Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fall-in! 2011 Gnome #3 Games, Jousts, and Beer

I had prepped a whole spiel about the Gnomanity I witnessed at Fall-in! 2011, but amongst the craziness and a broken camera, I present a handful of shots.

One of the three Gnome Train games

Gnome? Meet Znombies. Znombies? Meet Cheese

A photo of Mike Lung's Znombies, Casualty Markers, and Swiss Cav.

Another Train game pic...

I also won't go into details about Gnomes After Dark, but I will go out on a limb to say that I need to get the first round for Jim and the Canadians at Cold Wars. Of the conversation that
I would feel comfortable discussing, it looks like Italian Gnomes in the foreseeable future, American support troops to flesh out North and South, and whatever you do, don't agree to a full physical right before a quadruple bypass.

We're hashing out the details for the Gnome game for Cold Wars. Let's just say, if Jim has his way, we'll all be doing renditions of "I'm on a Boat!"

Monday, November 28, 2011

(Gnome Wars) Artillery Revisions

I had some quick thoughts on Thanksgiving. For starters, despite having not played a game of Magic in 5+ years, I can still follow a discussion with my wife's cousin over new cards and new decks concepts despite not knowing a single card. Same concepts: discard, big creature, millstone deck.

Now the important stuff.

In Gnome Wars, heavy mortars can absolutely decimate the battlefield. With line of sight, it can hit the board, it has a 3" diameter blast template, and has a 50% chance of killing a figure inside a heavy cover building yet no matter what distance the target is, deviation is the same (D6+4 inches). This basically ensures a successful hit since the deviation, even after 48+", varies from 5-10 inches max.

Here's my suggested revision that we'll be playtesting:

Heavy Mortar Deviation
Up to 24 inches 4+ d6 deviation
Up to 36 inches 6+2d6 deviation
Up to 48 inches 6+3d6 deviation
And so on until max range (or the size of the board) is reached.

Next, cannons in GW are an anachronism. You can only target solid objects (walls, buildings, tanks) and deviation is only left and right. Perhaps I didn't see those movies that has a cannonball or two decimate a closed formation. Truth be told, I wouldn't remove it from the game, because it has its place. I can imagine a small Swiss village pulling one of these old guns out of mothballs to defened against the German armor advancing across their fields. No changes

That brings me to the new addition to the Artillery section: Field Guns

Three man crew, ANY member of any force may operate a field gun. However any figure designated as crew reduces their melee to d6-1.
3" blast template (auto killed), out to 5" killed on a 6 on d6.

0-12" 4-6
12-24" 5-6 - Max Range to target Vehicles, no blast radius when used vs vehicles.
24-36" 6

As this is complicated enough, we'll make field guns to opposite to cannons in regards to deviation.

Deviation : Roll d6 (1-3 short, 4-6 long)
up to 12" : 2d6 inches
up to 24" : 3d6 inches
up to 36" : 4d6 inches

On top of that, I'm thinking of trying out a house rule: No more than 1 mortar, cannon, field gun, or heavy machine gun for every three units, UNLESS, you want an artillery battery. In that case all the figures must remain within 12" of the artillery at all times. (Consider this support and defense.)

Thoughts and input appreciated.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Apathy of New Releases (December 2011)

This months GTM #142 contains items that should arrive after the Christmas rush: the retail dead zone, when retailers use the Christmas/clearance sale to pay off bills, restock the store of the necessities, and try to weather the literal storms of winter sales. This is not a time to publish obscure tomes or overpriced special limited edition boxed sets.

First off, my wish list: It's amazing what a good pic of a painted mini can do to promote sales. I would have simply passed over the Warlord listing for "US MP on a Harley Davidson," but then they show the pic:

Even at $11.65 apiece, I want a pack of these guys, a la bikers in 40K, and I don't even play WW2 or 40k!

Hitting the Lottery Wish List: Surprisingly, nothing else.

The Imaginary Store List:
Wings of Glory WW2: This is scheduled to be shipped by Alliance in November (which means December... or they already ordered a pile and forgot to solicit them. After 10+ years, they still do that an awful lot.) Of course each of the four planes is packaged in its own case of 6 and each case retails for $77.40. At a 40% dealer discount, that's a outlay of $186.00 just to stock the game. Coming from a small store mentaility, I could do better to spend that on five or six copies of the next hot $40 rpg book, and restock the book and a couple other quick turnover products than stock this and possibly not sell half, much less sell through.
But ViscountEric, you've said that a smart store owner knows his base yet wants to expand! Yes, but (a) I wouldn't stock this with a nice promotion to attract players and to at least cover my expense of the product quickly (b) if this isn't in stock at Alliance right now, I sure as hell wouldn't try this during the Christmas rush and in the middle of winter. Too many distractions, cancelled demos/tourneys/leagues make players turn to the next big thing, no matter what their cash outlay for the game in question.

Memoir '44 Campaign Book Vol 2: I admit ignorance to Volume 1, but anything that gets more play out of the expensive wargames is a plus by me. Drawback: "Please Inquire" with your store as to the price. Probably not a decent profit margin to justify multiple orders for store stock.

Heavy Gear: Jesus Christmas, does anyone have a store that stocks this stuff? And how does one afford to do so with so much product coming out. We aren't talking a couple of fantasy minis at five bucks a pop, or even Battletmechs between ten and twelve buck apiece. Multiple $20+ packs/boxed sets every month is just a huge portion of someone's budget without going balls in to promote it.

Fantasy Flight 40K Rpg books: Dark Heresy: The Chaos Commandment, Black Crusade : Hand of Corruption.

Paradiso: Tile base game creating achipelagos One, it's only $24.95.. Two, they used the word archipelago.

LITKO: a huge number of 4e token sets

Mantic: Warpath vehichles, seriously. Any 40K fan needs to see these, and then buy a couple dozen of each.

Marvel Heroes basic game from Margaret Weis Productions. Yawn, but each game always sells copies.

Mongoose: Star Fleet Minis, near the absurdity of Heavy Gear releases. At $14.99 each, no as bad for the cash outlay, but what store still does gangbusters Star Fleet Battles sales

Osprey: FORCE ON FORCE: DAY OF THE RANGERS - SOMALIA 1993 $24.95 The Force on Force stuff looks better and better, and there's nothing wrong with a little Blackhawk Down love.

Paizo: Six more items in the Pathfinder-esque arena.

Reaper: Lots of neat stuff, but the cost of metal/sculpting confuses me. Two zombies are $8.99, yet a dragon (albeit a small one) is $12.99?

Colonial Gothic: Colonial America with some sorcery, shamanism, and a few other oddities mixed in. Three books are solicited: Philadelphia Affair 13.99, Grimoire 10.99, The Templars $10.99.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wooly And His Fortress of Middleofnowhere-ness

This weekend the family embarked on a long, arduous journey to Johnstown to visit my buddy Wooly and his wife Jenny. Our hosts were gracious, our kids well-behaved, and I believed everyone had a great time.

One-completely non-gaming related note: That whole potty training thing? Those golden moments when the little one doesn't need diapers anymore is overrated when you hear, "Mommy? Daddy? I gotta use the potty now!" about two dozen times during the trip.

Early Saturday morning I tried to convince Jenny to have them come with us to next year's Fall-in! in Lacaster. They had left the gaming haven confines of the Lehigh Valley around the same time I had, and Wooly hadn't gamed since. We're talking SEVEN years plus. It's a shame, Wooly has a truly vast collection fo Battletech books and minis, and a sizeable collection of Legions of Steel collecting piles of dust in his basement. It should be used. It NEEDS to be used. But yet, Jeep conventions, real life, and distance have kept him out of the loop.

If I remember Wooly's long-winded stories correctly, Johnstown had a comics/gaming store in the area, but the owner got hit with charges of overdue taxes, child abuse, or something in between. He's found one store in Altoona, but that turns into over an hour drive, and to cultivate a comfortable gaming enviroment does require multiple trips and a few leaps of faith.

Alright true believers, what gaming places are within an hour of Johnstown, PA? Only requirements are that they stock more than Magic/40k/D&D. Any help for the master of the AC-20 to the head would be appreciated.

And I'll see if he's willing to take some time off for Cold Wars to hang with Steve, Nichols, and myself.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

(CoC) Random Name Generators

Stolen from a post on the yog-sothoth.com forums:

Need more random names for NPCs outside of Michael, Joseph, and Luigi for the stereotypical Italian in your 20's games?

This one: http://www.kleimo.com/random/name.cfm provides a huge variety of names and you can set the generator from very plain to very obscure. I did get large number of Neils out of it.

This one: http://www.miskatonicriverpress.com/LCNames.shtml generates "Lovecraftian" names. The Herberts, Harveys, Delberts, and other common 20's names are used.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Warlord Games produces Rorke's Drift gold...

Now, I'm not a huge fan of Warlord Games. The plastics don't make me go gaga, and I much prefer lead with few fiddly parts.

Today's post of TMP gives me hope.

How 'bout not one, but TWO different Rorke's Drift boxed sets:

Set one:
Laser-cut wooden Hospital and Storehouse buildings with 'teddy bear fur' thatch.
Resin Wagon Barricade
Resin stone wall Kraal (4 x 6″ sections)
Resin biscuit box barricades (2 x 6″ sections)
Resin biscuit box/mealie-bag barricades (3 x 6″ sections)
Resin mealie-bag barricades (3 x 6″ sections)
20 plastic multi-pose British Line Infantry
40 plastic multi-pose Married Zulus
Metal mounted Zulu InDuna
Metal Zulu in British jacket firing Martini-Henry rifle
British characters: Lieutenant Chard (Royal Engineers), Lieutenant Bromhead, Colour Sergeant Bourne and Private Hook.
Pre-order Price: £150.00 (somebody get me a currency converter!)

Horns of the Buffalo – Rorke's Drift Collectors Set
The contents of the Rorke's Drift set as outlined above, plus:
5 extra resin mealie-bag barricades
1 extra resin biscuit box barricade
4 extra biscuit box/mealie-bag barricades
1 extra resin wagon barricade
2 extra lengths of resin walls
Resin broken down walls (6 x 6″ sections)
Resin mealie-bag redoubt (2 x 3″ x 6″ sections making a 6″ square redoubt)
Engineers wagon
Water cart
6 plastic fences (3″ sections)
4 x plastic bell tents
Resin Cookhouse
6 metal African cattle
3 x resin ovens
Resin Water Closet
1 x metal dead horse
1 x dog (Pip the terrier)
British characters based on the film Zulu: Chard, Bromhead, Bourne and Hook (all made by Empress Miniatures).

for £275.00

Now, that is totally out of my price range in pounds or dollars, but I would love to follow Santa around and break into the house that he leaves either set under the tree.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Romantic Horror Comedy... with Garden Gnomes?

A while back, I reviewed How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack here . I even had the author of the book link the review to his blog!

Now I find out that Robert Zemeckis is producing a live-action version of the book, aiming for an "edgy" PG-13 horror movie.

Edgy. With garden gnomes.

Oh yeah. I'm hoping that no CGI is used, and the garden gnomes are static, just staring up at you. But yet, weren't they on the OTHER side of the bush a second ago? Mwhahahaha!

I also checked out the authors webpage for the book, aptly titled http://www.howtosurviveagardengnomeattack.com/ and discovered that gnomes are a source of alternative energy.

Exhibit A:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mouseling Tavern is out!

I'm a little late to the party, the Mouseling Tavern that I had seen greens for from my friends at GenCon is out, and apparently well-received.

Now, every comment I've seen online has been stressing dioramas and other "cutesy" ideas. Not only would these figures be great for Mouse Guard, but I'm thinking of a non-skirmishing unit for Gnome Wars.

Think about it. Yes, drunken mice make great warriors, but the mouse in the front center could easily be a standard bearer, two other two on the right are musicians, and of course, the bar wench is a furrier version of the Bier Maiden in the game (at least I hope this one's furrier, European gnome at all.)

Ten tiny figs for $40 is a bit much in my opinion, but I'll keep this on my want list.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"The Pub"

I've always thought that paper terrain had its place on the table when you needed buildings in bulk.

This new release from http://www.wargamevault.com/ not only has me convinced that they can be the focal point of the board, but it makes makes me want to jump in the car with my best mate, pick up my mum, drive over and save my ex-girlfriend, and stop at "The Pub" for pint until this all blows over.

I have images in my head of this on the center of the board with hundreds of Znombies.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Apathy of New Releases (November 2011)

It's that time of year that I despise. It's not the holiday seasons that I hate, not even the canned Christmas music pumping through the stores since August. Just like last year, the solicitations for the Christmas season and the going into the dead time of a retailer's year are less than stellar.

Wish List: Nothing

The If-Money-Were-No-Object List:

TERROR NETWORK: AVERAGE JOES: When Terrorists interrupt a day of shopping
at Bellpoint Mall, a group of regular citizens rise to the occasion - and kick butt! This Terror Network scenario/supplement thrusts ordinary citizens into extraordinary situations!
S2P BED2006 ..........................$14.99

A counter-terrorism RPG? eh. A counter-terrorism RPG using civilians as heroes? Something I wanted 20 years ago.

Store List:

A huge pile of miscellaneous Flames of War, Dust Tactics,and Heavy Gear. This could be a solid area of profit for some stores, but the outlay for a decent stock of questionable product is not the way to go right before the worst time of time of year.

Villans and Vigilantes:ANCIENT EVIL

A FEW ACRES OF SNOW : Thousands of miles from their homes, settlers and soldiers were faced with impenetrable forests, unpredictable American tribes, and formidable distances.
Despite these obstacles they were able to engage in bitter warfare, with the British ultimately taking the prize - Quebec. A Few Acres of Snow is a two-player deck-building game that
recreates this contest fought during the 17th and 18th centuries. MFG .$55.00

A great concept for a game from Mayfair. A horrible price for a 2-player game.

4 Pathfinder products



Nothing else looks appealing. Prove me wrong by checking out http://www.gametrademagazine.com/downloads/GTM141Games.pdf

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall-in 2011 Swag and Union Cav!

So, I survived the Blizzard Weekend of Fall-in! and all I got was some lousy socks. Not quite true, especially since the only thing I asked my wife to pick up at the outlets were some goldtoe socks.

I now have 24 pairs sitting in my dresser. They are quite comfy, and were cheaper in bulk than regular generic department store socks.

What did I snag at the actual convention, you ask? 'Ere we go

From the flea market:
Rifts: Mindwerks
Rifts: Wormwood
Hero: Western Hero
They were 3 for a buck! If I knew anyone who wanted DC Heroes modules, I would have snagged them up too!

Grenadier Gnome Tank: It's only 10mm high (meant for 25), but I couldn't refuse for a buck.

In the Swag/Purchased/Swapped category:

Gnoman unit There are rumors of a massive Gnoman game at Fall-in! 2012. I'll keep you posted.
American (Union) Gnome Infantry unit
American (Union) Gnome Cavalry unit

Contemptable Little Armies: We're looking for a system to run "real" Tanga, and a $5 off promotion Brigade seemed a no-brainer. Still going through it, but I'll have a review up before Thanksgiving.

Mike Lung gave me a couple of creations, although he was under no obligation to do so. Now I have a baker's dozen of his Gingerbread Men, plus two Znombies, and his Gnome Znombie Hunter figure. Hopefully, Sherlock Gnomes is not too far off...

A couple of pics to appease the masses while I go through the rest... and try to fix my camera.

Germans from Derek the Canadian. The scheme makes me want a Flash Gordon gnome. Mike!!!!!!

American Gnomes (Northerner) a la Buffalo Soldier

American Cav ready for battle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

(Gnome Wars) Michael Lung Gallery #7

I could do more Znombies. Lord knows, I have enought pictures of them. But today, I felt it more important to show photographic proof the the travesty known as the Hamburg Corn Syrup riots:

It's not State College after a Board of Trustees meeting, but few things are.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall-in 2011: The Battle of Yellowstone

As I've written before the whole idea of the train game/Yellowstone theme for the gnomish mega-games was my event, the aptly named Battle of Yellowstone. This was not a true Gnome game, per se. Yes, two dozen guys with pointy hats, a stripped down version of the GW rules, and a flock of sheep sounds like a Gnome extravaganza, but in fact, I wanted to run an obscure gaame that fit this year's theme (U.S. Cavalry) and it coniciding with the release of the American gnomes was an added bonus.

To the two naysayers who scoffed at the idea, I stand by my choice. The Battle of Yellowstone was a conflict that stretched over 30 years and helped establish policies of the the National Park Service. Despite a the rantings of peaceniks everywhere, the military management of civilian institutions isn't always a bad thing.

After the establishment of Yellowstone as a National Park in 1872, the park suffered over a decade of incompetent Park Superintendants, nepotism, and budgetary restraints by Congress. In in rush to leave a hot and humid Washington in the Summer 1886, Congress basically destroyed the means of civilian management of the park, forcing the Secretary of the Interior to make a request to the War Department for mounted soliders to perform the civilian duties.

For the next thirty years, members of the United Staes Cavalry patrolled the park, kicking out poachers, loggers, miners, and yes, sheep and other herd animals. All the while, they also mapped the park, made improvements, restored the buffalo, and eventually helped "guide" legit campers and tourists around Yellowstone.

Set-up: Even with ten players, the number of figures on the board was more akin to a large role-playing game:
  • Four units of US Cav (3 figures each)
  • Two groups of miners (4 figures each)
  • One group of hunters (3 figures)
  • One group of rowdy campers (8 figures)
  • One group of shepherds (4 shepherds, 11 sheep, and a goat)
  • The Animals
Yes, I gave one player control of the deer (random movement), buffalo herd (represented by gingerbread men, by hey, we are playing with gnomes), three wolves and a bear. I'm very happy I gave the duties to a husband/wife team (hello Derek/Arlene from Ontario!), because it was a large undertaking. The wolves "orders" were to hunt deer and sheep and only attack lone figures. I figured they would be wiped out fairly early. Boy, was I wrong!

For initiative, I gave each unit/group a playing card and put two of each into the initiative deck. I also inserted a Jack (next unit drawn loses their turn) and Ace (next unit drawn takes two turns). I also had Jokers in the deck, which represented actual historical events that took place over the thirty years of occupation. Since it was a three hour game, and I wanted to get through the history, three Jokers to start was a bit much. Some of the "tresspassers" got to move, two units of Cav, and then a Joker to represent wildfires that had to be put out, followed by another Joker for Winter, forcing all cav units to stand their ground until four cav cards were drawn for initiative. By the end of the game, only one event card was in the deck and we finished with 10 minutes to spare.

The Game: With special events distracting the cavalry from ejecting the tresspassers, I believe I made a giant solitaire game for ten players, and no one minded. Each player had to focus on their own objective, and if everyone game each other their space, it could be achieved with absolutely no bloodshed. And for the first hour, that's the way the game went. The miners mined the ore deposits and rushed them back to town. The hunters/trappers killed Bambi:

The father-son team playing the shepherds had a dickens of time trying to control their flock, and defend against wolf attacks. I simplified an already simple set of solitaire sheep herding rules from an old issue of Wargames Illustrated and they worked out great.

The animals made things interesting. The random movement of herbivores, not so much. They remained static and easy targets for the hunters/wolves. The buffalo never left an area more than two square feet and were never in danger of stampeding!

The predators (bear included) did make the other players adjust their actions, and even team up to fight them off. Only one wolf was killed, after killing three of four of the sheep.

A little over an hour into the game, I had a heart to heart with the young man playing the carousing campers. While he had taken some pot shots at other groups, he had remained static on the board. I educated him (and the other players a bit later), that early campers/tourists were destructive, usually out of willful ignorance than malicous intent. I encouraged him to actively shoot at the other group, all the while moving from point to point on the board, knocking down trees, rolling for starting forest fires, blocking up Old Faithful, heck if he made it to the other end of the board, I would have offered buffalo tipping! This turned the game a bit more violent, and also created bad news for the Cav. Earlier contacts with the tresspassers were peaceful, and sometimes profitable. The civilians were returned to their board edge, sometimes with the ill-gotten gains still in their possession, and the Cav would return to their camp. Sometimes there was a bit of a scrum, but in the end, not many people argue with uniformed military . The open shooting and violence was damaging to the Cav, as budget cuts and more winters slowed their progress. Not exactly historically accurate, but easily corrected once the Cav got reinforcements.

Rowdy tourists shoot the Wildman of Yellowstone

Letting the wolf population thrive is detrimental to a lone man on patrol

Improvements begin to appear in the park

At the end of the game, when the Park Rangers took over, Yellowstone was a bit smaller than it is in reality. The Cav had been unable to clear the area on the other side of the river, so sheep, campers, and even the railroad had encroached on the land. On top of that, the military made an illegal deal with a group of miners to allow a mining claim in return for help in dealing with the carousing campers. In this alternate reality, the buffalo were saved very early on, but it would take years to rebuild the elk and deer herds.

Most importantly, everyone seemed to have a good time, and Old Faithful is safe... for now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Legions of Steel... stalled in China?

The supposed re-release of Legions of Steel was scheduled for 11-11-11, so I headed on over to the L.O.S boards for updates. I wish I hadn't

Clark Browning, one of the co-creators, and the man who owns the rights to the rules, just posted Thursday. Apparently, the economy thing has gone sour in the Great White North as well, as Clark lost his job this summer and had to relocate for a teaching position.

In China.

With limited space, Chinese internet censorship, and a scratched cd full of LOS rules, all the projects are in limbo.

He did mention about discussion with Ubisoft for an LOS app for the iPad. Throw in a make your own board app and it sounds interesting. He also mentioned about putting the LOS books online for free. Now, I was giddy about Talislanta doing this a few years ago, but to be honest, I haven't referenced the material or even promoted the game beyond a blog post. I'd like a happier fate for Clark and LOS.

(Cold Wars) ATKM looking for Cold Wars GMs

I might be trying to sell all my All the King's Men Minis ($100 plus shipping by the way), but I do want to spread the the word on a great product.

Per TMP, ATKM will again be offering a $50 bounty in product for each game run at Cold Wars.

Besides that, they did bring up the important point. Deadline for the event entry in the Cold Wars PEL is December 9th.

I can't even finish up the posts about Fall-in! and I'm already scrambling for the next con. At least this means Christmas and tax returns can't be too far off.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall-in! Gnomes #1 or "Don't Pee on the Statue!"

Alright, it's time for the report that everyone who comes here actually wants to see: Hordes of Things

Just kidding

At Historicon, the Irish had kidnapped Lon the Lunkhead and must have successfully fought off the German rescuers. My gnomish geography might be a bit off but they escaped the seaside fortifications and ended up... in Yellowstone Park? The theme for the Stanton-led Gnome Wars games was basically "Escape for Yellowstone... with Lon." The first game was before the train arrived. The second was fought while the the train was arriving, and the third while the train was trying to leave, hopefully with a Lon, a few Irish, and Union gold. As in American (Northerner).


Game One: The Irish/American alliance was set up in their stronghold to the left. Swiss were at the upper left hand side of the table and a sizeable German contingent just across a river at the upper right hand side. Highlanders set up around some odd burial mounds in the middle, and some hyperactive Sikhs were near the tracks, but eyeing the far side of the board.

Although most groups had the main objective: Seize the compound/rail station/beer trucks, each group had secondary objectives as well. The Germans were hunting big game that was hiding in each cluster of trees. Wolves, bears, and even a dinosaur or two were ready to pounce unsuspecting gnome. The Swiss wished to capture these beasts and save them from the Germans. The Russians, apparently, just wanted to capture the "Gnomish Wild Men" (Gnomo Sapiens). The Sikhs needed to get to the statue on top of the burial mound. I was the Highlanders and my objectives were twofold: Steal the beer truck at the compound, but also steal the airplane at the German camp at the other side of the board.

Early Turns: Lots of posturing and troop relocation. We discovered both the German Bunny Cav and the Witch can't swim (one will drown, the other will melt), and a good portion of German forces couldn't wade through the river. A bottleneck at the bridge was formed, with the Swiss encampment harassing them.

The hunting/saving of the animals took up a lot of the Swiss/Germans time. A few brave Swiss decided to engage the American forces protecting the Irish flank, and the Americans went berserk, charging headlong into numerous Swiss units.

The Sikhs were very whiney, begging not to be shot at as they trekked across the board.

I played the Highlanders very cautious. One group inched along the table edge under cover, trying to find the sweet spot in the Irish defenses to charge. The other group actively engaged the Irish/American defenses at the station, traded some serious casualities and fell back to the high ground (the burial mounds).

Mid-Game: Now I had just gotten to the con as the game was starting, so I completely missed the pre-game briefing, both for the players, and Jim sharing a few little secrets beforehand. When I realized I was out of range, I declared no action for the Tan Highlanders on the mound, deciding to watch things develop. I seriously though Jim was just being Jim when he asked me, "Are they going to do anything to the statue?"

Figuring I am playing Highlander, I said, "Sure, they all whipping 'em out and peeing on the statue. " I mean, with no MBA outhouse on board, the rock is the next best place!

Highlanders Descecrating the Sacred Statue

The clouds darkened, the Earth shook, and Jim and Mike Lung giggled as Mike opened up a container and littered the center of the board with Znombies!

Oh, Did We Do That?

Znombies: group movement (10 figs) 2d6 inches random. Fights in melee with a d6. Weapons fire must first hit the Znombie then roll 1-2 on a d6 for the head shot.

Needless to say most players dropped everything and attacked znombies. The following turn the znombies on the hill wandered away, so I continued to descecrate the statue, creating even more znombies! "If we pretend we're garden gnomes, perhaps they won't notice us!"

With the chaos in the center of the board, the Sikhs and Pirates finally decided to join the fray. The Pirates shot Lucky Lon out of the Lon-a-pult and he began spinning through the hordes. The Sikhs decided a more direct approach was in order and declared a charge with the war elephant. It created a swath of destruction, mowing down, Swiss, German, Highlander, and yes, a couple of Znombies. The driver was eventually shot and killed and the elephant spent the remainder of the game milling about a grove of trees, everyone afraid to get near it.

A Charging War Elephant creates an escape route, and the German bunnies prep for a charge.

The wandering undead little damage to most troops. The Highlanders took the brunt of the Znombie attack just by trying to get out of the way! With angry swiss on one side, Germans on another, Pirates working their way up the river, and a war elephant tearing up the hill itself there were few safe escape routes. Down to two men, the Berserker down off the hill and into the overwhelming odds of the Znombie horde, hoping to win enough battles to go into berserker rage...

He was killed in the first combat.

My other Highlander managed to sneak across the river and spent the rest of the game trying to steal the German plane.

Final Turns: A unit of German Bunny Cav finally got around the burial mound and made a breakneck charge through the Znombie horde. It wasn't even fair to pointy-hatted undead. The bunnies got through without a scratch. However, they ended their charge right on top on some long-fused pirate bombs that were set to go off the following turn. It was tense when the initiative cards were shuffled, the Germans hoping they could go first and get the heck out of dodge in any direction.

First Card: Pirates


When the smoke cleared, nary a bunny was present.

The Charge of the Light Hare Brigade

On the other side of the burial mound, the Znombies showed how brainless they were by attacking some Samurai Cav. It wasn't even a fair fight, twelve Znombies swarmed in and all but one was destroyed. Often missed fact. While all cavalry units have d10+2 to melee rolls during a charge, Japanese Samurai Cav ALWAYS gets d10+2, even in defense. Besides a few stranglers, the Znombie menace was over.

We ain't afraid of no znombies!

It's unfair to say that Znombie carnage was the only thing occuring on the table. The American Cavalry kept pressing a very dense pack of Swiss troops and crumbled before game's end. The Germans kept moving cautiously towards the rail station, trading only long range fire with the Irish, who were hunkered down in their compound.

Those other Highlanders? The ones who were last seen slithering through the woods. Their mercenary nature showed through, and for a little gold, and a couple flagons of ale, they would help defend the compound for the second game.

It made sense... it was the safest place on the board to be in case more of those firk-ding-blasted zombies showed up!

Many thanks to Mike Lung, who brought over 70 of his znombie creations to Fall-in! for all of us to play.

Next: The OTHER Gnome Wars Games, plus my Battle of Yellowstone Historical Recreation... avec gnomes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

(Fall-in 2011) Pics, before my camera crapped out

As I said in the firt FI post, my camera crapped out during the gnome joust Saturday night. On top of that the spirits of the Host must have been stirring, because half my pictures turned into complete blurry crap.

While I did hear a number of people harp on some new games, a number of games were recycled from previous cons, to the point that I've been comparing shots from the past two years of cons, and lo and behold, I took the exact same shot at this con. If you're still getting a full table, I guess it can't be wrong. I'll just wait for Cold Wars for the new stuff, hopefully.

Here are the pics I salvaged:

54mm Sci Fi

Zombies at the North Pole?

Warning: Zeppelin Storage!

Lego Kid's Fun

My Type of Tank Porn

Ingenious use of foam floor mats. The regular mat was placed over this and trees were pinned into the foam.

54mm French and Indian

Transformers, one of those "regular" games I mentioned

15mm Victorian Sci-Fi

Next up: GNOMES!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

(Fall-in! 2011) The Good, the Bad, and the Snowy

After ten long years, The Viscount has returned to Fall-in! Well, I haven't returned exactly, since back in 2001 it was in Gettysburg. I came down this time with my wife and kids, as well as our friend Molly and her little guy. We also decided to use the Lancaster Host's accomodations. I figured the extra $10-15 versus The Continental would more than pay for the lack of playing Frogger across US 30.

We arrived Friday at Noon, and I jumped out of the car to jump into a Gnome Wars, while the ladies took the kids shopping at the outlet. I'll stick to a separate post for Gnome Wars, so I'll focus on the hotel and the non-gnome items in general.

After the game, I went to check in and ask for the first of three requests over the course of teh night for a fridge. The first two girls were indifferent, but finally a third girl at the front desk *gasp* picked up a walkie talkie, talked to maintenance and I had said fridge in under five minutes.

The room at the Host was nice and roomy. The only initial issue we had was the HVAC, which alternated to blast furnance, then switched on the AC to cool it off.

I managed to swing down to a ghost town of a dealer's hall. I was so taken aback by the tranquility there, I finally realized I had forgotten my shopping list in the room! A number of regulars for other HMGS cons didn't make the trip, so a whole corner of the Expo Center was cordonned off. Nothing made me drool, with the exception of the Transylvania Castle that Old Glory was raffling off. I drooled all over it, even if it was 15mm.

Friday evening was spent wandering around the con, giving advice to the Gnome Wars players, and toting around my two daughters. When one would start getting bored/fussy, I'd run back to the room and switch kids. Not productive for gaming, but then the ladies only had two hellions to deal with.

Saturday morning, I grabbed a banana and some cereal bars and headed downstairs to set up my "Battle of Yellowstone" game. The ballroom was light (as it should be). My game was a glorious affair with only a few minor hiccups, I encountered this outside:

The snow did drive away a number of day-trippers, although Mike Lung and his son returned to the con after getting just a Friday pass and driving home to find his son's soccer game was cancelled. Now that's dedication (and the Virginia roads were obviously better than here in PA).

My late afternoon was babysitting the kids so the ladies could get their shopping done before dinner. No one died, and only one failed their nap check.

Saturday evening was an hour in the KidsZone at the Host, a room full of plastic coated foam items that the kids could run, crawl, and fall on without getting hurt. I then ran down to the gnome joust to (a) get royally trounced (b) find out the lens on my camera was busted and (c) have the girls come down to tell me the bathroom had flooded and we were moving. Good news, it was right next door. Bad news, the room hadn't been cleaned properly, so another call to the front desk.

By the time this all resolved I was sent on a fast food run. The roads weren't bad and traffic was light, but all the food joints on 30 had closed early! Even the Wawa was running on with one employee and no deli! I snagged a sack o' food at Wendy's and made it back. I managed to escape the room to put stuff back in the car and encountered Jim Stanton in the bar. Before I could even order a beer, Molly came down to get ice since my littlest one, Amelia, dropped the hotel room phone on her food AND bumped her head on something else.

After quadruple-checking back at the realm of chaos, er the room. I ran back to the bar and ended up closing the bar with Jim, Lon from Brigade, and "The Canadians".

Sunday was completely dead. I snuck down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast (nice and efficient) and grabbed by ATKM and some WWI toy soldiers to the free flea market. $20 for an hour and a half of work isn't too bad, particulary since I forgotted the post-its in the room. The ATKM I have is still available sans Indians for $100 plus shipping.

The hotel did comp us a night for the heat/flooding issue, and the convenience of having the kids on site was a tiny hinderance to me. The Continental isn't anything special, but we've never had a problem in the five years we've used them for the Lancaster cons.

The con attendance was kind of light, although with the economy, the weekend, and the snow Distelfink was still jammed pack. Next year I still get Cold Wars as my "guys' weekend" and the ladies wish to try the family excursion again for Fall-In! Maybe we'll take an extra day or two and hit some touristy stuff. I'm hoping for the Strausburg Railroad and the PA Railroad Museum.

UPDATE: Just found out that the Host did NOT take off Saturday's room charges. Apparently their computer systems have been down since Sunday night. The night manager told to to call late tomorrow morning to get things straightened out. Good thing we kept all our paperwork.

Gnome Wars Errata Page

I've officially set up a page for all the answers that Jim Stanton was gracious enough to provide for Gnome Wars 2nd Edition errata. Most are simple clarifications between 1st edition, 2nd edition, and the convention version of the rules Jim uses at HMGS cons.

If any other rules issues come up, I'll place the info on the page.