Wednesday, December 8, 2021

February Gaming Weekend.

 I've started thinking about a February Gaming Weekend. For the past 17 years, i've organized some sort of gaming event around my birthday at the end of February - the Annual Wargaming Birthday BasH! Sometimes its been a single afternoon or evening - usually a multiplayer miniature game of some sort with a few friends. Other times it's been and entire weekend of gaming - either a campaign or a mini, invitational con. Other times, just a few games with the family... 

I’m really trying to stay positive and plan as though we WON’T be in a FIFTH Wave of Covid… or STILL Be riding out an extended (never-ending) fourth wave!?   (Not that there are going to be any more restrictions of movements or visitations, regardless of how many die, this government had made clear!). But, these things often work out better if there has been some planning beforehand…. So I am thinking about it and trying to make plans… 

To get started, I recently catalogued all of the previous events on a separate page, recently...

Wargaming Birthday Bashes

A couple predate this blog - I was lucky to find a couple pictures of one of the pre-blog games (going through back-up CDs from previous computers, sifting through piles of old pictures)... but could find nothing for the first one... 

Putting this together and reviewing all these events, brought up a rollercoaster of memories ranging from pure joy to total despair. These constitute some of my favourite gaming memories, ever. Simultaneously many bring up feelings of soul-crushing misery and utter  despondency… 

Every year there was that one person (or two, or three) that insisted on RUINING ALL THE FUN (for ME, at least, They probably still had a great time!).  Whether it was the constant complaints about the system (the tabletop game itself and/or campaign rules), or their constant demanding for rulings about stupid bullshit they should have known the answer for if they read the rules and weren’t trying to seek advantage through rules lawyery, or just finding loopholes in either the game rules or the campaign rules and totally exploiting them…. 

There are more than a few of these people that have also showed up at many of these events that ALWAYS caused trouble and made me never want to run one again…  I've tried to stay positive in game reports and not mention these things plainly... Ignore it… "Let it go"... But it happened and, looking back at them, even now, I wonder, is the stress they cause worth it?!

Some I can simply NEVER invite again (finally got that solution through my thick head). A big problem is a few of them still live here in Saskatoon and THESE are the people that are almost ALWAYS available… and worst part is... some of them are truly generous, fantastic human beings… Y’know, OUTSIDE of gaming… 

On the flip side, there ARE about a dozen people that have come to multiple games over the years that totally make it worthwhile and never cause any sort of trouble or headaches. They are the reason I have carried on. They would be my DREAM TEAM of players for a game weekend… Unfortunately, over half of them don’t even live in Saskatoon and it is a big deal for them to get here… especially in February… especially in the middle of a pandemic… 

How does one get a Dream Team of players to show up, while not hurting good friends (who are terrible people to play games with)? 

That being said…. Problem Person(s) played in the Necromunda game (the last big one I ran in 2020, both at my Birthday Bash and again at ToonCon… I won’t say which it was the Problem Person(s) showed up at…) and didn’t cause much trouble… I think this was largely due to scenario design. There was a need to work together, to a certain extent (if the common enemy, played by me, was not stopped, EVERYONE LOST!! And Karloth Valois and his horde of Scavvies and Plague Zombies were NO PUSH-OVERs!), and there was no great benefit to being a dink (each had secret, individualized objectives and victory points - mostly points were awarded for dealing damage to Valois and his crew... but each gang had ONE other gang or gang memeber that they had some sort of vendetta against and could gain points by taking ONE specific character out.).… so… no one was really THAT much of a dink… 

I also find it hard to make plans and get things prepared when I get a luke-warm commitment from many people… Which I've gotten a lot of over the years, and especially the last few. “Well, I’d LOVE to… but we’ll have to see… I can’t plan that far in advance…” when it’s, y’know, just two months away…. Somehow people can make plans to go on holidays, or go to weddings, or go to (AND/OR ORGANIZE) larger conventions up to (and sometimes more than) a YEAR in advance on a specific day/weekend/week… but can’t say if they can make it to my thing until the week before…?! WTF!? 

The last wargaming weekend I'd planned (a Necromunda campaign in the fall of 2019) which I had done SO MUCH WORK FOR (painting multiple gangs for people to use if they didn't have one and a bunch of terrain)... got cancelled because I got a bunch of "maybes", which turned into "NOPEs" in the last week or so coming up to the planned weekend for the event. (Luckily I was able to make use of it all in the following Birthday Bash/ToonCon event) 

(Except for the problem people… they can ALWAYS commit and will definitely make it…) 


I digress... 

Back to THE PLAN

This also happens to be a BIG ONE - as this will be my FIRST HALF-CENTURY celebration

(Seriously, how the fuck did I actually make it this far!?) 

(Ooh! Maybe I should start the day with a half-century ride!) 

(but, like, a metric half-century... and only if its NOT -40°C!?) 

AND, my Birthday IS on a Friday, so it seems like it would be fun to use that to kick off a whole WEEKEND of festivities! 

But what format to take…? A weekend long campaign of some sorts - either tabletop miniatures (which could be competitive or co-op/semi-co-op) or a role-playing game? Or something more like a mini-con with a number of different events/games over the weekend. 

I think my favourite option is a co-operative, tabletop miniature adventure campaign - where the “players” are all on the same side and have one character/hero and/or a small unit of some sort, that fight against antagonists controlled by a GM (i.e. ME!) - and play through a series of linked adventures - possibly requiring collection artifacts or clues or completing objectives before they can move on, and culminating in a BIG BOSS BATTLE at the end of the weekend…?

But a lot of that depends on who is available that weekend, how much of that weekend they are available, and what they are interested or willing to commit to playing.  

Over a weekend I generally, mentally break it down into 5-7 game "slots":

  1. Friday Night
  2. Saturday Morning
  3. Saturday Afternoon
  4. Saturday Evening
  5. Sunday Morning?
  6. Sunday Afternoon
  7. Sunday Evening ?

So... Campaign or Mini-con?


Role-Playing Game or Miniatures?


Advantage to role-playing games - if things do go sideways, Pandemic-wise, I could always switch to Online… like I did for my birthday this past year. 

  • Fate? 
  • Wrath & Glory? 
  • Something Else!? (unlikely) 


Competitive campaign/mini-tournament OR a co-op/semi-co-op tabletop adventure (like RPG - but miniature combat focused where all the Players are on the same side fighting enemies controlled by a game master - i.e ME!) 

Competative Campaign/Tournement

Competitive campaigns/tournaments I could potentially run... 

  • Hordes of the Things
  • DBA
  • Necromunda
  • Kill Team
  • 40K Combat Patrol
  • Frostgrave
  • Stargrave
  • Warcry

  • The Silver Bayonet

While a LOT of fun... there are almost always a LOT of problems with these... 


As mentioned before, this is probably more most favourite option. Running a series of tabletop miniature adventures where all the of the players are (more or less) on teh same side, battling against foes controlled by ME - ultimately culminating in some kind of "Epic Boss Battle"!  Some of the games I have and could again run as a cooperative or semi-cooperative :

  • Savage Worlds
  • Age of Sigmar
  • Warcry
  • Kill Team
  • 40K
  • Necromunda 
  • Song of Blades and Heroes
  • Frostgrave
  • Stargrave
  • The Silver Bayonet
  • Warhammer Quest (like Blackstone Fortress or any of the Age of Sigmar ones...) 

Team Option (Semi-Coop/Competitive)

The "All Quiet Campaign" - two teams with multiple players- each player commanding a squad or Kill Team within a platoon or similar larger formation... it uses set terrain representing a stagnant part of the front where the fighting has more or less ground to a halt. The teams are holding that section of the line for a period of three days and three nights. A series of six scenarios are played over that time period. Not all troops are used for each mission. Some are active (on the mission out in No Mans' Land), some can be on stand-by (sentries, holding the trenches or whatever), some are out-of-the-line and resting... Quality of troops degrades if they are used twice in a row (i.e. without resting)...?


There are definitely some advantages to running a "Mini-Con". I can mix it up and play some different things. There could be somewhat less prep involved - especially if a few of them are board games and I dont have to worry about an airtight campaign system. Also, no one has to commit to WHOLE weekend - people could “sign up” for just ONE slot. 

The weekend could look something like:

  • Friday Night - One-Shot Role-Playing Game
  • Saturday Morning - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Saturday Afternoon -  Miniature Skirmish 
  • Saturday Evening - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Sunday Morning -  Board Game
  • Sunday Afternoon - Board Game 
  • Sunday Evening - Board Game 

  • Friday Night - One-Shot Role-Playing Game
  • Saturday Morning - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Saturday Afternoon -  Board Game 
  • Saturday Evening - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Sunday Morning -  Board Game
  • Sunday Afternoon - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Sunday Evening - Board Game 
Just to mix it up a little... 

OR... have the one-shot RPG on the Saturday evening, half-way through...

OR... it could be ONE board game on Sunday... but, like, a bigger one with many players taking all day to play... 

Lots of possibilities here... 


A third option I've been considering since I started this planning and writing this a week or so ago is a "Come-And-Go Campaign. This would be a semi-co-op miniature campaign - involving a number of linked scenarios played over the weekend that create a bit of a narrative... BUT... it could involve DIFFERENT characters/groups - played by different participants that could show up for just one session, or ALL of them. Ideally, there would be one or two that would play the entire weekend and would be the "Lead Heroes" that assemble the varied groups of allies to fight... whatever it is that they are fighting...? 


...maybe I'll just play some games with my family again, like I did last year... 

Kind of still leaning towards co-op tabletop miniature adventure... possibly with come-and-go option... 


  1. The only games I manage to get in these days are solo, and let me tell you the guy I play with is a real piece of work ;)

    Could you do something remote with the dream team of players, or is that too much of a faff? Would probably suit a longer format ‘orders issued’ style game rather than a turn by turn skirmish, I suppose...

    1. Ha ha!

      I tried running a miniature game remotely (Battle Fleet Gothic - with the Saturday RPG crew - to play out a space battle they were passing through) and it didnt work so well... I just dont have the technology. Maybe if I had better/ MOVEABLE cameras...?

      Your comment DOES remind me I used to do play-by-email campaigns - with Hordes of the Things - where the heads of state all lived elsewhere and did all the high-level decision making - diplomacy and general orders for the army's movement... and then me and local family/friends played out the battles that ended up happening when hostile armies "bumped" on the map!

      I had actually been thinking at the beginning of the year about doing that with The Pikemans Lament and a modified version of the old Mighty Empires rules... but never got around to it! Wouldn't really work for a ONE DAY (or even weekend) event... but still something worth reconsidering in the new year!


  2. Ha! I get you, myincubliss. I don't play a lot, and usually when I do it's also solo. That guy... I can see why he plays solo. :P

    But seriously, while I have not tried to arrange any group gaming I do find it takes the right people to make it fun for all. I've been lucky to find a few people in my general area who I enjoy playing with, but haven't been able to since the pandemic started and the FLGS stopped having game days. These days that store only seems to have events for Magic and some other card game. Maybe that's where the money is these days?

    I hope you can get some good players together to have some fun times all around! :)

    1. Thanks!

      Pokemon? Is that still a thing?

      I'm kind of surprised that Magic is still going... Never really got into it. I'm not trying to be down on it, or anything. Just wasn't my thing and I'm surprised ANYTHING in the gaming world - beyond D&D survives that long! I played a few CCGs when there were, like, a bajillion of them (Illuminati: New World Order, mostly - and a few that I just picked up a pile of for giggles when the market got saturated, most of them died and games stores were selling off packs for a dollar a pack (or less!)

  3. First of all, a half century is a big deal, and deserves a big bash... even if it happens on your half birthday instead for weather/covid reasons.

    Second, I like the idea of a linked campaign that is come and go... so you could have a story, and then have a variety of games that fit into it. Some sort of kill team/necromunda/40k/stargrave/RPG thing might be good!

    However, I think you should ALSO set aside some of the time for board games that you like and do not get to play often... I know you have 101 of those! (this may be a safer place to slot in the TFG players...)

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, I am definitely leaning towards the come-and-go campaign option - but hoping there will be a core group of a couple players that will be there the entire weekend - and a few that will show up for a game or two, here and there, to fill up the table(s).

      Currently also leaning towards The Silver Bayonet. I might even do it so that the first round or two (Friday Night and maybe SAturday morning) all take place in the early part of the Napoleonic era and are played as competitive games between historical opponents - representing beligerants both being sent out by their respective sides to investigate strange rumours only to discover THE ENEMY there as well, and automatically assuming they are in league with the dark forces... but after a few encounters, both sides realize; "Nope, they're genuinely fighting against the same greater supernatural evil that we are..." and the rest of the games over the weekend will be more co-operative as the supernatural element gets bigger and meaner and more dangerous...

      Finnegan and I are planning to play a bunch of it over the next month or so - to see if it's going to work out, play-test some scenarios, etc.

    2. We have a stat holiday earlier in February here in Saskatchewan - "Family Day" - which is the weekend before my birthday *19, 20, 21 February 2022).

      For a few years, in the past, we'd made THAT a board game weekend. I think we might do the same this year.. So I'll get TWO weekends of gaming!?

    3. well if you have the energy... it is your 50th! And boardgames need less planning/work.

  4. My time off has to be booked in week long blocks with this job, and I've lost some flexibility that way. I am not available. At least that's a definite answer, just not the one I'd prefer.
    How do feel about playing over steam sometime?

    1. Fair enough. I think you've always been pretty straightforward about your availability... Others, less so. I've had maybes or even yeses that turned into "I can't make it" less than a week before a campaign took place - often for reasons that one would think should have been apparent WAY in advance...

      I worried about posting this. I figured people I was not talking about would WORRY That it WAS them I was talking about. Conversely, I think a good many of the genuine "problem people" are so lacking in self-awareness, I was almost certain at least one, if they even read this, would post or otherwise contact me about their "solutions" for "those people" not even recognizing that THEY ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!? I've listened to them complain about "rules lawyers" and "min-maxers" and wondered "how do you no even see that that is EXACTLY what YOU do!?"

      I was worried you might see yourself in my comments about people that complain too much... because... you do complain... a bit.. but it's always gotten a pass in my brain... probably because you do seem to have the most horrendous shit luck and also end up facing a disproportionate number of problem people on the tabletop. Both of which seem legitimate grounds for complaint!

      I think you also once told me "I only complain when I'm having a good time..." or something similar! Which made me laugh.

    2. Thank you! I come from a long line of miserable bastards, and I have some awareness of my flaws. I appreciate that you see past that. I feel like one of your (irr)regulars, and wish I could be there.

      What if you wrote a loose narrative campaign set after a big battle? I can imagine little bands of English. French, Polish, Grand Duchy of Whateverstanians bumping into each other, as they hunt ghouls, vampires and Rasputinians.

    3. That's kind of the idea. I's like The first few scenarios to be on the periphery of historical battles, but might narratively take place over a few years and across the continent - and possibly beyond. I'm imagining the latter few scenarios will involve the disparate groups coming together and working to thwart a Greater Evil.

      I found some Flintoque miniatures I picked up... somehwere...? Sometime ago...? They are HUGE, but I might have a way of incorporating those... There's a vampire and some Zombies in Russian uniforms... plus a few zombie Russian peasants!

  5. I hope you have a good game, coop seems the way to go,thinking about an Italian pike and shot game dor my birthday in the summer, I blame you!
    Best Iain