I love Fix Bayonets. It’s a small gathering hosted by the Fort Steilacoom Historical Association (or something like that,) a preservation group aimed at keeping up the oldest buildings in Western Washington. Each year Lawrence Bateman and Damond Crump host a modest gathering in one of the original fort buildings and we play a day’s worth of games for a modest entry fee that goes toward the many needs of the maintaining the site. It’s a nice fundraiser for them and we certainly have a good time.
I was particularly looking forward to yesterday’s event, because I hoped to see an old friend there. Scott Appleby recently joined the NHMGS Facebook page, and I had my fingers crossed he would be at this event. I played Fire and Steel Napoleonics with Scott back in the 70’s and 80’s. But as I gradually became more involved with NHMGS and took on different projects we lost touch. I hadn’t seen him in twenty years. So when he came to the event I was thrilled. It made my day. A semi-truck could have backed over my hydroplanes, and it still would have been a very good day.
I ran a Thunderboats game in the morning period. It’s a great game for gatherings like this because after the first twenty minutes it almost runs itself. It was actually an exciting game because my friend Chris Bauermeister, who always has terrible die rolls in my games, had stupendously good die rolls. He got off to an early lead in the Miss Bardahl that he never relinquished. In fact it was never even that close. Bill Vanderpool and Al Rivers both bought nitrous bottles, used them and both had some interesting moments with flames. There was lots of risk-taking, which makes for a fairly fun game. I went through an entire deck of event cards-a first. But, with a lot of risk taking goes a high attrition rate, and four boats did not finish. Still a lot of fun, as Thunderboats usually is.
There some other interesting looking games in the morning session. Scott Williams brought up his Galactic Knights game from Olympia. Bruce Smith also ran a pre-dreadnought naval game.
We dashed down to Steilcoom to our favorite sandwich shoppe for lunch and I got to talk to Scott and some of the guys a bit longer. Scott is also a teacher so we talked some shop, as well as about the Huskies. So it was a good time.
During the afternoon session I decided to play in Hugh Singh’s 28mm Sky Galleons of Mars game. I’m a sucker for SGoM, so it didn’t really take a lot to convince me to play. Hugh converted three Stonehouse Miniatures resin gunboats into flying vessels for Mars. He did a really nice job using some Houston’s Guns and crew for the armament, as well as using some interesting bits for Martian tether mines and fire pots. Very nice and very serviceable.
Gene Anderson brought up his vessel from Centralia, a gorgeous (and huge) Endtime screw galley. Gene constructed the deck and skeleton from plans and covered the hull with planking fabric and coated it with liquid starch. It looked amazing, and takes its place alongside Mark Waddington’s Aphid and Ranger as examples of superb modeling.
Unfortunately bad things often happen when a single Martian vessel takes on an Earth gunboat. I commanded Hugh’s Austrian gunboat with two long 4″ guns. It was fast enough to keep the bigger Martian craft from closing and with superior firepower, slowly began to pound the Endtime to pieces. When we decided to call the game, the screw galley lost all but one of its guns and the crew was about 50%. It was having difficulty maintaining altitude, and with about a third of its turncranks dead, was half the speed of my vessel. I took only slight damage to my hull and crew.
Word is out that there are plans for a big 28mm Sky Galleons game at Enfilade. That would be pretty to see, but we sure need to plan how to run it. That will require quite a bit of room.
There were some other great games in the afternoon period too. Chris B. hosted a Cold War armor battle. Bruce ran a big Korea vs. Japan ancients game with some pretty smooth looking rules. Paul Grandstaff hosted a Check Your Six game. Bruce Smith ran a very cool looking post-apocalyptic game in a very trashed city.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the organizers were pretty happy with the support. It was an early in, early out kind of day, and I was able to be home by 3:30 to see most of the Huskies game.