Chris Palmer and I (ably assisted by Kurt Schlegel) ran a large (14-player) Bear Yourselves Valiantly: Look, Sarge, No Charts: Fantasy, Ancients, and Mediaeval game at Historicon Saturday morning. We ran the large game partly to expose people to the still under development rules and also to demonstrate (to ourselves at least) that the rules could support a game that big without bogging down. I think we accomplished both objectives while also providing a fun game for the players.
We were running this large fantasy game back-to-back with our battle of Laon Napoleonic game (see previous post), so for the fantasy game we used the same scenario; we ran Laon with Elves and Goblins.
In this scenario the Elves were trying to keep a road open while the Goblins and their undead allies were trying to cut the road. There was lots of room on this 15-foot table for maneuver, so this was not your normal lines of troops packed in across the table game.
The rules worked really well for this large game. Except for a couple of folks from our local club (the HAWKs), none of the players had any experience with the rules. They quickly picked up the mechanics and could largely play the game without us after a couple of turns.
The goblins tried to work their way around the Elven left flank while also fighting tooth and nail for control of this town. The town had no impact on the victory conditions, but like moths to flame the two armies converged on it. I guess they liked the blue roofs.
I brought all my troops, but we mainly used just Chris’ troops. Apparently we have enough between us for an even larger game in the future!
My wife had the good camera, and the room was pretty dim, so many of these pictures turned out very dark.
In the end, the Elves held about two more feet of road than the Goblins and were declared the winners.
I like this picture, because the guy closes to the camera is obviously enjoying himself.
Dave Wood and I ran several Napoleonic games using Fate of Battle at Historicon. Dave ran his games using his 25mm figures, and I ran a large game using my 10mm figures.
To show that the barrier to entry to Fate of Battle isn’t nearly as great as people think, Dave continues to run games using his Empire-mounted 25mm figures. Many of us have those in boxes somewhere. He has mounted his 25mm figures on “sabot” bases with the labels. It works quite well, and for smaller battles you can still have a nice game on a standard table.
Dave ran two scenarios from our under-development 1814 Campaign scenario book. Both games went quite well — in fact better than the play test games.
On Saturday afternoon Dave and I ran a large 10mm game with 12 players. This was partly to show that you could run a 12-player game with these rules without bogging down. It was also to play a large game that you generally only have room to play at a convention.
The scenario was the Battle of Laon from our under-development 1814 campaign scenario book. In the book Laon will be two separate scenarios. We were playing the eastern half of the battle. In this scenario the French are trying to keep their retreat rout open (far end of the table in the above picture). The Prussians under Kleist are trying to cut the road. In the above picture you can see there are two major roads that meet in a “Y’ about two feet from the far end of the table. The French were trying to remain in possession of as much of these two roads as possible.
There is a town in the middle of the table astride one of the major roads. The town itself is not worth any victory points and could be bypassed; however, if makes a nice defensive position for someone. It was hotly contested during the game.
Two young men on the French team (on the right of the above picture) did a terrific job of maneuvering to thwart the enemies’ plans. As the Prussian cavalry maneuvered to go around the French left, they kept readjusting and filling holes created by aggressive Prussian attacks. In the end, they only gave up a couple feet of table while pushing across toward the stream, keeping the road open. The Prussians pushing from the close end of the table in the above picture were quite aggressive, but the other Prussian corps much closer to the French end of the table were not aggressive enough to cut the road before the game ended.
Victory was determined in a unique way. I measured the number of feet from the French end of the road (far end of the table) to the farthest point of the two roads they controlled. (This meant that the one little section in the back corner was counted twice.) Then I measured the number of feet along the two roads from the close edge of the table to the farthest point controlled by the Prussians. The winner is the side with the most feet of road. In this case the French won by about two feet. (The table was 15 feet long.)
James “Tank” Nickle ran two ancient games, featuring Romans and Carthaginians, using the under-development Bear Yourselves Valiantly: Look, Sarge, No Charts: Fantasy, Ancients, and Mediaeval rules. Both were hugely successful.
Elephants! Tank made up some interesting rules about elephants going on a rampage that we’ll incorporate into the rules.
Most of the development is done. We just have a few odds and ends to address. I hope to begin writing the first draft around Christmas. The process of writing, editing, photography, and layout usually takes me about four months. Then off to the printer. We hope to release them in time for Historicon 2014.
People have told us that these rules are the most fun they’ve ever had playing ancients games. While the rules have a point system that is used to help figure out how many units a player should control, it is not meant to be a bullet-proof system for tournament play. These rules are meant for scenario play.
I really like the look of the table with these rules. Each Roman base represents a maniple. The table looks like how I envision an ancient Roman battlefield might look.
I ran two GASLIGHT games at Historicon 2013 set in my representation of the town of Granville, IL. The first was a Pulp game in the continuing saga of Duke Morrison and his companions thwarting the plans of the evil Venusian invaders and their gangster minions.
The town of Granville is composed of several Litko buildings, some “scratch built” buildings made of something called War Foam, and Plasticville buildings. The overall effect is good. I wanted something that actually looked like a town. Litko just released six new Pulp buildings. I picked up three of them at Historicon and intend to pick up the last three by Christmas. There are a half dozen Plasticville buildings that I need to put together and paint, like the school, church, fruit stand, etc. I also need to cut some MDF into sidewalks. The ones pictured above are made of grey craft foam.
This is another view of the town, focusing on the gas station. I’m looking for a small brontosaurus to either go on top of the station or set out front as something for kids to play on, but I haven’t found just the right thing yet.
I used the rules from The GASLIGHT Compendium that were originally published in To Be Continued… by GASLIGHT. Each player had about four or five figures, usually two Main Characters and one or two extras. The sides consisted of:
Player 1: Cpt. Duke Morrison and soldiers
Player 2: Sgt. “Wrench” Web and soldiers
Player 3: Lieutenant “Boats” Morgan and sailors
Player 4: Crash Corrigan and his rocket infantry
Player 5: MacDuff, Hallihan, and the rest of the Granville police
Players 6 – 9: Venusians with either ray pistols or ray rifles
Player 10: Horseface Harry, Smilin’ Jack, and his minions
Player 11: Big Hans and his bruisers
Player 12: Sky Masterson, Nathan Detroit, and his minions
Player 13: Torpedo Brooks, Society Max, and his minions
Player 14: The Slasher, Angie the Ox, and his minions
Player 15: Bonnie, Baltimore Bennie, and her dolls
Player 16: Professor Nannini, Gianna Nannini, and some lab workers
Those in bold are good guys. In this scenario, Professor Nannini has been brainwashed by the Venusian amnesia ray and is actually helping the Venusians. Gianna Nannini is NOT helping the Venusians, but she is being held captive and can’t perform actions until rescued.
The Venusians have an anti-gravity ray created by Professor Nannini, their unwilling minion. They landed in Hopkins park, loaded the ray on a truck, and are heading into town when Morrison arrives and the game starts. Their mission is to extract the rest of Nannini’s equipment. The challenge for them is that they don’t know where the lab has been moved since their last outing in Granville.
While it may look like the good guys are hopelessly outnumbered, in this scenario the gangsters were wild cards. While they’ve been doing the Venusians’ dirty work through six previous convention scenarios, the Venusians have refused to pay them. In this scenario, the gangsters begin scattered around town and are trying to find loot in compensation for services rendered. Only one gangster faction, consisting of two players’ worth of gangsters, can win, so they are competing with each other for the most loot. This puts the gangsters at odds with each other and creates opportunities for Venusians to trade any loot they find while searching for lab equipment for help.
The good guys have to stop both the gangsters and the Venusians.
The game was the typical GASLIGHT Pulp rollicking affair, which was enjoyed by all the players. There was lots of shooting, a big melee in the lab, and some use of cars as weapons. It’s never a good idea to stand in the street in Granville!
The second GASLIGHT game in Granville also involved many of the usual suspects. In this case, the Venusians, tired of their plans being disrupted by Duke Morrison, Boats Morgan, Wrench Webb and the rest of the gang have created a ray that turns humans into zombies. Duke and his buddies must get into Granville, rescue as many of the townspeople as possible, and gather up Professor Nannini’s equipment to be used to figure out how to defeat the zombie ray.
I used the rules from the free Zombies by GASLIGHT supplement that can be downloaded from gaslightrules.com and RPGNow.
In the first turn, there were only a few zombies on the table. The humans/survivors thought they could easily knock them out with well placed gunfire. The problem is that whenever humans make noise, a noise marker is placed on the table. At the end of each turn, zombies are generated at each noise marker. After the first turn of shooting, the town was swarming with zombies. I didn’t tell the players what I was doing, and it took them a couple of turns to figure it out and act more quietly.
One of the players found a truck and quietly loaded supplies on it inside a well-protected garage (bottom right of picture above). While he was doing this, the other players were busy in hand-to-hand combat with zombies and trying to rescue civilians. Several of the rescuers were infected and became zombies. When he broke out of the garage and headed to town, he had his men fire small arms out the back of the truck. This generated lots of zombies in his wake that ensured that few other humans would make it off the table behind him, so he won the game by a large margin. Victory was determined by 2 points for each human and 1 point for each unit of supplies take off the table.
In the end, I think both games were successful and that the players had a good time.
After spending a little time walking around all the little shops in Estes Park, we bid farewell to sunny Colorado and headed for Nebraska.
On the way to the booming metropolis of Minden, Nebraska, we stopped in Kearny for dinner. Just off I-80 was the Buffalo Bill Cody trading post and museum. The museum consisted of a few small displays toward the back of a 60’s-style souvenir shop. They did have some interesting clothing and weapons as well as a 1:16-scale replica of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The souvenir shop had all the goofy stuff I remember in souvenir shops as a kid. It was a nostalgic break from the long drive.
When we arrived at our hotel, the only hotel in Minden, we saw these and several other Model A Fords in the parking lot. A group of old car collectors was meeting in Minden to participate in a car rally in Kearny the next day celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Highway. We spent more than a half hour talking to a couple of nice antique car enthusiasts. Now Tommy wants us to buy a Model A.
The purpose of stopping in Minden was to see the Pioneer Village. It was created by Harold Warp, who made his fortune in plexiglass in the 1940’s. When the one-room school he attend as a kid was about to be torn down, he bought it an started Pioneer Village. This was a terrific, family-owned museum that is every bit as good (perhaps better) than the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. There were 30 or so separate buildings, many the size of warehouses, full of antiques. One of the things that made Pioneer village interesting was that all of the antiques were arranged in chronological order. There was a building full of Chevy’s from the earliest cars to the 1970’s.
Most of the displays had nice, descriptive signs in front of them. I learned a great deal in the short time we were there. We spent four hours in the museum, but we could have easily stayed for two days.
In one building they had some docents who showed the kids crafts, like baking on old coal stoves, making lace, or (as above) making brooms. The gentleman working with the kids was personable and informative.
One of the more interesting displays showed kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms from 1830 to the 1970’s. These displays, again in chronological order, were separated by about 30 years, so it was a nice way to see how technology developed over time.
This was an interesting display of an early car air conditioner. Imagine attaching this onto the car window (in some cases it was displayed on the driver’s side)! None of the vehicles were restored, being in the condition in which they were acquired, but most of the vehicles were in running condition.
There was a reasonably-priced snack bar where we got hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch.
I found these two displays very interesting.
That night we stayed in a ho-hum hotel in Minneapolis. After an ordeal returning the rental car to the airport and taking a combination of light rail and taxi, Sam and I returned to the hotel for bed. The next morning we were up early to pack and take the shuttle to the Amtrak station — just in time to find out the train was almost two hours late.
We barely made our connection in Chicago, but once on board our sleeper car, we enjoyed a relaxing journey from Chicago to Harper’s Ferry, WV.
On the train from Minneapolis to Chicago we adjourned to the club car and played a game of Phase 10 while enjoying lunch.
We had two “roomettes” on the train. A roomette could seat two people very comfortably. At night the seats were made into a lower bunk. The upper bunk folded out of wall/ceiling, just like in old movies. The kids deemed having their own roomette as “awesome.”
Food on a train is quite good. Meals in the dining car are included in the price of staying in the sleeping car. Unlike on airplanes, where you get fed extruded meat paste if you get any food at all, on the train you get real food. We each had steaks, vegetables, and baked potatoes. Service was slow at dinner, so we’re not sure if the steaks were really excellent or whether they just tasted good because we were VERY hungry. When we returned from dinner, our beds had been made up. We had brought our desserts (cheesecake with strawberries) back to our rooms, so we ate dessert while watching a few Mickey Mouse cartoons on my laptop.
The next morning, after Tommy and I had hot showers just down the hall from our roomettes, we all went to the dining car for omelets and French toast for breakfast.
Our train arrived in Harper’s Ferry about 30 minutes late, where my parents picked us up. Our car had been cluttering their driveway while we were gone. After a nice lunch we headed home, our vacation completed.
We only have about eight states left to meet our goal of visiting all 50. Planning is underway for next year.