Tuesday, April 27, 2010

(WW2) Brigade Games Panzer Draisine Pre-Order

I'm not a big WW2 gamer, but this announcement today over at the Brigade Games website made me giddy:

Panzer Draisine

I'm surely not an expert on this, but it's basically a rail-tank used to protect various German trains. While the Brigade Games armoured train is low on my want list (price more than anything), and even though the train is Great War era and this is WW2, the $38.00 pre-order price might be too good to be pass up

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chaosium Celebrating Cannibalism With 30% Off Sale

From http://www.chaosium.com/ :

In the fall of 1846, eighty-seven members of the Donner Party were forced to make a camp near Truckee Lake (now Donner Lake) when the passes over the Sierra-Nevada mountains filled with snow. Having already endured many hardships crossing the deserts the majority of the settlers were unable to continue. They dug in as best they could and waited for a break in the weather, or rescue.

The first rescue party reached the main encampment in April of 1847. Of the 87 pioneers who entered the mountains that fall, only 48 survived. How they survived has become a thing of legend.

To celebrate the eventual rescue of the Donner party and the Feast of St. George (we assume no connection between these events...) Chaosium.com will be holding our annual sale. Save 30% on Chaosium books, monographs, and over 100 PDFs beginning April 23rd through May 1st, 2010. While everyone may not like cannibals, they are quite fond of everyone else!

Cool beans, with our tax check in the bank, I was going to make a much-needed order anyway. I might pick up a few books in addition to Secrets of Lenningrad. I will make an important note that this 30% is even off shopworn and previously discounted items!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Historicon War College and "Uncle Duke"

The HMGS War College at Historicon has posted their seminar list:


It's too bad we'll be going down Friday morning, as Thursday block is chock full of interesting stuff: Bismark's Armies by Casemate Publishing, Imperial Texas, The Battle of Luzon, and Irregular Warfare on the Revolutionary (a little love for Sullivan's Campaign), Le Hamel, and the Israeli War for Independence. *whew*

Friday might be managable: Cossack rebellions and the Austro-Hungarian Romanian campaign.

Saturday's Inventing the Schlieffen Plan is my one guaranteed seminar. That is, until the PEL comes out.

And directly from the Historicon website:
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Duke Seifried offerings to the historical miniatures gaming hobby. Since it will be the last time Duke will be hosting games at conventions, he will be bringing 14 of his best games to this year’s HISTORICON – one last time! Full details will be available in the Events (PEL) link at the left as of May 14th.

Rumor has it that these games will be sold lock-stock-and barrel after they are run at the convention. "Uncle Duke" wowed me with his presentation and showmanship at Origins '96 in Philadelphia and I make sure I take pics of every game he's run at an HMGS-East con. This just means more GMs need to kick up their games a notch and upgrade from felt and a couple clumps of lichen to professional appearance.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh Tal, how I miss you less when you are free!

I had heard rumblings late last year that Steven Michael Sechi, the creator of the Talislanta role-playing game, was going to make all Tal books available for free download. This was confirmed en masse this month.

I haven't read his actual reasons for doing so, but many in my mind make sense:

Tal 1st and 2nd editions were Bard Games productions. 3rd was WoTC (their first pride and joy). 4th and 5th editions are such a collection of fly-by-night, reorganized, double super secret reorganized, and non-existent companies that it was safer to let the rights go by the wayside for the third party publishers and maintain whatever dignity is left and introduce a new generation to "NO ELVES" fantasy roleplaying without profit.

The fourth and fifth editions of the books seem to be the "recommended" editions. I owned 4th edition Tal. It was a beautiful book. So beautiful in fact, that my buddy Scott picked up a copy thinking I didn't own it yet. I already had two in my possesion.

Third edition was my personal choice. I ran it numerous times. The magic system was fleshed out better than 2nd, but still extremely basic. I fondly remember, with only a zing of nostalgia, wanting to support this little company out of Renton, Washington the was bringing back this cool game. Somewhere I still have copies of The Apothecary, their newsletter detailing Tal, Primal Order, and this new card game, tentatively titled, Mana Burn or Mana Flare. I also remember that little card game, renamed Magic: The Gathering take the world by storm and ironically close up WoTC's RPG lines, and waiting months for Sub-Men Rising, the final book for the company, to arrive in a game store near me.

If I were to run Tal today, I would use 2nd edition. It's such a ridiculously simple ruleset that I ran my first con game with it (The Crystle Dungeon, a hack-and-slasher wet dream at Lehicon IV at the GW Motor Lodge.) The only items on my makeshift GM were the one page rules references and the map of the scenario behind it, and a cheesey "The Crystle Dungeon" filled out on graph paper. If I had been introduced to rules-light games as a teen, Tal 2nd may have become my game of choice for life.

The only thing I feel slightly guilty about is the new material over the last four years or so. Some of the new sourcebooks/scenarios looked fantastic and were well-received by the Tal community. With no real local game store, I was unable to pre-order these items (The Northern Realms in particular) and get hardcopies. Of course, the money was better spent on the wedding, house repairs, and old bills, but I don't buy much RPG, and if I want something, most people know it's high quality stuff.

So, if you're familiar with role-playing, download a book or two. If you've played it with me (even as the AD&D "alternate world summer game" during college) Take another good look at it. For free you might be able to set up a game or three.


Monday, April 12, 2010

We have met the enemy, and the camera's battery died

This Sunday we got a small Game Day together. Steve and Nate drove up from Allentown and we got *gasp* two different games run.

First was the next Gnome Wars scenario: The "Battle" of Regensburg. With the rail depot denied to them, the Germans began advancing through the Swiss countryside. At Regensburg the Swiss mounted resistance:

German Units, under the command of Field Marshall Von O'Hara:
3rd German Infantry (The Flying Monkeys)
15th German (The Badenboens)
2nd German Cav
One Schneider Tanks (Two 4d Machine Guns)
Two trucks full of booze and dignitaries.

Swiss Resistance, commanded by General Millheim:
5th Swiss
Regensburg Defense Force
A French Mortar Team as "Advisors"
The 1st Sikhs, who came in turn three

The Early Turns: The Field Marshall led with the Tank down the main road, the 3rd Germans moved to the left to search houses. The 15th accompanied the Trucks "secret service" style, full move pointing away. The Swiss set up in each building, hid behind walls, and secured their HQ in a large barn to the right of the German advance. General Millheim set out four digging teams , all but one survived the game.

The Middle Turns The tank took two hits from the mortar, killing one crew member. von O'Hara turned it into a stationary weapons platform killing the mortar crew, a group of Swiss trying to reman it, and then firing indiscriminately into the barn and a farmhouse directly across. The 3rd Germans met fierce resistance in the first farmhouse from the RDF and... *ta da* the Wizard and a flurry of gnomelings. I treated the explosions as down and not "blown up" and the German Bier Doktor had a 100% rate treating those that fell. Soon, the first farmhouse was in German hands. On the road, two Swiss riflemen crawled from a tunnel, ran across the road, and shot the driver of the first Truck. In a sweet act of karma, the truck drove out of control right into the two Swiss, both of whom failed their saves. The 15th Germans slowly creeped behind the burning wreckage. The 2nd Cav emerged gallantly from the wood in charge formation, jumped a fence with only one falling and realized they were heading right into the 1st Sikhs, who had wisely formed square. The Sikhs took out at least a half dozen rabbits. and the remainder headed out towards the road.

The Final Turns: The 3rd German were focused on mop-up on the left side of town, fighting Swiss who were falling back. The 15th Germans on the road were subject to line of volley fire from the advancing Sikhs. Part Florence Nightingale, Part Jesus Christ, and Part Sam Malone from Cheers, the Bier Doktor and a Bier Nurse dashed to the scene and saved 8 of the 10 casualties of the volley fire. The 15th would return fire, and despite a St Bernard nearby, the Sikhs still refused western medical aid.
In an act that could be considered foolish, General Millheim deployed their lone Alphorn upon a hill at the far end of the board, to "alert everyone of the German advance". It stayed on it's little hill, undefended, until it met the charging German Cav. The Cav had been forced to make a morale roll, and then proceeded to stymy the Swiss counterattack and escape off the board. At that point General Millheim deemed it appropriate to withdraw from the town.

Despite a significant German victory at first glance, the Swiss resistance did more than kick them in the proverbial shins. One destroyed beer truck depletes the German spoils, their tank has significant damage, and the Cav is at recon strength rather than attack strength. The Swiss are at full strength, their new Sikh allies will send reinforcements, but not too many, and we still don't know the allegiances of the Scots or the Irish.

Next session will the Battle for the Teutonburg Forest, where the Swiss+Allies finally go on the offensive, and the despicable Field Marshall von O'Hara's motives are discovered. All are welcome.

The second game was a semi-short two player Call of Cthulhu game, using Dr. Millheim and his buddy Steven. A write-up of Dust to Dust will be done shortly, after the two previous Actual plays are written up. Let's just say the duo thought a bit too much, and for once, they didn't save the day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I've been working to get the group together for this Sunday for a little Gnome Wars, a little Cthulhu, and some Aces & Eights character creation. Throw in a couple pizzas and some wings and we're going to have a groovy time. I got email confirmation from two of my primary guys, and gave a call to the third for confirmation. The second of the emails made my heart fall straight to the ground.

In addition to confirming, Nate talked about the future aspirations of Dr. Nathaniel Millheim, noted parapsychologist. Dr. Millheim has been the nucleus of the group and the main reason any of these guys are investigating things man was not meant to know. A while back, I asked the group what their characters wanted to do. Steve and Brian sent their's back pretty quick and both ideas could be worked into the game.

Nate, however, stated that Dr. Millheim shoud, "continue his research, write a book or two, and retire. I can start up a new character."

You can see my initial dilemma. To top that off, I was planning one last stand-alone scenario this weekend, then a significant change to the campaign's direction. I won't mention specifics, but there's a full bookshelf of Chaosium books at my disposal and I'm not afraid to use the big campaign books. Despite Nichol's insanity (in-game, he's a goner in real life), the group had developed a decent background of experience and wealth of contacts to start delving into more than a rogue Dimensional Shambler or "Haunted House." Their foray into a Cult of Cthugha and the KKK confirmed it for me. My choices would weave a few unrelated sessions between the "beastly" conspiracies of the world and something "fishy" up in Massachusetts. It would take years, but everyone knowing my twisted lust for continuity, I would love to see one of Smitty's quotes possibly ring true.

*sigh* Now I'll need a sit-down session with the group first. Here's hoping an agreement can be reached.