Thursday, December 28, 2006

Winter War Preview: Saturday Morning

Today I'll pick up where I left off yesterday giving you all my chatty opinions about the events on the Winter War convention schedule. Click here and here for the Friday afternoon and evening rundowns.

Saturday, February 10th, 9am

On the boardgame front the all-con-long Advanced Squad Leader tournament will pick up right where it ended the night before. Tim Gritten will once again be hosting a session of Really Nasty Horse Racing. Both my nephews and my sister have reported that this game is a hoot. As I understand it your horse can come in last but you can still win the game by betting on some other player's pony. Brilliant. Memoir '44 will be making another appearance, this time with some Russo-Finnish action. (Which reminds me, I gotta ask some of the local grognards if anyone ever ran Winter War at Winter War.) Carol "Cookie" Morris, who I called a 'devil-woman' in my last preview post, will be breaking out a copy of the new boardgame based upon the webcomic Order of the Stick. That comic is amazing. It has almost completely supplanted Monty Python as the source of stupid quotes at my game table. Whether the game is any good or not I can't tell you.

"Blocks of the Bulge" will re-create action of the Ardennes Offensive using those cute little blocks that Columbia Games make. My brother-in-law Jim will be running two games Saturday morning. In my opinion Thurn and Taxis is cute, but not great. The other game he's running is Louis XIV, which I absolutely adore. It's a lot like El Grande mechanically, if that game is your bag. Jim's Louis VIX game is my pick of the Saturday morning boardgames. Not only is Louis a gas, but Jim's a super-nice guy and he is excellent at explaining games to newbies.

Two card game events are on the schedule for Saturday morning. First we have Winter War's ninth annual DCI sanctioned Magic: The Gathering tournament. Click here for official tournament info. The other card game is Ninja Burger, which I didn't even realize was card-based until I looked at the schedule right now. I guess that shows you how plugged in I am to the cardgames scene.

With nine events already on the schedule, miniatures looks like the place to be Saturday morning. The Central Illinois Tabletop Warriors always bring great stuff to Winter War. Warhammer 40K fans can join in an Imperials versus Chaos affair. While afficionados of the Battletech universe can play some sort of Clan-infest mass combat Battleforce 2 thingy. In my head the Battletech timeline *ends* with the invasion of the Clans, so I really can't usefully comment on this game, other than to note this particular outing is scheduled to run through the afternoon slot as well. If fantasy is more your thing Dale Lybarger will be running Confrontation using the Dogs of War expansion. I couldn't tell you a thing about Confrontation's game mechanics but the figures are awesome.

Rally 'Round the Flag makes another appearance Saturday morning, as the American Civil War is always popular around here. Other historicals include Dean Spitz running a French and Indian War affair with Gentlemen of France Fire First and Kevin Brown with a 15mm WWII, using Flames of War 2nd edition. Mr. Brown's game is BYOAOPOOM. That's bring-your-own-army-or-play-one-of-mine. There are two aerial games on the schedule. Kurt Jeffries will be running a house rules WWII dogfight where the Germans will try to take down some attacking B17's. Don't be put off by the fact that this is a house rules game. In my experience Kurt Jeffries has his act together when it comes to game mechanics. Bob Swieringa plans a WWI flying aces game using the Red Baron ruleset. If I wasn't running a game in this slot I'd totally be at Bob's table, dratting the Red Baron Peanuts-style and generally making a nuisance of myself.

But my recommedation for best minis game of Saturday morning would be Ken Vreeman's porno-punically titled "55 Hours on Uranus". Ken is one of the most popular minis guys at the con. His figures and scenery are top-notch and he has an easy-going approach to gaming. The rules are based on 55 Days in Peking, a Boxer Rebellion game, but the setting here is futuristic space marines versus orcs. On Uranus. Multiple informants over several different Winter Wars all give this game an enthusiastic thumbs up. Uranus.

For roleplayers the the Central Illinois Roleplaying Combatants Alliance will continue their all-con Living Greyhawk funfest. The non-RPGA or non-D&D inclined currently have two Saturday morning options. Mike Wilson will once again offer a session of Elementary Watson, the RPG of Sherlock Holmsian sleuthing. And some dude named Jeff Rients will take a go at Mazes & Minotaurs, the retro-awesome game of Bronze Age fantasy. It would be extremely unfair of me to offer a pick for the RPG section. Obviously, I want people to play in my M&M game, but at the same time I find the concept behind Elementary Watson very intriguing. And Mr. Wilson has been running it at Winter War for years, so he must be doing something right.

That's the Saturday morning session of Winter War in a (rather large) nutshell. In the next installment I'll get to two events that are at the heart of the con: the live auction and the Blind Sniper game.