Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Part Two: Gary Con VIII Pictures

Already Day Two.  By the time I even paid attention, Days Three and Four came and went in a blur.  I was having way too much fun to take notice (I didn't *want* to).  Good thing I took pictures.  Dashing down hallways and up the stairs, randomly peeking into VIP game rooms, snapping shots here and there, catching a game whenever I could, hugging old friends, scribbling the occasional autograph, or grabbing some food along the way: all in a day's work.  Sleep would wait another day.  Onward!

Another days begins.  Behold dawn from one of the rooms at the Grand Geneva.  It's cold out, well below freezing, and wolves howl in the distance (they missed the convention), but this won't stop hours of hot and furious gaming just a few steps away. Thanks to Wendy Swanson Lord for this image.
Someone caught me in flagrante delicto while I plotted my fiendish move. I didn't "have a bad feeling about this," but the other side sure should've...  I ran Admiral Akbar, and my grinning partner on the right had Leia.  We'd just blown up an imperial corvette and were looking forward to cornering the now-unescorted imperial star destroyer foolishly bearing on us.  Leia was aboard the torpedo attack ship, playing very, very aggressively.  Akbar on the fleet's capital ship, ordered broadside after broadside, while shouting "It's a trap!" (Always wanted to say this...)  The alliance thus hammered their imperial foe, skillfully dodging a Gladiator attack vessel which never got a shot off on our ships.  Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker ambushed and killed Darth Vader and, with the rest of the X-Wings squadron, annihilated the imperial fleet's entire complement of tie-fighters.  A great victory for the alliance!
This is an earlier game.  I was on the imperial side... again.  This time we ran two Gladiator attack vessels and an imperial raider against a Corellian corvette and Mon-Calamari cruiser.  Hmmm... in retrospect this was rather bold of us.
Here's the imperial fleet's initial line up.

Another close look.
Early in the battle. I had wisely mounted a special add-on option for the Gladiator, allowing the figure to move and shoot once (as opposed to the standard game sequence of shooting first and then moving.)  Very, very, very convenient for an attack ship fitted with mostly short-range armament.  Obviously our strategy was most aggressive, seeking to engage the alliance cruiser at point-blank range whenever possible.
As it turned out, we shot past the Corellian corvette and rushed the alliance cruiser, suffering grievous damage in the process.  We both delivered our attacks as intended, gleefully rolling fistfuls of dice, while the cruiser struggled to squeeze past a nearby planet and an asteroid field.  Meanwhile our tie-fighters wreaked havoc upon rebel squadrons.  Thankfully, I had picked a combination of leaders, including Darth Vader, Maul-Wotzisbukett, and another, who swarmed the X-Wings and overwhelmed them.  This was the game-winning decision.  Our raider was busy cherry-picking stray probes (for extra victory points) scattered on the map.  By all rights, we should have lost this game had it lasted a few more rounds, since one of our Gladiators had come a hair short of utter destruction.  We were saved by the galactic gong and escaped a quasi-certain doom!  Stronger yet the Dark Side was...   
Here's a game I didn't get to play, but intend to do so next year or at Nexus if it's there.  More WW1 air combat!  Guess I'm an aerospace nut.
This is a closeup of a player's dashboard. The game master made those from wood, small pegs helping keep track of various useful things while moving miniatures. Great toy value here!
The models are mounted on articulated stands and are large enough to be observed clearly across a large table. 
I may be wrong, but I think these are an Albatross and a Spad
...ach, ist das ein Canari mit zwei Maschinengewehre, ja?
Here stands the illustrious warrior who managed to set the engine of my Fokker Dr. I on fire, at least for a while.  I did survive the ordeal as it were. Nonetheless, the referee kindly rewarded his bold action with a set of miniatures for use with Wings of Glory.  I'll second the decision wholeheartedly.  Notice the recipient's happy grin.
The great warrior with his mom, who happened to be flying on the opposite side.
A chance encounter with old friends Dave "Zeb" Cook (on left) and Merle Rasmussen who happened to be walking down the hallway.  You have to jump on such occasions, since new the convention facilities are more spread out than at the previous location, making it harder to catch everyone.  Love the new place, but one now needs to plan much more carefully. 
Here's Tim Kask whispering (who knows what) in Darlene's ear.  Hmmm...  Just got noticed, me thinks.
Well, I should say, this was most unexpected.  This is Duke Seifried, who goes way back to early years of TSR.  I originally connected with Duke in 1983, soon after which he parted ways with TSR.  My fondest souvenir was when I visited his palatial residence near Beloit WI. He'd installed a permanent sand table in his game room.  If I recall correctly, we ran a battle inspired from the Brits vs. Sudanese fuzzy-wuzzies.  Priceless.  That was my very first exposure to tabletop miniatures games.
Uncle Duke doing what he most enjoys.  Some things never change.
Back in the Dealers' Room -- Larry & Betty Elmore.
Can't have a decent game convention without an exhibitor offering a true gamer's table.
A quick dash by the Game Library before opening hours...
I picked a quick game Saturday morning, a blend between Car Wars and Wings of Glory (as far as maneuvers were concerned).  Definitely in the style of Mad Max: desert cops vs. road warriors.  Here's their land ship, a converted double-decker bus, armored, and bristling with ad-hoc armament. What a great way to start the day... already Saturday morning.  NOOOOO!
More "Car Wars of Glory!"
Maneuver cards, Wings of Glory in style, which is sort of odd, considering much of the game takes place on a single stretch of road. You can go off onto the dirt on the sides, but then maneuvers get a difficulty penalty.  It's easier to spin out of control on loose dirt or sand.
With each maneuver card played, the driver gets a chance to shoot one or more weapons.
Here comes trouble.  Earlier, Lt. Max McCalliber had all the trouble in the world keeping his car straight on the road... and he was an ace driver.  Hmmmm...  must have spilled his morning coffee on his lap or dropped his doughnut I guess.  He looked up over the dashboard, came to a screeching halt, successfully I might add, and opened fire.  Habeas corpus?  Nah.  Open carry?  You betcha' dirt-encrusted honey buns!  Shoot first, swear later, and to heck with the blasted doughnut.
Notice the heavily-armored squad cars.  I wonder where they get their fuel from.  You'd think that in a post-apocalyptic environment this might be an issue.  Nah... never mind.  Guzzle away, man.  There will always be a big fat tanker parked just past the next dune for the team daring enough to capture it.  Yee-haw!
Better click on this image to see it in full-size.  This shot was captured from a nearby crag. Some one-eyed, ratty, dust-monger was there with his rusted old beat-up camera.
Meanwhile on the bus.  Oh look!  There's a crazy guy wearing a cow's skull.  No bull... He just sits there, producing methane to boost the engine.  Right.  It's Saturday and I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep. 
An example of movement cards played.  The game ended much too soon, as we ran out of time.  We'll never now if Sgt. Fats Dominguez actually rammed that bus's smelly caboose, and what might have come out of that.  Cough, cough.  (Groan...)
It's the end of a great convention, one of my best.  Too bad.  So sad.  All best things must come to an end.  The sun is up, and stragglers enjoy a last few minutes of well-earned respite in the lobby's lounge.  The snow of the day before Gary Con has but all melted away, and a string of 50s and 60s is now due to follow.  I liked it better before.  See you all next year! 
Click Here for Part One