Tuesday 9 April 2019

Hamburg Tactica 2019 / Saturday

When Jörg and I arrived at the Bürgerhaus Wilhelmsburg on Saturday morning, there was a long line of people waiting in front of the doors to get a ticket for the Tactica, Germany’s biggest wargaming convention with about 2500 visitors this year.

To my surprise, Jörg ignored all those waiting and somehow entered without lining up.

I walked towards the parking lot, trying to find the end of the line, and met Alex and Michael, two wargamers from around Wesel, with whom I had played a couple of games last year. They told me about their latest project of building a western town and two gangs for "Dead Man’s Hand".

Inside the Bürgerhaus Wilhelmsburg I met Jörg again and we went around looking for participation games to play. The friends from Wesel had sparked my interest in the Wild West, so the first game Jörg and I played on Saturday was "Shootout in Dingstown".

Shootout in Dingstown

It’s a skirmish game written by Axel Jansen, available in German through the website: www.dingstown.de

The author presented the game himself. 
We were four players. Axel Jansen had prepared several scenarios and about ten gangs with six figures each, including Daleks and gunslinger women. 

We chose a scenario where two rivaling groups of bandits had to rob a bank and the representatives of the law - Jörg and another gentleman - had to stop them.

I played a gang of Mexicans which gave me the chance to practice swearing in Spanish. Chinga tu madre. Puto. Pendejo.

Initiative was going from figure to figure until every figure had moved and was managed using a set of playing cards.

The Mexicans were entering the town through a cemetery close to the bank. My first move was stupid. I only had one bandit with a gun, able to shoot well enough at long distance. After he missed his first shot, I became nervous and moved him out on the street, where he was shot down immediately.

I needed some kind of plan and asked Axel Jansen if I had access to dynamite. He allowed me to equip the youngest member of my gang with dynamite.

I moved the bandits to the back of the bank, using a water mill as cover. Señor Rodríguez, the boss, even managed to shoot a guard inside the bank through a window. Then I blew away the back wall, which also opened the safe and killed the bank director, and I could get away with the gold through the graveyard.

"Shootout in Dingstown" has a focus on simple rules and doesn’t need many figures to play. Axel Jansen had prepared a beautiful Wild West town and gave us many choices. I was lucky to play the game with a fun group of people, so it was a good start to my weekend at the Tactica.

I looked around and about half the visitors of the Tactica had already left. Maybe a lot of people only come to the Tactica to buy things at the flea market?

The mountain fortress of Karak Varn

The second game we played was a dungeon crawler run by a member of the club Kurpfalz Feldherren, using the ruleset Frostgrave. Each year this club presents one or two fantastic tables at the Tactica. I’m always amazed how they do it …

We were four players, playing in teams of two. Each team had a wizard, his apprentice and a couple of henchmen. The two wizards and their followers entered the dungeon from different sides and had the same objectives: take out some treasure chests, kill big monsters and the overlord of the dungeon. There were traps, random monsters and secret passages …

Although the other team was very competitive and had a strong barbarian, Jörg and I won in the end. I guess we were just lucky.

After eating some potato salad with sausages in the main hall, we played a third game in the afternoon, "Ghostbusters", presented by the club Asgard Aschaffenburg.


Their table was impressive. It had large buildings and a part of the New York canalization hidden in a drawer, with ghost crocodiles and a giant worm.

I was very curious about 7TV, the ruleset they used, which I had wanted to try for a long time. Our game masters didn’t have so much experience with the rules though. Nevertheless, the game was fascinating.

The gameplay of 7TV is structured by the metaphor of a film set. You imagine two things at the same time: the action itself and a film crew making a movie. This creates a certain distance and adds a layer of irony to the game.


I wonder how entertaining this game can be, if you are more familiar with the rules. And I would like to know if playing something like "Clash of the Titans" or "Pirates of the Carribean" could be fun.

While I enjoyed the two layers of imagination the game creates, Jörg found it overly complicated. I want to try the game again. Is anybody in Berlin playing this?

At night we went to our favourite Turkish restaurant in St. Pauli and had a glass of wine in the hotel bar. Around 11 PM I was so tired, I fell asleep playing Hearthstone on the iPad, a card game I have been playing too much last year. (If you want to add me as a friend, my BattleTag is: zinnling #2975.)


  1. Impressive pictures and tables, love the Wild West and the huge town...

    1. Thank you, Phil. The Wild West table looked great and it was lots of fun playing Shootout in Dingstown. Cheers, Karl