Friday, May 27, 2011

Fistful of Lead: Wasteland Warriors

Oberon VI is a planet of steaming jungles and deadly flora. But it also holds the vast treasure of a lost civilization. Space pirates have long coveted this lost wealth and often send expeditions to retrieve it. A lone patrol ship of the Intergalactic Federation is tasked with keeping Oberon VI's cultural heritage intact (at least until they find a way to take the treasure themselves).
This was the second playtest of Fistful of Lead using the future combat mods. I wanted to try out the armor rules. Enter 3 gangs of Space Pirates vs the Galactic Patrol and two gangs of hired guns. Each side's leader got armor. For this scenario we didn't distinguish between ballistic and reflective armor (ballistic, of course, only protects against bullets while reflective only stops "frickin' lay-zers").
Overhead view of the carnage
First kill went to the Federation sniper who dropped a pirate heavy from long distance. Overall the game played like most Ffol games, mostly bloodless at the beginning then the bodies start hitting the floor. The Boy put down three guys at once with a shotgun blast. No kills, but put all three in pinned-land.
The armor rules worked pretty seamless. I think there's a lot of fluff here athat could be thrown in with different weapons and effects. Lasers were effective but not completely unbalanced, so I might give them a longer recharge time (out of ammo).
Next up, vehicles! The challenge with them will be to make them fit into the ease of the FfoL game without making them too unrealistically mobile.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dark Age Thursday

Last night saw the Viking/Norman battle of Lone Tree. Seems the northern raiders decided to take advantage of the chaos involving the Norman conquest of Britain. The Normans, led by Guilliaume "not the Bastard", took offense to this and cut the Vikings off on their way back from a raid. Laden with loot, and little tipsy, the Norse led by Scot the Gray, decided to take a stand.
After the battlelines were drawn, the Vikings, liquored up and pissed off, moved first. Billy the Axe, on the Viking left held back, while Scot the Bald sent his men careening forward.
The Normans went next. Guillaume, in the center was wary while his knights on both flanks led by Sir Jay and Sir Gregory advanced.
The cavalry actually managed to hold some restraint at first, but then let loose, like everyone knew they would. Unfortunately, the horses were almost blown by the end of the charge, and Sir Gregory was forced to hold up short and regroup.
This gave Scot the Bald's men a chance to charge themselves. One unit of knights made their escape while two others took some knocks.
In the center, archery was exchanged. Norman accuracy was better, and one of Scot the Grey's Huscarls decided Valhalla could wait, and retreated.
On the Viking left, Billy the Axe's boys were having a hard time of it. One unit was driven off, another cut-off and surrounded. He was holding just barely. On the right, the fight with horses was tight. Scot the Bald's men were holding on, just barely. Two units were barely holding. This flank would decide the battle. The gods seemed to smile upon them. Thor granted them the will stand. But, apparently not to fight. A miserable counter attack that could have turned to tide failed. The knights routed them. It was over. The fleeing norsemen were ridden down by remaining knights. The ravens feasted well.

As usual, "Flower of Chivalry" my ruleset of choice, provided a fun, intense, sometimes frustrating, game. It was a nail biter til the end. The Normans cav is powerful but brittle. They won with only 2 stands lost to the Viking 7. Most of the Vikings losses happened in one turn.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Votes are in!

Sixty plus votes in last week's "What should the Baron paint" poll, and the result was an over half the votes going to VSF. Here's the answers to your votes, finished over the weekend:
I got all four Dystopian Wars fleets for Christmas from my wife. I did the Britannians first as as they're my least favorite of the navies so I experimented on them.
Sorry for the slight blur. Just cannot get those tight shots lately.
Dark Age slugfest tonight!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gaming Weekend Pt II

"I, Dolpheus Thewd, do hereby take pen in hand, to give a right and true account of the battle of Volgen, Unkerlant. Open war has been upon this tiny kingdom for more than a year after the death of their beloved monarch Karl Franz III. Borogravia has gained the upper hand in this conflict and has, over the winter, through shrewd negotiation and  calculated threats amassed a large army from its conquered lands.
After learning of Unkerlant through my contacts at the Geographical Society, I travelled to Greater Germania to find this illusive and barely known kingdom. I was able to "tag along" as they say, with expedition from Cavendaria, sent as allies to Zloebnia, one of Unkerlant many fractious provinces.
Cavendarian troops cross the Blut
A harrowing crossing through the mountains, and terrifying crossing of the river Blut we entered Zlobenia. My Cavendarian compatriots were surprised to find Zlobenia's Duke Sigmund was already on the road with his famed Ducal Horse Grenadiers, sprinting to a battle in the east. Though exhausted, we quickly followed.
I must say, Unkerlantian roads are ay best, awful. There were holes that could have swallowed a man, but we were able to reach the town of Volgen along with two regiments from Franistover, also sent to aid the Duchy of Volborg in it's last stand against Borogravia.
We entered Volgen at dawn, a pious town full of churches beside a dark, deep river. General Wolfe, commander of Volborg's forces ordered our regiment to guard the northern most river crossing. After passing a few "witches" trussed up in their gibbets outside of town we made for our little part of the battlefield.
Across the wide river sat flat country. A large forest dominated the center of the battlefield. Behind it, rolling forward like some great storm front, the forces of Borogravia marched forward. Their great line split at the forest with the Borogravian regular army heading towards us on the left. Our right would see a mass of Borogravian cavalry and allied forces.
The plan, as I understand it, was to hold the river and slaughter the hated Borogravians as they attempted a crossing. But then, we watched in dismay as the entire Volborgian massed cavalry of the left, galloped across the bridge to meet the enemy.
The Borogravian cavalry rode out to meet them, leaving their own infantry behind. There was a great clash! Unkerlant is poor country for horses, and so breeds poor horsemen. What Unkerlantians lack in skill they make up for in sheer bloodthirstyness. It was an ugly affair, costly to both sides, but Volborg eventually got the upper hand, and forced the Borogravian horse back. Volborg attempted to follow up their gains, but the Borogravian infantry was able to deploy and slowly push our cavalry back towards the river.
The Borogravian infantry, including all their guard units, marched steadily toward us. Our forces stood stalwart, ready to defend the river. As the sky grew dark, the Borogravian cannon deployed directly opposite our position. Cannonballs began thumping into the wet ground around us.
I was to find out later, that hardly anything had occurred on our opposite flank. It seems the Borogravian commander on the that flank had trouble motivating the allied troops. A small cavalry skirmish had occurred, but little else.
As night drew near, the battle ended. Borogravian forces withdrew during the night, to find a better crossing point. The Duchy of Volborg was safe, for now".

As is our way, the battlefield was generated randomly. It turned out very benefitial for Volborg, being the home team got to choose which side to hold. Borogravia had a slim chance at victory, which became even slimmer as our deployment was stalled by a combination of bad rolls and a brilliant move by Lead Addict in sending his cav out to meet us. My vaunted Borogravian cavalry was slaughtered, as is norm for me.

Our evening game was Robofire! Scott Pyle had added Overwatch rules for us to try, but no one ended up using it. Sorry, Scott. Two of our generals dropped out during play (my daughter fell asleep, and Lead Addict's son was sick). When enough objectives were conquered we stopped with a tie.
Good time, but we were exhausted. A good exhausted, though.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend Gamefest report Pt I

Four wonderful days of gaming (with a couple of chilly soccer games thrown in), what could be better?
Thursday night, I thought we would have a smaller crowd due to everyone cashing in their passes for Friday and Saturday, but actually had six people show. I've had the Perfect Captain's Shadows over Byzantium for years, but never payed. If you haven't visited the Captain's site, you're truly missing out. They do high quality board and miniature games for FREE! (other than they ask you make a contribution to one of the many charities on their site).
I like this particular game because:
1- It's a cool under used period. Right after the early Crusades in Greece and Asia Minor, so Frank-Norman type cavalry mixed with eastern style armies.
2- Lots of treachery, ripe for a play by e-mail campaign, with possible mini battles.
It took awhile to get placed and started, cutting out counters, learning the rules. I think most players would have set up different if they knew how the rules would unfold. I started in Sparta, more or less, and spent most of the game getting hammered from the north. I have a few questions into the supporting Yahoo group because of some missing rules, but otherwise a decent first play.
Friday night was some good old fashioned Role Playing games. My kids have been begging me to play Mutant Future ever since we rolled up characters months ago. MF is basically Gamma World from the early days of RPGing. I look back on my Gamma World days with great fondness. It was a crazy post-apocalyptic world of mutants, robots and fun. This time, I got to be on the other side of the table and actually play. I was the only Pure Strain Human in the group. As such, I got none of the fun mutations, but have better resistance to radiation and can understand ancient tech better. I named him Bili the Ax after a favored character from the Horse Clans book series.
There were 5 kids and 3 adults playing. One was a friend of my daughter's who had never played any kind of RPG. She must of liked it, because even after her parents picked her up, she kept texting my daughter for updates on what was happening.
Highlight: Slothnug, a slow slug-like mutant with no pain receptors (so the Gamemaster keeps tract of damage, not the player) had been getting hammered by fire from some Pigzies (militant fascist pig creatures). After taking them out by use of weather control (ever see Twister?)he finally able to assess his damage. He was described as "swiss cheese", with holes all through his body you could see through.
Pt 2 to come tomorrow.....

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weekend Gamefest

Tonight starts a whole weekend of gaming! A mini-Basement Con if you will. Some battles a few  of you have been waiting for, for some time (hint: a regiment of Cavendarian Freikorps have been spotted crossing the river Blut into Zlobenia). There'll be wargames and RPG-ing and gallons of beer. Squeeeeeee!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A poll?!

By official proclamation of Her Worship, the Baroness, all purchasing of little lead men is henceforth discouraged until the building of the outdoor water hole, known as The Pool.
That is to say, I need to stop buying more stuff and paint what I got for awhile. Hey, I got a sweet gaming area so I can't complain. But, out of the piles of unpainted lead I own, where to start?
So I have started a poll to the right here, to get feedback. Those listed are some of my favorites, but I encourage any others than listed. I got plenty of projects.
I await your answers!
Also, this weekend said Baroness goes on her annual tour of the Barony (girl's weekend) which means gaming all weekend, starting Thursday. Good pics next week!

Sidenote: My wife didn't actually make such a proclamation. It's just easier to blame her for the need to save. Left to my own devices, the pool money would never get saved.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Cannon for Captain Cortes

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, so I thought the Thursday game should have that theme.
The hated French have a garrison of Legionnaires in the small village of Villa de Loco. They also have an old cannon. Captain Cortes, leader of the local resistance, wants the cannon for the Revolution.
Villa de Loco
The French players were allowed to set up first, anywhere in the village with the cannon and a bunch of stuff to build a barricade. They elected to set up in front of the barracks. Half held the windows facing north, and the other with cannon facing south. One brave Legionnaire climbed on the roof. The French objective was to hold out. They're Legion, so everybody knew they were dead.
the brave first squad
the Legion's second squad

The Mexican forces (which outnumbered the French 2-1) needed to capture the cannon. Bonus points were awarded for planting the Mexican flag on the barracks. They would approach from the table edges. Captain Cortes and two regular units would come from the north. A band of machete armed militia came from the east protected by the church. Finally, a group of Banditos moved in from the southwest.
Captain Cortes
more Regulars
Machete wielding farmers

The French were able to pin down most of the regular Mexican forces right away. One brave sergeant charged the barracks and killed a Legionnaire with a sword thrust through a window, but was pinned immediately with rifle fire from the other windows. First blood to the Mexicans.
The Banditos occupied the cantina and began pouring fire down from above. That was when the cannon was turned toward the cantina. BLAM! The building was damaged and on fire, but still staying up.
Next, the militia charged from cover of the church. Miraculously, (maybe the village priest blessed them) all survived the fire to attack the barricades. That's when most of them died.
Maybe if I hide here....
A couple more rounds of fire were exchanged, then the cantina collapsed. One bandito died, and the rest were wounded. A few stumbled from the wreckage to join in the assault on the barricade. It was a blood bath. The Legion fought and died. Soon, only the lone legionnnaire on the roof remained. Though wounded he fought back repeated attacks. Then, Captain Cortes rode out. He carefully leveled his revolver and BANG! dropped the last Legionnaire. But he wasn't dead. A final bayonet thrust from one the Mexican regulars finished him.
Viva la Mexico! Viva la Revolution!
The rules were, of course, Fistful of Lead, modified for single shot muskets.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Campaign for the Kingdom (How To?)

I got a request from a Follower on the "Campaign for the Kingdom" campaign I ran a couple of years back (and I'm sure I'll run again).
The biggest problem with campaigns, as anyone who's ever ran or been in one will tell you, is the people in it. Everyone's got jobs, lives and the world to keep them from showing up on a regular basis. You have to do your map moves, and then you have to be there to play. A mapless campaign is the answer. I didn't make this up. I borrowed the idea many moons ago from an old Wargames Illustrated. No, I'm not going to go track down which one, but I am going to tell you how it goes because it's that simple.
Figure out who's "in". Your players can play as much, or as little as they want, but who shows the most is probably gong to get a better shot at winning. Either randomly, or based on who a more consistant attendee, pick a "King" and a "Pretender".
Next, figure out how long you want the campaign to last. Ten is a good point value. The King starts with 2 points, and the Pretender with one. Everyone else starts at zero. At any given point, whomever has the most points is always the KIng, and the next highest always the Pretender. Ties can rolled off, or the player who shows the most can win ties. First to the agreed amount, wins the campaign.
How do you get points? You win battles.
My ruleset of choice for the Middle Ages is "Flower of Chivalry", still available, I believe from Canadian Wargames Group. I've discussed in the past why, but briefly, I think it gives a great feel for the period without a lot of crap. I have slight changes to the rules in that I use one base for each unit instead of 6, and use a roster system to track hits.
When your group shows up for battle the King chooses his first noble to fight on his side, then the Pretender, alternating until all players have a side. (enter nightmare about being picked last for kickball). The way I did it, every player started with the same core forces: a unit of dismounted knights, a unit longbowmen, and a unit of halberdiers. Then, again, alternating between players, each player picked a unit from the pool. I had pikemen, mounted units, crossbows, etc. to give lots of variety. They picked until everyone had 6 units.
Forces thus picked, it was time for battle.
The battlefield was randomly generated before (I use the old random maps from Warfare in the Age of Reason). Next, possibly my favorite part: battlefield leader values. In FoC, you're either Brilliant, Exceptional, Good, Poor or a Buffoon. Each level, of course gives you not only Command Radius, but also battlefield flexibility. We generate them randomly before each battle. Who knows? Maybe they had a bad night? Maybe they're feeling particularly motivated? All I know is, the room is really quiet when the rolls are made. Last campaign, the King was almost always a Buffoon, and they still won.
The battle is fought.
The leader of the winning side, be it King or Pretender gets to award points. He has the option of giving everyone on his side (including himself) a point. He doesn't have to. You played like crap? He doesn't give you a point. He can give someone on the other side a point. Maybe some "arrangements" were made before the battle? He may also, at his discretion, execute one player, either side. This person loses 2 points. This usually happens to the player with next highest point value. Now you see where the intrigue happens. The background almost rights itself if you wanted this to be a running narrative.
If course, the poor nobles son will take his place (and remaining points).
As winner, you have to balance your own needs against your generals. Spurn too many players by being stingy with points, and next game, he may stab you in the back. Keep piling on the points to a favored general, he might be the next Pretender.
No muss. No fuss. Little to no record keeping. Who shows, shows.
I did a little extra of course, creating shields bearing the real life arms of my players, but renamed fanciful names. Some players that signed up for the campaign never showed. They got no points, and it didn't bog the entire campaign down.
Maps look cool. Play by email sounds like a great idea. It never works, does it? This was the first and only campaign I ran that went start to finish in a timely matter, and most importantly was fun. The KIng was a hopeless buffoon, but because of careful strategy off the field, he won.
Hope this helps.