Every con has a surprise discovery somewhere in it. For me, for this con, it was Wooden Wars. Wooden Wars is a simple miniature game that uses laser-cut wooden soldiers and a combat resolution system that uses both contact between units and thrown rubber balls as the basis for determining losses. It's a nicely updated version of H.G. Wells' Little Wars. Since the artillery used in Little Wars isn't available in toy shops today, the rubber balls stand in as a replacement.
My daughter managing Queen Victoria's Robots on the surface of Venus. They come to a bloody end in the next turn, when a unit of V-Rex riding Dragoons charges them after they come out from behind their cigar box revetment onto the open field to support their own unit of cavalry.
The game was designed by Thomas Foss, who ran a successful Kickstarter project to improve his ability to produce the game pieces. He started with Napoleonics, and has since expanded into Victorian fantasy pieces such as the robotic infantry and steel dinosaur riders.
The pieces are beautifully made and well designed. The maker, Thomas Foss, is presently fulfilling the orders from his Kickstarter backers, and hopes to open his store next month. He's on Facebook, though I'm not (not yet--every day adds another reason I should probably bite the bullet and sign up.) He's also got a blog at Skull and Crown here on Blogger. I'll be watching closely for the opening of his store.
My daughter had a great time playing the game, and we had a great time watching (we went off and attended a couple of talks while she was playing, it was harder to pin us down to one thing at the con, but we can't wait for our chance to play.) It's one of those games that looks like as much fun as it is, making it a great game for spectators as well as players.
Acts of Dog
One rule that stood out to me in a quick review of the rule book was the rule on "Acts of Dog", where any pieces upset by the actions of pets (of any species) are treated as destroyed for the game. So, if things are going poorly for your side, you can always call in Fido or Fluffy. Assuming there's more of their soldiers on the field than yours, chances are in your favor. And if it happens that your remaining units become hors de chat rather than the enemy, at least you've had a quick and relatively face-saving end to the game so that you can get on with another.
I can't wait to play Wooden Wars with our local gaming group.
I think it'll be a big hit.