RECAP: DieCon 2021

DieCon was a big success! It was smaller than 19, due to evolving Covid restrictions in Illinois, but overall still a good convention. Here’s a quick recap.

Game 1: Battle of Norway (WWII Naval miniatures). American Navy versus the German Kriegsmarine among the fjords of southwestern Norway. The battle began with the Germans is firing position and the American’s steaming toward them, but it swiftly turned into a long-range duel in which the Americans’ heavier armor and focused on smaller German ships eked them out a marginal victory.

Initial deployment, American forces in foreground
Initial American maneuvers
Americans turn about to bring their guns to bear. The Germans approach on the left; the center grouping of battleships commenced firing immediately; and the right group, a line of destroyers, approached single file.
The Germans look for opportunities to capitalize on their superior guns.

Game 2: Pathfinder Society “The Absalom Initiation.” A level one scenario for new pathfinders, the party must sort out and overcome a variety of tests. This was the second adventure ever for my new PFS character, Vinebaldo Harfot, a halfling witch.

Say hello to my witchy little muttonchops!

It was a good adventure, and DM Zach did a superior job of getting us through the trials successfully.

From left: Don, Don’s vest, DM Zach, Beth, Brandon from Cape, Luke, my laptop. I’m standing on a chair to get the pic.
We had to do a little ad-libbing when it came to miniatures.
Luke is dubious about the legitimacy of my being on the chair.

Game 3: Deadlands “Murdering The Dead.” I had never played this game before but Luke had and assured me that it was awesome. He was right. Luke and I played two “agents” called The Twins.

“Just imagine the sisters from The Shining. Only dudes. With guns.”

The Twins, alongside other agents including Anne-Yogi, Bringer of Death…

“No, please, my father is the Bringer of Death. Just call me ‘Bringer’.”

Texas Conrad, and the Lady Price…

“She’s dressed professionally… just for a different profession.”

… were sent to West Virginia by the agency to accomplish a couple things: find out who was killing undead, and keep Vlad Dracul from taking care of the situation himself. After the Twins determined that the undead were murdered (so to speak) by a small caliber weapon (this left something of a mess), Anne interrogated the local undertaker and, later, found and stole some of his occult books, along with a contract with a demon.

Undertaker: “It was you, wasn’t it??”
Anne: “The books that I stole? Yeah, that was me.”

Once we’d talked to some dude-ranch zombies and learned of an attack that re-slew several…

“Well obviously, they are dead things. That doesn’t mean they’re not nice people.”

… the party returned to town to brace the undertaker and, as it turned out, the deputy with whom he was in cahoots. A gunfight ensued, resulting in the immediate death of the undertaker and the, um, less immediate death of the deputy.

Texas Conrad: “You tried to bandage his arm but you ended up removing a kidney?”
Me: “It was an honest medical mistake.”

Questions unanswered, Anne-Yogi decided to summon the demon to dispatch it properly. At first quite off-putting in both size and disgustingness, the demon could not, despite its bravado, stand against a half-dozen gunslingers who kill people by accident. But what of the young man who still held Anne’s dollar?

“I’ll deal with ‘Timmy’ later.”

No pics, because I forgot to take them. I have no excuse. Quotes are actual, though. Of all the games I played, we laughed the hardest during this one. The cadre of players were just splendid, and everyone was dealing quips like the ship was going down. Massively fun, and the game itself is one that I will further look into.

Game 4: “Panzer Grey, Soviet Red, Case Blue 1942.” This was the game I was looking forward to – Dave Schaffner of Big Muddy’s only GM-ed game this con. Don and I have an agreement: we play in every game that Dave GMs. Last time we played the Battle of Otranto and it was an immense amount of fun. This year it was an armor battle on the steppes of Nazi-occupied Russia. The Soviet objective (and my initial position was the Soviet West commander) was to take at least one of two fords across the transverse river. But the Germans had dug in and knew we were coming.

Ford One: right up the middle
Ford Two: west flank along the edge. On the German side, three dug in machine gun nests and a precisely placed anti-tank gun

Eschewing the main ford, we decided to plant our heavy tanks along a ridge line, hull down, and send in faster T-70s to try to dislodge the anti-tank gun. Two tanks succumbed to that gun, on my orders, before the Germans sprang their counter-attack from the east.

Command platoon approaches the ridge line while the T-70s rush the west ford
One -70 dead, and my coax weren’t hitting the German MG nests. My hope was that the the Soviet tank-riders could get close enough to knock them out.
Second Sov tank goes up in flames, also on my orders. That AT gun was a bitchcake.
Five panzer-4’s coming at my right flank.

With the two Panzer platoons harrying my left flank, we Sovs decided to throw all our current forces to the western ford. We knew something the Germans didn’t: coming up the road were two more platoons of fast tanks and a platoon of KV-1 heavy tanks. This was the can opener that we were going to use to pry open whatever forces were protecting the main ford, but the Panzers could be a (minor) problem. We needed to hold out until turn 7, but that was not going to be a problem, considering the caution we’d exercised moving on the west ford.

Then there was an, uh, incident. The German team decided to (shall we say) vacate their positions, leaving no one to play the German forces. I volunteered to take over the opposition and put my knowledge of the Soviet objectives to work. First I shelled the crossroads where the KV-1’s were headed with smoke, to cover the Panzer reposition. Then I shelled the west ford to try and disrupt the Soviet fast tanks from cross my little Rubicon, plus I put that AT gun and the gun nests to as much use as was possible. And then I released two platoons of StuGs that had been languishing in a couple farmhouses a fair bit back from the front and rolled them out at an angle that would put them on the flank of any red tanks that managed to cross.

Artillery along the tank line. I was hoping to knock out the infantry but results were decidedly meh
Results of the arty. Lot of red cubes but not enough dead russkies
Here come my StuGs

Ultimately, none of it was strong enough to stop the Soviet advance. Despite the smoke, the KV-1s took out the Panzers without the hoped-for attrition I needed to protect the central ford.

My last two Panzers. They stayed to fight. They lost.

The Soviets crossed the west ford despite the AT gun and established a beachhead of sorts on my side of the river. My StuGs killed the lead tank but just couldn’t put the hammer down on the second.

Little red FART. Cost me the game.

I lost! But I fought as hard as I could. As expected, it was an awesome game and Dave was as always fantastic. Great game all around. And I won MVP!

A 3-foot inflatable 17-poind tank shell!

Best prize ever!

Game 5: X-Wing! Very simple premise: members of the Alliance need to put a stop to a quartet of troop transports looking to dump a load of stormtroopers on a rebel base. Problem? Four squadrons of TIE fighters. I played a pair of heavy bombers, “B-wings.”

My bombers (foreground) versus the four troop carriers.
Things got thick very quickly. My bombers lumbered around looking for good spots to plop my bombs onto. Luckily co-player Tony was an experienced X-Wing player and advised me well.

Things very soon got very close and personal: the TIE fighters engaged immediately and caused a fair amount of problems, then a few hotshot pilots joined the fray and shot up some of our flanks. We lost a couple more and it stated to look a little rough… but then the tide started to turn our way.

But then I snuck past the TIEs and started aggravating the troop transports
One down! Flanks be all fluffy.
Three down and a lot of our guys looking to strip this guys shields off.

We turned the tide and got all four – it was a splendid victory, and a lot of high fives were tossed around. I play X-Wing maybe twice a year, so it takes me a few rounds to get my head back into the game, but we had some great players alongside us and the GM was fantastic. I see that a lot – X-Wing players tend to be all in and massively knowledgeable about the game.