I spent last Saturday gaming at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York - a fabulous place to attend a gaming convention. West Point was the site of Pointcon, a wargame convention hosted by Cadet's Wargame Committee. The last time I attended Pointcon several years ago, it was held in Eisenhower Hall, which has a spectacular setting with giant windows overlooking the Hudson. The convention has shifted to Thayer Hall in recent years, where the setting is not as breathtaking, and is broken up with the separate game events played in individual classrooms, but Pointcon is still a unique and enjoyable event.
It was a bit of an interesting experience getting through the security checkpoints at West Point. At the second checkpoint on the way in, when asked by the guards where I was going, I responded by saying we were attending a wargame convention in Thayer Hall. Maybe it was the mention of "wargames", or maybe I just flat out look suspicious, but at that point the guard said that he hadn't heard of any such event, and then ordered my friend and I to step out of our vehicle. Things went fine though after that, when the guard, while searching our trunk saw that we were carrying toy soldiers in, and he must have decided that we were too nerdy to be viable threats before waving us on.
Once driving the rest of the way in, we were greeted by the sight of several fatigue-clad cadets, wearing full backpacks running on the sidewalks - quite a different sight I'm sure that most college campuses greet morning visitors with! Then it was parking on the roof of Thayer Hall, and a quick run down the stairs, arriving just about barely in time for the Field of Glory Ancients tournament. In adjacent and nearby rooms there was also taking place a small Warrior tournament, an Advanced Squad Leader tournament, a large World War II game, and several other participation games that I didn't have time to check out more closely. Unfortunately, the West Point bookstore was closed, but there wasn't really time to peruse there anyway because it was time for the games to start.
Catalans and Dominates Face Off
Almughavars move onto the Auxilia
Early Achaemenid Persians in the distance
Although, I mainly only had time to photograph my own games, during the second round, I had to lean over an adjacent table to take the photo to the right showing a wall of Tibetan cataphracts - definitely an army that I didn't expect to show for an open format tournament. Someone else brought Aztecs, but unfortunately, while caught up in my own game, neglected to get photos of that colorful army.
Tibetans versus Early Swiss
To the right, my Almughavars begin their advance on the Immortals, supported by the armored hoplites. Once I got closer and failed my "don't charge" tests, contacting the hoplites and the Immortals, it went downhill very fast for the Catalans, and the Persians came away with a wide margin winning draw.
Almughavars face the armored hoplites
Catalans facing Later Ottomans
Scattered against the Ottomans
All-in-all, it was a great day of wargaming. West Point is a sensational place to have an Ancients tournament. And the tournament was definitely a success - thirteen players, all with different armies, no rules arguments, and tons of laughs. It was especially enjoyable when the break between the second and third rounds took place and we all headed out to the main center of the campus where the cadets were celebrating with a Spring Festival. These young men and women are fine examples of the type of people we have to defend our country, and I was very impressed with their demeanor, behavior, and friendliness to visitors to what is their home. As far as the Catalans go, I very much enjoyed playing them, especially with the list I used that was more Almughavar heavy than the one that I recently used at Havoc. A really fun, in-you-face army that is a huge blast to attack with. I think with a bit more practice, they can be quite the winners, and I may not yet be done with these guys.