Introduction to Michicon 2008
This past weekend, Ryan and I were allowed to come up to Michicon 2008 convention and take some video and pictures of the event. Michicon is a summer board/card/miniature game convention which is run by the Metro Detroit Gamers. This year the event took place on the Campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills Michigan.
It was an exciting experience for myself. I have been to a number conventions before, but I have never officially covered any of them. Throughout the two days, Ryan and I got to talk to several game masters, a future store owner, and a couple of the Metro Detroit Gamers Staff. One of the next two episodes of the Tabletop Battlefield will be dedicated to the coverage of this event, but until then I have this write up.
There were a wide range of games being played at Michicon. Of course, the convention regulars, such as D&D and Ticket to Ride, were present. In addition to those games, this convention had a distinct local feel to it. Several local game publishers were present and running their own games. One was Richard Tucholka from Tri Tac Games and another which I was unable to get an interview from this time was Steve Hazuka, creator of The Age of Might and Steel.
Thud - Tri Tac Games
Our first stop was to talk Richard Tucholka from Tri Tac Games about their upcoming game Thud. Tri Tac games has quite a history and has published a number of other games including FringeWorthy and the award winning Bureau 13.
Thud, which is being planned for a 2009 release, puts teams of government/military agents up against invading hordes of crazy and supernatural creatures. The image to the left shows a group of dinosaurs rampaging through a mid-western town. In addition to dinosaurs, agents can fight aliens, zombies, and disgusting monsters. This particular game took place in a complete HO scale town.[See the Photo Gallery at the bottom of the page].
While I was unable to play this game at the convention, I understand the rules were designed to be simple and fun. A typical game can be played in under an hour and like many other games, movement and weapon ranges are measured in inches. Next time I go to a convention that Richard is attending, I have to play this game as everyone who has taken the time to do so has really enjoyed it.
Fire and Fury - Quantum Printing
On our next stop, we were plunged into the American Civil War as Union and Confederate Troops clashed near the town of Iuka Mississippi on September 19th 1862. The rule set in use here is a pre-release of Fire and Fury's regimental combat system. For me, this game wins the award for the most impressive setup because the game master, John Holcomb, had took the time to accurately re-create the battlefield terrain. I spent quite a bit of time watching him organize all the forest templates.
Normally, Fire and Fury is a brigade level game[Think really big battles with lots of troops], but in this case, John was running a �beta� copy of the regimental rules[Think much smaller battles]. Things get going pretty quick in this game. The typical infantry weapon has a range of around 12� and cannons have a much farther range. As a result, weapon fire is usually exchanged in the first turn. The turn sequence of the game follows a move, defensive fire, and offensive fire setup. The problem with covering a convention is that you find yourself short on time to play the games, so I had to pass on this one, but next time I will try to get a game in.
Clear For Action
After our short visit to the American Civil war, Ryan and I took a look at a game which transported us to the 1940's and 1984 at the same time. During the Second World War, German and Allied naval vessels clashed across the North Atlantic. Clear for Action pits 1/1200 scale warships against each other in battlefields so large that it must be played on the floor. Apparently, the damage resolution is complex enough that it requires a computer program to calculate the results. Here is where we were taken back to 1984. Clear for Action has been around for quite some time and the only version of this software was written for the Apple IIC. The game master for this game, Euel Kinsey, stated that CFA can be learned in about 30 minutes, so both Ryan and I will be signing up for a demo game next time around.
On my fourth stop of the event, I finally had some time to sit down and play a game for a little bit. This time I jumped into the cockpit of a British World War I Bi-Plane[Thats me in that Camo plane chewing up the German one. I caused his plane to catch fire!]. Canvas Eagles is an extension of the game Blue Max. The miniatures in use are from the game Wings of War and have been mounted on telescoping bases to indicate at which elevation the plane is flying. Rules are pretty straight forward and simple. At the start of the turn, each player secretly chooses a maneuver to perform – Even your teammates are not allowed to know what action is going to be performed. The objective is to tail enemy aircraft and shoot them down. The number of hits inflicted by an attack is calculated by a series of modifiers and a single die roll. The damage each hit causes is determined by drawing chits out of a box. Eventually, a plane will suffer enough damage to the point where the wings fall of, the fuselage disintegrates, the pilot is killed, or some other horrible thing happens. Campaign rules are included if players wish to track the progression of their pilots from battle to battle.
Manchurian Mandate - Steve Jackson Games
While I was off shooting down German planes, Ryan was playing the game, Manchurian Mandate, by Steve Jackson Games. Set in the year 2085, this battle was being fought between Chinese, Nihon, and Paneuropean forces. Ryan will have to fill us all in on the details of the game, but he was getting pretty excited playing it. He stated the rules were quite easy to learn and according the game master, a game of this scale would last around several hours. The miniatures being used in this battle were produced by Ogre Miniatures.
This concludes our trip to Michicon 2008. Of course there were lots more games being played at the event, but we only had some much time to interview game masters. Oh well, this convention will come again and maybe then we can catch up with everyone we missed this time around. Be sure to check out photo gallery below for a lot more pictures of the games mentioned above. To finish up, I would like to thank the Metro Detroit Gamers for allowing us to cover event and we look forward to doing it all over again in the future.