Several times each year I go on the road to run events at game days and conventions. I have my favorites, most within easy driving distance and an overnight hotel stay. On Sunday, Jan. 27, I’ll make the trek up to Northern Virginia for the NOVAG Game Day at the Centreville Library, where I’ll host a Panzer Kids game. Then on Feb. 15-17 I’ll be in Williamsburg, VA, for the ODMS winter convention, Williamsburg Muster, where I’ll run the obligatory Panzer Kids game and a few other kid-friendly events. If you’re in the area come out and join us or the other folks running engaging miniature wargames.
My first stop has become an annual tradition: the game day for the Northern Virginia Gamers at the Centreville Library, 14200 St. Germaine Rd., Centreville VA 2021 (roughly where I-66 and Route 29 intersect). The event runs on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 1-5 p.m. I’m hosting my standard “intro to Panzer Kids” game, complete with dunes, oases, and a Tunisian village on fire. It can accommodate up to eight players, including one lucky kid who gets the single Tiger tank on the field. Along with my game two other events stand out as good for wargaming newcomers and kids: a Battle of Britain air skirmish using the intuitive Wings of Glory system; and the Battle of Waterloo using Richard Borg’s Commands and Colors: Napoleonics rules with painted miniatures and terrain rather than board game elements. Five other miniature wargames cover periods from the Dark Ages and the War of 1812 to World War II, Vietnam and modern actions. Participants also get a chance to win some wargaming loot in the door prize raffle. It’s a relaxed afternoon of wargaming, a chance to try something new for grognards and to give the hobby a try for complete newcomers. Hope to see you there.
My second appearance this year comes at Williamsburg Muster, Feb. 15-17. The Old Dominion Military Society (ODMS) hosts several events in the Williamsburg area each year. Each offers a relaxed setting with a good representation of dealers, several tournaments, a board game room, and numerous miniature wargame events for everyone, from kids to experienced players. Most games occur Friday night and all day Saturday, but Sunday’s a good day to hang out with friends and check out the offerings at the flea market. I’m scheduled to run three kid-friendly games over the weekend, though I always welcome older wargaming newcomers and interested grognards, who often provide a deeper perspective for other participants and a greater challenge:
“A Game which Will Live in Infamy,” Friday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m.: Despite my concerns (which I’ve discussed before) I’m running a scenario based on Pearl Harbor. Two Japanese Aichi D3A dive bombers – possibly with a fighter escort – try to attack the USS California at Pearl Harbor. Players also have the option of piloting one of the few planes the Americans could get airborne, or they might crew the California’s anti-aircraft guns. The game uses a streamlined version of the Wings of Glory rules, with model airplanes flying over a flat-terrain representation of a section of Pearl Harbor (though if I have time I’m tempted to craft some smaller flickering smoke clouds and oil slicks).
“Panzer Kids Desert Skirmish,” Saturday, Feb. 16, 10 a.m.: This is always a good time to run the Panzer Kids intro game, especially if I’m running a longer, more involved game in the afternoon (though I’m not this time). Many kids come to this con with their parents for the day, so a morning and afternoon game are good opportunities for them to join in some action.
“Rohirrim Patrol” Saturday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m.: A few months ago I acquired a wonderful collection of 54mm painted plastic Lord of the Rings figures, including 18 horsemen and 6 wargs with riders. I mounted the footsoldiers on sturdy fender washers for stability, then crafted some terrain to simulate the rock formations of Rohan’s easter plains. (I offered a well-illustrated look at them earlier at Hobby Games Recce.) I’m putting them to good use in this scenario using Osprey’s Dragon Rampant rules. King Theoden’s nephew Eomer leads a Rohirrim patrol near Rohan’s eastern downs to investigate reports of an orc warband with warg scouts wandering the area and threatening homesteaders.
I still have some prep work on two of these games – mostly player hand-outs and reference aids as well as promo signs – and have to look at what I’ve got to pack into my car (along with luggage and a nine year-old...), but the trip to Williamsburg always makes for a relaxing weekend of gaming, shopping, and hanging out. Hope to see you there.
If you know any regional events that might welcome my games, drop me a line by e-mail or leave a note in the comments below.