Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cry 'HAVOC' and who let the dogs out? No, that's not right. Anyway, Havoc 28 was fun

One of the three American brigades sets up

I had to overcome a few obstacles to make it this year, but I did get to drop in for a few hours at the premier wargame convention in New England, Havoc XXVIII. Sponsored by Battlegroup Boston, the con was held, as it is every year, at Maironis Park in Shrewsbury, just across the river from Worcester, Mass.

This year I ran two games, took part in none. The morning session was a naval game that I'll detail in a future post, but the afternoon session was an American Revolution scenario called No school Like Old School which was a straight up slugfest among six similarly sized brigades -- three to a side, with Random setups.

Each brigade was similar in size, with a battalion of regular line infantry, a section of guns and in 5 of the 6 cases, a troop of dragoons. The sixth brigade (the Hessian) substituted a small battalion of grenadiers for the horse for the very good reason that I don't have any Hessian horse troops.

Each of the six players was given the option to draft one additional unit from among those available. For the British side the additional units amounted to a British grenadier battalion, a light infantry battalion and some Indians. For the Colonials the additional units were a battalion of light infantry, a battalion of roundball riflemen and a regiment of militia.

These 4-unit brigades seemed to work very well with players not otherwise familiar with the rules. They had enough to do, and had a chance to handle all arms (line, horse, artillery and special troops) and the game went briskly.

The American side edged out a win, holding 3 of the five buildings set as victory conditions -- with victory conceded on Turn 8. Losses were reasonably even, although the small cavalry troops took very heavy losses. By game end there were just two shot-up, broken troops remaining from the five starters. One gun section was overrun. Among the six line units, the Hessains were routed form the field and one of the two British was shaken, while two American line units were broken/shaken as well. On the other hand, all the special units were still active and in good order at game end, including the militia. Despite all being in the thick of things, only one of the six brigadiers had a horse shot out from under him.

I think I'll plan on sticking with the smaller brigades in future convention games. As tempting as it is to give the brigadiers a hefty army to play with (a standard brigade under the rules tends to have 5-6 units and an artillery battery) the smaller brigades seem to work better in practice with players unfamiliar with the rules.

As usual, there was a lot of good stuff going on at Havoc, with a lot of great scenario and awesome scenery. And it wasn't all wargames, either, as this photo of a car race game shows.

Talk at the con was that attendance seemed a bit off this year, but nearly all the games were well-stocked with players and overall there seemed to be an adequate crowd on Saturday. I can't speak to the Friday and Sunday events, however.


  1. Seth thanks for running games this year at Havoc. I was there for all five sessions and, attendance was off as you said. I have posted pictures of Havoc 2012 and, the Adventures of Hanghigh on my Face Book site at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3125247325045.137931.1080488909&type=3