Last Saturday was the date for Claymore, one of the 2 large wargaming shows in Scotland that I try to attend each year (the other is Carronade, held in Falkirk during May). As is my custom for several years, I took my middle son (A.); he's turning out to be very keen on gaming days!
It's about a 2 hour drive from Helensburgh to Edinburgh. I don't enjoy it much, but it must be tolerated if we're to have such a day out. 'nuff said.
We reached the Edinburgh College venue some 20 minutes before the official opening time. However, we were able to walk right in; plenty of folk were already there and we were by no means the first visitors. It's nice not having to queue!
The first thing we did was to buy some tombola tickets from the SSAFA charity stall that was near the front entrance. Of course, all of my tickets were losers - which I didn't mind at all as I regarded the small amount of purchase money as a donation anyway. A. then defied the odds by winning on 3 of his 4 chances. The prizes were mostly books on obscure subjects that will probably not be of much interest to us, but if nothing else this good fortune set us in an upbeat mood for the rest of the day!
Game 1: Relic Knights
We encountered Relic Knights at Carronade earlier in the year and enjoyed the game very much. The Glasgow Games Group (G3) were back again; this time demonstrating the new, not-quite-released (?) 2nd (or is that 1.5th?) edition. Would we like another game? You bet!
So, I took some Star Corsairs. I had an evil pirate chief and his mermaid cypher (familiar), a fallen knight and some scurvy underlings. Oh, and a large energy cannon! Our goal was to raid the planet; our objectives were an arcade game and a chocolate-vending machine. Hmm, I think I might have aimed for something a little higher myself - but everyone has to start somewhere.
A. was defending; he had a poser hero (come on: anyone who wears a trench coat over a bare chest is a poser, even if it's a white trench coat. Or they're a pervert, but that's not a line I wish to follow...) He also had a couple of gals with big spanners, a bunch of street thugs and a very annoying princess dressed in a white skirt along with her rabbit-like cypher/familiar. His goal was to reach the communication towers and call for help (what - don't they have mobile phones on this planet?)
- My knight flew over a building to try to ransack the coin box from the arcade machine, but he was stymied by A.'s thugs.
- The cannon gained a good, solid hit on the enemy princess; when the smoke cleared she wasn't there any more. I hadn't killed her, though; she'd merely been whisked away to safety by her cypher. Still, A.'s forces were a bit more circumspect after that!
- My cannon scored several more crippling hits, but didn't quite wipe out the enemy street thugs (the last model in the unit was left on 1 hit point)
- The pirate chief strode forward and took out the poser in the white trench coat with a single attack.
- Princess Malya shot my fallen knight in the back and felled him.
- After scoring 1VP for stealing some chocolate from the vending machine, my raiders traded blows with the pit crew. I came off worse and lost my unit, but the cannon got revenge by obliterating the victors.
- The last remaining street thug moved round the back of the secondary communication tower and spent 2 turns calling for help, despite my mermaid/cypher's repeated psychic attempts to dislodge her.
The final turn was really nail-biting and could have gone differently if my pirate chief had been able to reach the comms tower and interrupt the call for help (he was 1/4" too far away). End result: 4VP to the Cerci Speed Circuit (defenders) and 3VP to the Star Corsairs. A. steals a win from under my nose!
Game 2: Fury
Another game that we had seen at Carronade 2017 (but hadn't been able to get close to) was Fury, put on by the Leuchars Veterans. They've run some very entertaining games in the past and I was keen to give this a go.
For anyone who hasn't seen the film ("Fury", of course), I'm not going to give too much away. Suffice it to say that we had 4 Shermans versus 1 Tiger I, facing each other across a mostly-empty field. Not really a good position to be in..
The Shermans were distributed randomly; I was given control of the mighty Fury whilst A. had the lowly Lucy Sue. We charged forwards as fast as possible, laying down as much smoke as we were able.
The Tiger manoeuvred in a strange way and we ended up forming a firing line behind it at very close range. I managed to set its engine alight before the other 76mm-armed Sheman blew the turret off. Total casualties to the Americans? Lucy Sue lost a track and could only turn right.
We came away from this game feeling slightly dissatisfied. The models were beautiful; the premise for the game was reasonable and it flowed quickly enough. However, something didn't quite gel. Perhaps the movement rules were a bit too fluid and predictable, whilst the shooting rules were very random (requiring a series of high rolls to achieve anything much - not even much less for the Tiger!) I don't regret participating - far from it - but it could have been better, I think...
We ate our lunch outside in the courtyard, where there was plenty of seating and a little bit of occasional sunshine. Having brought a packed lunch with us, we didn't have to wait in queues or suffer the indignities of show catering (though to be fair, I didn't even look at what the on-site canteen was selling. They might have changed from the all-chips-and-pies fare they had on the last time I bought anything there, several years ago).
Game 3: Indonesia
The East Neuk Irregulars put on a small game with custom rules, based around a section of SAS troopers in Indonesia trying to reach a remote rendezvous in the 1960s. This was a very lightweight affair, but quite fun all the same. A. and I each took a squad of 4, but we decided to take different routes through the jungle.
- One of my men fell down a ravine and was lost.
- My remaining 3 men slaughtered quite a lot of local wildlife (one very dead pig, plus a clouded leopard which tried to attack me). Note that I scared off the Orangutans; none of them were hurt.
- I lost another man in a firefight with Indonesian militia and a third to an ambush.
A. looked to be doing better for much of the route:
- A native guide led him into a militia patrol, which he managed to evade.
- One of his men succumbed to snake bite.
- Another man was lost in a firefight with militia.
- At the last moment, A. lost a third man to an ambush.
So, by the time we reached the opposite corner and the helicopter arrived, both squads had been reduced to 1 man each. Hardly a resounding success, though apparently the record in this game is just 2 survivors from a single squad. Hmm, I think it may be a bit heavily weighted against the SAS! Ah, well - at least both of us escaped.
We finished relatively early, in the mid afternoon. After chatting to some old friends, both A. and I felt tired and I had a long drive home as well. Perhaps more to the point, we'd done some shopping and played some games. There weren't any other participation games that we were itching to try, so we decided to quit while we were ahead.
Obligatory loot list:
- Spray varnish (I always get this at shows now. Since Royal Mail decided that they wouldn't carry aerosols, the only other option is a courier. I'm not a big fan of courier firms delivering to domestic premises; they are expensive and seem to make quite a lot of mistakes).
- Arab heavy cavalry. A. wants me to start a Saracen warband to oppose his fledgling crusader force for The Crescent and the Cross rules. I haven't really got the free time to do this right now, but I bought some figure anyway...
- Some Pulp victims. Who doesn't need a model of a woman tied between 2 stakes, about to be sacrificed to a volcano/giant ape/dinosaur/whatever unless the hero can reach her in time?
- 3 tombola prizes, still with the tickets attached: 2 books and some eau de toilette.
- The current edition of White Dwarf. I'll flip through it before A. spirits it away.
- Purple paint. Because I need some purple for a couple of current projects...
- Some certificates, rulers and other freebies from various participation games.
And there we have it, another year, another Claymore. Time well spent.