Brant Guillory, 18 September 2023
We hit Southern Front last year for a day of watching all manner of minis wargaming. This year, we didn’t have quite as long to hang around and watch the fun, but did have more than a few people recognize the hockey jersey and want to stop and chat about the Armchair Dragoons.
Same hotel, same room, and a lot of the same people as last year
And the wide-angle view of the same room, from Blue Panther on the right, across to the terrain dudes on the left
click images to enlarge
On tap for Saturday
With a little less time to spend there this year, there were fewer games to take in. On the downside, this meant fewer gorgeous tables to take photos of. On the upside, it meant better lunch than the Bojangles chicken out front.
Right inside the main door was a large table full of ruined building. Post-apocalyptic game? Nope. Soviets attacking Berlin in 1945. So… same difference? This one was set to kick off at 1pm, and was going to include at least Dragoon young’un, as one of the regiment was here with 2 of his sons.
you can still click images to enlarge
The Carleton’s Raiders game had a pretty snazzy table, with a Japanese airstrip in the Pacific as the target of a USMC commando raid. One nice touch? The roofs of all the buildings come off, and there was plenty of house-to-house action inside.
One of the more raucous (and packed!) tables was the Roman chariot race, complete with wreck markers.
you should totally click these images to enlarge
The insane detail of the 10mm minis from Editions Brokaw made their ACW naval battles game that much more enjoyable. The rebel fort held out far longer than it should’ve, even with Union mortar barges lobbing round after round into it.
The 13mm scale from Warlord was on full display with their Epic Black Powder system, in this ACW battle.
Dawn of Iron was yet another ACW game, just setting up and waiting to start. Yes, the river was green. No, no one seemed to care.
if you don’t click these images to enlarge then you must not like cool-looking games
There was perhaps no game that had quite the visual oomph of this steampunk-meets-Sky Galleons of Mars-crossed-with-War of the Worlds-and-guest-appearance-from-the-Spanish Inquisition. I truly have absolutely -ZERO- clue what they were playing, or how. But gawdammit did it look cool. The giant airship in the middle emerged from with an underground vault. The space marines guarding the launch chamber were overlooking a downed sail barge of Victorian sightseers, with a crashed UFO and a Jetson’s-era rocket ship on the table. Seriously, I have absolutely no idea what’s happening here but it was fascinating to watch and everyone seemed to enjoy the hell out of it.
There’s no “dealer room”. Instead, there are dealer tables all around the edges of the room, with a wide variety of minis, terrain, books, paints, and more all for sale. Some of these booths are very well-organized.
Gaddis Gaming, for instance, has a solid booth layout, with specialized cases for well-painted sets of minis.
Battlefield Terrain Concepts is another excellent booth with a great display design. All sorts of pieces and parts are easy to find and well-labeled. Some of their pre-built terrain components are quite nice.
honestly, not all these images are worth clicking to enlarge
In contrast, many of the dealers (Sabre & Sash as an exception) looked like a garage sale, with random stuff tossed into boxes and sharpie scrawl signs. If you’re asking $300 for a 25mm army of random armed Swiss cuckoo clock makers in kaleidoscopic masquerade costumes, wouldn’t you want them in a better display that really shows them off?
Our man Steve from Blue Panther was the boardgame interloper in the room, but there was a game of OGRE that also broke out, using old-school counters instead of minis.
Here’s a quick live video we did while walking around that day
As always, Southern Front offers up some of the best table displays you’ll find. Everyone’s incredibly friendly and talkative, and happy to share a war story with you, or help steer you to a game to meet your interest. There’s a lot worse you could do for a weekend of wargaming if you’re in easy range of the Raleigh area next year.
Thank you for visiting The Armchair Dragoons and mounting up with the Regiment of Strategy Gaming.
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In gaming halls where grognards debate,
They argue about what’s deemed first-rate.
“True wargame!” they declare,
With a passionate glare,
Their opinions, they’ll never abate.
Some seek hexes and counters galore,
Claiming purism, nothing they’ll ignore.
Yet the heart of the matter,
Is the fun we all gather,
So let’s play and enjoy, let’s explore!