Sunday, March 19, 2017


The "Sound Officers Call Crew" (namely, me along with the usual suspects Dave and Ken) were out in force at Cold Wars in Lancaster, PA wheeling and dealing in the flea market, and of course making a few famously bad die rolls when it counted most!

Blurry Pic Battle of Maida, 1806 Shako II Game!
 I got involved with some fellows who live and game in the local, Philadelphia area and was able to sit in and throw some dice as a French Division commander in the Battle of Maida.  That was great and I was disappointed when he came back early from his sojourn into the dealer's hall!  A great group of guys who I would like to meet up with sometime soon.

Maida Game
 The troops in this game were 15mm and were painted brilliantly.

Note the long line for people registering.  That line snaked through a hallway and into a reception room.  I will ALWAYS register online.  My combined wait was about 3 minutes...
 Next up on my agenda was to meet Brandon F, the author of "Hail of Fire" one of my favorite WWII rules sets.  Brandon is a great guy with seemingly endless patience who was able to coach a bunch of newbies through a half day's worth of gaming.

This game, at least to me, looked like a MASSIVE Hail of Fire game compared to my basement games.  Brandon was able to coach the players through and I was very impressed that they all stayed for the entire time which is good thing!  I think it speaks volumes about his rules.

I also had a selfish motive here as I wanted to watch the players go through revealing hidden units and I got alot out of it.

Brandon F (blue shirt) coaching some newbs through a Hail of Fire turn
 I had to also stop by and shake Mr David Ensteness' hand, the author of Et Sans Resultat, a truly "Grand Tactical" Napoleonic wargame where you are placed firmly in the boots of the Corps or Army commander.  He had a demo ESR game going for much of the day.

Note the clean lines of troops, almost taken out of a painting of the era.  I really love the narrative that these rules produce.  They are wholly unlike any other rules set out there.  David has really produced something that is genuinely unique.

 In the vendor hall, I found someone who had an entire wall of flowers for decorating scenery and terrain.  I had to take a picture for my wife, who actually chided me for not buying some...  how many flowers does a wargaming base need??

 And finally, my third reason for hitting up COLD WARS this year, apart from meeting Brandon and David E was to check out the Battlegroup Ponyri Station game!  These are the same guys who put on the epic "Road to Ponyri" game that Dave F and I played at historicon 2016.  This year they had a FULL HOUSE playing in the Ponyri game, which featured a SCALE model of the Ponyri Train Station as well as side tracks and plenty of buildings to recreate the "little stalingrad" fighting that was Ponyri during the Kursk offensive.  In the pic below, Kevin (standing w hand on hip) talking to Dave F who is facing his former opponent from Historicon!  (it's true, look at the pics!).  So it appears that some of these games bring out familiar faces.

Dave F talking to his former opponent on the Kursk battlefield!
Wow what a great convention.  I didn't spend as much as at Historicon, but I got some GREAT deals especially on 15mm lead.  (like whole bags of 15mm Old Glory French for 5 bucks!) and also got my Roman Cavalry for DBA painted beautifully I might add, for 15 bucks.

I bought some painted 15mm Bavarians and Brunswickers to round out my collection of painted figs for the upcoming CCN games and the ESR 1809 battles.

Picked up the Version 4 of FoW for free, and of course got a CHinese Food container loaded  stuffed with MDF bases.

So all in all, it was a great day where I saw plenty of familiar faces, which I'm finding out is a huge part of going to these conventions in the first place - to meet great, like minded people and play with toy soldiers for the day!

I will NOT be going to Historicon, but I do see a Fall In on the Horizon, and I'll probably be headed to the flea market again to sell my wares!


  1. Thanks for the nice report and photos. Looks like you're having a great time.

    1. Ditto!

      The ridge at Maida looks MASSIVE in the replay. Why on earth would the British leave such a fine defensive obstacle?

    2. AJ: It was a blast even though I didn't game nearly as much as I wanted to, I think it was fun talking to all of the gamers and seeing all of the awesome games going on. Very inspiring.

    3. Jonathan,
      It's interesting - the scenario called for both sides to start on "ATTACK" orders in Shako which means you HAVE to move towards a visible enemy at least half speed each turn. They left the ridge and settled everything with a melee in the valley.

  2. Looks like a great convention. Some great pics there mate.

    1. Yes it was a terrific time, Darren. Can't wait for FALL IN. Maybe we'll sponsor a Crossfire table?

  3. It was a great convention with a lot of action on a lot of tables!

    I wish we had gone back to watch the British Grenadier game. Unfortunately, it was so easily to get distracted as we walked from hall to hall, and floor to floor. Now thinking of that, I prefer Historicon's footprint with its less-sprawling lay-out

    1. I also forgot, I would have loved to have watched the ESR game in play as well. I hope David E was able to filter through my incoherent comments and take away that I am a huge fan of his efforts and product! His rules are genius and finally do what so many others have falsely claimed before...Let you play the big battles as the Army Commander.

    2. Yes action packed convention to be sure and a memorable one at that - from the second and third order effects from the pizza slice to the unmistakable smell that wafted in the air around "Mike the Miniatures Guy" who always seems to take my last dollar!

      ESR is a great game and I think when the 1809 supplement comes out, you'll get a taste of serious campaigning. I've got 7 "proper" Bavarian 24 figure Bavarian battalions, and for our purposes, that will give me 14 Bavarian ESR Battalions!

      This spring it will be a fight to remember!

      PS I was thinking about that British Grenadier game. I'd love to try those rules out, as well as GdB, and DKK.

  4. Great write up, and thanks for the shout out! I was thrilled to finally get to say hi and chat in person. We definitely need to figure out a time to game together!

    Side thought: If you're thinking of running Crossfire at a show and want to cheat, we could arrange with the organizers for you guys to use the same table I set up for HoF. I feel like all you'd have to do if throw out a couple extra forest bases and my HoF table would have made a great Crossfire table! ;)

    1. No worries Brandon. You put on a great game! We will have to link up sometime for sure. I'm all about using a nice looking table for Crossfire as well. Something to think about for the next convention!