This past weekend was the usual summer gathering in Belchertown of some of the Total Confusion Convention Battletech regulars. It’s always a great day of conversation, food, and gaming. This year was no exception.
Belchertown is an hour or so west of where I live, so Scott and I leave pretty early in the morning to get out there by 8am or so. After a stop for some ice for the cooler full of soda I bring every year we were off going west on Route 9. Our tradition is to stop for breakfast at the McDonald’s in Spencer. As happens every year, after having breakfast there I realize why I don’t eat breakfast at McDonald’s.
We’re usually among the first to arrive at the cookout, with only the contingent from southern New Hampshire consistently beating us there. The crew from NH was just one person this time, and he beat us yet again. Once everyone arrived we began the first game, which was a series of two-man team battles on random map boards. In each of the battles we had a different teammate, and in round one I was teamed with Scott on a canyon map against John and Adam. Adam was a new player but picked up on the game pretty quickly.
(All photos are clickable to show larger photos–or at least they should be, you may have to close the tab/window and click again for my free host to show the larger version)
In this picture I’m in the center of the map, hiding behind the pillar. Scott is the red ‘mech against the wall in the center, while John is in the open at the top and Adam is to the right using the level dip as cover. Putting Scott and I on the same team is unfair most of the time so we had no troubles beating the other pair.
This battle is the other round one matchup, which was brothers Mike and Tom against Merl and Dave. I was busy playing my match (and helping to teach Adam) so I’m not sure who is who on the map (and the opposite matches of mine in the other rounds will be the same below). I’m also not sure of the specifics of the map board, but I do know that red splotch is lava.
This is my round two battle, and I thought I had a full board picture but it appears I have just this one of the battle. Adam and I are the bluish ‘mechs toward the top, Adam’s has the d6 behind it. Our opponents were Tom (directly in front of us) and Dave (on the elevation trying to use the hill as cover). Adam and I played pretty well together considering it was his second game ever, but we couldn’t overcome Dave’s firepower. We did have a chance to win the battle early with me just needing to roll a “3” on two rolls of a d6 to eliminate Tom, but a 1 and a 2 rolled didn’t help much.
Again not sure who is who on this board, but the match was Scott and Merl against John and Mike. This is an interesting board to play on because wall rise and fall randomly making planning from turn to turn very difficult. If you’re an aggressive player you can do well on that board. If you’re not, you need to get lucky. Based on some of the things I heard coming from over there, Merl didn’t get very lucky.
My third round battle I was teamed with Mike against Tom and John. This board is a mud pit, and if you don’t have the perfect ‘mech selected to fight in it you’ve got issues. As luck would have it none of us had anything that would be good to fight on this board. In this pic Mike is in the blue ‘mech in the top center heading toward John in the upper right corner. I’m toward the left, moving toward the top hex lane as fast as I could (which wasn’t very fast). Tom is sniping at us from the right edge. By the time I got close enough it was all but over for my side.
I’m not even sure what the teams were in that other third round battle. I think it was Scott and Adam against Merl and Dave. Every map board has special rules, but I don’t recall ever playing on that board so I’m not sure what the hook is on that one. I do know that at the end of the battles and the scores tabulated Scott was the overall winner. I believe I was fourth, and considering I was only on the winning side once that’s pretty good.
We then took a break for lunch, and once again Mike killed it with the spread he put out. Bacon burgers, hot hogs with chili (and I think there was some sauerkraut too), potato salad, corn…I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the stuff that was there. If you walked away hungry from that spread it was your own fault.
In the afternoon we skipped what was supposed to be the second game, AeroTech. I have no idea how to play the game. We played it at TotalCon last February and I had great fun being totally lost as to what I was supposed to do to have any chance of doing well in the game. And I really didn’t care. Despite the stumbling and bumbling at TotalCon I suggested it again for HorhiroCon. But with the first battles running a bit long (it tends to happen when you see some of these folks only twice a year) it was voted that we instead play the other planned Battletech game.
The game was supposed to be on a board the players build, with each player given some terrain to place on an otherwise blank hex grid. I suggested we use an oversized “basic” map that Mike used once for a previous HorhiroCon battle. I thought it worked out perfectly, with the scenario Mike designed on the familiar basic board. Here are some pictures of the battle. My side (Merl, Tom, Dave, and I) with the red ‘mechs, and the other side (Scott, Adam, John, and Mike) with the green units. People familiar with the Battletech will know what each of these are as they all represent the actual units played.
Now it would appear from that last picture that my team was victorious. Well, that was not the case. Scott’s team came back and defeated my squad after we made a couple of silly errors.
After that battle the event broke up, but not before Mike claimed all the grape soda that was left. I’m not sure why I buy grape soda when it’s available, because with the exception of a can or two Mike drinks it all and then takes whatever is left in the cooler. On second thought, I’m actually very sure as to why I bring grape soda.
Thanks for a great event again Mike. Despite Scott talking of holding one here in the fall and knowing we’ll all get together next February, I’m already looking forward to next summer’s cookout…