Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall In 2009 - Random Games I Saw

Hey all! Just got back from Fall In 2009! Good times! Over the next few days, I'll put up four posts: one of pictures from random games I saw... one of pictures from games I played... one of pictures from the game I ran... and finally, one about all my purchases! First up... random games I saw!

Here is a 15mm (I believe) Napoleonic game that was being played on Thursday evening... I believe it ran again a few times during the convention. I like the foam table, and that they simply pushed the trees into the table, which got rid of the artificial "trees standing around" feel that many games tables have.
This one above is not "my thing," as it is a space game, but it was a neat table. Behind the big fortress entrance there was a labyrinth of underground passages and rooms, in which lurked lots of aliens... players had to duke it out in there without often knowing what was around the next corner!
There were a few nice naval games that I saw, my favorite maybe being this one... the fort and the surrounding camp were really fantastic looking!
Here is a Zulu game from Friday... done on a larger scale it didn't have quite the "packed in" feeling of smaller scales, but was still good to look at.Here is one table of a double-blind game. There were two completely identical tables, separated by a sheet. On your own table you only saw your own men, and any enemies you spotted. This makes for a very neat game! I have to admit I don't love the huge scale, but the overall concept and execution were great.
In this slightly red picture, you can see a nice WWI game. There were a decent amount of troops on the field, although you can't see them all in this picture!
I am not totally sure what this game is... it looked French and Indian War, but I think it was more a role-playing type frontier game. I did like the rocky outcrop in the back corner of the table, and anything with this many trees always gets my approval!
Here is a Flames of War picture... there are always loads of nice Flames of War tables in the FOW tournament, so they were nice to see.
This was another 15mm WWII game, that I think was a Flames of War game... but what really caught my eye were the modeled dust clouds behind moving vehicles... very cool, especially in a desert game, which has so little eye candy by its very nature!
Another World War 2 game... while it was not fancy (the bocage was just ripped lichen) visually from a few feet away it was an effective presentation.
Awww yeah! Third edition Space Hulk! The figures are AMAZING... I honestly want to buy it JUST to paint the figures, but I could never afford it.
And finally, a WWII 25mm game... I was happy to see another fully flocked table out there, as it seems like there were just way too many half-finished tables.Here is another 15mm ACW game that looked nice, a Prairie Grove game, Federals attacking a Confederate position.And finally, here is a good looking WWII beach invasion... not sure if it is Normandy, but it certainly looked sharp enough!

I must say, that touches on one of my huge pet peeves of Fall In, other than the body odor and gnomes... there were far too many half-assed tables. A few chaps who flew in from Michigan were commenting about how the general standard of table at Fall In simply was not high enough. I am not sure if it is just that people don't know the easy, cheap tricks for making a table look nice? Or do they just not care? Either way, I really do hope that people continue to make their tables look nicer, and avoid the old "cut out swatches of felt represents woods, and marsh, towns, rough terrain, and hills" wargaming, which is just such a visual let down that it seems to undermine our entire hobby... let's face it, inside we are all still kids staring at dioramas, so lets not mess that up!

Anyway, enough ranting... coming up soon, some more Fall In photos, including from Dave Bonk's AWI game and Sam Mustafa's LaSalle game (both of which I was lucky enough to play in, and are pictured at the start and end of this entry) and from my own 10mm Napoleonic game!


Ken said...

How about sharing some of the easy tips for making a table look good?



Author said...

Easy enough!:)

First off, felt and Styrofoam. Make your basic table out of felt over the pink insulation foam that comes in relatively cheap, big pieces that are easy to cut. They sell it, cheap, at any major home supply store. However, there is also cheap styrofoam in almost any large package, so when you get that, just save it! Then just use extra foam under the felt to build up hills. This step (putting out some foam boards and covering them with the felt) takes about two minutes.

Second, flock. Lots and lots of flock. I have two shakers that I use. Once all of the basic terrain is out, I then give the entire table a nice coating of the stuff. Where terrain edges up to basic felt, just put a nice coat of flock and smooth it out with your fingers so the edge is not obvious. Total time... maybe four minutes. Only investment might be a dust buster to suck it all up when you are done!:)

Honestly, those two things alone make a HUGE difference. But even small other things, like grassing troop bases, grassing around the bases of trees... heck, even giving a quick drybrush of color to felt roads... all of those really, really help with setting up a good looking table.

More advanced stuff, like making decent buildings out of foam core and balsa, are a few more steps, but...

Author said...

Oh, and I should add... check out other peoples table, talk to them, and steal their ideas!:) I stole most of my ideas from other people... it is just a matter of putting it all together!

Victor said...

Thanks for posting the great pictures from Fall In.

I agree with you about table presentation at Cons. I attended Historicon in '06 and Enfilade in '07 and some tables looked amazing and others not so much.

I must say that I am struggling with getting a great looking table, of course we game at a local store and they have 6 terrain boards that I made so that helps but it is not the visual look I am wanting while I game.

BigLee said...

I agree with what you say about table presentation. This is the 'storefront' for our hobby, the eye-candy that will draw in a new generation of gamers. The best displays are beyond the resources of most wargames at home but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy looking at them at shows.

A good table always inspires me to rush home and improve my scenery or paint some new miniatures.

JAM said...

Agree with you fully, Gian Paolo. It is very visually unappealing to see a poorly design terrain, no matter how nice the figures.

I have never been to a convention, but it is amazing to look at photos of beautiful terrains.

I am still not sure about felt over blocks of styrofoam, as I can not see how to integrate water and roads into this style. For they way you do it though it look great. I am curious do you recycle your flock when you change the layout.


Echoes Of Glory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Echoes Of Glory said...

Its just as easy to flock in roads and rivers as any other part of the table, the key is a good flock blend. I use the same technique,here are some shots of my roads.

I don't have rivers on my current set up, but here is one of LA's...