Friday, September 30, 2011

Playtesting Yellowstone... Pic-a-nic basket thieves will be shot on sight

This Sunday, I'll be playtesting my Battle of Yellowstone game for Fall-in! 2011. Anyone within the area can drop on in and I'll throw some units and optional rules at you. I just want to make sure the optional rules for the law-breakers keep the players interested.

And for those of you playing in the other Yellowstone-themed GW games, Jim's providing a special surprise. I won't spoil it, but let me tell you, I did a little dance in the middle of work when I opened the email.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Planning

I knew living out in the middle of nowhere, having a family, and trying to be a good father/husband would limit whatever gaming I could do. Gone forever are the days of weekend Magic tournaments, weeknight campaigns, and Sunday pick-up games. They were sure fun, but completely unproductive in the real world.

I do have Maja hooked on the "No-Nos/Gnomes." Painting, playing, even a little make believe have been mixed in. So long as I give them a good seal cost, I don't mind her playing with any of them.

This Christmas, Operation: Turn the kids into gamers goes into full swing with the four magic words "Ages three and up." Maja will be over 2 1/2 by December, and she's made fantastic progress with her colors over the past couple. This means only one thing.

Mother Freakin' Candyland!

Candyland is the first true adventure game from kids. The little gingerbread men travel through the marvelous and potentially treacherous parts of Candyland. The Molasses (now Chocolate) Swamp, Gumdrop Mountains, and even the Ice Cream Floats are epic parts of our childhood. Building them in 25mm or even just using gnomes, teddy bears, or actual gingerbread men minis makes it more visual for Maja and, selfishly, more entertaining for Daddy.

And it just gets better: Chutes and Ladders with Space Marines? A Barrel of Monkey vs Cooties? Hungry Hungry Hippos vs Lucky Ducks. Mwhwhaahahaahaha!

It doesn't matter what variant I think of, my daughter (and soon both daughters) will beat me over and over again. And it's not because I'll let them. I just have horrible luck against kids. My tournament track record against little kids in Magic tournaments? Embarrassingly poor.

But that's where we'll start. Soon enough we'll be putting together an easy version of Mouse Guard and using all the mouselings I have. It's a perfect storytelling device. And, of course, once we go through all the books with the kids (and we will, just not in the next decade), Daddy gets to make up stories, and following the advice of my mom when she did told made up stories to me as a kid, I'm going to right down the gist of that night's story before I go to bed. Because kids always remember the details of the stories better than you, and if you don't bring your A-game, your wee ones will embarrass you.

And its great role-playing fodder.

And let's not forget the ulterior motive for the kids being at the Host for Fall-in! this year. Maja and I can walk the dealer's hall and let her pick out what she likes.

If she falls in love with Napoleonics I'm leaving her with an Amish family!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

(Historicon) Fredericksburg! Wagons No!

The official word has come down from the lawyers on high:

"HMGS is pleased to announce that Historicon 2012 will be held July 19 -22, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center2371 Carl D. Silver ParkwayFredericksburg, Virginia 22401"

Which means I won't be going next year. Finances were tough enough this year and are getting that way for Fall-in! Throw in extra driving time, and a wife who's more negative about Fredericksburg for a vacation destination than I am, and it looks like my Colonial Era Chicka Zulu game will appear at Cold Wars.

I am indifferent. Worst case I can see if I can make the day trip to NJCon next summer. Drive time is just a little more than Lancaster and I might meet more people closer to my house. Not by much verus the crew I have now, but it couldn't hurt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Apathy of New Releases (September 2011)

Wow, I know no one cares about my little dance with the Alliance monthly order book, but I almost forgot about it this month. So much so the The Apathy of New Releases for October (GTM #14) should be slated for the end of the week.

Welcome back to new release time for just before Christmas. Smart companies would solicit their Christmas items next month, but as we've with last year, that ain't happening.

Without further adieu:

Want List: Ooh, something not Gnome-related, well, it could be....

MOUSLING TAVERN RPR 10034 $29.99. I posted some GenCon pics of these (HERE). I was actually thinking of Mouse Guard last night, so this would be awesome.

Wish List: There are things that intrigue me, imagine that!
BATTLEFIELDS XP: MEADOW FLOWERS TAP BR4134 $5.99 - Basically a container of static grass with wild flower mixed in. Looks like a small package, but one pack used as accents could last a long time.

CHACO WAR 1932-35: SOUTH AMERICA’S GREAT WAR OSP MAA474 $17.95 - Having a simple reference book might motivate me to buy some Chaco Wars figs that I posted about long, long ago.

HAPPY DAYS! A HUMOROUS NARRATIVE IN DRAWINGS OF THE PROGRESS OF AMERICAN ARMS 1917-1919 - osp gm629 $14.95 - Cartoons chronicling one Captain's tour of duty, capturing life in the trenches. I may hunt this down at Fall-in, if it gets released early.

Some of the Reaper minis tempt me, especially the OXIDATION BEAST. Like we don't know what that is?

So, I actually have things to look forward to, if they ever get around my area.

Imaginary Store List: I complained earlier about Alliance solicting flashlights and other miscellaneous items. First thing on the game listing that caught my eye US ARMY COT (78”x29”x17”). Not 25mm, but a real cot! With the collapse of comics, distributors are gearing towards an adventure gaming/army surplus store model? And for our rotund and tall friends, the 85"x40"x20" cot is also available.


FIASCO RPG (and FIASCO COMPANION) Ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. Inspired by films like Blood Simple and Fargo, there will be big dreams and flawed execution. $25.00 each.

DICE! : Chessex has a huge restock on what I call "fancy dice" I remember when the biggest cubes of d6s were under $10. Now regular set of fancy polyhedrals cost half as much as a sourcebook. The one rule of sales will always stick: Dice sell.

HEAVY GEAR: DP9 continues to push out product (truth be told, I haven't seen any of this stuff release. Here's hoping someone has something at Fall-in. I'll continue my poo-pooing of this line. Lots of stuff, a huge start-up cost for both players and stores, and the one tank alone is $129.50! Crazy Viscount's Make-Believe Games would continue NOT stocking this line.

MASKS: 1,000 MEMORABLE NPCS FOR ANY ROLEPLAYING GAME s2p EGP42002 $39.95 I guess it's been five years since the last be-all-end-all NPC book flops like a fat guy falling off the high dive.

BLOOD BOWL: TEAM MANAGER - THE CARD GAME: Now THIS looks good. A limited card game where you customize your team based on the cards in the set. It's not real Blood Bowl, but short of GW feeling generous, it's all we've got. FFG GW03 $34.95


DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS RPG HC (GSL) IMP GMG5070 $34.99 The Goodman Games version of a certain classic role-playing game.

BattleTech Minis from Ironwind - I remember the days when tanks were six bucks a pack. Get off my level 2 lawn!
DI MORGAN ASSAULT TANK [1] (TRO 3075) IWM 20-5029..........................$14.25
ONAGER MECH (TRO 3085) IWM 20-5030..........................$14.95
SHADOWCAT II (TRO 3085) IWM 20-5031..........................$13.50
THUNDERBOLT MECH TDR-10M (TRO 3085) IWM 20-5032..........................$13.50

CTHULHU DICE TOWER LAO GMG085........................$19.99 When you want the world to see your failed san check.

Mongoose: TRAVELLER RPG: 2300AD

Paizo: Another giant pile of stuff. Plus there's yet another third party book.


Good God, it still lives:

Reaper: My only complaint from Reaper, despite higher fig costs they have little power in controlling is the fact that they not only separate their Dark Heaven, Savage Worlds, Pathfinder, P-65, Warlord 25mm and Chronoscope lines , but they solicit three months at a time and keep each line and each month separate.

Silly stuff?How about a remote control LED candle? How about a universal remote shape like a magic wand that each piece of electronic is set to a specific gesture. Yeah, some people truly have no lives. I guess it's better product than others you can get for your Comic/Gaming/Army Surplus store.


Magic: TG: Booster Battle Pack. For $9.99 you get two 20-card semi-randomized decks with land cards, two 15 card Magic 2012 Core booster. and a learn to play guide and appears to be sold store-wise in 12 pack displays.

Monday, September 19, 2011

(Cthulhu) Teddy Roosevelt Versus the Mythos = Bully!

Before there were role-playing games, or even sci-fi or fantasy books making my imagination run wild, there was Theodore Roosevelt. The man is so dynamic in action, so diverse in his interests, so legendary in his deeds, that I dare any of you to name a more exciting POTUS in the 20th or 21st centuries.

When I discovered this today, while trolling around the CoC list on, I was giddy.

The description covers most of it. An aging, post-presidential Roosevelt headed an expedition into the Amazon to be the first civilized people to traverse the uncharted River of Doubt. From logistics to luck, the expedition was a disaster and it could be said that TR escaped with his life, although the calamities of the trip did weaken the Bull Moose and contributed to his early death in 1919.

This book is basically a copy of Roosevelt's Through the Brazilian Wilderness, his quite biased first-hand account of the journey. It's a quick and enjoyable read, and I thoroughly recommend it.

The genius is in the footnotes and the appendix of this new printing. Through each portion of the book, footnotes appear giving suggestions how to properly adapt this into a role-playing campaign... with Lovecraftian undertones.

Given the number of locals lost, the encounters with odd tribesmen, and other strange encounters that occurred, it's quite probable the malaria didn't do Roosevelt in, failed sanity checks from Mythos encounters weakened him.

The appendix is supposed to have the primary participants statted up (with BRP, I'm assuming). I know, I admit it, I haven't actually purchased or read the product, but the concept of adapting historical books for role-playing is a phenomenal idea, and I may need to do a little research to see what other events have been done in such a fashion.

Even if the rpg stuff is absolute dreck (I'll find out tomorrow), the download from lulu is $1.01 and the print copy of the book is $9.12. Guaranteed, you will make worse decisions with your money this week.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Roman Teddy Bears from Eureka

Per their announcement on TMP, Eureka is releasing Roman Teddy Bears in full force!

Multiple shields, Romans on rocking horses, and best of all, a honeypot catapult!Between these, the Holy Gnoman Empire, and a link for the old Heritage Roman Frogs, we have quite a fantasy selection to play Ancients with. Thank God, Mike found a way to put the Roman Empire into the Bore Wars!

First reported on TMP.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Battlelords 23C is on... Facebook?

I picture certain things for Battlelords of the 23rd Century. A game on Facebook and Twitter? Not so much. Yet that is what they're doing with it!

As of right now, they're going from Alpha to Beta versions of the game, so it is not active. My only question (in Battlelords-speak), is this a Mafia Wars-equivilant for your social media-equivilant. I would love a Zombie Lane version, where you can run around the board as a Ram Python, pick things up... kill them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Fall-in! 2011 PEL is up!

The Fall-in! 2011 Preliminary Event Listing (PEL) was posted this week. First off, I love the fact that the file at is a Word document and not a pdf. It was much easier to navigate to look for things. Just my opinion.

At a solid glance, the US Cav theme is about as sparse as South American revolutions were for Cold Wars this year. Lots of WW2 games, be-it cav-centric or not.

I've made a listing of my choice games on the PEL, and yes, there are plenty of Gnome games.

F-151 - Monkey's Revenge
Fri. 12:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 10 players
GM: Jon Lundberg
Sponsor: Eureka
Pulp 28mm, Rules: Home Rules based Wings of War
The Flying Monkey's main base was bombed at Historicon, but enough escaped that They are out for revenge and ready when the Germans come back for another attack. American Rocketeers Launch in support, but both sides have more weapons
A young kid game, it uses the Eureka flying monkeys and some Pax Limpopo figures, I suppose. I'll definitely run off to see this!

F-146 - Gnome Wars: The Station at The End of The Line - Theme Game
Fri. 12:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, 7 players
GM: Jim Stanton with Steven Stanton and Stout Gnomes
Sponsor: Brigade Games, Prize: Gnomes!!!
Other 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars
The US Cavalry needs to protect a station just inside Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Special, carrying visiting dignitaries, gold for the payroll, and various "beverages," is inbound and several interested parties are headed for the station. Who will be in control when the train pulls in?
Players bringing a painted unit of gnomes from Brigade Games do not have to preregister. No special or heavy weapons for this game. No one under 14 without a playing adult.

All GW games will have a Yellowstone theme, most involving a train. No specials or heavy for the chaos this will be makes me love Mr. Stanton a little more each day, in a gnome way, of course.

F-287 - Ordeal at Owikokorero (German South-West Africa, 1904)
Fri. 2:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, 6 players
GM: Roy Jones with Eric Alvarado
Sponsor: Falcon Miniatures, Prize: Gift Certificate
Colonial 25mm, Rules: Sword and the Flame (Modified)
Description: It was supposed to be a reconnaissance mission, but the Schutztruppen, machine gunners and Marines of the Recon Detachment were looking for a fight. So were Herero riflemen, expertly concealed in the bush. Can the Germans get in close, get their intel and get out alive, or will the Hereros annihilate the Recon Detachment? From the new scenario book "The Herero War". More at

This is something I want to read and someday get a chance to play. It would flow in with the Gnomish Bore Wars perfectly.

F-197 - First Annual Road Warrior Thunder Dome Invitational
Fri. 2:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 14 players
GM: Eric Schlegel and the HAWKs
Modern Matchbox, Rules: Future Race
A cross-country car race based on Jamie Davis' popular "Future Race" rules. Drivers will battle each other, the desert terrain and various other factors to be the first around the oasis and over the finish line. Bumping is encouraged (some might say required) and style points will be awarded for the most spectacular wreck.
Younger players welcome with a participating adult.

Vehicular weaponry would be awesome, but this just looks fun!

F-329 - HMS Dreadnaught in Battle
Fri. 6:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, 6 players
GM: Chad Zerbe and Reading Area Wargamers
Sponsor: RAW
WWI 1:2400, Rules: When Dreadnoughts Ruled the Seas
The British launched the HMS Dreadnaught in late 1906 and with it made every other Battleship in the world obsolete. With ten large guns she had about twice the firepower of the other major ships. She leant her name to a whole generation of Big Battleships. This hypothetical battle has the HMS Dreadnaught fighting a contemporary German fleet to see just how revolutionary she might have been in battle. However, Germans realize the Dreadnought with all big guns may be very vulnerable to Torpedo Boat attacks

My love for smaller than 1:600 turn of the century naval games shines through.

F-265 - Zeppelin Killers
Fri. 6:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 12 players
GM: John Stoner
WWI 1:72nd, Rules: Canvas Eagles
Four Zeppelins are returning home from a night bombing raid on London. However, foul weather has caused them to go off course and now they have been caught in broad daylight over France. French scouts have their sights set on the easy targets. Can the Zeppelins outrun them? Will German planes come to the rescue? An easy game to learn and fun to play.
Children under 12 with the help of an adult
Zeppelins! I said zeppelins!

F-147 - Gnome Wars: The Train Pulls In! - Theme Game
Fri. 6:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, 7 players
GM: Jim Stanton with Steven Stanton and Stout Gnomes
The Yellowstone Special is pulling into the station and everyone wants a piece of the action. Who will be standing on the platform to greet it?
Players bringing a painted unit of gnomes from Brigade Games do not have to preregister. No special or heavy weapons for this game.
Part two of the Yellowstone Train theme.

F-174 - Russo-Japanese Naval
Fri. 8:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 8 players
GM: Steve Robinson and Woodbridge (VA) Area GamerS
Sponsor: Merrimack the Old Glory Shipyard, Prize: Merrimack the Old Glory Shipyard
Early 20th Century 1:600, Rules: Grand Fleet (modified)
For all those period enthusiasts, this is a hypothetical naval engagement in the Yellow Sea to introduce fellow wargamers to the fun of gaming the period. A Russian Battleship squadron is on the hunt for revenge of the torpedo attack on the Port Arthur. However, the Japanese fleet is ready to give battle. Can this battle change the course of history? This game is featuring 1/600 scale Russo-Japanese ships produced by Old Glory Shipyards.
Just because I've like smaller than 1:600 naval games, doesn't mean I wouldn't want to try a 1:600 game.

F-240 - "Something Fishy This Way Comes..."
Fri. 8:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 6 players
GM: Bob Giglio
Other 28mm, Rules: The Bootleggers by Steve Barber (modified)
Crime boss Dion O'Bannion's weekly shipments to Arkham were raided by Prohibition Agents, so he moved deliveries far out into the country to Dagon Point and the old Binkley House atop the cliff; it's perfect. Rum Runner arrives at midnight, docks, unloads bootleg, and the gang truck it back to the city - simple. But rival factions abound and weird things can happen in Lovecraft Country!
Age 15 or older; game based on horror writing of H.P. Lovecraft (you've been warned!)
Now I know who bought all the Deep One figures on eBay.

S-133 - The Battle of Yellowstone - Theme Game
Sat. 10:00:00 AM, 3 hrs, 10 players
GM: Eric Jacobsom
Early 20th Century 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars
For over 30 years, the United States Cavalry were the sole protectors of one of our national treasures, Yellowstone National Park. Join the valiant men of Troop K, as they spend their days fighting against illegal poachers, loggers, miners, wayward campers, and worst of all, sheep. All of this will be done, of course, with gnomes.
My game. Might have to increase the chaos factor to make it look like a traditional GW game. However, I want this to also be historically accurate, with more than crazed charges and stalwart defenses. I mean, hey, I've got sheep!

S-288 - Ambush at Gross-Barmen (German South-West Africa, 1904)
Sat. 10:00:00 AM, 4 hrs, 5 players
GM: Roy Jones with Eric Alvarado
Sponsor: Falcon Miniatures, Prize: Gift Certificate
Colonial 25mm, Rules: Sword and the Flame (Modified)
Ambush at Gross-Barmen (German South-West Africa, 1904)
Description: German sailors from a Naval Landing Party march through a narrow defile. The Hereros wait in ambush, hidden in the boulder-strewn hills above. They realize that the Sanitation Carriage contains more than just medical supplies (maybe even cartridges)! The Herero plan: shoot the oxen, shoot the sailors, take the Carriage! From the new scenario book "The Herero War".

More Herero War stuff, obviously

S-276 - Bear-o-drome
Sat. 10:00:00 AM, 3 hrs, 8 players
GM: Jim Reynolds and WNPG
Sponsor: Eureka USA, Prize: DICE
WWI 28mm, Rules: Bear-o-Drome
The Red Bearon is the scourge of the skies, but the brave pilots of the Royal Bear Corps and their allies of the Lafayette Ourscadrille Will not give up that easy. Kids come and play with Eureka’s new Flying Bear Circus Miniatures. Kids Game

Sometime after I get my players up and running, I will hunt this game down!!!!

S-175 - Trench Wars: Treat Them Rough!
Sat. 10:00:00 AM, 3 hrs, 8 players
GM: Steve Robinson and Woodbridge (VA) Area GamerS
Sponsor: Acheson Creations
WWI 28mm, Rules: Trench Wars (modified)
Part 1- Tommy is facing the formable Hindenburg line. Can the shear bravery of Tommy and the steel behemoths punch their way through Jerry’s defenses? Or, will a sea of wire entanglements, bunkers and non-ceasing hail of machinegun fire defeat Tommy’s juggernaut? Come and pick a side and taste once again the rotting, acidic smell of the western front. I know for sure that lead figures do not bleed, but allot will have to wait until the afternoon to be played with again. Beginners welcomed!
One day, I shall get to play Trench Wars, from which Gnome Wars is loosely based on.

S-176 - Trench Wars: Treat Them Rough!
Sat. 2:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 8 players
GM: Steve Robinson and Woodbridge (VA) Area GamerS
Sponsor: Acheson Creations
WWI 28mm, Rules: Trench Wars (modified)
Part 2-
And this slot might be my chance.

S-149 - The Trolls Raid Brick-a-lot
Sat. 10:00:00 AM, 2 hrs, 6 players
GM: Charles Kline
Fantasy 28mm, Rules: Home Rules
Brick-a-lot is the finest castle in all of Lego-nia, and that is why the Trolls have decided to launch a daring raid against it! Will you side with the Trolls and their "trusty" allies, or will you join the forces of Good and defend the realm against the merciless (yet not too smart) Trolls. Simple, fast rules using familiar mini-figs, suitable for young players.
Kid Friendly Game, Ages 8 - 12.
Trolls, Legos, and enthusiastic players. Gaming Paradise.

S-145 - Gnome Wars: Stop That Train! - Theme Game
Sat. 3:00:00 PM, 4 hrs, 6 players
GM: Jim Stanton with Steven Stanton and Stout Gnomes
Sponsor: Brigade Games, Prize: Gnomes!!!
Other 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars
The US Cavalry needs to protect a train leaving a remote station just inside Yellowstone National Park. Will the Yellowstone Special, carrying visiting dignitaries, gold for the payroll, and animals headed to various zoos, make it out of the park? Or will various bands of raiders get their quarry off of the train?
Players bringing a painted unit of gnomes from Brigade Games do not have to preregister. No special or heavy weapons for this game. No one under 14 without a playing adult.
Part three. I might pass playing/helping this session to play Trench Wars and prepare for the final GW slot.

S-144 - Gnome Wars: The Joust
Sat. 8:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 30 players
GM: Steven Stanton with Jim Stanton and Stout Gnomes
Sponsor: Brigade Games, Prize: Gnomes!!!
Other 28mm, Rules: Gnome Wars Come and try your luck in the Gnome Joust. Rules Taught, Quick, Easy. FUN!!! No one under 14 without a playing adult. Players are encouraged to bring their own mount, but it is not required.
This time, this event is mine! No drunken dads, rosary-praying moms, or stout smurfs will stop me!!!! It will probably be a seven-year old in a Spongebob shirt kicking my ass.

Z-193 - Field Mice vs. Zombie Pumpkins
Sun. 10:00:00 AM, 2 hrs, 6 players
GM: Todd Harland-White and the HAWKs
Modern 25mm, Rules: Milk and Cookies
A truck carrying mysterious laboratory chemicals has crashed and spilled its load onto the back forty of a farmer's pumpkin patch. There the local field mice are foraging for foodstuffs to put away for the long Winter. However, the moon is full and things are about to go terribly wrong. Kid friendly.
I will probably drag the family back Sunday just so I can see this (and possibly trade a family member or friend coming with us for some lead).

Terrain deals at Michaels

On Monday I made my usual foray into Michael's for painting supplies and "stuff." I did pick up some replacement paints to fill in the holes cold weather caused to my supply. I was also perturbed to find out they were out of sheep! This may create cause for concern for my supply for Fall-in!

A couple things I'm a bit late declaring this week (good through Saturday)

All craft paints (Americana, etc) are 30% off.

Halloween town displays are already 40% off. I didn't see any buildings or accessories that were easily transferable to the wargaming table without significant work, so I may go back after 70%+ off.

Christmas town displays are out! These seem far more useful than Halloween. They had large cobblestone mats for $21.00. Now I love Miniature Building Authority and own some of their mats, but to cover a large area, these mats are a deal.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

(Cthulhu) Crap, it's almost 1925!

During the Day of Sloth, we recapped Gaming with the Viscount XI, sans Viscount. We also had a lengthy discussion with my neighbor Kenny about what we wargamers actually did. Wargaming has more concrete ideas for a mundane to grasp than role-playing, so I'm happy I didn't go the LARP route when I was younger. It intrigued Kenny enough to sit at the table and watch us play our Tanga game. Of course, I haven't talked to him since, so there's no guarantee that he has forbidden his family from dealing with those crazy Jacobsons down the street.

For a split second we discussed our Call of Cthulhu campaign, now retitled "Coal Crackers in Nyc... with guests". I thought I had made all the right moves. Characters have advanced to the "next step." Contacts are being made with necessary NPCs. New characters from new players do allow a bit more depth than the original core group. And worst case, we do have a few back-up characters used in previous scenarios. We have all the compenents and all the time we need to meld them to face some badass Mythos horrors.

Except we don't.

Episode #10 of the campaign, which I'm still working on its actual play, is set on October 5, 1923. Nothing too bad, except the first big bad event is scheduled to occur in the Winter of '25. Those of you who know your Chaosium books know which campaign I'm starting. In truth I started another campaign with episode #10, but that one isn't on a strict timetable yet, so we can revisit as we please for now.

I have less than a year and a half to get a haphazard but capable bunch of investigators up to "superteam" status that they need to avoid a Great Old TPK. Let's review:

Dr. Nathaniel Millheim - Parapsychologist with a host of ghost books, a decent knowlege of the Mythos, and a white three piece suit that stands out even on the strangest Nyc street corner. Unfortunately Nate the player is unavailable, so his aspiring career as a pulp writer is skyrocketing his status within the city's geekdom, and allows for stranger and stranger contacts to trickle down to the other characters.

Brian Nichols - Two bit crooked bookkeeper with a number of murder raps still on him in Wilkes-Barre. He's become Dr. Millheim's agent, servant, and whatever title is needed at a moment's notice. He might also be the first to go. Session #10 hit him pretty hard sanity-wise and I'm afraid he might not make it to 1925. He might also be the first to die in a long while, relying on a small two-shot pistol for defense. The group has accumulated enough funds to justify a nice full-size revolver at least. I'm not asking (or encouraging) a Tommy Gun!

Prof. Steven O'Hara - Steven has escaped the boredom of teaching at a prep school and got an adjunct position at Columbia University. Lots of favors may need to be called in for that one. He's milling about Millheim's (and Nichol's) social group. He is a true sanity monster, actually having more sanity now than when he started! As a scientist to boot, I'm waiting for the day he breaks and starts thinking in non-euclidian physics, as in previous scenarios, he's proven to at least understand them. His wife Angela is still the best shot with a rifle, and Steve's actual wife Angi is always welcome to make an appearance.

"Smitty" - The lovable speakeasy owner moved up for business opportunities in Boston and has only shown for one additional session. Having his player, Adam, also in Boston, makes things difficult. I have a soft spot for Adam, as his 20's alter ego was the first (and only) character I've killed in CoC, and that was The Haunting in session #1!

Mr & Mrs. JP Carson - introduced in session #10, the Carsons are a loving couple with so much streetsmarts, they make a gang member look like a vapid socialite. And they do have combat skills. Social grace and morals, I'll make up a few NPCs to help in that department.

Matthew Drozdowski - First appearance will be session #10. I don't know if this will be a one-shot character, like Marcus Trenton or "Red" were, but he could act as a good foil to the Professor, or a co-conspirator.

I'm hoping the Carsons will be available for the next session TBD. I have four or five scenarios I want to throw at them in the next 18 months of game time, and not all of them are even Cthulhu-related. We shall see.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

(Gnome Wars) Tanga Campaign #4: Dykstra's Mules

Again, special rules for this portion of the campaign can be found here.

November 3, 1914, 0930 hours, the thick brush of the northern base of Mt. Longido.

Lt. Colonel Dykstra's plans were falling apart. Aside from the assault on the southern slope which caught the Germans off guard, the Swiss offensive was disintegrating by the second. Reserve troops had not been able to move forward, and the supply train was now bunched up alongside them. Only Admiral Ackbar could declare a better opportunity for an ambush.

German Order of Battle (Field Marshal von O'Hara)
Objective: Drive or Kill of 75% of the Swiss mules

3 units
1 light machine gun

Variables (if the won battle #2, roll twice)
1-3 Skirmishers (5 figures from the base units can start the game hidden in the brush, no less than 12 inches from the closest Swiss figure.
4-9 Heroic Teddy Bear Askari Unit
10-17 German Unit
18-20 4 Bier Stein Grenadiers (from the base units) hidden on the far side of the board.

For our game, based on previous battles, I cut the German base down to 2 units and the lmg. As you'll see, that was my overconfidence of the German capabilities, and Steve's generalship.

Swiss Order of Battle (Nichols)
Objective: Prevent the German objective

1 unit of Red Hat Swiss
1 unit of Swiss Engineers
1 unit of Swiss Rangers

Mule Train of 8 mules and 6 Irish "Handlers"

Variable units (if the British won battle #3, roll twice)
1-10 Sikh Unit
11-13 Nothing
14-19 2 Extra Irish Handlers for the mules
20 Bicycle Tank ( I do not kid)

SPECIAL RULE: The trees represent the edge of the heavy brush. Treat the brush as light cover that does not impede movement.

The Supply Train

The Swiss deployed in a tight formation, with the Sikhs (!) taking point. The Red Hats were divided up for some reason, half keeping the morale of the Sikhs in check, the other half defending the rear.

Early turns: The Germans showed their hand early, the light machine gun emerging from the brush line and gunning down a number of Red Hats and Engineers. The Gray Germans immediately followed second and continued the barage with a full sound of their bugler.

After some movement from the Swiss rear who reacted far faster than their target practice brethern, the rest of the German appeared: the Green Germans and the Heroic Teddy Bear Askari (!).

Two things amazed me throughout the entire game. First, the Swiss St. Bernard medics healing rolls were ludicrous! Only Jesus Christ could have a better record. Everytime the Swiss took heavy damage, after the healing phase, only one or two figures would be removed. More traditional probability on the part of the German made it a battle of attrition. Second, the entire German army moved with a formal wheel, not exactly tactics you saw in the Great War.

The Swiss Rangers fired some long distance shots, and all they succeeded in doing was to scare off most of the mules! They ran off in all directions, the Irish handlers desperately trying to catch them.

The Germans wheel out of the brush?

Middle Turns: The Swiss continued the engaged the Germans. The Swiss Engineers continued to ignore the pounding fire of the LMG to focus on the Grays. Lucky for them, the Swiss Rangers charged along the edge of the board and wiped out the orignal crew. With their unit crumbling as well, two Gray Germans jumped into position and held the position just long enough to weaken the Rangers to keep them from being a factor for the rest of the game.

Along the brush line, wave after wave of melee attacks saturated the ground with blood, but as I mentioned before, the Swiss medics were up to the task.

Late turns: Avoiding most of the combat thus far, the Teddy Bear Askaris stayed in formation and charged a weakening Sikh unit. The melee was devastating. Only one Sikh survived the first round of combat, and he was quickly dispatched in the second. Having used up the Teddy Bears early in the turn, they were subject to the ravages of the remaining Red Hats and Engineers. The Red Hats chose to drive the bears away with Limburger cheese. Unfortunately, they ran away from the stench into the direction of the Engineer's medic. To add insult to the German injury, the St. Bernard dispatched the errant teddy bears with little problem.

Pure Carnage: The Teddy Bear Askaris wipe out the Sikhs and are the last German unit still intact, for now.

The Swiss had successfully fought off the German trap, but what of the mules? Nichols spent most of the game trying to get control of the stampeding beasts. In fact, it was turn eleven until they regained control of all but one mule, who managed to run off the board.

With a weakend attack, due to "referee overconfidence," the Germans were doomed to start with and showed no flashes of brillance to counter their disadvantage. The Swiss medics fantastic ability (or high quality lager) might never be matched. And best of all, for the Swiss, there are no morale penalties going into Battle #5.

Current Campaign Score for Longido Mountain: Swiss 136, Germans 135. And the German counter-attack is the only battle left to determine just how many reinforcements the Germans get during the battle for the town of Tanga.

The Swiss mules scattered to the four winds, the Irish handlers saved all but one.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lessons of Maja #7

Over the last two weeks, life has interfered with everything short of breathing, and I question the usefulness of that sometimes.

Over one evening, Maja and I did managed some painting. No, no more "cheese" colored horses, although I could have used them during the Tanga game, being two mules short of a proper game.

I did get some primer and paint on the LOS Mk I Assualt Fiend I snagged off of eBay. I forgot that I may have painted dozens of nightmares, but I only finished one Mk I. The detail is mind-numbing and the angles to get a brush in the hunched-over crevasses.

The whole point of this post is Maja. She grabbed the Assault Fiend off the table, looked at it, and asked, "Gnome, Daddy?" Not wanting to add assault fiend to her daycare vocabulary, I agreed. The conversation culminated into this:

Lesson of Maja #7 - Mk I Assault Fiends are "angry gnomes" who go "Rawwwwrrrr!" They use their big stick to poke other people in the eye, which is not nice.

Let's hope that's in the new rulebook on 11/11/11!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh gaming, how I missed you!

In celebration of Labor Day, Sunday was our annual Day of Sloth picnic. It's basically a pot luck with us providing the burgers and dogs. Usually we have a number of little events to participate in: Horseshoes, Wiffleball Home Run Derby, and a well-attended Risus: IOU game.

This year had weather and real-life create many a conflict for the the normal invitees. By four o'clock, a sudden downpour and two minute power outage scared off most of the people. Of the gaming variety, only Nichols and Steve remained.

When Nichols and Brian showed up around the same time they were immediately engaged by my neighbor Kenny, who just wanted to know, "What the heck do you guys do?" He hung out with us drinking beer and watching us set up and play the first few turns.... of Tanga #4 (woo!)

Clean-up for the picinic and set-up for Gnome Wars Sunday night was easy. No one had used the tables outside, preferring to stay in a house with inadequate fans. The AAR is forthcoming, once I get the photos off the camera and onto a computer (all computers at home are in some state of kaput). Let's just say the gnome gods finally showed karma existed in the land of pointed hats, and a certain referee actually misjudged the conversion of the scenario.

I will say I spent most of the scenario adjudicating the campaign rules with a passed out two year old over my shoulder. The only thing more exhausting for the family than a birthday is a holiday picnic with wacky weather.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hawaiian Homicide... or "I didn't steal the poi pounder!"

Before Irene hit, my wife and I decided to have some friends over for our monthly dinner with them. Everyone brings a dish, I grill up some sausage and we have a good time. Of couse the highlight of the evening wasn't my buddy Ken bringing a case of beer, or my wife's beyond decadent lemon squares.

It was the Hawaiian Murder Mystery, "Lethal Luau".

Okay, stop laughing...



Last year my wife had picked up a murder mystery at one of those Five Below stores for, I guess, five bucks or less. Everyone had a blast, although one player fell ill before dinner, and the actual murderer had to be played by a toy penguin.

Penguins are nasty!

We had received "Lethal Luau" for Christmas and felt obligated to run it before next Christmas. If you don't know what a murder mystery is, please remove yourself from the rock you've been living under and find a life.

The roles all had strange angles connecting them to the murdered private investigator that had brought them all together: An "Organic Coffee Farmer", "Skilled Diver with a hidden secret", "Surfer Dude," "Hawaiian Hula Dancer", "Fashion Model", "Strange Man who lost his luggage", and my role, Chief Wiki-Wiki.

It wasn't perfect. Unlike last time, we had evidence to read then pass around. Where a hulu dancer is hiding a bunch of faxes is outside the scope of this blog, but we didn't pass around the info, and that made picking out the actual murderer even harder.

In the end, Chief Wiki-wiki, who had "allegedly" stolen a sacred poi pounder and had access to rat poison was put before the police, but the nice lady on the game's cd spared my life!

We either need to find another murder mystery, or perhaps I might introduce them to a stripped down version of Cthulhu. Mr. Corbitt's house does need some cleaning after that unfortunate "incident" many years back!