Armchair Dragoons PAO, 29 June 2023
We had 67 events on the schedule, which was our second-most ever. Of those, all but 1 had at least one player, and more than a dozen were over-subscribed. It was easily the most well-attended Wargame HQ since we started this back in 2014.
We’re going to go through the events in great detail, but a few general observations
- The GMs were fantastic. We tend to have a pretty high opinion of our own GMs, but they were constantly full of energy & enthusiasm, and eager to share their love of wargaming in general, and their games in particular, with our players.
- We had a lot of walk-up players, which means a few things:
- Some of our tables just look really cool as you walk by and grab the attention of players looking for something cool to do
- We need to do a better job of getting the word out about what we’ve got to offer
- Our standard practice of lowering the headcount and adding players over the limit to keep our fill rates solid keeps us in GAMA’s good graces, but sometimes looked like there were no seats when we were actually able to take players
- The change in raffle process had largely positive reviews, as players were able to ‘deploy’ their tickets to just the games they wanted from the prize stack, and it was a seriously good prize stack.
There were fewer articles written at the show, and more live hits on video since we had our own local web access to use to do it.
We started with our arrival
and lo-&-behold, GAMA actually had all the right tables in our space for us! We had to move or turn a few of them, but we didn’t have to go
steal unilaterally requisition any of them this time.
Our area started to slowly fill up as the setup proceeded throughout Wednesday
And we ended up full enough that space was tight between the tables. That central walkway you see above? Frequently crowded with gawkers that should’ve been standing in the aisle, instead where we kept tripping over them.
Overall, we had a 5×8 table with Third World War on it all weekend, in a rolling game. We had another 5×8 with PicoArmor on it all weekend, since no one wants to have to set-up/tear-down a minis table multiple times. We had 3 different 30″x6′ tables with smaller games on it. Another 5×8 had the CPXs, and a pair of 5×6’s handles COIN games, Song for War, Brief Border Wars, Battle of Britain, and others. Next year? We’re adding at least 3, and maybe up to 5 additional tables.
~~~~ WARNING: SLIDESHOWS AHEAD ~~~~
click pretty much any images to enlarge
COMMAND POST EXERCISES (CPX) & CPX BOOTCAMPS
CPX operator Jim Snyder said” Was a well attended convention and we had three great Command Post Exercises running Flashpoint Campaigns Southern Storm. We are already looking forward to next year. ”
THE THIRD WORLD WAR by Compass Games
Ardwulf reports “Compass Games’ fine new edition of Frank Chadwick’s classic The Third World War was a big hit among veterans of the series, wargamers wanting to try it, and even complete newcomers to wargaming. The GMs running it expressed delight in how well another big monster game, absent for Origins for some years, was again received.”
We even turned the camera on the game and let it run for a bit, with some updates from players, but not great audio.
A DISTANT PLAIN (Team Counterinsurgency) by GMT Games
Without enough players for a full team game, we consolidated onto a single table and got a loaded 4-player session in, where the warlords scored a rare victory on the 3rd propaganda card.
PICOARMOR PANZERBLITZ by PicoArmor and Avalon Hill
We pushed it to the corner so people would stop & look, and well… they stopped & looked and a bunch of them played, with 2 of the sessions being over-attended (6 players in a 4-player session)
SALERNO ’43 by GMT Games
It was the first game out of the gate, with a pair of kids in the game! Todd was a warrior all weekend long showing off Salerno ’43 and keeping players on target to nearly finish the game each time.
According to Todd, “The Salerno ’43 event had fourteen different participants, the majority without game specific or game system experience. They all enjoyed learning and playing the first scenario in the game. One of the players won a copy of the game in the raffle.”
LIBERTY OR DEATH by GMT Games
Andrew joined the Dragoons as a GM for the first time1 and somehow the French won every one of this games of Liberty or Death and we’re not saying he manipulated anything, but it is curious that the dude that lives in New Orleans managed to steer 4 games that all went that way…
Andrew commented “The Liberty or Death events went well, with many players completely new to that game and quite a few new to GMT’s overall COIN Series. Players caught on quickly and seemed to have a good time. With all four games won by the French, though, we may have produced a slightly different version of American history, one with more baguettes.”
SPACE EMPIRES 4X by GMT Games
PLAINS INDIAN WARS by GMT Games
Space Empires 4X was our second series to sell out, after Votes for Women, and we could’ve easily added another 2-3 sessions, or one long one. GM Mike Colello noted “all of the players were friendly and played well together. I also had a few people walk up during a session and was happy to answer any of their questions, which seemed to be appreciated. Both SE4X and PIW received very positive feedback from the participants and some even expressed that they were already looking forward to next year.”
COMBAT COMMANDER by GMT Games
Running late into Thursday night, the two back-to-back Combat Commander sessions got both new and veteran players into the game, and we had a copy from a GM’s stash that went out in the raffle, too.
BRIEF BORDER WARS by Compass Games
Four players one night, and another two the next morning, and all were learning the rules as we went. All came away excited to explore more games in the system and are looking forward to volume 2 due out later this year.
SONG FOR WAR by Invicta Rex Games
Back with us for another year, Invicta Rex has Song For War back on the table to try and build some more enthusiasm for their upcoming rebooted crowdfunding campaign.
UNDAUNTED: BATTLE OF BRITAIN by Osprey Games – play with the designer!
click images to enlarge
David Thompson made some cameo appearances with us for his Undaunted Battle of Britain game, and had pretty full tables for all of his events. It was great to get a brand-new game in front of our audience, and Enterprise sold out of several Undaunted titles over the weekend.
FORT CIRCLE GAMES
Fort Circle Games cycled between Votes for Women, Shores of Tripoli, and their upcoming Halls of Montezuma. Votes for Women sold out faster than any events we’ve ever held, and on the rare occasions where we had ticketed players not show, there was no shortage of walk-up players to jump in. Those who joined the Montezuma games will also be credited as playtesters in the final game, too.
In addition to showcasing their own games, Fort Circle head honcho Kevin Bertram also took the time to check out a few designs being pitched to him
Catastrophe’s own HellCat62 noted that “Catastrophe Games ran games non-stop from 09-1700 each day and had a ton of players, both for games that are already published and especially for our prototype games. Based off this feedback we will certainly be pushing for more prototypes at future Origins.”
Fellow Catastrophian Christopher High added “This was my first time teaching at the WHQ- meeting people there has now become one of my favorite parts of Origins- I can’t wait until next year. ”
We checked in throughout the weekend on some different live videos
Was that all? Of course not… Our crew got in a few of their own games, too, as well as hanging out with designers like Jason Matthews, Alex Knight, and others.
click images to enlarge
photos from Gary Mengle, Andrew Buchholz, Tory Brown, Tim Densham, Brant Guillory, Chris Helm, and others
ORIGINS 2023 COVERAGE
WARGAME HQ EVENTS ~ MiD PREVIEW EPISODE ~ WARGAME HQ EVENT PREVIEWS ~ ADVICE FOR ROOKIES ~ CONSOLIDATED WARGAMING EVENT GRID ~ EXHIBITOR SPOTLIGHT ~ THE MAILBAG
SETUP & FIRST GAMES ~ ABOVE THE SHOW ~ DAY 1 REPORT ~ DAY 2 REPORT ~ DAYS 3 & 4 REPORT ~ EXHIBIT HALL ~ GAMEPLAY PHOTOS ~
WARGAME HQ EVENT REPORT ~ THE SPIRITUAL SOJOURN ~ SPOTLIGHT ~ THE RAFFLE ~ CONVENTION PHOTOS ~ AAR
DISCUSSION FORUM THREAD
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In the Wargame HQ at Origins Fair
Tactics and planning fill the air
With counters and maps
And dice rolls with taps
Victory in battle is quite rare!