Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Broadsword 3 Game Convention in Hamilton

Back on May 6th I travelled through flooded southern Ontario to get to Hamilton for the third installment of the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society's one-day Broadsword gaming con.  They started this last year and aim to have a couple per year, held at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Veterans Hall.

This was my first time there, I'd tried to go last year but football conflicted with it - I have seasons tickets to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, coincidentally their arch-rivals are the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, so I decided NOT to wear my Argos gear while wandering the streets of Hamilton.

This year though, I'd promised Barnaby, who major-domos the HTGS, that I'd try to come and I'd run a game if I did so.  So I went to play in the morning and evening, and host a game of Song of Drums and Shakos in the afternoon session.

Getting there was easy enough early on a weekend morning, and I was very happy to find out the hall serves HOT FOOD ALL DAY LONG RIGHT IN THE GAMING AREA!!!!  No cold sandwiches for lunch and dinner because I can't slip away from games starting or finishing or need to get my stuff set up.  

The hall is nicely set up, though admittedly I have a certain fondness for legion halls, with two rooms for gaming during Broadsword, each with its own washroom (which I should probably put in all caps - more washroom space than Hotlead!).  The crowd was friendly, there were a few vendors there, and it was well lit too.

In the morning session I got in a game of Might of Arms, hosted as always by Mike Manning and his incredible collection of 1/72 plastic figures.  This was a generic Thirty Years War battle using his mods to take MOA into the early horse and musket period.

Three of us served as loyal Catholic Imperialists, while another three players served as those terrible protesting Protestant Swedes with their new-fangled battle formations.  In the picture below, the Imperialists are on the left, the Swedes on the right.
The view from behind the Swedish lines (no useful intelligence was gained by my efforts to spy...).  Each side had a wing of cavalry on each side, with Imperial tercios and Swedish brigades in the middle.  The Swedes also had a force of commanded shot on their left and dragoons on their right, which seems a bit dirty...
My heroic tercios!
The heart of the battle...
In the end, the Imperial cavalry on both sides was defeated, and while I'd driven off two-thirds of the Swedish front line, my tercios were too degraded to beat through the second line, and in fact one of my tercios was hung up by a small commanded shot force and couldn't even reach the Swedish second line by the time we called the game.  It was like terriers nipping at the knees of a Great Dane.

In the afternoon slot I ran Songs of Drums and Shakos again, this time the "Troubles with the Ladies of Spain" scenario I haven't gotten to at other cons.  In this, a French general was liaising with his Spanish mistress at one of her family estate's farmhouses when the two of them have a spat.  She runs off to tell the British where he is, meanwhile her maid narcs on her to the French, who send off for reinforcements.

So we have a very small force of French voltigeurs in a walled farm enclosure protecting a general who's decided the fuss isn't worth worrying about and has gone back to bed, needing five turns to get himself up, dressed, and mounted to make his escape when the British DO arrive.

The British have forces of lights and the 95th coming to apprehend (or shoot, the troops don't have a preference) the general.  At some point the French reinforcements - a small squad of mounted dragoons - will arrive.  As a four player game, versus its original two player incarnation, I just bulked up each of the four forces so they were worth about 350-400 points apiece.

For Broadsword, I finally (after about 8 years!) got some big bases of wooded terrain on the table, to go with my Dollar Store conifers; so that was my big reveal for the game.  We'll see those in the background shortly.

I had four players sign up but unfortunately one had to drop out just before the game started due to a work emergency, so the French player got to control both his starting force and his reinforcements.  

Naturally, I forgot to take pictures through most of the game, so what you'll see are just a couple of in-game shots, but more are here (about halfway down) from another attendee who documented much of what was going on there.

Midway through the game, before the dragoons came on and while the British have the upper hand.  The Lights are behind the fence in the upper right of the mat, and the Rifles are just coming out of the woods and charging towards the walled farm enclosure.

The game ended in a last-minute French victory, though it looked through must of the first two-thirds of the game like it'd be a quick romp for the British.  The French player I think was a bit overwhelmed by the rules, and I found out later (after the game!) that he couldn't reach the large QRS I had on the table, and I hadn't bothered to hand out the small one page QRS like I normally do (lesson learned!).  So he was a bit behind the others in picking up the nuances and coming up with a plan that worked within the rules system and took advantage of his troops.  The British also picked up that his reinforcements wouldn't come on the table if they didn't roll turnovers, so they worked to minimize those early in the game, but eventually the dice turned on them.

Eventually though he made a great dragoon charge against the British lights defending a livestock fence and took out most of them in the hand-to-hand combat, including their officer (who got a bit cocky and left himself at risk), and then the voltigeurs did a number of the Rifles as the general escaped behind the few surviving Frenchmen.

This is from the game end, when we called it a French victory (not many British left!):
In the evening I played a game of house-modified DBM (I think, maybe DBA!) for conventions, run by Howard who is a regular organized of DBx tournaments and gaming at southern Ontario conventions.  It was a fun game, basically three one-on-one battles side by side.  My opponent and I were really into it, with no one really ahead, when we looked up to find the game over because the Spartans (my side) had lost on the centre and right!  No pics of that unfortunately (not sure how that happened.

I do have one more pic of a great-looking Gotham table at the con:
More pics of what was going on at the con are at the link I posted above, next one is August 26th, and I don't have a football conflict this year with that weekend, so I hope to be back!


  1. Looks like a great con. The Mike of Arms games are reliably good to play in. I wish I could have gone to it.

  2. Hopefully you can make the August one!