Gaming at Shorehammer 2022

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Our game table. Note the details on the city walls, the colored roofs, and the bright banners on the tower in the back.

The narrative for the Corvus Cluster came to complete stop in November—there was just too much to do to get our dedicated terrain table ready for the Shorehammer 2022 convention.

We finished the table in time—and successfully hosted eight events—over the weekend of Dec. 2-4 . It was a fun time. But we’re ready to resume our storytelling on a regular basis. We’ll begin with a report about our convention experience.

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The entire convention fit into a single hotel ballroom. But while the convention is small, the attendees are so nice that it’s a major feature of the show.

A small show

Shorehammer is a small convention—with about 130 attendees this year. It was held in Ocean City, Md., which is very quiet in the winter and hotel rooms are dirt cheap. It’s a very affordable show.

The show largely featured Games Workshop games. There were several big “narrative” games for 40K and the Horus Heresy; tournaments for 40K, Kill Team, and Warhammer Underworlds. Something new this year was a new Flames of War (World War II) tournament, and a few other small events.

The Corvus Cluster games were the outlier activity. Our games were small skirmish actions (about 20 figs a side) designed to tell a story and create unique tactical situations for players. Every game was linked to some war zone of the Corvus Cluster, and the results of these games actually will  impact the future direction of our seven-year-old narrative campaign.

The reason for these events is that I like the convention but am not much enthralled with tournaments. They’re fine. I just like narrative games. Also, I found that my first time at the show, I had some “downtime” with nothing to do. So, I came up with my own solution. I offered to run short, two-hour to two-and-a-half-hour skirmish games.

My thinking is that the short games provide a useful alternative to the regular convention fare, and it gives me something fun to do.

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In The Walking Dead scenario, the Death Guard released a warp-tainted plague that filled the streets with zombies. These wretched creatures turned out to be moving terrain, blocking the movement of the Chaos traitors as much as they threatened the Imperial defenders.

Finishing the table

We posted an update about our Mos Eisley Project at the end of October. We spent the next month in a rush: painting the last few buildings, wrapping up the details of the city walls, and adding as much detail to the table overall as we could. Among the details were street lights, grass tufts, trash, a chain-link fence, and a gallows outside the Adeptus Arbites precinct house.

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One of my favorite details: Imperial “justice” in the 41st Millennium.

Although the table was constructed for convention play, the effort largely wrapped up the completion of our desert city (modeled after Mos Eisley of Star Wars fame). Although we already had a sizable number of easy-to-convert Middle Eastern buildings from the Miniature Building Authority, we added a number of Star Wars-themed buildings to help “sell” the sci-fi theme of a sci-fi desert community.

To remind everyone that this city still existed in the 41st Millennium, we also built a shrine constructed from the tower of a Fortress of Redemption.

This project left us with more than  40 desert-theme buildings that—with the addition of some high-tech roofs and wall units—should be more than enough buildings for the largest City of Death scenario we’ll ever want to play.

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The interior side of the city’s defensive wall. Angled buttresses, pipes, doors in the blockhouses, cracked stucco, and merchant stalls all helped to add a little flavor to what otherwise would have been a very dull corner of the game table. We couldn’t have that, could we?

Some pizzazz

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The red, black and yellow banners hanging from the Arbites precinct house really brought a bit of pizzazz to the table.

The biggest—and most visually arresting—feature of the table was an 18-inch-tall Star Wars tower that we designated our Arbites precinct house. This building had some dark gray, metal walls, as well as the traditional stucco in which most of the town’s buildings were constructed with.

To bring some “pop” to the building,  we added large banners that were reminiscent of the fascist-style icons of the 1930s and 1940s (or the the flags and banners seen in in the Starship Troopers movies). Lots of red and black were featured in the banners, with a yellow fist and a scale to represent Imperial justice—or Lex Imperialis.

It helped that we bought—or built—a variety of high-tech scatter terrain for the table. For example, we thought the interior side of the city walls was a bit bare, so we took some old Stryene tubes and Games Workshop promethium pipes from our bitz box to create some fuel and water lines going along the walls.

Our new Necromunda market stalls also should prove a big asset, as we’re planning to start a Necromunda terrain table.

Running our games

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The stepped sidewalk marks a very low hill in the corner of the table. The hill, the nearby deep, walled water canal, and the occasional tall tower on the table added interest to the terrain and distracted players from the overall flatness of the table.

We ran seven different scenarios (one twice) involving the Death Guard, Imperial Guard, Inquisition, Orks, Space Marines, and Tau.

One of the most interesting was called “Special Ops: 40K Style.” All players commanded a fire team of Imperial Guard grenadiers, which had the mission to slip inside a rebel-held city and open the front gates.

What was different about the scenario was the “fog of war.” Players only saw what their models could see. So a patrol of rebels might walk down the street, turn a corner, and then the figures would be removed from the table.

So the players had to skulk quite a bit. Set off an alarm too early, and rebels would overwhelm the players before they could even get near the city gates.

Another highlight was when a dad and his three children filled out a game. The younger kids (10ish) were painting up orks, so they wanted to see them in action.

The orks didn’t do too well. The kids did learn how to use terrain, but they were eager to get into the fray, and their casualties ultimately cost them the game. Kudos, though, for their sportsmanship.

Next on the agenda?

It took a week to recover from hosting eight games in less than 65 hours—and then the five hours to pack up and drive home. So it will come as no surprise that there was no energy for the hobby for the next week.

For me, at least (TheGM), I’m finally back to painting troops, and I hope in the weeks ahead to start working on my first Necromunda tile. I also picked up (at half price) one of the Kill Team boxes with the spaceship corridors, and I’m keen on painting some of them up.

But first, I need to catch up on the narrative of our campaign. I’ve several battle reports that are long overdue, and I’m eager to set up a solo game–as well as challenge The Gaffer to a new fight.

And we’ve got an entirely new year of fun ahead of us!

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

Categories: Conventions

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4 replies »

  1. Thanks for the write up on the event/experience. Definitely a cool thing to do for the community. I hope you got a lot of good feedback/praise.

    I’m definitely looking forward to reading the tales that the battles generated in the ongoing chronicle of the corvus cluster.


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