Monday, November 9, 2015

Little Wars Wargaming Convention, Canberra 8 November.

Last Sunday was the 'Little Wars' Wargaming Convention in Canberra, following similar cons in Melbourne and Adelaide, demonstrating our hobby to the wider community and raising money for 'Soldier On'. Unfortunately our largest gaming con - Cancon - no longer allow demonstration games, a very short-sighted decision in my opinion. The intention of 'Little Wars', the brainchild of several of our Lanyon group, was to showcase the hobby. How are you supposed to do that without demonstration games? The Lanyon Wargaming Group put on about ten separate games covering everything from ancients to modern fantasy/sci fi, with a strong historical showing. For our part we put on a 'Muskets & Tomahawks' French & Indian Wars game - action on the wild North American frontier!

The French Fort with its very useful gun was never really threatened by the British assault 
The con attracted a fair crowd in the salubrious surrounds of the Lanyon Vikings Sports Club (who also promoted the con too) - even a few local MLA's (they're our local political representatives for all my non-Australian blog readers) who even made a good impression of being fascinated about the tabletop action of our FIW game!

French Indian allies made the laborious journey to the woods in front of the town.
The Indian chief and his one surviving warrior continue to blaze away at the British irregulars assaulting the village.
French Cour de Bois irregulars attempt to shore up the French right.
French Indian allies infesting the woods kept the British colonials at bay for most of the game.
Rangers on the hill opposite kept a lively fire on those pesky Indians in the woods while the provincials closed in.
Provincials and Scots eventually take the Indian village after driving the Cour de Bois off for the umpteenth time (the latter did as much running - then rallying - as shooting!)
The British regulars gamely traded fire with the French regulars (who couldn't hit a thing for the most part) French irregs kept failing their morale , then rallying, then running away again.
The British Indian allies take'em heap scalps of French colonials - in front of the others who terrified, promptly fled the town.
Cour de Bois finish off the last of the courageous Scots who routed the French regulars with their Claymores, taking even more Frenchmen with 'em as they go down!
End of game - a draw - but the French regulars were still running!
Provincials finally man up and take the pressure of the dwindling British regulars
Meanwhile, back at the fort the gun runs out of targets - made more Brits run than any other unit on the table! Note burning  settler's cabin in town, courtesy of the trusty gun. One very effective means of getting rid of bloodthirsty scalping Indians ( who WERE inside the cabin having a scalp-fest!) Note also the two surviving French civilians leaving town, running hard in the opposite direction!
The FIW game ebbed back and forth with the French gun and officer getting the command cards at just the right time to order the gun to shoot, running French irregulars to rally or belatedly, sending the regulars out to protect the town. Despite destroying or driving off most of the French and all the Indians, the British could not take the fort and most of the town was still in French hands so it was declared a draw. We had more than half a dozen different players cycle through together with the four regulars playing - with everyone having a ball as usual.

There were also a number of really good looking games that I managed to see a bit of including an interesting 15mm ACW, 54mm ECW skirmish, another 15mm ancients (Rome versus Carthage I think) which won 'best of the day' (we were runners up - well done Andrew). Two in particular caught my attention: a 28mm Bolt Action commando raid on a U-boat in drydock and a huge 54mm figure Napoleonic game (Prussians v French & Allies) of which I took the following photos.

British commandos arrive at the sea wall by rubber dingy, trying not to wake up the snoozing Germans. I think it turned out the Germans were light sleepers!
Despite its size , the U-boat is about half its actual size at 1/56 or 28mm scale - they were huge!
The spectacular 54mm game - Prussians form square
Looks like Mamelukes with Saxon? infantry behind them.
Prussians attack
Some colourful Berg Lancers next to the French Carabiniers
View of the French lines with Tirailleurs closest and Regt Etrangeur (Irlandais?) next along.  The table was also huge - at least twenty foot long.
There were also traders there including War and Peace, Dean from Olympian Games and Nick from Eureka who did a roaring trade. I think it bodes well for the future. As well as raising a few hundred dollars for 'Soldier On' for our returned Diggers, it successfully showcased the hobby and attracted quite a bit of attention and importantly, our generous hosts the Lanyon Vikings Club provided an excellent venue that was well patronised by the crowds attending as well as the wargamers.  A fine day's gaming was had by one and all and we will certainly plan to do it again next year!  Tough luck CGS - Cancon's loss is definitely our gain, from what I could see.  Congratulations must also go to Greg, Ian and Leigh who put so much time and effort into setting up and running a great convention in our first 'Little Wars' Canberra.