David Dockter
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Opening Guns

A few years ago a small band of us decided getting together three times a year (WAM, WBC and OuterBanksCon) was NOT enough. Consequently, we added a fourth regular weekend of gaming and debauchery: SwampCon. A blog and an AAR from then: Why we game. and https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/17043/aar-6-9-february-20...

I hadn't been able to attend since 2013. Luckily, the stars aligned, and I found myself on a plane to Swampcon to meet up with 13 fellow wargamers.


Galaxy Trucker

I dropped my bags in the hallway, slapped a few backs and grabbed a beer. Jimbo said to sit down and play a game of Galaxy Trucker with him, George and Brooks. Not a bad game. Basically, you quickly build a spaceship (there is a timer and you're grabbing components in a pool where the others grab one) and then subject yourself to the gods of chaos (a bunch of random events). A number of good laughs as players' ships are ripped apart as you try to deliver cargo to some far off outpost in the universe.

The game served its purpose: allowed us to have a decent conversation while something was vaguely taking place in the background that you kind of gave a sh*t about (sort of like a mid season baseball game).


Pursuit of Glory

Next up was a war game (MUCH REJOICING!): PuG (Pursuit of Glory). Heinzmann is a master at this game. I've probably played 8 games and he has beat me like a rented mule; from both sides of the table. I hadn't played PuG since the last SwampCon I attended (2013). I love the game. The designers did a great job of taking Ted's PoG model and adding more chrome/story/dynamics to it. The two knocks I have against it is that there isn't much card angst and the Turks/Central Powers position feels too brittle.

There are not many people I enjoy playing a game with more than Heinzmann; a true gentlemen war gamer, that knows the rules to every game better than about anyone and is an absolute HOOT to push counters with. Add to the that his STRONG play of games: a tough opponent. I managed not to get annihilated early this time by BoB (he was the Allied Powers), but, the writing was on the wall by late mid game: Bob had taught me yet another PuG lesson.


No Peace Without Spain!

Next up was a game with another favorite sparring mate, Pete Reese aka Rainman. You better bring your A game when you sit across the table from Rainman. At WBC a few years back, Pete won 15 straight card driven war game matches; taking the gold rings in Paths of Glory and Hannibal. He was on his way to another ring with Wilderness War, but, graciously dropped out in the quarters when there was an odd number of participants for some reason.

Pete is dear friend that always manages to tack on a tour of a American Civil War battlefield when we go to WBC.

Pete introduced me to two games we don't play enough (but love): No Peace without Spain and Sea of Glory. We set up No Peace; I took the Empire and Rainman commanded the Bourbons. FUN GAME! We played it until the end of the mid game and decided, despite the Empire winning most of the battles, that the Bourbons would probably hold on.



Pete did point out that the sister game, Nine Years: The War of the Grand Alliance 1688-1697 , had just arrived at his house. When I got to NYC on Monday, I promptly ran to the Complete Strategist and scored a copy prior to the snowstorm. I plan to possibly play with one of my mates in the Big Apple this week. The fact that you can play both games linked somehow has us salivating.


A card found, mysteriously, under Rainman's chair

Proper Supplies for the Campaign


Foraging supplies at SwampCon primarily consists of pigs, cows and assorted alcohols


Dinner time!


Breakfast: pork and eggs

Food, drink and what not are out of this world at SwampCon. The boys have really picked up their game since we started (although from the start our foraging supplies have always been outstanding). Jimbo is an INCREDIBLE host. Hell, he even cooks made to order eggs some mornings for a dirty bakers dozen of us.


Quartermaster General : oh, how I cursed this game

I finally managed to play QG. Boy, did I detest the game (I hate A&A and similar things). Didn't mind that I thought the game was flop, since, I was laughing so much with my mates about whatever it was we were talking about.


A game where aspiring Matt Damons compete to make Mars into something

I almost always hate euro's...soulless, lack of chaos/random events with no way to really smash someone, while dweebs concurrently try to build their precious little machines or solve some silly puzzle watch paint dry affairs. There are a very rare few (Puerto Rico) I'd play rather than work in a salt mine... a few. The Mars game was not totally horrible, due to lots of moving parts. But, sadly, no way to muck with the fellow Matt Damons.


The U.S. Civil War has been a hot game in our tribe Our group, specifically RAINMAN, Jimbo, George, Heinzmann and myself played it A LOT when it came out. We developed house rules and posted AARs. One is here: Behold: A Spanking New, Beautiful, Big & Meaty OP Strategic American Civil War game: 1st MN Bootcamps U.S.Civil War NOV 6, 2015 ...there are 2 others.


...and oh do we dig Polis: Fight for the Hegemony . An AAR here I did awhile ago: Prancing in Peloponnese: 1st MN Gives Polis a Punt: Some Gopher Thumbs Up: March 19, 2016

PAX!


Another SwampCon perennial favorite (as is about any Phil Eklund game): Pax Porfiriana

Damm, we love PAX! Played a great game of it Sunday afternoon. George played it very close the vest and grabbed the gold. Much fun and the usual rich narrative Eklund experience.

We did talk about the game that preceded it: Lords of the Sierra Madre (second edition) A few years ago, I put together a package to play the game that I posted on Consimworld: http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?233@@.1dcfcaab!enclosure=.1...



And, if you are interested, I had Eklund on my podcast - worth a listen: Guns, Dice, Butter



The Napoleonic Wars Cage Match



Managed to talk Pleva, Payne and Doughan into a 4P TNW (The Napoleonic Wars...or NAPPY WARs for short) game. Was a fabulous, balanced game although France got the real short stick of the cards (the coalition keeping hitting "drawn more cards"). Doughan is a VERY strong gamer and he totally has the constitution to be the evil french; he doesn't fail morale checks. We started the game with a random determination of sides. I LOVE playing the French or the Russians. Not to fond of the Brits. Austria? Sometimes I don't mind them, but, when playing with 3 strong opponents, it is likely to be a long, rough game. I managed to draw Austria. zombie

But, before I dive into the game, a word about Nappy Wars...


NAPPY WARs resides in the card driven war game genre


Curtis inspired to give a memorable speech at 2014 WBC NAP wars event

I find it truly impressive that nothing has displaced TNW in 15 years as the go to multiplayer one long evening game us war gamers default to. Here I Stand comes close, but, something about TNW better fits the bill to smash, stab and trash talk. Sadly, nothing besides those two games. I supposed you could stretch and say The Republic of Rome and Shanghai Trader is a wonderful boof your neighbor game. But, a decent poly/mil somewhat complex beefy game with enough nobs, levers and chrome to keep us engaged for one long evening? A design desert.


This has been the go to trash talkin' somewhat beefy shits and giggles multi player war game for us since SwampCon began: The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition)


France (left) contemplating a lunge for Vienna...or not

The game begin with Jimbo France attempting to catch a flatfooted Austrian force. No luck; Austrians ran away. Brit first play? Rothschilds...the cards got worse for France from there. Russians came quickly to Austria's aid. Brits cleaned out the Atlantic. Austrians even managed to diplomatically snag Turkey and launch the first of four versions of the vaunted Ottoman Expeditionary Force into Italy! At the end of the first turn, Austria got the peace roll needing a 6 to win. Drums rolled...people shouted. Austria tossed a die into the tower. For a brief second it looked like a 6. As the coalition was just beginning to fist pump and hoot the die stopped rolling. No 6. It was going to be at least a two Manhattan game.


36 Manhattans consumed when I stopped counting...


The front line

For some reason, wicked Manhattans were the drink of this con. As I began sipping my second one of the game, I gazed at the front line in Central Europe. 15 forces stood matched up. Jimbo, being the outstanding strategy player, stood steady as a stonewall. He did manage to initiate a pesky Irish rebellion and cause some British heartburn for a bit with an insolent Danish fleet.

However, the french line cracked open in Italy when the 2nd O.E.F, along with Austrian leader Charles, went medieval on Davout and vaporized his accompanying motley french crew. Russia diplomatically snagged Prussia and opened up the northern front. Napoleon occupied a strong center position, but did not commit to either front until late in the turn. Turn ended with Austria again tossing a die to claim an early rare victory. Again, the dice gods laughed and the game continued. Time for a third Manhattan...


Deep thought...

Turn 3 opened with a combined Austrian Turkish force moving thru the alps on southern France. In the north, the Prussia and Russian army inched forward. Brits were able to put down the Irish and begin to think about grabbing some keys in Spain. At that point, the Austria attempting to boldly take Paris. In fact, Charles had numbers. Sadly, he muffed his battle rolls and the lowly french held on to their capital city. As soon as the battle was resolved, the Prussian revealed the Capitulation card and stated, "Well, Dr., if you would have captured Paris, I would have played the card; you earned it. However, you are a loser."

Brits managed to grab some Spanish keys and won the peace roll. As the crowd looked on, British commander Pleva caressed the die and gave it a good toss. No luck. At that point, we decided to stop the game and begin the late night silly game session.

I had an outstanding time with NAP WARs, Jimbo (France), Pleva (Brit) and Payne (Russia); one of the best groups you will be fortunate enough to push NAP WAR counters with.


Charles yells "Time to go Kirk!"


...and he makes his bold attack on Paris!

Deep Sea Diving for Dollars


Deep Sea Adventure was the silly game of the con


...a master would school some grasshoppers in the art of the short con

So, I occasionally taken a ration of sh*t at SwampCon. This time, the subject (as always) was my fanatically aggressive risk seeking play style. The boys said the game for me this weekend would be something I think called Deep Sea Adventure. Basically the game involves one diving for treasure; the deeper you go, the better the treasure. The catch is that all players share the same oxygen supply. Go deep, you use up a lot. Worse than that, some dudes run back to the ship before you do, use up the oxygen and you get left floating on the bottom. So, the boys said I would never make it back to the ship; I take too many risks.

We played an intro game on Thursday night. The boys were correct; I sucked at it. Well, that's what I led them to believe... devil

So, Sunday night rolls around and the NAP WARs game has ended. The mob then shouted out for Deep Sea Adventure. So, we went searching for a copy. Unfortunately, the only remaining copy was with Rainman, who, had passed out earlier. So, I went into his room looking for it. Rainman stirred and said, "What the hell are you looking for dr?" "Deep Sea" I answered. Rainman got out of bed and produced the copy. I then brow beat him into joining us; clinching the deal with, "Hey, we're going to play for money". Not being able to pass up a chance to take money from children, Pete said, "I'm in!".


Just look at the suit (big black super diving outfit) Rainman is sporting!

We had to find another diver piece for Pete, so, we raided a game and got him a BIG BLACK SUPER DIVING SUIT piece. We then discussed what type of wagers should be made. We agreed upon:

1) $1 entry fee

2) $1 each time you failed to make it back to the boat

3) $1 if you ended the game in the stink hole (a pip before the boat)

4) $1 if your name was RAINMAN

5) ...and I think some other pool builders (Manhattans had messed with our ability to discern rules by then)


...heading deeper...and deeper

Game was close, but, I managed to squeak out a victory and dish out a healthy amount of trash talk payback. Haven't laughed so hard in awhile at the twist and turns the game took. Will definitely picked this one up: a good party game (especially with the wagering - which could use a few more tweaks).

After Deep Sea, we retired for a night cap or two to appropriately commemorate the ending of another successful SwampCon.

BIG THANK YOU TO JIMBO for hosting again and for all the boys showing up. Till next year...


Victory...


...and the appropriate SwampCon response

Snap! What didn't get played, but should have been played...



We really wanted to get a good game of Caesar at Alesia (one of my favorites) going. We played it a few years ago at OuterBanksCon and had a rousing game. Sadly, we didn't get it started since I arrived a day late.



We also REALLY wanted to do a EAA boot camp. The game has been getting a lot of play at my club, First Minnesota Historical Wargame Society We talked about it number of times over the weekend, but, then Manhattans began to conquer the teams attention span. Next year!



Another gem that should have seen some SwampCon love was AtA. Turns out a few of the blokes were at Niagara Con in JAN and could have learned from one of the best, Nels T. Nels T and I played a lot of it when it first came out. Fabulous game: dripping in flavor/chrome/story...many "fronts" to fight.



Wanted to play test my Triumph of Chaos v.2 (Deluxe Edition) with Heinzmann, especially since I just got the map art (I'm biased, but Terry Leads did an outstanding job), but, we ran out of time: too many damm games to play at SwampCon!


Snippet of the map for ToCv2



A number of us have play tested Pericles. It is rumored to be on a slow boat from China at the moment and is expected any day. We should have brought one of our play test copies to Florida.


Designer of Pericles and sporting his outfit he wore when auditioning for the Village People - back in the day

...and there were more games we wanted to play that didn't get on the table: three in particular: The Halls of Montezuma , Liberty Roads and The Korean War ; LOVE that game.


1st Mn Returns to Korea: The Glory of the Red Bulls, But the Sweet Taste of Red Victory: Oct 24, 2014


...Too many games - too little time. cry



Wrap Up


Game of the con...

Can't think of a better way to spend a long weekend than unplugging from the net, forgetting work (although I had to duck away for a day in the middle of SwampCon), spending time with good mates, eating/drinking well and playing a whole lot of wargames and silly games. Life is good when at SwampCon.


SwampCon 2013
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Robert Heinzmann
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Weston
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DR, great AAR! Come on Wednesday next year. Would love to push ToC 2.0!
 
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Steven Pleva
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Great AAR, DR! Always fun to dice it up with you and the gang...
 
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Herr Dr wrote:

A game where aspiring Matt Damons compete to make Mars into something

I almost always hate euro's...soulless, lack of chaos/random events with no way to really smash someone, while dweebs concurrently try to build their precious little machines or solve some silly puzzle watch paint dry affairs. There are a very rare few (Puerto Rico) I'd play rather than work in a salt mine... a few. The Mars game was not totally horrible, due to lots of moving parts. But, sadly, no way to muck with the fellow Matt Damons.

I am not a big fan of the game either, but your last statement (which I've put in bold type) is not true. Just wait until some yoyo crashes an asteroid into Mars and destroys all your hard-earned greenery! Or creates a carnivore that eats up all your peaceful little herbivores. Or...

P.S. I sure hope you can put out some more episodes of Guns, Dice, Butter some time. It's still my favorite podcast.
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That looks incredible...all of it...

Though...the map snippet for ToC2 has me drooling.
 
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Marty Sample
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David, if you like PAX PORFIRIANA, you're gonna love PAX RENAISSANCE if you haven't played it yet.

I am not a huge Euro lover, but I do like Terraforming Mars. Unlike most other games where you are building an "engine" the game doesn't end as soon as it reaches its peak - you usually get to get it going and crank out some big advances towards the end .

And as Eric points out, you can screw with your fellow potato farmers, its just not as obvious the first go around. In my first game, I discarded an asteroid because it was too expensive at the time; later in the game I could have easily afforded it. There are a number of expansions in the works, which I imagine will increase the conflict.
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David Dockter
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Thanks Marty. Yes, the boys tried Pax Renaissance for the first time: it looked fascinating. I've picked up a copy, along with the expansion.

Another game that always get some SwampCon play is Stronghold . I think Doughan and JR held off Heinzmann and George's orcs.



Also saw JR and Heinzmann pushing Normandy '44 cardboard.



Also as a follow-up, I played Quartermaster General: 1914 last night at JR's. To my great surprise, the game wasn't as horrible as I thought the WW2 version was at SwampCon: I can actually see playing it again...maybe...under protest.

And, oh my, does JR have a wargame lair: wow!

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Marty Sample
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Glad to see someone else didn't like Quartermaster General, I thoroughly hated it. I can live with wonky history in exchange for simple rules, but the game play has zero decision making - the game I played, each turn it was painfully obvious which of the three cards you had to play.

Stronghold bored me. Maybe it was the fantasy setting instead of the medieval setting I was expecting. And its basically worker placement, yawn.

Did you play PAX PAMIR ? Only played it twice. Between the obscure theme and the closed loop nature of the economy, I didn't like it as much as the other two PAX games, but plan on giving it another shot.
 
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Jim Doughan
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It was a Stronghold game of Legend!

Gentleman Payne and I won a 1VP victory over the human defenders. Our weapons of choice were catapult, siege tower and battering ram.

Heinzman and Roberto might have won if they hadn't committed a few unsavory deeds ...

That game grows on me every time I play it.
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