I had to work on Friday, the opening day of Enfilade. I was super pissed about it too. Asked for a personal day in January and they told me there was no way the day before Memorial Day weekend. My principal agreed to take the last 20 minutes of my class so I blasted my loaded car out of the parking lot ahead of the zillion student drivers and buses, so I did. I took the winding back roads to Lacey and avoided the bumper to bumper two-step on I-5. Made it in plenty of time.
I gotta say it was probably the most enjoyable of the 26 Enfilades I’ve attended (that’s all of ’em folks.) Part of that is just state of mind. My only obligation was to games I was running. And I’ll share those with you in a few.
The last three years, attendance has just taken off. We broke the 300 mark in 2015. This year we estimated paid admissions at about 360. Every table in every game period was full, and some events were farmed out to the smaller breakout rooms. 137 scheduled events with some 65 different game hosts. Enfilade has clearly become the premier historical miniature gaming event west of the Mississippi River. Thanks to convention director, Lloyd Bowler and events coordinator Dave Mebust for all their hard work, as they ride off into the sunset and the convention goes under new managment.
From upper left-Fascinating game based on Caligula’s assault on the sea-interesting effort to provide computer assist to Fire and Fury–a Gnome Wars castle assault.
My convention was fun, though mostly I was on the hook for events. And that was fine. I like it that way. Thunderboats was Friday night. Eight players and a fun group. A little slow to get out of the gate, the experienced racers quickly used all their tricks. There were a few adventures with nitrous oxide bottles and the ensuing fires. There were some Airborne! cards and tons of risks taken. It came down to Chris Rivers in the 1968 Bardahl (Checkered Comet!) and Denny Hartung in the 1965 miss Lapeer on the last turn of the game. Bardahl got in front and appeared to cross the finish line. Hartung let it all hang out with a nitrous bottle, engine push, and three corner pushes. They earned him three event cards, including a Hard Bounce, Engine Trouble and an Airborne! card finished him off. Fun race.
On Saturday we moved on to the two Aztec games. The first game, the foraging game, was interesting on the far end, not as much on my end of the table. The Aztec player really did a good job of lining up the Spanish and the foragers, but the work to do so cost her Act of God tokens. Just as she was about to spring her trap, two terrible things happend: 1) She came under the not so tender attention of the Spanish cannon. 2) Two turns in a row she failed her first activation-turn finished. Though Petra was able to do some damage to the Spanish including wiping out a Spanish arquebusier and bearer units, it wasn’t enough. In the middle and the far end, it felt like the Aztec players were trying to be too cute. instead of being willing to take the casualties necessary to win the game. There was a minor Spanish victory, but the game was close.
Saturday evening was the assault on the temple area. Pitchers! I’ve got pitchers!!
The Spanish and Tlaxcalans entered three different board edges and faced small but grim Aztec forces determined to hold on three different sacrificial altars. It was a bloodbath. Lots of Tlaxcalan and Spanish dead, but way more dead Aztecs. I’m guess that of the 400 or so figures on the table at the start of the game, nearly 300 were dead. Very fun, but just too much Spanish nastiness. Another Spanish win.
Sunday was the last day, and my last game. Thirteen Days Goes Hot was our 1962 airstrike on a Soviet MRBM base during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I painted almost all the toys (Dave Schueler painted his first rate F-4B Phantoms) and Dave ran the game. The scenario allowed the Americans to upgrade their strike force at a cost in victory points, so it meant they really had to plaster the missile site to win. It felt like it was much more of a struggle than the Yankees anticipated. The Cubans scrambled their four MiG-15’s and two MiG 19’s and were helped out by a SAM-2 missile site and some light flak. The SAMs got one Skyhawk. The flak got another. The MiGs shot down two more and more American planes were damaged. The Phantoms disappointed, as the low flying MiGs were hard to acquire, and their low speed made it hard for the Sparrow missiles to hit them (really intended for use against high-flying bombers.) But in the end, a combination of Bullpup guided missiles, Zuni unguided missiles, and strafing attacks destroyed five of the six missile pads, the final one providing the margin of victory for the Americans. Interesting game. We used the hexless Airwar C.21 system by David Manley. Each time we play them, I like them a bit more.
From left-A look from the American entry toward the SAM battery protected by light flak-Three views from the Cuban side of the board, finally looking over the shoulder of a MiG 19.
The convention was much fun, maybe my favorite ever. Pretty low stressed. As always, my favorite part of any gaming weekend is seeing friends. My buddies from Canada I only see once a year, and this was it. Just some very good times.
I’ve committed myself to no purchases for new projects this year. That doesn’t mean no purchases, it just means I need to work on existing stuff. I am already in cahoots with Dave Schueler, George Kettler and Scott Abbott to work on a couple of air projects. I think we’re in on a Falklands air/sea project and a Vietnam air Downtown project. The first has taken shape in my mind, but the other looks a lot more nebulous.
I’m also going to remount all my singly mounted projects. That would include my American/Spanish confrontation, the Hundred Years War/Lion Rampant, and Aztecs/Conquistadors. They will go from being singly mounted to being mounted on bases of 3, 3, 3, 2, 1–different for 10 figure units. It really does aid in storage, and especially in game set up/take down and speeding up movement during game play. I don’t take this lightly; I hate remounting figures almost as much as building Swordfish bombers and Victrix Napoleonics.