I don't know why, but I'm constantly trying new gladiator rules. Everyone seems perfectly happy with the very first ones I trotted out many years ago, "Death or Freedom" by Steve Barber. But, I get to reading reviews and start thinking maybe this one is faster, etc. The lament of the Rules Whore.
Thus, we tried "Red Sands, Blue Sky" by Two Hour Wargames. I actually have the original version, too, but this one 2.0.
It uses some innovative ideas like a simplified grid for the arena. You move by zones and fight if another gladiator is in that zone. Each turn consists of dicing to see who goes first, moving or throwing something, Manuevering to see who gets the upper hand, then Attacking. Sounds easy. Is easy, really.
I had read matches could be quick. Could. Ours lasted forever.
My biggest complaint is there was too much "no advantage, roll again". I think this could be easily fixed with the winner getting an extra die.
These are a fine set of rules, and I could see the the lure for those poor souls doomed to solo play. But, just not for us. I heard countless times last night, "I like your other rules". So, back to Death or Freedom. Why did I ever leave you?
Then we tried "Charioteer!" also by Two Hour. MUch leaner, sweeter game. It solves the problem many chariot race games have with one player getting so far ahead, or so far behind, there's really no point of being in the game. Charioteer fixes it by everyone staying in the pack. It's more about passing, fighting for position. Thus, you only use a straight bit of road. Or, as the rules say, no track at all. We only had time for one lap (cause the dumb gladiators took so long), but everyone declared it great fun.
I've been hankering to play some Maurice again, but nobody has any troops. I threw it out there to the gang, that maybe I just do some more paper stock troops in the mean time, so more people could get involved. Not something I like to game with, but they do in a pinch and are easy for me to make up and customise. Maybe even a Maurice campaign?
With that in mind I came up with the probably insane idea that each player nation should base their Duchy's colors/standard/flag heraldry off a barnyard animal. I chose the cock, of course. Pullusia? Latin for chicken is pullus. Nah.
Then, all sorts of things flooded in. I could base units and their uniforms off the hundred's of chicken breeds. This was born:
The flag is work in progress, but its a start. As each noble can raise troops and clothe them, you get regiments like Lord Baldwin, Count of Rhode Island's regiment. Called the "Reds"
I know. But these things keep me up at night.
After a frenzy of painting in preparation for RECRUITs (new pics from the last RECRUITs), I'm taking a break. Not from wargaming, silly, but painting. I don't want to suffer burnout. Don't worry, I have a small fiendish project I'm rolling out in a couple weeks that will make the Basement Generals happy, and once its faded a bit, I'll run the Pulp Alley RECRUITs game again.
To wit, this weekend was spent watching the Boy at soccer, where he had a few days of his looooong grounding/imprisonment dropped for acting as enforcer for the team. And Sunday I sat on the back porch watching a storm roll in while smoking a cigar, sipping a gin & tonic and reading wargames rules. The screen door was open, so I could hear the Baroness making dinner and children laughing at whatever was on the TV.
The little things, gentlemen. The little things.
With a large game and players unfamiliar with the rules and characters, I often create little roster sheets that fit in a standard card protector sleeve. All the info's there, and as the tougher characters take hits, they can easily mark off with a dry erase marker.
Also included is the League Perks. These can be updated the same way as the campaign progresses.
As part of the game I ran at RECRUITs, each player got a dossier with mission objectives:
This helped set the feel for the game.
This is probably the most generic of my Leagues (but man, I was running out of minis and made do). The Society is Led by Connelly, a man-of-adventure type.
His wife and intrepid explorer Lady Dora Standpipe
Her father the Professor
Salim, their trusted armed librarian
and grizzled old hunter Stanley
This completes my Pulp Alley efforts for now. I've got enough Leagues to handle even the biggest turnout for Thursdays. From now on, its just terrain making for PA.
When there's been enough time since RECRUITs I'll run that scenario again for the gents, and our Pulp Adventure will begin. Time to dig out the cave complex. Finally, a game worth its splendor.
As for the future? I'm narrowing down my efforts to only a shot gun blast radius. The rest of the Basement Generals have their projects, these are mine:
Italian Wars. I've got some cav to paint and a few terrain pieces and this will be a complete game genre. I can always add odds and ends. Near Future SciFi in 28mm/15mm. Again, almost enough to put together a good game. One final push. Maurice and Might and Reason.
Dark Ages, be it SAGA DUX Bellorum or Hail Caesar
and finally Russian Civil War/ Back of Beyond. Got most of what I need in lead. Terrain will be the biggie here. Most fights were over rail hubs and river crossing. Just not in the wallet for that right now.
Need a hero for hire? You need Danger, Inc. No Peril to great, no fee too high. Led by the intrepid Virginia Dare, this company of heroes is at your beck and call. For a price.
Virginia: Don't let this little lady fool ya. She's deadly.
Kaseem: Faithful bodyguard to Virginia
Lefty: hardened veteran of many little wars, and fiercely loyal to his boss.
Had a chance to run two games of Pulp Alley at our RECRUITs convention this past weekend. I only took a few pictures of the Friday session, but David Phipps (creator of Pulp Alley showed up) along with his daughter so hopefully they snapped a few too.
Each player got a mission objective packet.
By all accounts, it seemed everyone had fun. The mechanics were easy to pick up, and I think we broke some kind of a record by playing with 8 players. I slowed a bit, but didn't break.
The table is set
The Royal Society dukes it out with Danger, Inc. over some fuel
One of the Iron Legion captures the rocket pack
I allowed players to choose their set up, and both games ended up with almost identical start points.
The Red Raptor won both games, mostly because those players went right for the Plot Points and didn't get bogged down in fire fights. And because he's a complete bad ass.
Can't wait to try with the Basement Generals.
Baron Wolfrick Von Steiner survived the trenches of the Great War only to be thrown into the fight for his ancestral lands in the Baltic. There he fought in the brutal battles against the encroaching Red Hordes, and was captured. Shipped to the far eastern wastes to rot, Steiner escaped with a few ragged veterans and a mad Russian scientist, Krakov.
They battled their way back home to find it in ruins. Penniless, Steiner became a mercenary. With the mad inventions of Krakov, and core of hardened troopers, Steiner is a brutal sword for hire, bent on reclaiming his title and place in the world.
Steiner, lost nobleman: