Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Fort

I like to alternate between history reading and Sci-Fi Fantasy. I had finished Red Country so it was time for some history. Okay, historical fiction, brought to me by an old favorite, Bernard Cornwell of Sharpe, Saxon Chronicle and other fame.

The Fort is set in the time of the American Revolution, or the American War of Independence as it's now mostly called. A British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry, backed by three sloops-of-war, sails to the desolate and fog-bound coast of New England. Establishing a garrison and naval base at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts that would become Maine, the Scots—the only British troops between Canada and New York—harry rebel privateers and give shelter to American loyalists.

In response, Massachusetts sends a fleet of more than forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to “captivate, kill or destroy” the foreign invaders. Second in command is Peleg Wadsworth, a veteran of the battles at Lexington and Long Island, once aide to General Washington, and a man who sees clearly what must be done to expel the invaders.

But ineptitude and irresolution lead to a mortifying defeat—and have stunning repercussions for two men on opposite sides: an untested eighteen-year-old Scottish lieutenant named John Moore, who will begin an illustrious military career; and a Boston silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere, who will face court-martial for disobedience and cowardice.

John Morre would go on to be instrumental in creating the Light units, like the 95th Rifles, famed throughout the Napoleonic Wars. He faced the green coated Marine units at Penobscot Bay, the only effective ones on the American side. Hmmmm, maybe that's how the Brits got their green coats? Moore would die in the Pennisula and Corunna. 

The book does not paint a pretty picture of Paul Revere. He would go from local hero to legend thanks to the famous poem. But, like so many legends, history paints a different picture. I have read several several articles that back Cornwell up on this.

IT also makes you rethink the idea of the citizen soldier. The patriot of legend. When this book takes place, most of those soldiers were conscripted or shanghied into service. Very few volunteers. It wouldn't be until later, we had decent enough troops to stand up to the British.

It was a great read, and it takes everything in my power now not run out and buy enough AWI stuff for a Black Powder game.

Friday, February 15, 2013

St Valentine's Day Massacre

Last night's game was a take on the Bruce Willis movie "Last Man Standing", which is remake of Clint Eastwood's "A Fistful of Dollars", which in turn, is a remake of Kurosawa's "Yojimbo".
The Lumpino crime family, led by Louie "the Lump" Lumpino, has fled to a Dustbowl ghost town to hide out.
Hicksville USA
Louie "the Lump" Lumpino
No Neck Nicky Vitelli
The long arm of the law is not far behind.
State Police Inspector O'Reilly


We used my Fistful of Lead western gunfight rules with a few additions to cover vehicles and submachine guns.
Fistful of Lead is always bloody and fun. Maybe it was because it was Valentine's Day, maybe because only a few guys showed, but this had to be flat out the nastiest, bloodiest game I've ver played. Only two times was there a "pinned" result. Only once a "wound". The rest were "dead".
I ran Louie and his bodyguards. I started with 5 guys. By turn 3, only Louie remained, and that was because he took off save his mistress.
One G-men goes down under a hail of SMG fire.

"Take that, copper"!

"You dames best stay outta the way, see"
The same happened with a group of cops. I came down Louie's righthand man, No Neck Nicky, and his men vs. the G-men. In one turn, Nicky and his crew were gone.
That left the Lump to face done three feds. The G-men dropped him with one shot, but he was still alive. Then, one G-men took an impossible shot long range with a Tommy-gun and ended reign of the Lump.
Moments before Louie gets an oversized coffin.

Special thanks to Scott who provided all the minis. I great time was had by all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Heart Day

All you poor suckers out there buy a ton of Valentine's Day cards today. You'll keep the Baron in miniatures. Yes, I work for THAT company. The one that tells you that if you don't shower your significant other in flowers and candy today, you don't really love them.
The Baroness and I made a deal long ago. I would buy her gifts and flowers on any other day than today. And though I am literally surrounded by cards all day, I do not buy them. With little effort on my part, I tell her everyday of my undying love and devotion to her. Because it's true. A woman who bought me a FULL SIZE metal Captain America shield and Thor's Mjolnir hammer and lets me hang them proudly in the living room, ids a keeper. When asked about the room next the bar, that in any other household would have been a pool room or lounge, she said "this would make a great game room." Last week the Basement Generals asked, loud enough for the Baroness to hear, "will there be a game on Valentine's Day?" She laughed and said "why wouldn't there be?"
Gentlemen, I am truly blessed.
But, in response to Lead Addict's post of what he loves, in no particular order:
- The lovely aforementioned Baroness and the children she has given me.
- I love my Thursdays. Half the time I don't play but ref. But, I get to drink with my buddies and see the fruits of labors march across the field to their doom.
- I love history. Nothing can get my gamer ADD going more than a good period book or movie. But I hate how most people no nothing of it.
- I love how the internets has expanded our hobby. What I thought was a crazy niche a small community, is a bright, vibrant place. Whenever I need inspiratu I just check out my favorites.
- I love a good cigar, good booze (be it beer or liquor), and a nice sausage.
- I love shooting stuff online. When I was little, my whole neighborhood turned out for "war" or "guns". Now I can still do it with a giant online community. Back then, I "died" a lot too.
Tonight, we'll game. I'm doing a take on the St Valentine's Day massacre. But, lacking 1930s buildings, this will be more like the movie "last Man Standing".
Enjoy today, poor suckers. And like Lead Addict said, it's okay to love your toys, but you can't take them with you. UNless you're a Chinese Emporer.
Note: the above image was used for the invite to our 1st Wedding Anniversary party, with the words "The Honeymoon is over".

Friday, February 8, 2013


Any time I throw out, "what do you guys want to game tonight?", the answer is usually GASLIGHT. This scenario found the Great Powers investigating a "fallen star" that hit somewhere in the deep desert.  I brought in some elements from Pulp Alley like plot point areas. There were four minor and one major.
These plot point areas led to some fun bits.
Uhlans find the Spring

"Look sir, some sort of idol".

Stalwart Ladies, I say

The Brute Class Land Ironclad
The Germas lost 2 guys in the quick sand, the French woke a mummy who followed them around, the British awoke a beast from Beyond, and the German Uhlans found the Guardian of the Eternal Spring. All while a battle was raging.
Other points of interest:
In any game its in, the Killenkanner is either an unstoppable killing machine or a complete dud. This game it was the latter.
The uhlan never got to use the Creature, because the officer commanding him was whacked by an unlucky (or lucky for the French) shot.
The last Lady Hussar on the table was shot unceremoniously from behind by the Roughriders (paging Dr Freud).
Professor Nightshade's Walking Monitor has only been destroyed once before. Over countless battles the Spider has battled the Monitor, always losing to the Professor's contraption. Vive Le France! The Spider took her down.
The dreadful Rokkittruppen manage to live through the fight by hiding in the trees. I ask you Basement Generals not in attendance last night, who do you think commanded them?
That was just a few highlights.
Come along little Froggie

The much maligned clockwork tank stayed in the fight

By end of the night, both sides had captured 2 minor plot points, while the Major was overrun by the Brits. They found it was the ship of yet another alien race, there to warn them of their impending doom.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Maurice, 4 ways

I've played it. I love it. Now, for the figs. I mentioned in an earlier post I have miniatures for this period in 4 scales. An appeal to the internets went out. I have costed all possibilities (6mm & 10mm winning out). But, it really comes down looks on the battle field doesn't it?
I mounted up bits and pieces on blanks just get a visual. Disregard the mismatched troops. I also didn't want to pry the little 6s off their bases just yet so use you imagination. They all take up the same footprint, except the 15s which I put on 40mm bases.
The results:

Proposed basing.
All can be used for multiple rules sets (Might and Reason, Black Powder, Maurice), so that's not an issue. They all seem to give the mass you want from the period. The 10s especially, and as you can see, I already had the 10mm Cavalry and Arty based right so that would be a time saver.
28s and 15s would give you more place to play in the Imaginations realm to pull off whatever made up uniforms you have.
Blogosphere, opinions? What would like to play with?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Maurice playtest

OK. I've read the rules Maurice rules twice. But, you never know a game until you actually play it. With the bitter cold keeping all but 4 us away game night, it was time to give Maurice a whirl.
I still haven't decided on what minis to use, and even if I did, it would be awhile before I got them done. Time to dig out my paper armies that have served so well in Unkerlant. The armies consisted of 6 infantry units (1 Elite, one Conscript, the rest Trained), 4 Trained cavalry units and 4 guns. THe Attackers got one extra infantry unit. We used no National Advantages for this play tests.
I played it pretty stripped down. As I said, no National Advantages, which you buy when creating your army. There are so many fun set up things, that just for time we didn't use. Sam Mustafa has made this a really easy pick up game. You draw cards for terrain set up, roll for who is Attacker vs Defender based on scouting, etc. We also used no Notables, those favorites of His or Her Majesty that can be a blessing or a curse to your army.
The Attacker gets 8 Action cards, the Passive 5 to start.
The terrain was simple the objective also. Take the town.
Turn Sequence is simple. First, Active player decides if there will be volleys (musket fire). If yes, he fires then the Passive player. If he declines, no shooting happens. Why won't I elect to shoot? Well, the Guards over there are near breaking. They may well get that volley off, but the return fire will most assuredly finish them. Simple mechanic, lots of subtlety on how to use it. Volley fire is tough to break a unit with. Cold steel will be needed.
Next, the Active Player choses an action:
He can Pass, doing nothing but gaining 3 cards.
He can play a card as an Event. These are usually something big, but he gains no new cards.
He can March, Bombard, Charge or Rally.
March is maneuver. Any Force, that is units of same kind is same formation may be activated and moved. On each card there is a number in the left corner. You must discard enough of the those card(s) to equal the distance to the Force in question. If the unit is 6 base widths away, you must discard enough card(s) to equal or excede. Again, easy mechanic, tons of subtle. Tough decisions. The better cards have higher numbers. "I really need to move that cav on the flank to keep them from getting cut off, but they are far away. Do I hold moving them another turn? Do I burn a really good card or cards to get them moving?"
This is where I've read a few negative reviews. You can easily get caught up in one part of the battlefield, sacrificing the rest of the army's movement. Tunnel vision if you will. You may move alot, then later have to pause to regroup because you've blown thru your cards.
Have these guys not read any history? This sounds like every battle I've ever read about, and its modeled perfectly on your tabletop. How many commanders have had to make the same decisions you are?
Oh well, back to the actions. Bombard is long range artillery fire.
Charge is the only way into hand-to-hand. Again, I pause to tell how simple the combat mechanic is. One roll for each unit involved. Even with multiple contacts and squirrel-ly angles it all gets handled easily.
Rally is that. You pick a Force and try to roll off Disruptions. THis is another tough one. Give up the momentum you might have started to pause and get your troops back in order?
Our actual game went pretty smooth. Yes, we had first game omissions and screw up but it was a great time. Loss of units can cause variable Army Morale loss. The Attacker must have lost some of the most beloved units in the army because just a few were destroyed and crappy die rolling meant their Morale plummeted.
This rules were everything I wanted them to be. For big, historical refights of the Lace Wars, Sam's other rules Might & Reason are my go to, but this is perfect smaller, pick up battles.
Some people have used Maurice for other periods like American Revolution and War of 1812. I can see that. Maurice has different levels of troop training and morale.
Where I can really see this game shine is as a campaign game for a club. The Wars of Succession Campaign rules in the back are beautiful in their elegance and simplicity.
Maurice gets 5 out of 5 Powdered Wigs.