Saturday, March 15, 2008

ChimaeraCon 2008--San Antonio, Texas, USA

ChimaeraCon 2008 is over, as far as “The Big Battalions” are concerned. And it was a complete success! Unless you are a Fedoran, that is.

C-Con has a larger portion of the Crossroads Mall Convention than last year, providing plenty of space for all of the various events. Sadly, turnout looked to be down. My guess is that Spring Break started this weekend and lots of people left town.

I showed up plenty early to see the sights and visit with the club members. My game wasn’t scheduled until 1400 but in another unfortunate turn for C-Con, the games scheduled for my table were cancelled due to the Game Master being injured. I took advantage, however, and set up my game early--by 1100.

My idea was that I could take my time and visit with passers-by. I also hoped to recruit some players since there was not a single person pre-registered for the game. Soon, the table looked like this:

My plan worked wonderfully. Maybe too wonderfully.

The scenario was indeed CS Grant’s “Table Top Teaser 3: Advance Guard.” I planned on 4 players initially, but had units for all of the possible reinforcements. Each side had 5 infantry battalions, 4 cavalry regiments, a jager or grenadier detachment, and a couple battalion guns. Infantry had 48 figures each, and cavalry had 24.

A number of club members stopped by, and a surprising number of non-historical gamers did also. I attribute that to the sheer “Wow!” factor of big battalions of “28mm” figures. One of the con’s guests, actor Marc Singer of “BEASTMASTER” and “V” stopped and asked a few questions.

At least nine people decided to play. My first reaction was “Uh oh!”

So I threw out the scenario and just threw all my troops on the table. There were two small brigades of cavalry on each end, with two infantry brigades in the center.

None of the players had played BAR before. Two, Lloyd of the Zolms-Braunfels blog and Rusty of the local club, had copies of the rules. Rusty even brought his Austrian battalions and a couple guns…but there was no room on the table!

At 1400 I gave an overview of the rules. That took 20 minutes, and the one thing I learned later was that I did not give enough information about the methods to change facing and formation as given in the “Drill Manual.”

The game began at 1425 after a brief planning session by the players.

Things went quickly due to the small size of the board. The sheer size of the movement rates and firing ranges is daunting, even on a table 6.5 feet by 10 feet.

Both ends of the field had traffic jams, due partly to terrain, partly to set-up, and partly to not explaining as mentioned above. But the players worked it out soon enough, and the game quickly started with Fedoran and Germanian hussars tangling with Imperial dragoons. You can sense the scale of losses by the amount of bare magnet visible on the movement trays!

In the center, the infantry engaged in some horrific firefights. Most of the units held their fire and caused around 15 casualties per volley…and that is AFTER the saving rolls!

We had a few questions come up, but the rules answered most of them with a little digging. The cavalry scrums ended up in Imperial victory on both ends, with about one squadron surviving out of four. These two squadrons were preparing to intervene in the center when the Fedorans withdrew.

In this photo, Germanian IR 9, which was the Fedoran reserve, is moving up to fill the hole left by the rout of a Fedoran battalion. In the middle distance you can see the melee which ended in the destruction of the Imperial Esterhazy battalion, and in the far distance you can see a fresh Imperial battalion preparing to drive the Leib regiment away from Balcones.

The Imperials held both victory objectives (Balcones town and the Olmosbach bridge), and also inflicted more casualties.

Overall, the players seemed pleased and I may have recruited a few new BAR players. One, Sherrill, is soon moving to Illinois and I have already aimed him at Herr Alte Fritz and company!

Some more eye candy, and then it’s off to bed. Thanks for stopping by!


Der Alte Fritz said...

Ed: that's an outstanding battle report! Very enjoyable to read and i was wishing that I was there as I read it. You have a good looking game. I'm glad to hear that the "Wow Factor" really took a grip on the passers by and I'm also pleased to hear that the players were picking up on the rules quickly. If they were savy enough to hold that first fire, then they were quick to grasp the concepts. Hopefully the cavalry melee went smoothly. Those can be tricky at first (even for me) but after you've done a few of them, the logic of the whole thing kicks in. Thanks again for the excellent report

One thing though: clicking the pictures doesn't enlarge them. To do that I think that you have to select the "large" picture format when you import the photo.

andygamer said...

I'm happy you recovered well and put on your game successfully. (And you missed putting the enlarged photos in the clickable windows. Quite understandable just before hitting the sack--that I'm just about to do to.)
Take care, bye.

andygamer said...

And it looks like there's another night owl up too. Goodnight, Jim.

andygamer said...

And I misspelled a "too" in my first post, showing that, yes indeed, it's time for my bedtime too.

Bluebear Jeff said...


First I hope that you are feeling better from that fall you took. Take it easy, okay?

Next it looks like a great game . . . lots of nice pictures too. Bravo!

Finally I'd like to offer a suggestion if I may.

I have used magnetic movement trays similar to yours . . . except that I painted the magnetic sheet.

The paint doesn't interfere with the magnet, but becomes somewhat less visually jarring. I used a green near the color of my game boards, but you could also do something approaching the look of your basing.

Thanks again for the report and photos.

-- Jeff

abdul666 said...

Great game, obviously, and great illustrated battle report: compliments and thanks.
Best wishes,

Snickering Corpses said...

Looks like an excellent game, Ed, and it's great to hear that the BAR rules worked so well with a batch of newcomers. Looks like you did an excellent job.

I'll also echo Jeff in wishing you a speedy recovery from the fall. Take care of yourself.

Gallia said...

Good Morning Ed!,
Please allow me to add prodigious congratulations for a stunning looking game and for success. I am very happy for you that at first (oh my gosh!) no one signed up but as you unwrapped your game, you were flooded with players. So many of us love the visual aspect of the hobby among other things. The "Wow" factor as Jim rightly says takes over. I am very very glad your efforts were validated.

Jim and I discussed going to the Austin game in the autumn. I forgot the date again. So one of these days, air tickets, a car and hotel rooms will get booked. Looking forward to this a lot! I remember the convention is in a hotel/motel so staying in the same location will be nice/logical. Now I have to decide what Gallian units to bring along in the cabin.

Back to the game. Beautiful terrain. Like you we find it does not take more than a turn or two for basic stuff to be grapsed. The movement and weapon ranges are shocking to a generation accustomed to 6" movement rates and weapons ranges maybe double that. However, BAR's longer distances give a new twist on things and one can move units from reserve and one can move someplace far away before the game ends or penetrate very deeply into enemy lines if circumstanes allow. Once lines get close things slow down.

In the beginning I hand painted my magnetic sheet. Results were slow and did not look good. So I took a deep breath (sort of) and went back to my days of using Testors model spray paint when I built plastic models. I took my underlying bases with sheeting already glued on and sprayed Testors medium or dark green on the the basing stuff. I got a thin and wonderfully spread coating of green. I won't be going back to hand-painting underlying bases and magnetic sheeting.

Gotta run off with the family now,
Congratulations and compliments to you,

Ed Youngstrom said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments, and to the thoughts on my recovery, which is pretty much complete. I was lucky there.

About the pictures...I'm not sure what's going on there. I did use the large size. And I just did a test edit and reloaded the first picture as large, and it still is not clickable. Hmm...

Green bases: good idea. Actually, if you can see them in the pics, the infantry bases are indeed spray painted green. The cavalry bases were pinched from my Napoleonic collection and I agree that the green looks much better. I will be going back and doing that.

It was a great day and has me all fired up to do more. Now I just need to find a new venue. Having a deadline also does wonders for your figure painting/basing production!


MurdocK said...

Super work!

Excellent that you managed to 'pull-in' so many players!

(I'm hoping that you got a few contacts from these players as that will make filling the table next year all that much easier)

Your experience of not having any 'sign-ups' is not that surprising, as it has been my experience that few gamers really want to commit too early and end up not committing at all. Sad but true, and this makes planning for game attendance harder.

Great that you were ready to 'run with it' as well and just tossed out the first plan and ran with everyone 'in action'.


(to 'turn' a phrase)

p.s.: Zolms-Braunfels, do you have a link to thier blog?

Ed Youngstrom said...

Woo hoo! Pictures are fixed. I don't know why, but the automatic html was wrong. It is now hand-jammed to work.

I hope.

MurdocK--sure thing:

I stopped trying to link to all the blogs, and let Emperor vs. Elector keep up!


Gallia said...

Back home now and I've been enjoying the photos again. Ed, please tell us about the table covering. What is it and how did you color it or?
Kindest Regards,

Der Alte Fritz said...

The pictures worked this morning. Now I can see them in the enlarged format and can readily identify all of the different brands of figures that you used. This is an exciting day to see others using BAR rules at a convention, and having great fun to boot. Again, well done Ed.

I think that your bases look just fine - better than my raggedy foam core and magnet sheet. I like the suggestion of spraying green paint on the bases and may have to give that a try.

I hope you don't mind if I copy the picture of your opening table set up onto my blog, as I would like to give your game a prominent mention and try to direct some traffic to your site.

Great looking terrain too. Perhaps you could do an entry where you talk about how you made the ground cloth. Very impressive.

Yes, Bill and I are planning to attend your big game in November. I won't be able to bring very much, maybe one battalion of my guards and the 3-sqd Garde du Corps as Der Alte Fritz's personal escort.

Ed Youngstrom said...

Bill, Jim,

The figures I used were a mix of remounts from my 30:1 set and new ones organized for BAR's "Big Battalions."

The 30:1 infantry units were 24 figures each, but had two battalions per regiment, so I just combined them into single units of 48. The cavalry were in squadrons of 6 figures, with 5 squadrons per regiment, so I combined them into regiments of 24 figures organized in 2 squadrons.

The remounts came from Old Glory (mainly), Crusader, Foundry, and just a few Front Rank artillerists. There are more, but I ran out of 20mm bases and time. The Fedoran units were exclusively RSM castings purchased for BAR.

I will put together a full blog post about the ground sheet.

Thanks again,

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hello Ed,

A job well done! Very nice game report and, of course, the figures are magnificent. Those RSMs sure look great en masse. It looks like the game was lots of fun too. Thanks for posting so many photos.

Best Regards,


Snickering Corpses said...


In the Bogey shot, what's the topmost cavalry unit made up of? Are those Hussars in Mirliton, or some sort of light dragoon?

Ed Youngstrom said...

The cavalry in light blue at the very edge of the table are Old Glory Prussian dragoons in tricorne. DR 4 if I recall.

Next to them are the Fedoran/Brunswick Karabiniers.


Frankfurter said...

Durn it!
I was hoping for a resounding Fedoran victory!
Now I've got to worry about Homburg supply lines interfering with my defense against the Limburgers ...
Beautiful game, though ...


Fitz-Badger said...

I'm glad to hear about ypour recovery!
Very nice-looking game. It was good that you were able to pull in some players and adapt the game. Sounds like it was a great success. Too bad for the Fedorans. I'm sure Bogey will be able to put things right somewhere down the line.
Thanks for the report and great pics! :-)

ColCampbell50 said...


Fantastic game report and wonderful pictures. Makes me look forward evn more to MilleniumCon in November!


Bill McHenry said...

As I already posted on Der Alte's site, Great Job Ed! I noticed Rusty's name mentioned, did Leopard make it or Lance Hardaway?

With the committed attendee's that we have so far for MCon XI, we're looking very good! Do we have a firm date yet from our friends at LSHM? I know both Jim and Bill will want to book early and I suspect Pete Michels from California will as well as our friends from Mississippi and Arkansas. Now, if we can build the Texas Presence a little more (Game Day in Plano next year?), maybe we can start migrating the BAR cause towards the west a little more.

No disrespect to our good friends in Illinois and other parts of the midwest, but dang, ya'll have that white stuff on the ground! A Lot!

Oh, BTW, Tom Dye at GFI (Minifigs) cast me up a great bunch of personality figures to use for my Brigade and Army Commanders and I have him halfway talked into it if he's not on foreign assignment for the DOD at the time. Now if we could just get Stokes down here, maybe tell him and Sonja about all the great German architecture and the hospitatlity around New Braunfels? Think what a bike trip that would be!

Sir William

Steve said...

..bravo - lovely looking game - wish I could have been there to have signed up - bit of a jaunt from the UK though! I especially like the lok of your infantry regiments - just the right size...!

justMike said...

Excellent job Ed. Great battle report, and a spectacular looking game.


Ed Youngstrom said...

To all--

Thanks again for the compliments and encouragement. It was fun!

So if you get the chance to have an outing in your neighborhood, go for it!

Ed v. H-F