Sunday, May 22, 2011
So the big wargames convention in Maine has come and gone. I have to say that this year's Huzzah! was just as much fun as last year's. Here are a few thoughts in hindsight.
For one, Huzzah! is a great example of how the tenor of an event relies on the people who are in charge. The Maine wargamers are a friendly and efficient bunch and that spirit really permeated the con at all levels. Certainly a good lesson that carries into all aspects of our lives.
In terms of games themselves the event was a good opportunity to try some new systems. I played my second game of Fields of Glory (FoG). FoG is blessed with a fabulous looking rulebook and cursed with forbidding and impenetrable appearing pages of charts. It was a real pleasure to discover how fast moving and intuitive the game turns out to be. At the same time it makes one wish for a better presentation somehow as the FoG rulebook's appearance completely blocked our club from ever trying it.
I also had a chance to play a game of Aerodrome. This is a First World War aircraft game and it was just fabulous. I found it simple, quick to learn, but full of potential in terms of actually mastering the play. The team that demonstrated the system has some gorgeous model planes and beautiful wooden control panels that added up to make it a great event. Here's a photo of my plane and control panel, and my medal for shooting down an enemy!
I did find that some of the con's games suffered from being spectacular in theory and just terrible as actual convention events. In a club setting you can relax, chat, drink a beer (or soda!) and potentially spend 6 hours playing a single game with no trouble. In fact, that sort of afternoon is pretty ideal. In a convention setting, however, you really need a game with rules that can be learned in ten minutes and game turns with a scant minimum of player downtime. I do wish that con game masters would consider those factors when deciding which rule sets to use. I feel like a complete heel when I sign up for a game and then start to drift off and look bored when ten minutes pass between moves. Or when the game master is explaining the historical significance of each tree on the map and I start looking around for some sort of way out. I appreciate that level of knowledge and complex games have their role but at a con I want to get started fast and then keep the action going.
None of that is to detract from the overall awesomeness of the event. I would so recommend Huzzah! to any interested gamer in the Northeast, even over bigger events like Historicon. The event is well produced, the games are high quality, and Portland Maine is just a terrific city. I'll be looking forward to next year's event, at which I am hopefully going to be running a game or two myself...