Thursday, October 26, 2017


I have been very negligent with my blog due to a photo hosting issue.  I think I have that resolved, so I can start documenting my gaming projects again here and not just on our Face Book Page.

Rock-Con 2017 was this past weekend.  I was joined by Phil and my son Justin this year, and we presented three large unique games during the course of the weekend.  Admittedly, we probably bit off more than we should have, but I really enjoy hosting games and it is an opportunity to showcase all the projects of the past year.  Most importantly, it is an opportunity to introduce others to the games and game systems we really enjoy.

Over the years we have earned a reputation for hosting quality games which we always try to live up to.  This year the convention staff put our table front and center as you walk into the convention gaming hall, so the pressure was on.  😊

Friday night we played Rorke's Drift using Black Powder and a heavily modified scenario from the Zulu supplement.

Rorke's Drift display set up prior to the game
Saturday morning and afternoon we hosted Gettysburg 1st day using the newly released Brigade Fire and Fury 2nd edition rules.  This scenario is a longer one, so it ran throughout the day on Saturday.

Gettysburg Display set up prior to the game
Sunday we switched gears to a Naval Action using Naval Thunder rules.  The Scenario is centered around the Battle of Samar and one of the biggest "What ifs" of the war concerning the missing Task Force 34.
All Hands on Deck

RORKE'S DRIFT-Black Powder

Event Description:

Slot 1 - Friday 7 PM - 11 PM

Black Powder (Modified): Rorke’s Drift    Judges: A. Filter, P. Cook & J. Filter

Following the decisive victory at Isandlwana on the morning of January 22nd 1879 a portion of the victorious Zulu army proceeded to attack the tiny British garrison at the Rorke's Drift outpost. The outnumbered British received a warning and prepared a hasty defense. The beleaguered red coats mounted a stiff defense and successfully held off the overwhelming Zulu horde through the evening and into the next morning. As a result of the disaster at Isandlwana and this heroic stand 11 of the defenders were awarded the Victoria Cross. Now you can you take command of a British unit and coordinate a better defense than the British were able to do historically or will the Zulu again overwhelm the British defenders and destroy them in detail? This is your opportunity to find out using the easy to learn and fast playing Black Powder rules system.


Phil and I ran this event after Justin helped set up and had to leave.  We had 7 players sign up for this event which worked out perfect.

The scenario was borrowed from another blogger and played great.

We had 7 players only 2 had previous BP experience.   With only 4 hours to play including rules briefing we made it through 5 scenario turns (9:30PM) which included 3 active phases.
There were several very tense moments and the British did lose two units.


Full Rorke's Drift Set up with all defenses in place, some were removed for game

Initial Assault by 1st wave of Zulu meets stiff resistance

Zulu mass against the Karal

Zulu also coming from the Garden

As night falls a lantern is tipped over starting a fire in the storage building

Zulu exploit the undefended building to enter the compound

Defenses are breached and Zulu poor out of the storage building which still burns

Desperate hand to hand fighting ensues

Zulu are driven back and subjected to deadly volleys as more British rush to the scene

Rorke's Drift holds as time expires
When time ran our we all agreed that the beleaguered defenders were likely going to hold Rorke's Drift despite the superior Zulu numbers.  The British had lost two units, but inflicted some heavy damage on the Zulu commands.

It would have been nice to play longer as the Zulu had a hard time with command roles which impeded their ability to coordinate attacks.

Most importantly everyone had a great time and really enjoyed the scenario and the easy to learn rules.

I really enjoyed the scenario and look forward to trying it again in a non convention setting with experience players when time is not a factor.

GETTYSBURG 1st DAY-Fire and Fury

Event Description:

Slot 2  - Saturday 9 AM - 1 PM & Slot 3  - Saturday 2 PM - 6 PM (will include a break)  6+ hours of gaming!!!           

Brigade Fire and Fury 2nd Ed.: Gettysburg 1st Day  Judges: A. Filter, P. Cook, & J. Filter

It is 10AM July 1st 1863. Union Brigadier General John Buford and his cavalry have spent the morning fending off the lead elements of A.P. Hill's Corps form Army of Northern Virginia. Unknown to the Confederates Major General John Reynolds and his 1st Corps including the famed Iron Brigade have just arrived on the field. Now it is time for you take command as either a Union or Confederate General and decide the fate of the nation. As the Confederate player will you drive those Yankees off the high ground or as a Union man will you be able to halt the overwhelming advance until more reinforcements can arrive. Come find out.


I was joined by Phil and Justin to help with this large battle. After two test plays we knew this would be longer, so we planned for two time slots figuring with breaks we would have 6+ hours of gaming. I also cut back the number of players from 12-8. While the scenario could support more at a convention some would be sitting around for awhile until reinforcements arrived. It worked out perfect as we ...started with 6 and had couple more join us later.

Iron Brigade Forward!


Opening shots

Play moved along slower than I initially hoped. We only finished through turn 9, but all the players were new to Fire and Fury and there were many distractions throughout the day in addition to scheduled breaks. Players and crowd enjoyed the game, so I feel good about it overall.
The game itself proved to follow fairly historical results. The exception is that the Confederate 3rd Corps (AP Hill) was badly bloodied pushing the Rebels into higher casualties and much greater loses than the Union.

Confederate Artillery on Herr Ridge

When we finished due to time, the Union defenders where firmly in control of Seminary Ridge, but Ewell's 2nd Corps was poised to dislodge Howard's 11th Corps.
We decided it was going to be a Union victory per scenario objectives or at worst a draw due to the casualty status. If time would have allowed it would have been nice to play out a few more turns to put the issue to rest.

Struggle for Herbst Woods

Union falls back and reforms below Seminary ridge

A.P. Hill's 3rd Corps determined to drive back the 1st Corps defenders

Meanwhile Howard's XI Corps advances to Meet Ewell's 2nd Corps

Lines begin to form as Howard defends to Northern approaches

The Battle is joined as the Confederates press the attack from the North

Rebels briefly attain Seminary Ridge

Union defenders quickly drive them back

The balance of Ewell's 2nd Corps is on the way to outflank Howard as time expires

 The game was very well received and all enjoyed the rules a long with many compliments on the terrain from players and others in attendance.

Can't say enough about the Cigar Box mats. Adding the hills, trees and few buildings really made it pop. Finding the mats along with the release of Brigade Fire and Fury 2nd edition really motivated me to complete this project.

Again, look forward to playing this one with some experienced players and no time limit.


Event Description:

Slot 5  - Sunday 9 AM - 1 PM

Naval Thunder: “Where is Task Force 34…..The World Wonders”   Judges: A. Filter, P. Cook, J. Filter

On the morning of October 25, 1944, a powerful Japanese force under Admiral Kurita consisting of four battleships including the super battleship Yamato surprised the Americans at Leyte Gulf. This massive force clashed with a small group of USN escort carriers. This was the Battle of Samar.
Historically the outgunned American force consisting of only escort carriers and destroyers/destroyer escorts fought with the vastly superior Japanese battle line, mounting a courageous defense at great cost. Admiral Kurita eventually lost his nerve, thinking he was facing a larger force, and withdrew. Had Kurita pressed his
attack he could have decimated the American landings that were ongoing setting back the liberation of the Philippines by months.
This scenario addresses one of the great what if's of history. What if Admiral Halsey had dispatched the planned, but never formed TF 34 when the alarms were first raised and it was able to clash with Kurita's force?
Now you can take command of the IJN forces as they are hotly engaged with the American force, Taffy 3. Will you have the nerve to press the attack or succumb to the fear of a more powerful American force lurking over the horizon as Kurita did?
As the American commander will you be as bold as the heroic defenders of Taffy 3? Will you fight your ships to the death to fend off the far superior Japanese force? Will your calls for help be answered and Task Force 34 arrive in time to intercede and cut off Kurita before he can withdraw? Will this finally be the decisive engagement with battleship vs. battleship?
This is your chance to find out using the easy to learn, yet challenging Naval Thunder rules.


We ended up with 12 players and the scenario played out better than planned. I was able to secure a couple extra tables giving us 16'x8' gaming area.
Taffy 3 Under Attack by Center Force
IJN Heavy units are ranging in
USS Johnston on the Attack along with other escort DDs
Destroyers can only do so much as casualties begin to mount

This was by far the largest WWII scenario I have done with approx 60 ships.
The scenario started with IJN already engaged with Taffy 3 with a mission to destroy Taffy 3 and exit that end of the board.
American TF 34 Arrives on Scene
Kurita turns to meet the new threat and plans his escape
There will be no running today as salvos are exchanged
Line of destruction that was Taffy 3 escorts DDs and IJN CA
I had enough gaming mat so I set up to pull it down as need to provide even more gaming area.
The IJN were making quick work of Taffy 3, but the destroyers did land some Torpedo hits.
On turn 3 we moved up another table at the far end containing TF34. Kurita gave a change of orders to disengage Taffy 3 and retreat back to San Bernadino Strait forcing them to fight past TF34.
This resulted in a slug fest ensuing. The IJN landing some big hits on USS Iowa and New Jersey. Destroyers were going down at a fearful rate. Marina eventually succumbed and went down.
While this was going on part of the IJN Destroyer group did not get Kurita's order and continued to engage Taffy 3 taking out 2 escort carriers.
IJN Yamato proves to be a worthy foe scoring several hits
Largest prize of the day as IJN Haruna succumbs to overwhelming firepower

We ended due to time, but it was a hot engagement and unlikely many IJN ships would have made the strait.
In the closing minutes IJN DDs claim 2 escort carries from Taffy3
The Casualties, plethora of U.S DDs, 2 CVE, a IJN Battleship, Heavy CA and Light CA

The scenario was weighted heavily against the IJN and designed to be a fun slug fest. I believe we accomplished that goal as all seemed to have a good time.

It was great having some experienced players mixed in with the new captains which made the game run much smoother.

The Rest

Due to the fact that I was heavily involved in running three large events I did not get around as much as usual.  There definitely were some other quality games going on as well as the vendor area.
Pre-Dreads Americans vs. Russians
Age of Sail-Naval Yatzy w/ Sails of Glory models
Desperado-Prohibition gangs
Wings of Glory-WWI air combat

One of my favorite parts of Rock-Con is the silent auction where attendees are encouraged to bring their unwanted hobby items to sell and buy.  This year I focused more on the selling and was able to part with a significant amount of items that have not seen use in some time, but someone else can benefit from.  I did score a nice copy of the classic AH board game Victory in the Pacific at a great price.  This game was probably my favorite growing up.

 Already looking forward to next year which is scheduled 19-21 October 2018....mark your calendars.


  1. Nice. That Naval Thunder game in particular looks and sounds great!

  2. Very nice post. I’m glad each game was a success, but that was a lot of hosting. My fav of course is the ACW game. I’ll be looking forward to the next blog entry.

  3. Looks like you had a great time - pleased to hear my take on Rorkes Drift played well

    1. Yes, once I figured it out. I think this one played closer to your intent. To bad the Warlord Zulu supplement did not put the effort into producing a quality scenario for such an iconic action. Your take works really well and still gives the affect of a ton of Zulu with a good representation of how they initially piecemealed the attack.