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.