Thursday, July 25, 2019

AWI Action at Historicon 2019

More AWI Excitement - With Cows!
The 2019 version of the HMGS Historicon Convention was held this July 10-14 at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, Pa.  This was the first time at the new location after years at the old Lancaster Host and several years in Fredericksburg Va.  Of course, Lard America was there in full force.  First, are a few remarks about the new venue and Lard America's contribution and then onto my games.

I did not stay at the hotel attached to the convention center and was fortunate to have my wife act as a chauffeur.  So, my experience with loading/unloading, parking and various logistical issues are probably a little different than other convention goers and gamemasters.  I ran my AWI game, "A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow! back-to-back on Thursday, the opening day of the convention.  My wife parked in one of the spaces on Queen Street, right outside an entrance to the convention center.  My son and I quickly unloaded the car so my wife could vacate the space.  There were several HMGS convention volunteers around the entrance and they were quite helpful with directions, holding the doors, etc.  We were there before 8AM and were able to borrow a cart and transport all the game stuff up to the third level (Heritage Room) in one trip.

That evening it took us three trips to bring all the stuff down (no cart), but again volunteers were helpful with doors and my wife was able to pull in a spot right outside the doors on Queen Street.  When we came back for shopping in the Dealer area on Friday and Saturday, we parked once in the attached garage and once in a garage about a block away.

The 'Stuff' in question
Overall, I enjoyed the new location.  It was nice having everything under one roof.  The gaming area that I was in (Heritage Ballroom), was spacious with good lighting.  The noise level was on par with the Distlefink Ballroom at the Host and in my opinion, less than the main gaming area at Fredericksburg.  I heard tales of bugles and bagpipes serenading gamers but did not get to experience that during my games.  There were a few hiccups at the site.  The up escalators bit the dust early in the convention; the elevators worked but one sounded like a roller coaster being pulled up that first hill of an amusement park ride.  Ultimately, the HMGS staff did an excellent job in setting-up and running the convention.

As for Lard America, our gamemasters ran over 20 TFL games including Chain of Command, Sharp Practice, What A Tanker!, Kiss Me Hardy and Dux Britanniarum. We were located in the Heritage Ballroom on the third level, right inside the entrance by the elevators.  I think this was a great location, (there was a lot of foot traffic since we were close to the door, but it did not interfere with my game).  Here are four photos from Lard America games, (unfortunately I did not get photos of the other great games including some PELA winners):

Patrick Berkebile's Chain of Command Game
Mitch Abrams' Big Chain of Command Game
Ed Harding's What A Tanker! Game
John Emmett's Chain of Command Game
Now, onto "A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow!", a scenario for Sharp Practice.   I ran the game on Thursday, from 10:00-2:00 and 3:00-7:00.  While, both games were sold out only two of the registered gamers showed up (for each game).  Fortunately for both games, there were plenty of stand-by players and each game had its full compliment of 4 players.

This scenario was originally run at Cold Wars, and with a few modifications resulting from that game, was ready for Historicon.  For background, the game was set in the southern theater (North Carolina), in 1781. The objective of the game was for the British player to 'capture' a small herd of cows and lead them back to the British lines.  This was to be accomplished in part by a group of Queen's Rangers taking a bateau across a lake to the cow pasture.  In the first game, as a result of savvy use of the Barstow's Rifles by the American players, the Queen's Rangers were never able to herd up the cows and instead got pinned down in the pasture.  The rest of the troops slugged it out toe-to-toe elsewhere on the field of battle and basically played to a tie.  Result for game #1:  American Victory!  

In the second game, things started out as usual, with the Queen's Rangers launching the bateau across the lake and heading for the cows while the 42nd Foot, 23rd Foot and Hessian Jaegers took on the Maryland Continental Line and Virginia State Line (the North Carolina militia got bogged down trying to ford the river).  In this game the Queen's Rangers made it across the lake faster than their counterparts in the first game and were able to round-up the cows and head them back to British lines.  The American riflemen (Barstow's Rifles), moved slower and ended up getting caught between the Queen's Drovers (I mean Rangers), and another group of Queen's Rangers.  It was not a pretty sight.  Result for game #2:  British Victory!

And some photos:

Photo of table during set-up

Some scenes from the game table:

Business as usual at the Dairy
The stable and blacksmith shop
Tending the garden
The Fish are biting today!

The Opposing Forces:  for King George III

British Deployment Point
42nd Foot led by Major Hugh McFerrin and overall
British Commander Colonel Timothy Urquart (mounted)
42nd Regiment of Foot - the Black Watch leads the British on to the field of battle
Hessian Jaegers trying to get organized
23rd Regiment of Foot - the Royal Welch Fusiliers march past the graveyard
Queen's Rangers crossing the lake

The Opposing Forces:  for the Colonists

The American Commander:  Colonel William Bond
Maryland Continental Line getting ready to fire on the British
North Carolina Militia crossing the river
Barstow's Rifles gathering behind the barn
Barstow's Rifles find themselves caught between two groups
of Queen's Rangers and some annoyed cows.  Not an optimal
So that's it for Historicon 2019.  Lard America will be back at Fall-In this November and I'll return with a new, non Cow-centric AWI scenario for Sharp Practice.

This is not a Mad Cow - just a cow with issues


  1. Great report and outstanding pictures. I angled your game went well.

  2. Thanks Mark. Yes, it went well. I made some changes after Cold Wars which helped and would actually make a few more changes if I run it again, but overall I was pleased and the players seemed to enjoy it. Thanks again.


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