Pennsic XLI: Epilogue

Well then, Atlantia finally got our Atlantia/Aethelmarc vs. East/Mid war.  We could have done better with it, I’m slightly annoyed that we turned away a few ally requests with “Wait until the war and let’s balance out the sides.”  The sides weren’t balanced, and we were still screwed out of some strong allies.  But it’s well established that I think you go to war with the allies you have, and damn the sides being even.  Also, you win before Lay On is called, and that includes getting allies.  We got the fight we made for ourselves, and it didn’t suck, but it bruised some egos and there was some difficulty with the grinning and the bearing.

On the other hand there was just so much bullshit from the marshals, which leads to the next Great Dream: Atlantia actually running one of these things and doing it right.  Though first Atlantia would have to figure out who got to run it.  That right there would take a blunts-off dagger fight.  And we’d want to get paid.

But oh the joy that would bring…

It’s easy to bitch from the cheap seats and not suggest a better way (I’m pretty sure there’s a political campaign going on right now that this applies to), so here’s to nutting up:

To start with, they did some things right – Having the rapier in the morning and the heavy in the afternoon meant nobody had to choose between one warpoint or the other.  That worked well.  Field Battle was LMS, as it should be, no hay bales or anything this time, also As It Should Be.

Now to what to do different:

The first thing needed is to not fuck with things that should be simple.  While the field battle was “The armies line up, you call Lay On, and whoever’s standing at the end wins” there was such a long time between the battles for which I can’t quite figure out a reason.  Okay, it MIGHT be fun to fuck with it a little: run it 4 times, rotating 90 degrees between each battle.  Or maybe have the sides form up in corners rather than along lines, to see how they respond to having an increasing field width to cover.

Each one of the rapier battles need to cover the entire field.  Why?  When the battlefield is wider than a one-deep line of your force maneuvering, C&C, and training actually become deciding factors.  Of course, we had this opportunity with the field battle this year and didn’t make much use of it.

Example the First: when you have, say, a town battle that covers the whole field, suddenly your town can be more than single-digit houses.  But your town battle should not be grab-and-go.  Or, at least, if it’s grab-and-go it needs to be either TFC style (the thing to grab is pretty close to the enemy rez point, and the win condition is “how many times can you grab it before time runs out?”), or you place the rez points closer to each other than they are to the MacGuffins so that the forces meet before they reach the bag (better yet, have more than one start/rez point: Axis has north/south, Allies have east/west, for instance).

Example the Second: when you have a rapier woods battle where you can’t see one flag from another, and have to actually rely on communication and scouts, and disposition of forces.  Again, maneuvers.  It’d be awesome.


But what I really want is battles with more interesting terrain and that make use of the natural terrain of the Pennsic battle field.  The second run of the Armored “Town” Battle made me think of this.  The Pennsic battle field is a slight valley, with a longer and taller slope towards the fort and a smaller rise opposite it.  A house and some hay bales scattered around is not a terrain battle.  Instead, run a “stream” of hay bales down the center of the valley; put a bridge in the center and fords upstream and downstream, and otherwise you have to “swim” it (maybe, maybe just have passage at the bridge and fords only).  Then build a village that straddles it, let’s call it “Fuentes de Onoro,” because that has a pretty sound to it, and set aside a supply of hay bales for use by the defenders (because this is going to be a timed defense scenario) to create “fortifications” (say, one hay bale tall you can fight over but not step over, two hay bales tall you can’t fight over) along the slope up to the fort.  Victory condition would be the attackers (starting from the side opposite the fort) reaching a line at the top of the slope, maybe carrying some sort of totem, like a banner, or an eagle, to that line so it’s not just some random fast runner who sees a hole.

Oh, and archer skirmishes.  They’re totally period, and they have them at Gulf Wars.  I want to run around the Pennsic woods and shoot archers.  Maybe do it in the terrain battle set up, also.  And the open field.

Also, and this may be one I actually could make happen, the HMA offerings were minimal this year. There should be more, not less.  Like, a lot of it, and not scheduled against the fighting, so that people can actually go.

And while I’m dreaming, I want a pony… keg of Laphroaig 25 Year Old Cask Strength.



5 comments to Pennsic XLI: Epilogue

  • Gawin

    Requiring the McGuffins to be carried to the opposite side of the field would have been quite interesting with the layout they used, as the collection points and the rez points were separated by haybales.

  • Donovan

    Yeah, football progress McGuffins would be neat.

    Also, agreed on TFC style grab-and-go, but only if someone gets to yell, “Boom! Headshot!” Because I’m like twelve.

    Moar HMA (and with good scheduling) would make me happy in my happy place, and maybe I should actually, like, learn something beyond “I can teach it to total newbs” and I could help, despite total Pennsic Teaching Fear.

  • Dante di Pietro

    I won’t be at Pennsic next year, but I have the summer off and am reasonably willing to travel places to teach, provided people feed me, etc..

  • Miriam d'Hawke

    Over the course of the week, we came up with about half a dozen ways to vary the McGuffin Battle — that you get a bag and have to fill it with sponges and get points based on the number of sponges ( therefore requiring an actual stop-and-defend tactic ), that you must take it through to their side of the field, that only certain bags are worth points ( and you don’t know which )… there were a lot of options.

    I always feel like Gulf Wars does a better job on the actual ‘running of war points’ than Pennsic — marshal-to-marshal communication, marshal-to-fighter communication, “How to Count Fighters” 101, “lets do it again” 101 … In some ways, GW goes a bit overkill, but I think I prefer it to the mass chaos of Pennsic.

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