Friday, February 14, 2014


NORAD reports the crash of an extraterrestrial object deep in the Appalacian mountains. The Guardians are dispatched to report on and recover any possible alien technology. They are not the only ones interested in the crash.
Members of the All Southern Squadron along with Hellion from the Crime Syndicate also converge on the outskirts of the sleepy town of Cooter's Crossing.

Immediately, Flea sprung into action using his bouncing speed to get to what turned out to be a crashed alien craft first. He quickly grabbed an important looking object, and dashed back. Meanwhile A.J.A.X. took to the air for the Guardians, hoping to reign missiles and laser down from above.
The Super Villains made the most of the woods to approach cautiously.

A.J.A.X.'s vantage point in the sky gave him a clear view of the battlefield but also made him a target. Texas Twister unleashed a Tornado Punch, nearly knocking the armored hero from the sky.
Whistlin' Dixie from the All Southern Squadron moved up to loot the ship, but it was immediately apparent her skills were needed for battle. One blast of her sonic whistle nearly destroyed Goldar.
Lucky for him, his robotic body was able to repair itself.
This attack was quickly followed up by Johnny Reb who not only beat Flea within an inch of his life, but moved on to pummel the Cyclops and the Crimson Cowl.

Doc Titan was effectively taken out of the fight. He was surrounded by the evil Mechanoids and Hellion. They couldn't hurt him, but he couldn't seem to harm them either. This standoff took half the teams out of the game.
Flea was conscious enough to get the tech off the battlefield and went back for more (Brave fellow). He was attacked by Texas Twister.
Goldar repaired himself and counter attacked Dixie. She couldn't withstand his Diamond Ray.
As night fell, the Guardians retreated with the alien tech but left the Villains in control of the battlefield and with it the alien ship.
Later, at the Guardian's Citadel, the tech was examined. It was a version of an alien "blackbox". The ship had been sent to warn Earth of it's impending attack by an alien overlord known only as the Despot!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sails of Glory

The snow kept most of the Basement Generals away last night (babies). They missed a great little game: Sails of Glory. Bill went for the SoG Kickstarter n a big way, and had over a dozen ships. We played with just 4 since it was the first outing, and used the basic rules.
If you've played the WWI fighter game Wings of War, or the most recent X-Wing tabletop game, then you can pick up Sails of Glory's mechanics pretty quick. Most of what you need is on the ship base or the control mat. Moves are plotted secretly using the maneuver cards and revealed simultaneously.
Shooting is just as easy. The ship bases show your arc of fire for fore, broadside, and aft batteries. A measuring stick tells you which type of damage chits are pulled from the bags marked with the damage range. If you are in "A" range, pull from the "A" bag. Similar to the old red/blue damage chits in Blue Max.
This may look complicated, but it's not.
Use said chits to mark off damage to your ship. Performance declines with damage.
The first bout was a battle between to equally matched forces: 2 British Ships of the LIne vs 2 French. The Brits had one ship eliminated thru crew loss, and one badly beaten up, while the French had one ship surrender from battle damage, and one damaged so bad it couldn't fire ant more.
It lasted about 45 minutes.
The second bout we used Frigates. Faster ships but with less damage to take. The results were similar.
All in all a great little game and highly recommended. Can't wait to try with 6-8 people. THe basic game is easy to pick up and the advanced game adds all kinds of fun stuff like sail damage, specialty ordinance, etc.
I've always steered away from naval games of this era because of all fiddly painting and rigging associated with the models. But, these come fully painted with a deck of cards and the appropriate ship tracker for about $20 for the big ships. Word on the street, pirates are next!
Tonight's drink of choice was a no-brainer...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Campaign for the Kingdom: Battle of Broken Hills

The first warm day in what had been a bitter winter, dawned over the Kingdom. Horace, Duke of Dunharrow, and claimant to the throne, had roused his men early and had them on the march. With him rode the men of Stonekeep, led by the young Baron Lionel. With him was also Rutiger the Younger, son of the deposed King. Strange allies in what had been an even stranger campaign.
They had marched most of the morning and had but to make the pass through the Broken Hills, those troll haunted hills said to be the burial place of giants.
But that is where Horace ran into Oswald, Baron of Ock. 
Oswald's spies had informed him of Horace's route. He gathered his bannermen Roderick, Duke of Greendale and Archibald of Westgate. Togther they would smash this usurper and put the rightful king of the throne. Meaning, himself.
This was the usual slugfest, but with a twist. As fate would have it, most of the commanders rolled abysmal Commander Ratings. Only Mike, controlling Rutiger, got a Brilliant ratings. Leaders would have to stay tight to stay in command. This would lead to some close in fighting. Any breaks in the line would be quickly exploited.
Troops await picking, just like a giant dodgeball match.

Pick me!

Lionel urges his men up the hills

THere was the usual start and stop as troops closed. I controlled Lionel on the far left of Horace's line. My plan was to get into the hills and hold the crest against all comers. This would prove difficult. By the time I got there, my men were winded (one of the few rules sets I know that takes into account fatigue). I had the only horses on the table, and failed command roll sent them hurtling forward. They died under a hail of arrows. The rest of my troops didn't fair much better.
But, on the rest of field, Horace's men were killing or driving off most of the center. With all but one unit of archers left in my command, it looked as if Horace would get outflanked. Archibald's men turned to attack Horace. This left them horribly exposed to my archers on the hill. Turn by turn they chopped Archibald's command down, until finally the ninth unit in Oswald's army broke, bringing victory.
Oswald was captured and, in front of his men, executed. The wind picked up and cold weather moved in. It appeared winter had not ended. Men were sent to winter quarters. 
Lionel had felt slighted after the battle. Horace had taken the credit for victory. But was it not his men who had held the line? Was it not his men who turned the tide?
Horace, it seemed, would have a new opponent come spring....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thursday Night Gunfight

Hadn't played Fistful of Lead in awhile. It was time to dig the not-so-sleepy border town of Lesterville.
We had 7 players and 2 1/2 hours. Perfect for FfoL. The scenario: Johnny One-Leg, notorious leader of the Leftover Gang (so named because at the time I had run out of miniatures in which to create theme gangs) has been captured. He is being held in the Lesterville jail, guarded not only by the Marshal and his men, but by a group of concerned citizens (in reality the Society of Gentlemen Gunfighters).
Johnny's gang has teamed up with Dixon gang (so named because they are made up of Dixon miniatures) to spring Johnny. Not out of any kind of loyalty, but because Johnny's the only one who knows where the loot from the last job is.
Throw into the mix El Guappo and his banditos and Yellowknife ("Yellowknife cannot be killed by white man's bullets")and his Commanches also wanting Johnny for his gold.
And finally, waiting in the wings the cavalry, ready to ride in and help the outnumbered Marshal, but only when the player controlling them gets a "7" card in his hand.
The Marshal's men and the citizens set up first. Meanwhile, the people of Lesterville go about their work. All the citizens can be interacted with, and move after all the players have activated. Some are preprogrammed, Egg Shin is delivering his laundry, the miners are headed to the mining company.
Some move randomly. The drunk stumbles around d10/2" in the direction the die points.
The opening moves went quickly with no action, other than the player (John of Curio Clashes) lucked out and got a 7 right off. The cavalry would be early!
We also have a house rule. The people of Lesterville are a bit trigger happy after all the battles that have raged across their town. Entering a building is done with no hinderance until the first shots are fired. After that, whenever a previously unentered building is explored, any "bad guy" must face a shotgun blast at close range. Another player drops the die. After that , the building is clear to anyone.

An Indian finds out about the house rule.
Soon, the usual things happened. A Blood Alley appeared. Twenty years of this game and it always happens. Somewhere on the board becomes a regular elephant's graveyard of dead lead. Bad guys turned on each other. Hand to hand was quick and brutal and at least one fight that should have clearly been one sided wasn't. A wounded and down bandito was attacked by a healthy cavalry trooper. The bandito not only killed his assailant, but was up and shooting the next turn. 
Always a fun game that seems to write it's own narrative.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

RECRUITs in 2 weeks

Just wanted to let everyone know I will be running 2 games at our local convention RECRUITS, in on September 14th. If you've never been been to RECRUITS, it is still one of the best conventions around, and I mention that anytime I can. And, from now on, it's only once a year.
The first game is my Victorian SciFi Great Race game 9am session, and at 1pm I'll run a Fistful of Lead: Horse and Musket game using some Cluck Amok's beautiful 54mm minis and terrain.
Only one day this time around. As usual, RECRUITS fall on the same weekend as a soccer tournament, and more importantly my wedding anniversary. The Baroness, as always is very understanding.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fistful of Lead: Horse and Musket scenario Playtest...

... or "Bad Day for the Legion vol. IX".
Trying to be a good author, I thought it might be a good idea to make sure the scenarios I'm putting into Fistful of Leads first supplement for the Horse and Musket period actually works.
This was a tryout of ye olde take the bridge scenario.
It's written for any period but as I have an abundance of Maximillian in Mexico miniatures, that's where this one took place.
The Republican forces are trying to find a bridge crossing to outflank Imperial troops. They stumble upon a lightly defended bridge. They must secure the road beyond before nightfall.
The Bridge and its road is defended by the French Foreign Legion. They are obviously outnumbered and need to drive off the enemy before more arrive.
To keep the game moving and give both sides a sense of urgency added a Special Rule. Those familiar with Fistful of Lead will understand the mechanic how cards are dealt to players for Activations. Normally, the Joker is left out. This time one is put back in. It functions as the lowest suit Ace in all respects, except that when it is played by a side, they need to keep track of how many times it comes up for their side.
Things at the bridge get ugly
If the Mexicans play the Joker 6 times, night has fallen. If they haven't secured the bridge. They lose.
If the Legion plays it 6 times, Mexican reinforcements show, and the position becomes un defendable. 
I played the Legion. We never got a Joker, or a break. My fault. I spread to thin. The Republican troops came in one big mob. Half fired, while half charged. Good, historical tactics that paid off.
With 4 Jokers played by the Mexicans, I managed to kill about half before being overwhelmed. 
I think it worked very well and could easily be applied to other scenarios. One thing I might do is add the second Joker in about midway. As players lose models, there are less cards being dealt, and less chance of a Joker.
The last holdout in the bell tower.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Great Race

Yes, race fans, it's that time again! Time for the Great Powers to gather and put their finest men and machines to the test.
There were only going to be a few guys over last night, so I dug out an old idea with some new rules.
The rules aren't even really new. I took two boardgames, Powerboats and Quicksilver, and pulled them off the board. This was a race using all my scratch-built VSF contraption.
Each vehicle had a Perk, like "Easier Turns", and a Flaw, like "Poor Armor". Hopefully they balanced each other.
Britain pulls ahead!

Italy makes it's move
Additionally, I added cards for Dastardly Deeds, allowing players to shoot at each other, cancel card effects, and give boosts to speed.
The table was laid out with areas of bad terrain, impassable terrain, and of course, the flags players had to navigate through.
Speed was done ala Powerboats. We used d6s marked with only 1-3. At the beginning of their turn, a plater could add a die, subtract a die or reroll a die. This gives a number between 3-9. Instead of inches, I marked off a measuring stick with 3 inch increments. Going speed "3" actually means 9".
The race went thusly:
Otto Von Hackenkopft roared ever so briefly into the lead, only to be shot at and droppedt to zero speed by mine own Sir Nigel Soggybottom. Nigel took second briefly to be passed by Luigi Tortelinni.
That left third squarely to Francois Fraumage piloting the infamous L'Roue of our GASLIGHT battles fame.
Most of the race Luigi stayed firmly in the lead thanks to his great turning perk. Normally, players can make a 60 degree turn, or a 120 turn but have to take an armor hit from the strain on the vehicle. Luigi's vehicle makes a roll, and on 4-6, he ignore the hit.
Things get complicated at turn 4
Second and third switched on an off between France and Britain, with much skullduggery. Poor old Germany never recovered from the initial assault off the starting line and was dead last.
It was a lot of fun and a perfect con game. Can't wait to see what 6-8 players on the board would have done.