Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wars of Insurgency (and other games) at Advance the Colors

One of my favorite shots of my "That's My USAid! - Congo Chaos" game from Advance the Colors
If there is any convention that I consider "home," it is Advance the Colors. I am on the Board for HMGS Great Lakes, which as been running the show in Central Ohio for almost three decades. Our home for the last decade or so has been a museum -- the Heritage Center of Clark County. There's something satisfying about holding a historical miniatures convention amidst displays honoring our state's contributions to history!
The players look over the situation for their faction and plot how to end up in control of the crates of food and medicine
I ran my "That's My USAid! - Congo Chaos" game three times over the course of the show. All three times were full, and everytime I had attendees tell me they were sad they tried to get in it, but couldn't. I take it as a compliment when my games run full. It means that people find the scenario interesting, the setup drew them in, or people simply enjoy my games. Who knows? Maybe it is all three (he says, head swelling...ha, ha)!
The situation at the start of the scenario: UN in control of the freighter and aid,  facing off against the Belgian-trained Congolese paratroopers
I make minor tweaks each time I run it, and this one involved setting the freighter up even a bit further away from the entry point of the Boma Bandits -- a force that comes onto the table in four, motorized Congo river canoes. The Leopoldville Leopards, essentially the local militia force where the battle takes place, also had their setup moved closer to the center part of the town. The two militia factions tend to win slightly more than their share of runnings of the games, but I have had all five of the player positions win at least once. However, this will likely be the last time I run it for the convention season. I hope to dream up a new scenario for next year's conventions.
Where the shooting typically started -- the UN sandbagged position guarding the pier (and offloaded aid)
I sold quite a few copies of the rules, my own Wars of Insurgency - which came out little over a month ago. I love how players learn the rules very quickly, and by Turn 2 all that I am called upon to do is to record the Initiative Order and make rulings on lines of sight or cover bonuses. The players seem to have a great time with it and they leave the table after the game's over thinking about what period or conflict they can use them for (another great sign!).
The local area militia, the Leopoldville Leopards, advance through the scratch-built shantytown towards the center
Surprisingly, I was even able to pick up some unpainted 20mm figures to paint up for future scenarios. Buck-a-fig, run by Brian Beal out of Heart of America HMGS, brought along a box of various 20mm Modern figures with me expressly in mind. Thanks, Brian! Several of the packs are of "Western-style" police or SWAT figures. My mind is already spinning with ideas for conflicts or scenarios to use them for! That's another thing I like about Wars of Insurgency. Although I may own mostly 20th century Africa figures, the rules will fit for any infantry firefight that keeps armor and support weapons (like air or artillery) to a bare minimum. They were designed for guerrilla wars, which have had a tendency to spring up on most continents in the last century, it seems...
Some of the Boma Bandits - militia rivermen arriving in motorized canoes - disembark along the sea wall and eye the local Leopoldville Leopards warily
The table looked good, I felt. I added in my MDF Water Tower from Impudent Mortals. Not sure why I hadn't put it out on the table before, but it added a nice touch. I will be looking for more 20mm scale modern buildings to give me more variety on the tabletop. Or perhaps I will scratch-build some more. Scratch-building's advantage is that it allows me to ensure all the roofs (or floors in multilevel buildings) come off to place figures inside. Its disadvantage, of course, is that it takes more time!
More Bandits disembark onto the pier after the UN have been driven from it by gunfire from multiple factions
Part of my duties as a board member for Great Lakes at Advance the Colors is being Dealer Coordinator, and also promoting the convention on Facebook. I was gratified to see that my pushing the convention on social media seemed to increase both the number of games that our GMs submitted, and also brought a solid rise in attendance. It was also cool to walk around and see all of the games I'd been promoting on Facebook in person. I was so busy Friday, though, that I missed many of those.
How to do it without getting shot up? Another group of players ponder the Congo's tactical puzzle
The Rules: Wars of Insurgency, available from First Command Wargames
Below are some of my favorite pictures of other games from Advance the Colors. Thanks to all of the GMs who ran games, and the attendees who showed up to play in them!
Kevin McCarthy's "Harlem Heights" game from the American Revolution using Sons of Liberty rules
Jim Wonacott's "Somewhere in Africa Around 2000 or so..." using Black Ops rules
Derek Johns and one of his players in his Boer War game, Battle of Elandslaagte
Imperial Disfavor, a Victorian Science Fiction game using First Command's For Queen and Planet rules
The New World is so Lovely in the Fall, Mike Stelzer's Song of Drums and Tomahawks French & Indian War game
The stunning terrain of Adrian John's "The Battle of Point Pleasant"
Greg Crane's World of Tanks-style Death Match cycled in more than two dozen players on Friday
Jim Morrison's games are immensely popular, and his Survival in Zombie America was no exception!

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