Eric ran his “Caldwell Clears the Wheatfield” ACW battle using “A Union So Tested” rules and 10mm figures.  He had four players show up, so Duncan and Ross jumped in and took commands.
Eric, in hat, leans over to mark a casualty on a unit.
   The battle was hard fought, but in the end the Confederates were able to maintain a better hold of the wheatfield than their Union counterparts, and so were declared the victors.
Confederate forces prepare to storm the wheatfield.
Sunday morning was the last session, and Duncan was slated to run his WWI Battle of Monthyon game using modified “Look Sarge, No Charts” rules and 10mm figures.  The Germans were tasked with holding a ridgeline against French assaults.  With only two players showing up to play, a number of HAWKs were drafted in to take the remaining positions, and I was able to take command of the German left.  
 Duncan listens to a player’s question during his WWI game.
    The battle was fiercely fought, but the French were able to gain a foothold on our right, and we were unable to dislodge them.  So, the French won the day.
German troops dig in along their ridgeline.
    After Duncan’s game Eric and I headed out for the long drive home, and arrived back in Maryland around 11:30 that night.
      I had a good time at the con.  It seemed well organized and had good attendance.  In fact, we were all surprised to see a large turnout for the Sunday morning session, and attributed it to the number of local folks attending.  There was a nice selection of dealers, and I liked the raffles held each day. (I actually won a box of  painted 15mm ACW!)   If I had to pick nits, I really don’t like cons organized by sessions.  If you aren’t there for the start of a session, you miss out and need to wait 5 hours until your next opportunity to get in a game (which happened to me a couple times).  
   In the final analysis the weekend was a big success for the Expeditonary Force, and the HAWKs will certainly be back in the future for this fun convention

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