And so we come to what was, for me and Badger at least, the main event of the day: our game of Epic Battlelore. We pulled 2 tables together, Badger chose to revisit Epic BL Scenario #4: Moorish Giant, and we set to setup with a will. It turned out that we were to be playing a team game: Badger and Gav on one side (which turned out to be the pennants with that Hill Giant again); myself and Sean (who made such a good showing in DiceConEast 2005's inaugural Memoir'44 tournament). We decided to ignore the special rules for teamplay in the Epic rules, went with simple joint command, and set to scheming our Lore Councils.
My victory in our previous game notwithstanding, I was scared of what that giant could do. So the first decision I made was to take the Earth Elemental, a creature which is every bit as dangerous. Completely new to the game as he was, Sean was happy to go along with this. I then explained the virtues of: Cmdr3/R1/Wiz1- namely a 6-card hand with a Stronghold to anchor our line, and (IMO) the most flexible and powerful pair of Level 1 Lore Masters in the game. Against this, Badger and Gav mustered: Cmdr2/C2/R1.
That done, we waited until everything else was set up before placing our 2 landmarks. The Stronghold went on our left, under the archer unit- which turns out to've been an illegal play (cf. p.66; erm, sorry 'bout that Badger; at least we know it won't happen again). And the Circle of Summoning went on our right, nestled beside that hill and wood. Y'see, we'd drawn the Greater Portal card in our setup. So our plan was this: run medium dwarfs forward to summon the Earth Elemental, then bring it in and hold it ready to Portal it into the middle of our enemies' lines, there to wreak utter havoc should fortune permit. It was a good plan, and we were pleased to be able to play it.
But we had to wait a bit before we could try it out, because by the time we were ready to rumble, it was time for the prizegiving.
Prizes! Prizes! Prizes!
The Kniziathon prizes were awarded first, and these were extra-special this year, due to the presence of a special guest. But I've forgotten the details, so I'll move on to say that I've forgotten all the details of the Settlers tournament winners too. The results will be up on the SBGA site in due course, and I'll let you all know when that moment arrives.
As was the case at DiceConEast last year, the ticket draw was rewarding for my friends. Antony, Bill, Daniel, and Hugh all picked up 1 or juicy-looking games.
Hugh taking his pick from the pile of prizes; Daniel with his big prize from the draw; and Tony posing with his prize being upstaged by Gordon who just couldn't resist the camera!
This year, yours truly did win out in the prize draw: I got a copy of a kids' Xmas game!
Back to Battlelore
Prizes and votes of thanks duly awarded and according, Badger, Gav, Sean and I got stuck in.
The game started with the usual manoeuvring, and with a minor hail of missile fire from our side which resulted in precisely no effect. The first major engagement was in the centre, as Badger and Gav thrust deep into our battlelines with their cavalry (they were cagily keeping the giant as much out of LOS of our archers as possible- all to the good as far as we were concerned). Committed to our plan as we were, Sean and I agreed to hold at first rather than counterattack immediately. This worked, and we were able to launch a timely counter-attack which repulsed the pennants' onslaught so that our Greater Portalled Elemental, when it finally went in, found itself with a much sparser battlefield to engage with than we had expected to find when we set out with our plan.
The pennants' surviving centre infantry and the giant duly surrounded the Elemental, which dealt mighty damage with battle backs and a trample (another mistake: the Earth Elemental FAQ confirms that the EE never retreats under any circumstances) before the giant finally put paid to it. But we were a banner up, and the pennants' centre had been well and truly shredded. Once Sean and I finished off the hapless goblin archers which had been the target of our Greater Portal, we were chasing 2 quick banners for a 7-point victory.
Our chance game when we drew a Fireball, then the pennants attacked our right wing, which was busy marching at full speed as we sought to swing our entire army left. An exchange of battle dice left the medium cavalry and the heavy goblins each reduced to 2 models. The Fireball put paid to the cavalry, while a card off the Epic rack left us ordering all 5 of our right units to summon up some 10 dice against the hapless hobgoblins, who died quickly. Victory, by the satisfying margin of 7-4!
Mistakes aside, this was a tense and gripping game, with lots of maneouvre. Sean enjoyed it, as did Gav. Badger is clearly looking for a measure of revenge. I, meanwhile, shall enjoy my gloating rights while they last.
This game done, Badger, Gav and I headed off for a nice Italian meal. We went our separate ways thereafter. I returned to the con to pack up my games ready to head home. By this time the con was down to diehards few enough to fill only 2 gaming tables.
Five of those diehards setting out to play DoW's Mystery of the Abbey. Check out those cheerful faces, which are a measure of the friendliness of the DiceCon experience.My own evening was rounded out in the company of Antony, and Helen and Kenneth, a couple of non-gaming friends he'd persuaded to come to the con. It is another mark of the special qualities of DiceCon that both Helen and Kenneth had a good time, and are interested in coming again.
And that was pretty much that. Well, except to note that I was joking with Gordon about my 'booby prize'. Alright then he said, have this, handing me a copy of the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit #3- TANKS!!. I had actually already decided to use my Xmas game as a present for a niece, but I was delighted to swap it for this new product from MMP.
So, another fine day at DiceCon, your friendly neighbourhood games convention. I had a good time gaming, and meeting my DiceCon friends and acquaintances. Thanks, as ever, to Gordon, Jeff, and everyone else who put in all the work to make it a success. We'll be back (and I'll be doing something with the C&C system, just y'all wait and see!). Now wait for November. ;)