Nashcon 2008 AAR

Nashcon has come and gone. I took almost a full week off. It went by so quickly. Rohn and Pete came down on Wednesday night and left Sunday to spend Memorial Day with friends and family back home. While they were here we had our share of adventures. On Thursday we decided to check out the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Pete is a squire there so our quest was to explore the place and check out his property. Yes, he is landed gentry having been bequethed 1 sq. inch of land!

However, this is Tennessee and you can’t just zip from A to B. There are a lot of things to discover between here and there. So we took our time. Using GPS we found the location of Hoover’s Gap, made famous by Wilder’s Lightning Brigade. Shortly there after we found Beach Grove, another obscure Civil War battlefield.

There wasn’t much to see but we absorbed the vibes and chalked up two more battlefields to our vast list. We lunched at Busy Corner, TN. I believe the name derived from intense marketing because it wasn’t very busy at all! In fact Rohn said as we left, “oops, I blinked!”

From there we visited Tullahoma. There wasn’t a lot to see there but we did come across a refurbished log cabin. It is amazing to think that people lived without an XBOX 360 or a toilet.

Finally we made it!

Pete enjoyed his visit. His 1″ plot of grass was being well fertilized by a cow.

After that we headed back, hit a bar, drank some of old Jack’s sauce then headed home. I don’t recall any gaming that night. If we did anything it was extremely light stuff. We settled into the hotel.

The next Day we got up and hit the convention. Nashcon is a small convention but a good one. About 200 people show up each year. It would be nice to see more come but it is a successful regional con and so long as it remains in the black I guess that is all that matters. In years past it had as many as 500 attendees but I believe they had a much broader base of games, venturing outside the realm of historical miniatures. They may have even had roleplaying back then.

My first game was set in Vietnam, 1967. I was the VC commander. The US players were coming in on choppers for a search and destroy mission. It was the first time I have ever won a game on the first half of the first round where I lost initiative. If you have seen Eric the Viking then you will be familiar with the scene where a Viking is being corrected in the field with the line “First pillage THEN burn…” So apparently someone forgot to inform the US that Search and Destroy is done in that order.

Here we see a nice village. Two of the buildings are buring because as soon as they got into range the US zipped some holy moses rockets into them. Note that no one is armed in the picture. The US player racks up negative points for every civilian killed. They also rack them up for loss of livestock. The US players didn’t seem to grasp this concept and hunted down the livestock too. It was rather surreal and, to be honest, not very mature play on their behalf. My guys took it in stride though and we did manage to rack up an impressive 3:1 point ratio at the end which in anyone’s book is a complete victory.

Pete ran a Check Your 6! game that I wanted to play in. However he had more than enough players. It looked lovely. He has done a marvelous job on the figures.

The most stunning game was the Stalingrad Game. Totally fantastic! I was not able to do it justice with photos, sad to say. It really was a remarkable site to see.

I ran a Disposable Heroes game. I had fun but it was a tough slog for the Germans who’s main advantage was being hidden in ambush and main disadvantage was having a scarcity of troops. However they only had to knock out the two tanks the US had. As it was while the game played fine, Pete decided he really dislikes the rules. In particular he was upset over the modifiers for an accuisition roll that the US player had to make. What it comes down to is that he didn’t like the abstractions. This is ultimately the most valid subjective value anyone can make about a set of rules. He doesn’t like the flow of it. A set of rules he favors now is I Ain’t Been Shot Mum (IABSM) which I don’t like either. The more you know about a period the more specialized you get in your taste in rules.

In many ways I think the best thing that could happen to wargaming would be furthering computer interaction so that the abstractions are hidden and it is more results driven. The key that prevents this is that currently the interfaces slow the games down a lot. Also a lot of computer assist games doen’t do a good job of giving good feedback. In the era of highend sound cards they should at least produce the sounds of the battle as a way of reinforcing the results displayed. What would make this work best is to have an interface where the computer is using a webcam to observe the action. I’ve seen some really amazing computer vision systems that would work if adapted properly.

However I would still want some die rolling. Lets face it, it is entertaining when some guys like Bob reach for the lucky die for the critical game winning shot!


  1. Peter M. says:

    And that my friend is always good advice. Thanks for your input.

  2. Well I guess not knowing who you might end up playing with is just one of the things you have to deal with when you go to a convention.

    I can be serious about gaming, but I knew who I was with and how they tend to play. Just because they may not take gaming as seriously as you do does not make them immature.

    My advice would be to kick back, fix an adult beverage, light a big fat cigar, and relax.

  3. Peter M. says:

    Hey, sorry you didn’t like my opinion. I’m even more sorry you didn’t play to win. It would have been a lot more interesting for all the VC had that happened. Your friend agreed to the set up and had plenty of input. The US cut him off from getting armed so he did his best to keep his force intact.

    There is a lot to be said for taking even something like playing to toy soldiers somewhat seriously. I don’t mind losing to a serious player but I don’t much care for playing against someone who just wants to “hoot and holler” and who ignores the senario. It may have been funny to you at the time but to the VC players it was rather annoying.

  4. Regarding the Vietnam 1967 game, you may fill proud that you had a 3:1 point ratio and that’s fine with me. But my friends and I came to Nashcon to have fun, and I and the other U.S. players had a blast. My friend who drove up from Atlanta and was a VC player was so bored with the way the VC were set up and run he left to go check out the vender room. As to the level of “maturity”, need I remind you that we are adults playing with army men?

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