Doctor Evil’s Secret Headquarters … (Pic ©: Paul Hooper)
Brixcon 2005 was the fourth AK47 convention. My AK47 Armies were all slightly silly, in the way that the Monster Raving Loony Party is. Modern Africa is such a complex Continent, that I could only approach it sideways with offbeat humour. How else can you contemplate a Continent that is riven apart by AIDS, Warlords murdering and raping at will, children abducted and forced to murder, governments stuffed with kleptocrats and corrupt officials, mass genocides … the list is endless.
The remains of the Imperial Bokassan Navy in the land-locked river estuary (Pic ©: Paul Hooper)
2004’s ‘Imperial Bokkassan Navy‘ was a sideswipe at the inflated pomposity of African Dictators. In 2005 I decided to poke fun at mercenaries, and the art of commercial hype as practiced by Western free-market companies.
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Whatever I might have thought about my army, it was soon nicknamed “Doctor Evil’s Army” by everyone, as my terrain was a massive Secret Base in the style of those loved by evil villains in every Bond movie that you have ever seen. Have you ever wondered how all those evil henchmen in the secret control room got to work? Well I did, and I gave the secret base a car park!
… Complete with Evil Car Park! (Pic ©: Paul Hooper)
Thanks went to the Organiser – Graham Evans, The Umpire – Martyn Simpson, and to Peter Pig, QRF, and Tradewinds who donated prizes. The late Roy Harrison had made much on the AK47 forums of helicopters prior to the tournament. I didn’t think that religious loonies would have any, but I did bring an AA heavy army just in case!
My first 2005 game was against Rex King, a who was a nice bloke with scary tattoos. I got stuck in early with my armour, and lost half of it straight away, as is normal. Rex used helicopters, and I had great fun blazing away away at them with my AA units. It was gratifying to see that the helicopters skirted the AA, but flew close enough to my infantry to enable them to shoot one down. First victory to the little chaps! I immediately reminded Rex that the title of the film was “Black Hawk Down“
The game was close throughout, and Rex gave as good as he got. In the final moves, with everything in the balance, my general waded into the thick of the battle to try and swing things my way. He went down in a hail of AK47 rounds, and I narrowly lost on points.
If all the battles were going to be this much fun then it was looking good! We retired to the Red Lion for beer and food.
Game One – my Unit Three went looking for helicopters with an unfeasably large AA gun.
My second game was against Graeme Gee, on a rather splendid river valley built by Paul Mileham. After the political phase, Graeme only had two armoured car units on the table, so I made evil hay whilst the sun shone and ganged up on one of the AC units, destroying it totally.
Game Two – Evil Villains take a pot at an Armoured Car on a carpet tile savannah
Graeme’s second unit had rushed to the rescue over the central river bridge, but had not arrived in time. It defended a narrow defile caused by the table edge and a built up area, delaying me for long enough to allow reinforcement units to arrive. Nevertheless, I managed to claim my objectives, and destroy enough of Graeme’s units to claim a narrow evil victory.
Game Two – Evil Henchmen moving up to assault Graeme’s Armoured Cars
Graeme’s dapper goatee beard never twitched once, even when his fifth armoured car finally went up in a cloud of oily black smoke. A very cool customer under fire!
My third 2005 game was against Kenn Natt. It was simultaneously the most entertaining and bizarre of all the games, as Kenn had fielded Martian Settlers!! He also mounted his general in a professional tank, which was a facet of the rules that no-one else had spotted.
I was attacking again, of course, and set to against Ken’s army with a will. By this stage of the tournament, no-one was surprised to see Ken’s two helicopters doing a “men against fruit*” shuffle to avoid my now-infamous anti-aircraft units.** It didn’t help him though – I shot down both of them within touching distance of each other. Cue evil laughter!
Game Three – Is it a UFO? No, it’s a Helicopter!
For most of the game, Ken had attached his General to a Militia unit holding the central town. He is a noted defensive general par exellence. I poured fire into this unit and assaulted it, hoping that it would fail enough morale tests to vanish, taking the General with it. In the nick of time, The General moved over to a new unit of armoured cars that had just arrived. I was sweeping over the board, and it was only a matter of time before the Aliens were reduced to green Goo. (Ken had thoughtfully brought his own Goo markers too!)
Game Three – Ken’s General and 3 ‘armoured cars’ making sure of an objective!
At the final countdown, it was going to be close. Ken was contesting all 3 objectives, but looking decidedly outgunned on two of them. I then discovered that to claim shot-down Helicopters, you actually had to capture them as objectives. My General was 1″ too far away to count! I lost by a narrow margin but again had the moral satisfaction of having cleared the sky of Helicopters. I resolved to read the rules more closely in 2006 – served me right!
Game Three – Surreal moment: Dr Evil’s Armour hunts down the Martians. Note the second unfeasably large twin AA gun.
Now, what was the title of that Black Hawk film again? Oh Yes, “Black Hawk Down!”
* Men Against Fruit – A game invented by the late Dr. Paddy Griffith. You randomly fill the dining room table with fruit, and hide 54mm toy soldiers behind them. One player moves, then the opponent shoots. You each move one soldier alternately, in turn. You kill an enemy soldier if you can draw a line of sight from your soldier’s eyes to any part of the enemy soldier. The game ends when all the soldiers on one side are shot. Simple.
**You make a unit infamous by dancing with glee and cackling every time it shoots at a helicopter. Folk are rightly wary of this sort of behaviour.