Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall In: The Games!

Hi all!

Well, it is that time!  Time for the games!

Now... I hate to do this.  I really do.  Honestly.

But man... the games this year really did not live up to my expectations.

Now, maybe I have too high expectations.  Maybe they are unrealistic.  But I was really, really disappointed by the overall quality of the tables of the games.

Now, often the figures were fantastic, but there were SO many tables that were just bits of felt or bits of lichen, and it left me so disappointed.

Someone I was talking to on Saturday night theorized that wargamers have three different "concerns" when it comes to games.  First, there is the competition aspect of it.  Second, there is the fun of game playing.  Finally, there is the spectacle of it all.

And I admit; that last one is HUGE for me... and the terrain is a big part of that!  When I was a kid I ADORED dioramas.  Adored them.  The tiny trees, the tiny fields, the tiny buildings... what wargamer DIDN'T love them... or heck, DOESN'T love them?  I spent hours standing in front of every diorama I could find, drinking in all the tiny goodness!

Unfortunately, I didn't get that feeling a lot this year at Fall In.  There were simply too many games that just didn't look very good.

So I was just left very disappointed by the overall visual quality of the games this year.  I hope next year can be better.  And it doesn't take a lot of money; it just takes some time, some work, and a bit of flock!

ANYWAY; let's get to the show... the games!  As always, please let me know if you recognize some games, or if you ran them yourselves, and want to contribute more info!  I even numbered them this year, for ease of clarification!:)

1) First up, this fantastic table that was up in the main lobby for the whole time!  It was sculpted Styrofoam.  I forget the name of the fellow who made it, but I've seen it before, and I know someone out there knows this artisan!  It hosted a number of games, from Napoleonics...

... to modern!

Now, it was a beautiful table, and I LOVED the woods!  A helpful gamer picked up the end so I could get a good shot of how the woods lay right on top of the trunks.  Looked great, AND very useful!

2) This was an ACW table that was being taken apart... I like the modular nature of it!  Apparently it consisted of three different battlefields all mixed up.  Note the Gordon and Hague miniatures on the bottom right!:)

3) Another nice table, although I missed what the game was:)

4) A big 1812 game, Brits on the left, Americans on the right!

The British were Perry figures and very nice.  Not sure about the makers of the Americans!

Here are some more shots of the Brits; they were very clean, and very nice!

Some more Brits...

And some more!

5) Now, this was another game near the entrance to the main hall... I missed the theatre, but I think it was 1812... but I wanted to make sure to get some photos of the great boats and landing parties!

6) This was a very neat game, ran by a fellow from the Old Glory Shipyard... nothing like 28mm naval combat!

7) A huge pseudo-Space Hulk game, perfect for the kids!  No squares on the tiles (they were using rulers) but it was awful neat how the hulk got revealed piece by piece.

8) A huge game outside of the main hall... I believe it was either 1812 or French and Indian.

Here are some of the troops preparing to enter the table!

9) Okay, I LOVED this table.  A 15mm naval game.  The ships were just beautiful, the figures were simple and pretty... really, I loved this one.  And it looked like fun!

A close up of one of the ships in action.  I liked how the bases were painted like planks!

And another ship, sitting out this fight!

10) Look at all of that fence... must be ACW!:)

11) If I recall correctly this was a Roman Civil War game.  Nice elevation changes, too!

12) Hmm.. Normandy?  Not totally sure, so if anyone can help out...?

13) A neat 28mm Old West game that was doing a great job at getting the next generation involved!

14) This was a monster in one of the side rooms.  No idea what it was... snuck a photo and ran!:)

15) A 28mm Moderns game... if I recall correctly, it was Afghanistan.  You can just make out some NATO troops in the top right of the shot.

16) I just caught this one setting up... no details, sorry!

17) A fun little dungeon crawl that ran over several sessions.  Looked popular and fun!

18) The fields say ACW... the flags, Napoleonic?  I am not sure what this one was, so if anyone can help?

19) Another 28mm Moderns game.  Love seeing two M1A1s on the table... I'm sure they brought the pain.

20) A very clean 10mm ACW game of Antietam (note Bunker Church on the far left of the shot).  The GM used some cheap materials, like the plastic mats and the corduroy, and they were carefully cut and edged, making for a nice clean look!  Simple, affordable, and effective.

Having pretty figures doesn't hurt either, right?:)

21) A skirmish game that I believe was set in the 1812 era, using some very nice Miniature Building Authority terrain!

22) Ahhh!  A 28mm WWII double-blind game.  Loved the use of the projector screen to separate the two tables.  Now, in order to pull this off, you need two identical sets of terrain and armies; not easy!

So here is a shot of the American table... they see a Stug on the road, but that seems to be it...

But here is the German table, where it is clear there is German infantry and a troop carrier hidden among the weeds by the road!

23) Marengo!  A 28mm Napoleonic Carnage and Glory game (more on that later.)

Very pretty table...

... and the figures were beautiful!

Here some Austrian troops move through the countryside towards the sound of the guns.

The French advance across the fields towards the Austrian enemy!

24) Okay, for this one, I caught "Turks" and "Horseflesh."  I know the Brits were there, but I wasn't sure what else.  One thing?  A CRAPTON of figures (and a Best Game of the Show award!)

As I said... crap ton.  Just base that last group, please!:)

25) Okay, I couldn't help it... a sci-fi game.  But come on, it was TIE fighters vs X-Wings!  Dude, who WOULDN'T play that!

And finally a WWII game that clearly put the Miniature Building Authority guys' kids through college!:)

So... those were the games!  Some beautiful ones, for sure... but I hope next year we get even MORE beautiful games!  Thanks to everyone who looked at me with mild annoyance, wondering why some nosey guy was leaning over their shoulder snapping photos with a big obnoxious flash!:D


jmilesr said...

Pictures 3 & 4 plus a few others were of my Lundy Lane game. Most of the Brits were Perry plastics. The Canadian and US figures are from Knuckleduster. Thanks for taking some pic's


Rick said...

Left response on your questions on TMp, as this "proof I am not a robot" is a challenge.

here goes, it looks like
"or?something?ritt and the number 44

or is that first "r" an "n" and the thing in the middle is not a letter I've ever seen. Like an "A" but the line across the middle is a circle...

Viscount Eric said...

Thanks for all the awesome pics. I'm now officially disappointed I couldn't make it this year.

Dave Gamer said...

I don't go to Fall-In any more as I found it a very laid-back convention, usually short on games and dealers [as compared to Cold Wars and Historicon]. Fall-In is a good con if you have a lot of friends from different parts of the country who come to kick-back, drink beer, and chat.

You made a mention that you were disappointed in the visual quality of many of the games. I think this is a difference between North American and "Rest of the World" cons - "Rest of the World" cons are usually 1 day affairs with an agenda of showcasing the hobby to draw in new gamers and re-kindle interest in established gamers, so they want ot "look good". US cons are usually "by gamers, for gamers" - the cons are the only place that a lot of us even get to find other people who like the same games we do, so we're looking to play games - the visually stunning games are great but if I bought ruleset XYZ and I can't find anyone who wants to play XYZ, and then at the con someone is running XYZ with felt terrain and slap-dash painted miniatures, well I'm going to play XYZ anyway, gosh darn it!

Brummie said...

Some nice looking table there. The hulk and the dungeon ones stand out imo. Thanks for these pics

Mikko Asikainen said...

The "normandy" game has palm trees. Therefore... Peleliu?

Phil Broeders said...

Most of those tables looked fantastic. Well done to all invokved. I agree that the first table is the best though - great terrain.

John said...

Even with the number of less impressive tables there were a few stand outs. I didn't have a chance to see out all of the great set ups in detail until seeing your photos. Thanks for sharing Lord Ashram!

Ray Rousell said...

Some great looking tables, the first couple look like aerial photographs!

Anonymous said...

Having put on many games at cons, I can say that a lot of factors go into putting on a con game in terms of the look of the table.
One is simply vehicle space. Many of us traveling from further afield will carpool with friends. That means less space to devote to terrain and such. Terrain boards are all fine and well, but they travel poorly, taking up a tone of space and being susceptible to damage.
Another factor you have to consider is set up and break down time. Every little extra you pour into the table represents additional time on both ends of the game. HMGS is usually good about giving time between games on a table, but there is always still a time crunch to get the game up and down, especially if the referee wants to play in other games or is running multiple games (without using the same table layout all game).
I strive to make the table look as good as I can within the limits of what I can transport and put up and down within an hour or so. It may not be the awesome eye-candy that spectators love, but the tables generally look pretty good (as do most of the tables I see at HMGS cons) and the players enjoy it in combination with the figures, scenario, etc.
As someone else pointed out, it's often about who your audience is: the players or the spectators. I aim to make the players happy first. While they appreciate better terrain, most players would rather have a great game on decent terrain than a mediocre game on showcase quaity terrain.
Your milage may vary, of course, and I can appreciate that...