Monday, 8 July 2019

The G3 (Glasgow Games Group) Show, 2019

Introduction

It's been a number of years (5?) since there was a wargames show in Glasgow.  This has always been something of a surprise to me as Glasgow is a big place.  I've always felt certain that the city must have a sufficient mass of wargamers to support such an event.

Well, a week ago, the Glasgow Games Group put on a tabletop games show (both figures and board games) and it was excellent!  I really hope that this is the start of a regular event.

The Glasgow Games Gathering

The event was held on Saturday, 29th June 2019 at the Bellahouston sports centre.  G3 filled one large sports hall, though there were clearly many other activities going on in the centre at the same time (cafe, swimming pool, aerobics/zumba...).

So, what did we see?  Well, there were plenty of miniatures games - both display and participation - and also a lot of board games.  There were a fair number of traders, including some big names such as Warlord Games, Warbases, Pendraken Miniatures and Sarissa Precision.

As an interesting touch the hosts provided "collector cards" for visitors to fill in.  Basically, all the traders and game hosts had labels that they could stick to your card.  If you collected 5 stickers through a mixture of playing games and/or spending money then you could enter your completed card in a prize draw.  We didn't win anything, but nevertheless I thought it was an imaginative way of encouraging participation.

Game 1: Pancho Villa's Gold

We played several games during our day out.  In the first, my friend Steve and my son took command of a bunch of Mexican revolutionaries who were trying to steal some gold.  I was in charge of the Federales who were holed up in a lonely monastery with the aforesaid gold.  Here's what happened:

The Revolutionaries/Bandits surround a small monastery, in which a small detachment of Government troops are stationed.  Note that the attackers had more troops (cavalry, infantry and artillery) which aren't visible in this picture; they outnumbered the defenders somewhat.

Sombreros were passed around and dutifully worn by the attacking players

The government artillery was shot to pieces by riflemen in rough ground to the north-east.  Under this cover, a bunch of Villistas gained access to the church and got their grubby paws on part of the government gold.  However, a spirited counterattack by the last of the Federal infantry drove them off and recaptured the loot.

With both sides running out of troops, the Villista commander himself jumped over an unguarded wall and captured the other stash of gold.  Although the defending C-in-C (El Capitano) personally charged this intruder, the subsequent fight was inconclusive and the revolutionary general rode off into the sunset with at least some of the gold.

So, the end result was that the defenders held onto half the gold, whilst the bandits/Villistas/revolutionaries fled with the rest.  I'd say that was pretty much a draw...

Game 2: G.I.Joe

We first saw this game at Carronade 2019; only a few slight changes had been made.  One of these was that the gamesmaster had decided to forbid the destruction of objectives (we blew one up in our previous game ­čśâ).

This time, Steve took the Joes and my son commanded the bad guys (Hydra?  Spectre?  Ah, no: Cobra).

For the GI Joes, Scarlett managed to find an excellent overwatch position, right beside a high-value objective.  This was spoiled somewhat when a couple of Cobra footsoldiers burst in through the door and she totally failed to kick their butts.  The three of them were still locked in combat at the end of the game.

The GIs thought they had one of their back objectives secured, but the man on top of the pipes wasn't who they thought it was.  He was revealed to be Zartan, Cobra master of disguise!

In a final, desperate act, a GI with a rocket launcher fired point blank at Stormshadow.  The white-clad ninja did have to hit the deck to avoid the blast, but was otherwise unaffected.  More damage was done to the nearby GI personnel carrier!
Final score (from memory): GI Joes: 1 point.  Cobra: 6 points.  This was then a crushing victory for the bad guys.

This game is clearly a labour of love for the gamesmaster and we were all impressed by his knowledge of the subject matter and by his enthusiasm.  I think that my only suggestion for improvement would be that maybe the board could be a bit smaller, with not quite so many objectives.  Most of the common troopers only moved once, or even not at all, before the turn limit ran out.

Game 3: Gladiatores


Our last participation was to play a recently-kickstarted card game called "Gladiatores, Blood for Roses".  This represented arena combat in the Roman Empire and had all the classes of combatant that one might expect.  However, the level of detail that has been put into the game is impressive!  For one example, the individual fighters are modelled after named historical gladiators - though with a certain amount of artistic license, I imagine!

There are several parts of the whole that we didn't see because our game was limited to just one bout in the arena.  4 of us took part: my son and I as well as another son & father combination.  I took a grizzled, armoured veteran whose main special ability seemed to be that he could downgrade solid hits against him into light blows.

The gameplay was interesting: each time it was my turn I would choose an opponent and play an attack card from my ever-diminishing hand.  Each card had a list of possible other cards that could be used as a response, so if (for example) I played a Strike then my opponent would have to play a Block or Parry, or suffer the consequences of the strike.  These defence cards had their own responses in turn, so it was possible to have a whole sequence of blows, defences and counter-attacks until someone either could not or chose not to respond.

In addition to that, some of the cards had immediate side-effects, such as cheers from the crowd or extra wounds.  The possibilities seemed enormous and the narrative we played out was quite intense.

How did our game go?  The Amazon (other dad) started by hitting me.  In doing so, she showed herself to have some very dangerous abilities, so the other 3 of us ganged up to take her down.  Then the second lad and I traded blows; I came off worse and tasted the arena floor.  My son then took out my attacker and became champion.

All of us had placed bets before the bout commenced.  I bet on myself to win (well, why wouldn't you ­čśâ?), so I lost my money.  All of the other three players had bet on my son; they all came away with winnings.  I suspect there was some match-fixing going on...

Overall, this was a very intriguing game, with interesting play mechanics and a strong theme.  If you're interested in gladiatorial combat then I suggest you give Gladiatores a look.

Loot


Finally, a loot picture (well, it's traditional, isn't it?).  So, we have:
  • A Kill Team box.  This will be for my son's next birthday.
  • 2 MDF retail units/stores from Sarissa Precision.
  • Norman Knights from Conquest Games.  I feel another SAGA warband coming on...
  • A rather nice sandworm or sea monster from Gydran Miniatures.  Not because I need it but just because I liked it.
  • Bases and dice for my son.
  • A pair of brushes for me.
  • 2 dice and some gold (well, foil-covered chocolate really) from our first game.  My son already ate his...
So, overall it was a good day out.  A bit hot and stuffy, but that's just the time of year and can't really be helped.  If Glasgow Games Group run this show again next year then I will certainly try to be there!