Saturday, March 31, 2012

(Gnome Wars) The Legend of Bruce Carmezind

For generation after generation, the Swiss were a peaceful people, driven by the gnomish occupations of nature, mining, cheese, and alphorns. Even after the exploration of the other gnomish races and the advance of civilization, the Swiss did the bare minimum to keep up with their neighbors. They were not brash, adventurous, or egotistical.

To make up for these deficiencies in these peoples, the Gnomish Gods made Bruce Carmezind.

Legends of his origins vary.  Some say he was a cabin boy of a Swiss schooner that was attacked by pirates.  The pirates killed the entire crew, save the young Bruce.  He was brought before Captain Alvarado, and with just a look from Bruce, the good Captain and his crew were back on their ship, and Bruce was sailing alone to parts unknown.

Some claim he was a Dakota ranch hand turned bank robber turned marshal.  Others in America claimed he was a drummer during the Uncivil War and got field promoted up to Colonel... on both sides.

The stories are as many as there are hairs on a Swiss gnome's beard.  Master Brewer, Demented Chemist, Two-Fisted Alchemist, Weiner Dog Racing Mogul, Cheese Whiz, even unpaid warehouse clerk forced to combat the dark arts with steampunk creations.  But the first story everyone can agree upon is how he single-handedly destroyed the living dead in the forest of Sambee

Bruce versus the Legions of Hell in the Sambee Forest.

Bruce's fame and notoriety exploded after that.  African Safaris. Duels with Samurai.  Hide and Seek games with Ninjas.  Jumping Kangaroos across canyons.  Mining for rare ores.  Becoming a leader in the Hawaiian rebellion. Riding across the steppes with the Cossacks, Teaching the Irish the ride giant wild geese.  Making Germany's largest sausagefest co-ed.  Bruce is rumored to have done it all, and what isn't true the actual story is even more outrageous.

He is... the most badass gnome in the world (tm).

Bruce has begun to show up in modern day events.  He was on African Safari when the 1st Wishing Well War occurred.  When the Swiss and German colonies got involved in the hostilities, he casually commandeered a unit of Sikhs and singlehandedly held off a German breakout.  He also charged a German machine gun position and killed both crew with head shots while from a good distance.

He's also made an appearance during Swiss naval maneuvers.  This might explain the Swiss superior sailing ability during Cold Wars compared to traditional seaworthy nationalities.

There are also rumors of his appearance during the Second Samoan Civil War, but his tactics were so conservative that it could not be true... or was he saving his energy for the second half of Civil Wars?

Stats for Bruce:
Bruce can walk 6 and run 14.
He wields a pistol that gets the normal two shots per round, but has normal rifle range.  He may fire at two different targets without penalty.
He wields an oversized pick axe and fights in melee as d10.  The pick axe may be use as a weapon against special characters (long pole for Lucky Lon/stake for the Vampire).
He is +2 in combat vs undead and will only fall back 6 inches if defeated.
Treat him as having sealegs (no land-lubber penalties for fighting/firing while aboard a ship)
He gets a free medic roll on himself without penalty (5+ on d8) before allowing the normal medic roll.
He can be treated as a unit leader of any unit with figures within 24" of him.
And he can play a mean pocket Jazz Alphorn. (Swiss can always attack per alphorn rules)

I could make him a great detective or even more famous explorer, but I do wish to see Sherlock Gnomes and Illinois Smith, Gnome Archaeologist.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Apathy of New Releases (April 2012)

Today's Post: Plastic Minis Cost What?

With all the excitement from Cold Wars, I almost forgot it was time to review the next month of solicitations from Alliance via Game Trade Magazine.

The AD&D Premium HCs.  Yes, I mentioned these last month, but they're formally solicited in this month's book.
"In 1974, the world changed forever when Gary Gygax introduced the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. The legacy of his innovative ideas and the extensive reach of his powerful influence can be seen in virtually every facet of gaming today. To help honor his work and his memory, Wizards of the Coast has created limited-edition reprints of the original 1st Edition core rulebooks: the Monster Manual, Player’s Handbook, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. These premium versions of the original AD&D rulebooks have been lovingly reprinted with the original art and content, but feature an attractive new cover design commemorating this re-release.
Available in limited quantities as a hobby channel exclusive in North America, your purchase of this monumental book helps support the GygaxMemorial Fund - established to immortalize the “Father of Roleplaying Games” with a memorial statue in Lake Geneva, WI. Scheduled to ship in April 2012."

DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE WOC A0239000 ...............................$44.95
MONSTER MANUAL WOC A0240000...............................................$34.95
PLAYER’S HANDBOOK WOC A0241000 .........................................$34.95

These shoulld go quickly, and I don't know if I will have the funds next month, but unless they make them a gaudy mess, they should look beautiful on my book shelf... until my children cover them in yogurt.

The "If I hit the Mega Millions on Friday" Want List
Besides getting the three Premium books, everything else I'd want to see

The List for The Pegleg Gnome's Game Shack


*Heavy Gear and Dust Tactics roll in with  ambitious solicitations, the only thing different from the normal onslaught of  figs is DUST WARFARE: CAMPAIGN BOOK -OPERATION ZVEROGRAD supplement
for Dust Tactics $19.95.

*Games Workshop:   So Games Workshop has revamped the Lord of the Rings and is releasing new product. The army units cover orcs, dwarfs, elves, and men.  The price seemed a big steep, $22.25 for 12, so I wondered, what do other companies charge for plastic boxed sets?  The good news is, there are plenty of only companies soliciting plastics, so we can compare properly.

Featuring stats fully compatible with Mutants &Masterminds, Volume 2 of Heroes & Villains covers characters from the League of Assassins and Legion of Super-Heroes to Zatanna and Zauriel.  $49.95

*MANTIC: DWARF KING’S HOLD: DUNGEON MONSTERS SET four Undead Ghouls, three Undead Zombies, three Orc Axes, and 10 Undead Skeletons unpainted, plastic miniatures, complete with bases. $24.99.  So for $25 you can get 20 figs, probably not the greatest sculpts ever seen, but Mantic doesn't seem to produce crap.  Their Twilight Kin (elf, dark elf?) box set is $25 for $10, but that is a hybrid plastic/metal.

"Aeroplanes explores the dawn of commercial aviation, an exciting era between 1919 and 1939. Experience
the difficulties and triumphs of commercial airlines in Europe, pioneering airports and service in continental Europe and around the world! Can you balance your investment in aeroplanes, customer service, and routes well enough to become the premier airline of the era?  $50.00"

We've exahusted train games, and or have we just evolved into plane games?

*PALLADIUM  - Holy Crap it's Rifts solicits!
RIFTS: BLACK MARKET   PAL 0886 ................................$20.95
RIFTS: WORLD BOOK - NORTHERN GUN ONE   PAL 0887 ................................$20.95

*REAPER:  This month Reaper pushes their new Bones line of plastic minis, both individually and by the wall rack to dealers.  The average single man sized figure in plastic is $1.99.  Two bucks?  Oh nostalgia, when a little over ten years ago, their fancy metal character figs were $2.25-$2.50.  The Chinese are going to destroy this country by recalling all our debt and preventing us from getting cheap metal miniatures!  Anyway, the figure quality looks good.

*Warlord:  For the sake of comparison
CLASSICAL GREEK PHALANX (40)  WLG HGR3..............................$37.86


So boys and girls, let's compare plastics pricing:

GW:                                             $1.85
Mantic boxed set:                          $1.25
Mantic Twilight Kin (plastic/metal) $2.50
Reaper Bones Singles                    $1.99
Warlord Historical Ancients           $0.95

Which again proves why historicals are superior....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

(Gnome Wars) Sikh Bugler

Still working through the pics from Cold Wars (first I don't have the cable to the camera, now I have one and the camera's missing *gah!*)

I did have a request for a pic of the new Sikh Bugler, so here he is, flashing and all:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunday Night Gaming with Maja

Sunday night, the kids were still wired for sound and all attempts to straighten out the garage were destroyed when the our new puppy, Pokey, got carried away and the kids got freaked out.

In an effort to calm Maja, I offered her a half hour of playing with the gnomes.  I hauled in the items from the garage that were designated to "Daddy's closet", namely the MBA buildings, the river sets, and my case of Swiss units, as well as the British Marines and Union Cav. 

Outside of her tendancy as a near-3-year old to grab figures by the tiny fistful, she was eventually a perfect little wargamer. 

First she found her "Princess Gnome" (see here) and began to determine who was worthy of being her Prince.  Swiss Officer?  Nope.  Swiss NCO?  Nope.  British Marine, maybe? Nope.  Not enough the King of the Irish was good enough for this gnomey broad. 

Soon enough, the Princess and her puppy were kidnapped by the bad guys, and stowed away in "Abby's Castle"  apparently one of the Wicked Witch's summer homes.

The "Bad Guys" guard the Gnome Princess
That lone Swiss Rifleman?   He tried to rescue the Princess, but she deemed him unworthy of rescuing, and a bitter gnome joined the ranks of the "Bad Guys"

"The Good Guys" wading across the river.

Maja did her own little thing for over 45 minutes, ultimately having the Princess rescued and  only dinging up two British Marines' hats. She had a great ol' time, and if we're lucky, we'll try it again tonight.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gnome Wars at Spring Fever 2012

For those not making the trek to Scranton for Mepacon, Gnome Wars is also being run that same weekend (April 20-22) at Spring Fever in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Run by the owner of the famed Legion odu Chocolat Suisse, Brian Robinette, it's bound to be a hoot!

The Jagermeisters are out for revenge after their losses at Southern Front. Can the Legion du Chocolat Suisse send the Huns packing?
10 players, Beginners welcome, Parent/Child teams encouraged. Prizes!!!! for more info

Hackmaster: The Journey of Mutumbo #10: Onward to Hydincall

Part Ten: Onward to Hydincall!

After the immediate slaughter of the new PCs, he remaining members of the group (Mutumbo, Cecelia, and Lord Ralphus) trudged through three more days of rain until they came to a monastery. The monks who answered the door and helped the group appeared to have taken a vow of silence. The group was given a meager meal and very modest accomodations.

In the middle of the night the monks attacked, being giant ants! After killing the ants and finding an underground network of tunnels, the PCs high-tailed it out of there, back into the rain. After another day rain, the group finally arrived in Pojunct Lock, one of the far reaches of the Crosedean Canal System. There, the pixie convinced a group of half-orcs to go to the monastery to take care of the remaining ant problem.
After a rowdy day of drinking and fighting in the tavern, the town guard corraled all the patrons and put them on a prison boat. A strange cleric caused a distraction and rescues the party with a drow tagging along. The group grabbed their animals and made a break for it out of town, the cleric dude following along ON a pack goat , and the drow (badly) riding a stolen bull. The cleric introduces himself as Kalin Sworin (human cleric), brother of Dalmar. The drow would not give his name, and was henceforth called The Drow With No Name (Drow Ranger). Kalin was willing to tag along with the group while they got their business in order so long as they started the search for his brother afterwards. The drow agreed to accompany the group so long as it kept him off the prison ship.

Before arriving in the village of Shrewsdale, the party encountered a very large bright yellow hydra. (Hoo-ray Random Encounters again!) For the second time in a game session the party tried another poor evasion. They managed to keep just enough distance away from the monsters attacks, however the woods themselves proved a bigger challenge. The drow ran headfirst into a tree (as stolen bulls are not loyal steeds) and Mutumbo was knocked off his camel by a low branch. The party was more than ready for some civilization that did not involve rain, bar fights, strange towns, and random encounters.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gnome Wars at NJCon 4!

Per a post on TMP, Jim has announced Gnome Wars games at NJCon4!

NJCon is a fast-growing miniatures convention in Central New Jersey. This year it will be held June 8-9 in Edison, NJ.  For those who were against the move of Historicon to Fredericksburg, this is their rallying point for the summer.  For of us like me who can't justify a 5+ hour drive to Virginia, this is a perfect day trip to Edison, NJ  I'm more familiar with the roads, directions, alternate routes, plus I believe I'm familiar with the facility, and it's quite nice.

Even before the Historicon announcement, I had put this con on the maybe list, and it hasn't changed.  Family life trumps gaming, as I've admitted over and over again and our schedule is slammed this year.   Two things have pushed me closer to the active negotiations with Mrs. Viscount:  (1)  Two Gnome Wars games for Saturday afternoon and evening, and (2) Brigade Games and Eureka will be there selling their wares.   Pre-reg, pre-order stuff from the guys for con pick-up, and play some gnomes.  Looks like a possible plan. for more info.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Company B Armoured Train Command Car

One of the items that was released right before Cold Wars was the Company B Command Car for the Armoured Train.

Just in case that HMG on the armoured flat car wasn't enought support.   $38.00

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Choose Maja's Own Adventure

Every night I try to take my oldest daughter, Maja, to bed and tell her stories before she falls asleep. Early on, I established The Ongoing Adventures of David the Gnome as the, well, ongoing serial story. David's done everything a gnome should do, including taking a break from the action by telling his wife the story of the Princess Gnome.

David's first adventure back from his vacation is the focus of last night's post. The Mouse Family came by David's house looking for help. It seemed that monsters had overrun their house, and they needed someone to tell them all to go away. David accepted the challenged, called on his friend Kenny the Gnome for help, grabbed some rope, and away they went.


The first question I asked Maja tonight was "What will the gnomes do to get the monsters out?"Her response, "They'll use rope to tie them up and drag them out."

The gnome duo wandered the halls and came upon a door that they could hear strange voices behind it.

"What do the gnomes do, Maja?"

"Kenny knocks on the door."

The room falls quiet

"David opens the door"

And two chair goblins, whose whole mission in life is to steal people's chairs, were in a room accumulating the house's... you guessed it, chairs. Working quickly the gnomes grabbed a rope and ran in opposite directions, tieing up the chair goblins and dragging them outside. The chair goblins departed with a grumble.

As they walked back in, they heard little footsteps. Behind them was a small mouse with big cloak and tiny sword."I'm Zeke, the Baby Mouse. I want to help."After a few questions towards to the little mouse, Maja blurted out, "Kenny the Gnome will let him help!" End of discussion.

Zeke's adventure could have been short, as they looked into a pantry, didn't poke around for monsters, and they almost found Zeke eaten by a big hairy spider lurking within. Per Maja's instruction, the gnomes grabbed a bucket and put it over top of the spider. They quickly chucked it out the door.Most of the other rooms were empty, put near the end they found a man sleeping on a bed. Again, Maja thought it best that the gnomes tie the man up and drag him outside. Of course, before the two tiny gnomes could try this, the man woke up and started screaming for help. Little Zeke the Baby Mouse could see someone running down the hall, so the three hid. The new man freed the first one and they left without a quarrel.

After a lunch of cupcakes the trio had brought with them (again, per Maja), they got to the last room to be searched, and inside was yet another door. It opened to a courtyard. Now Maja does not know what a courtyard is, so I tried to explain a room with no roof and a tree. Behind the tree lurked the Big.... Bad.... Wolf.... and he was hungry for gnomes.

"Maja, what are the guys going to do against the Big Bad Wolf?"

"Zeke is going to throw him out the window!"

Quickly David the Gnome and Kenny the Gnome scaled the tree to safety, the Wolf licking his lips as he circled underneathed. Then, the Wolf felt a tiny pinprick as Zeke stabbed him with tiny sword. A chase unsued and the Wolf soon saw the mouse outside the front door and charged him. Zeke, being incredibly small, snuck him around the door hinge and using all his might, flung himself against the door to make it slowly close, just in the nick of time. The Wolf was locked outside and the Gnomes had completed their quest. The Big Bad Wolf grumbled something and staggered away, trying to figure out how such a tiny mouse could defeat him.

The trio were heroes, the Mouse Family had their home back, and Zeke was welcome to galavant with the David the Gnome anytime, so long as he had his mother's permission.

I told this story like a Choose your own Adventure book, with Maja calling many of the shots. She decided many of the characters actions, choose left or right (this way or that way) and was extremely involved in the story. Truth be told, the handsome and dashing trio were actually sent to a kidified version of Dungeons & Dragons module B9: Castle Caldwell. I took out the killer bugs, blood sucking stirges, and crazed clerics of chaos with a talking statue (I put in an annoying talking clock, she doesn't know what a statue is anyway.) Outside of a combat reminiscent of "Touche Pussycat" from Tom and Jerry, she solved all the encounters with non-violent methods. I don't want her to be a bloodthirsty powergamer at age 3. She's got all the time for that when she's a teenager.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A New Poll: Hey, Stop Dancing There!

An off-blog discussion on what Gnome Wars figures are rumored to be coming out for Historicon and/or Fall-in! has forced me to set up a new poll. I will post the options here with minimal commentary. Discuss amongst yourselves:

  • Znombies! No, they are not currently a Brigade product

  • Cannibals Neither are the Cannibals, aka Samoans or Zulus I've seen them mentioned as on other blogs

  • Italians These have been rumored for a year now.

  • Canadians The stereotypical choices could be endless, eh?

  • Banana Republic: These should cover an Latin American, peasant rebellion, etc. army.

  • Casualty Markers: Dead Gnomes, have to be a use for them, right?

  • Swiss Cav It's sacriligious, but boy do the customs look nice!

  • British Sailors Just sayin' that British sailors seemed to be mentioned on land a lot more than British Marines. Heck a generic "sailor" figure might work out.

  • More Russians Only a Russian Officer and regular infantry are needed. Quick and easy.

  • Aussie Foot I'm very disappointed that they haven't been made. Might need to push to the Aussie Roo Cav to show a need for more figs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

(Cold Wars) The Inside Scoop on the Gnome Wars Megagame

First off, Jim is doing an excellent job of posting on each individual table.

Megagame 1 - Treasure Island

Naval Game

New Providence

When Cannibals Attack

Let's have the truth here, the New Providence board is really an intentional afterthought. It had to be. Barring a few latecomers, everyone knew the action started on board #1 and worked your way across. If you wanted to play with ships, you did table #2. Table #3 I needed to keep interesting. Plus the cupboard was kind of bare with troop selection after we set up the first two tables.


"Park Ranger" Swiss: were unloading a bicycle tank off of a ship. Their objective was to deliver it to the HQ, then they could arm it and use it.

Pirates!: Steal the bicycle tank.

British Marines: were back in the fort. Their objective was to keep the peace in the harbor, and the player followed his objectives to the letter of the law.

Germans: 1 unit + 1 bring and play unit. Move across the board to defend the German HQ

Green Germans: transport the heavy mortar to the German HQ. After it arrived they could use it.

Blue Swiss: Defend the Swiss HQ

Highlanders: General Chaos, sir!

Sikhs: Get to the church and support whatever action happens.

Fairly open-ended, yet still disasterous. The Blue Swiss and Highlanders were wiped out early against the German juggernaut. The Park Rangers were basically bicycle tank-jacked by the Pirates while under the watchful eyes of the British. It seems that they were only concerned if the ruckus was on the water or affected the fort.

The Sikhs managed to get to the church, just about when the Green Germans delivered the mortar to the HQ. Then all Hell broke lose.


Znombies poured out of the town and the players freaked! Even the overpowered Prussian Germans fell back and concentrated fire on the undead. This was great, as the eliminated players were bringing on another group of units. The Blue Swiss basically regenned in a safe spot on the board, the Brown Sikhs quickly got overrun by Germans are came back as Grey Sikhs on the far end. The Highlanders plus a new player took a large contingent of British Marines at the far end of the board, with the express orders of keeping the road clear.

Pirates and Swiss Fighting Over a Bicycle Tank

Historians will debate what happened next. The Marines and Germans came to a mutual understanding. Even when all hell broke loose in the harbor and the British in the fort began bombarding the German HQ, the Swiss were trying help evacuate injured Germans inside the building. Outside of a few flamethrower blasts, our table was fairly civilized.

Then the It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Gnome World occurred and my guys took cover as everything began blowing up or catching fire. If we run this game again, we'll make the harbor on table #3 a wee bit bigger to avoid punitive mortar fire from the overzealous British. Perhaps the town might still stand afterwards.

Good fun for all around, even Lucky Lon the Pirate tried to mutiny and then was turned into a Znombie. Good Times.

Monday, March 19, 2012

eBay Finds for the Week

Despite my "big budget" for Cold Wars, I had discovered a number of minis on eBay being auctioned off still in the original blisters. I managed to snag up three out of a potential seven items, all for under two bucks apiece with combined shipping.
First off, the Sniperbots this cheap are what drew me into the auction to begin with. Again, I don't know when I going to get a chance to play LOS, but these should be easy to paint.

The Warhammer Undead Bat Swarm is a no-brainer, since the Gnome Vampire is in the painting queue. More assembly line paint jobs to practice technique.

The Warhammer Undead Wolves are a bit of a conundrum. Can't use them for the Wizard (I already have plenty of wolves), and the vampire as written doesn't have them. Oh well, another item to warm up and get back into painting.

With Mepacon coming up, I have a lot of Germans to finish up. Might just be face, helmets and flocking, but most of my Der Fleideraffes and Der Leinenkugels are at least base coated.

Plus, if someone is interested, there is a huge lot of LOS up for bidding. A new box set, and dozens of minis still in the blister. The $800 opening big will detract from bidding, but it's pretty hard to miss if you do a search.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mepacon Event Lists Are Up!

Even with more Cold Wars notes to post, it's as good a time as any to mention my foray, Mepacon Spring 2012, April 20-22 at the Ramada Inn in Clarks Summit, PA. Just take the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to its northern terminus and you're there.

The event lists have been posted via Lots of Living Forgotten Realms and Pathfinder Organized Play. There is a Gnome Wars event in the Saturday afternoon slot, run by one of the sexiest gnomies in all of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am a bit disappointed that I'm competing with Mordheim for that slot, but there are multiple slots of Mordheim!

Since my wife has upgraded my birthday weekend to include an overnight stay at the Ramada, sans children, I was even more excited to learn that Mike Sarno would be running multiple slots of Space:1889 Red Sands using Savage Worlds. I might actually pre-register for an event, and I NEVER do that! for basic info to get right into the mix of events

Saturday, March 17, 2012

(Cold Wars) I Was Wargaming and a Hockey Game Broke Out

Alright, my big event is covered and I know Jim is still putting some finishing touches on the Megagame posts. When he's finished, I will link to them in another post and give my own analysis of the scenario.

First off, the official picture of the British Marines I painted for this weekend, with the SS Indoubitably in the background, complete with sails!

We're looking for a fight... and a cheap Blu-Ray Player.

I believe Friday afternoon's Gnome Wars game was titled Treasure Island, but it looked nothing like the game played on Saturday afternoon. It was similar to my Samoa game, except the coastline was pushed back, a fort added, as well as a vast amount of blue seas.

Those nine ships in the distance? Try at least 15 ships, launches, plus other floating fun in that tiny space!

In traditional Gnome Wars big game fashion, the table was divided in two. There was ship game, where players were putting Jim's ship rules to a fast and furious test, and the land game, where mostly kids and new players had fun shooting at each other. It worked out well...

... unless you were the British Marines in the fort, having to defend against the amphibious assault of marauding pirates and angry Irish, as well as have concern with the Sikhs who came on the board mere inches from their gates.

I think we're in a tight spot.... SUH!

This unit began the German theme for the entire con of sit back and do nothing

I took command of the Blue Coat British Marines in charge of the brig, the beauty of a ship Herzogbrian worked on for Jim, as documented on Jim's blog.

I was a horrible choice for captain for this ship's maiden voyage. With extra cannons on each side and the British special ability of sea legs (fighting and firing at a +1 bonus), I took my policing duties seriously as I fired warning shots at the Swiss and Highlander boats. Both ships decided to grapple onto mine and we went back and forth with a series of boarding actions. No healing for the British quickly decimated my ranks, but not before the Highlanders steamer had multiple fires and the Swiss broke off to combat a cannibal canoe threat. Just as the Highlanders and I were to strike an agreement, a crafty group of pirates fired upon us and tried to take the ship.

For the Pirates, this ended poorly

The British unloaded some cannister into the pirates and attempted to board the depleted pirate ship. I was killed to the man, but only one lone skeleton pirate was left to sail for all eternity, or until the next pirate movie comes out.

Of course I know of Davy Jones' Locker. That's where I store my Monkees records!

On top of my troubles, cannibals in canoes had infiltrated the harbor and were wreaking havoc everywhere. I'm not even sure who had my boat at the end, as the harbor was littered with burning and/or abandoned ships.

My friend Steve, who I convinced to play in three separate gnome games this weekend, controlled the pirates landing at the foot of the fort. After watching the Irish get obliterated by the British Marines controlling the fort, his pirates casually scurried away from the fort, and absconded with a ship that had been sitting at the dock, unprotected. He managed to almost get off the board without a shot being fired at him.

After a good post-game feedback section in regards to the ship rules, we headed off to Applebee's for food and booze. When we returned, Jim was deep within a playtesting session of his Fantasy Hockey game. His playtesters were the finest group able to take on such an endeavour: The Canadians. I kid you not, they were debating the proper speed and angle on a hex grid for a cross-check. I did not get a chance to play, as they were deep within playtesting, but the game itself was exciting, with a game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation, and
an extended shoot-out with some miracle saves.

Steve (center) controlled the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (except steal a ship)

The only thing wrong with this picture are the empty pint glasses.

Friday, March 16, 2012

(Cold Wars) Online Love for Gnome Wars

Still compiling the rest of my notes and pics for the Friday afternoon game, my short appearance Saturday night, and a pile of random thoughts on a range of subjects.

Despite a conspicuous absence of Gnome Wars games in most Cold Wars AARs, I did find two online mentions of note:

Cold Wars on Twitter
We hear the "Gnome Wars" games are a big hit this year...check out the next game S-213 in Distlefink: D-44 at 8:00pm!

I also got to listen to the Cold Wars podcast from News From the Front/What Would Patton Do at It's Flames of War heavy but the guys are thrilled about gaming in general and we did have some gnome love in the early minutes.

Apparently we had three of there extended group in the thick of things during the Megagame Saturday right before the broadcast and the one fellow enthusiasticaly regaled tales of Skull Island, treasure seekers, and cannibals.

Host #1 "..sounds like a Disney movie."
Host #2 "Except with a lot more swearing and beer."

I believe we have the slogan for the ad campaign.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cold Wars - The Battle of Apaula Heights... with Gnomes

I know Jim is still working up a final post to the Gnome Wars megagame, and most of my pics from Friday afternoon's game is from a very narrow player's perspective, so I figured I would put together the AAR for the Battle of Apaula Heights, the first ever Samoan Civil War game at an HMGS con, with or without gnomes.

I had conceived the game to be very similar to the AAR here. As the megagame evolved, and I perseverated on the lack of a radio tower, I decided to use the materials available to fight a battle more akin to 1st Vaiele in the Second Samoan Civil War.
I got a nice balance of players for the game, ranging from kids to "experienced" fellows named Carl and Neil. Both gentleman openly admitted that they saw the era and the region in the event description, but both ignored the last two words of it: with gnomes. Both were caught a bit off guard when they saw this on the table.

Gingerbread Men Working the Sugar Cane Fields

I assured them that we were simply playing a what-if historical game with the Brigade Games Gnome Wars line of figures and a "less-cheesey" version of said rules.

The game is based on the the premise that after the capture of Guam during the Spanish-American War, the USS Charleston and the three troop transports it was escorting were diverted from their destination in the Phillipines to Samoa, where they decided to tip the Civil War and full influence in America's favor. American and Samoan Royalist forces would surprised a motley force of Samoan rebels, the German (pro-rebel) garrison, and an even smaller garrison of British marines stationed in Apia who believed any crazed land grab by the Yanks was worth allying themselves with the other side of a diplomatic disaster. For game purposes, the Americans have pushed everyone out of Apia and are pursuing them into a plantation in the Apaula highlands.

Order of Battle:
1 unit of British Marines
1 unit of German Infantry, with heavy mortar team and limited ammo
2 units of Samoan Rebels

Objective: (main) prevent the capture of the plantation buildings (minor) prevent the capture of the Apaula Heights town

2 units of American Infantry
2 units of Samoan Royalists

A naval artillery barrage of four shots that must be pre-plotted prior to deployment. These shots would appear randomly (a result of cumulative die rolls reaching different target numbers).

Objective: (main) drive the enemy forces off the board (minor) capture the town of Apaula Heights

For American Infantry, we used the American Cav figs, considering them dismounted. For the Samoans, we used Mike Lungs awesome Cannibal gnomes with some specific rules:

Samoans; Max move 12. Archers and Rifles starting to-hit under a foot was 4+ and advanced as normal. Archers could ignore cover modifiers for walls and trenches. All units roll one die higher against non-Samoans. (example Spearmen are listed as a d6 in melee, they roll d8 vs. non-Samoans). Spearmen may throw one spear going into melee, on a 6 the unit is knocked over, no modifiers. The Witch Doctor is a combination NCO and Doctor, and the Hula Girl is a nurse. Yes, not entirely accurate to the Samoan culture, so consider them generic civilized Polynesians.

To continue to playtest the Samoan's effectiveness, we allowed all the figures Mike had made, including the witch doctor and hula girl. The Samoans had all the medics on the board, save a lone German Bier Doktor hiding in the mansion.

Deployment: The British decided to defend the town and build up some barricades in the town square. The Samoan rebels deployed just on edge of the plantation fields, possibly inches the enemy. The Germans sat patiently in the plantation buildings, the few mortar rounds available ready to extract a heavy toll on the aggressors.

The Americans deployed in column starting at the water's edge to represent the units marching up the hills. Both Samoan Royalist units were placed just outside of town, much to the consternation of the British player, Neil.

The opening rounds saw a concentrated attack on the town. Royalist archers laid down effective fire to whittle away the British, and when the marine's volley fire was ineffective, Neil was forced to move some forces back, and other holed up on the second floor of one of the buildings.

The Americans went into a more open formation and started to trade shots at a distance with the rebels. One of the rebel units fell back to a more defensive position behind a broken-down tractor.

As the remaining British marines at ground level were killed in melee, the British Officer recruited the Gingerbread men workers into a fighting force. The British marines stuck in the building exacted a heavy toll on the Royalist charging up the stairs, but the Samoans eventually overwhelmed them.

Once within a comfortable range, the American began shooting the fish in a barrel known as the Samoan rebels.

Samoan Blood Stains the Ground

Worse yet, the medics had a horrible healing rolls and the Americans quickly dispersed them, although they "captured" the hula girl medics. As the smoke from the gunfire rose over the trees, the remaining rebels dove into the trees for cover and the German mortar awoke to horrible accuracy, but frightening the American nevertheless.

The British officer and his Gingerbread conscripts stormed the church where the Royalists had secured to rest a moment. Despite only having a d6 for melee, they managed to rout the one unit, and have just enough time to prepare for a counterattack by the second.

Brave, outnumbered men defending a church... they were killed to the man. For these Gingerbread Men, we will always remember their A la Mode *rimshot*.

Even Against Overwhelming Odds, the Gingerbread Men Did Not Crumble

The Royalist did not have complete victory in the town, as a band of formally trained rebels (repesented by Swiss rifles) advanced towards the town and prevented their advance towards the plantation buildings. Given the allowance of multiple medics for the Samoans vs none for the British, coupled by the young man Robert rolling phenomenally for healing, an extra attachment of historically accurate German trained rebels were only fair.

The Americans advanced up the road, peppered by the hidden rebels and pummelled by the improving German mortar. To offset this, the American naval barrage was finally initiated, the first shot destroying the front of the mansion, however the remainder of the firing either missed its target, or no units remained in the area targetted.

The lead American unit was routed by continued assault by the rebels and mortar, but the advantaged quickly faded as the mortar failed its ammo check, completely running out.

With ten minutes left in the time slot, I called the game. The Germans still tenuously held the plantation. With the American forces retiring to the town to regroup, the Germans and rebels could withdraw to a better fighting position, which is what occurred historically.

Everyone said they had an absolute blast, even though I forced them learn even more useless historical knowledge. The Samoans were extremely effective, although I had anticipated fewer bows and more spears from Mike. The archers' ability to avoid cover decimated the British before they could establish themselves, and in future games I will allow the witch doctor as a joint medic/nco, and remove the hula girls from the "realistic" gnome games.

The terrain (both Jim's and my small additions) worked great, and my new customs house got used less than 24 hours after purchase. The price is steep, but I will get my money's worth out of it!

The success of this game means a number of things. First, we'll continue to work on the German-American War concept for Gnome Wars. Once more American infantry and support figs are painted up, it should be an even fight with a Colonial German army. Second, I will try to run more of the Samoan scenarios using Gnome Wars in the future. Third, and I don't believe I'm typing this, but I'm interested in running a straight historical version of the Second Samoan Civl War. Pulp Figures has a range of 25mm figs that could resemble Samoans and they come with both traditional and modern weapons. Add a few Old Glory Americans and it might be a party.

Next: Hopefully more Samoa pics once my camera issues are resolved.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

(Cold Wars) The Spoils of Cold Wars

First off, I not only got a free t-shirt for GMing from HMGS, plus the complimentary mini the first quadrillion attendees got, but Jim brought down official embroidered "GNOME WARS" polo shirts. Now we look professional.

  • Miniatures Building Authority (MBA) Customs House: The first one had a cracked roof, the second a chip, but a little paint will make that look like a real tile roof. It has already been commandeered by my daughter Maja as her third "doll house." Frankly, I don't blame her.MBA Small Middle-Eastern Buildings (x2) Perfect out-buildings for the Tanga games

  • MBA Wishing Well- Any gnome game needs one.

  • Warlord 25mmUS MP on Harley Davidson (x2) I'll see how I like these before I go further into the range.

  • Brigade: Gnome Wars the American Doctors/Medics (including the "princess gnome", Union Artillery Crew, Sikh Bugler.

  • Brigade: Contemptable Little Armies Army Book: Africa and the Middle East

  • ATKM: A River set and a painted plastic bridge.

  • Zap-a-Gap (2 oz should last me awhile)

I forgot in my hurries to snag up paint, dice, and inquire about 1/1200 or 1/2400 scale ships. I also didn't see the Zulu Wars shirt Belle and Blade normally display, so I didn't snag a replacement to mine, which is almost ten years old! I also didn't spend too much time at the Eureka booth. Nothing I really wanted was on display and the guys were chatting away during a rather large order. No worries, they shall be ordered online soon enough!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cold Wars 2012 AAR: Pushing Non-Gnomous Metal

Cold Wars always holds a special place in my heart. It's guy's weekend. No females, the alcohol can flow freely, and if I did them right, my tax return has hit my bank account and I have a little more flexibility with my purchases.

The start to Guy's Weekend was tempered by my late work schedule, my wife's early morning Friday schedule, and two rambuncious little scamps called my daughters, who refuse to sleep. Sticking them on my wife on back-to-back nights was one thing. Three nights might involve lawyers and alimony.

Friday morning, I dropped the rascallions off at daycare and mosied on down to Lancaster, getting there around 10-10:30am. Outside of a long line of idiots during gas stop and the normal Fast and the Furious traffic which US 30 can be, it was uneventful.

I caught up with a few people and wandered down to the dealers to start my extravaganza of shopping, only to discover a line from the Tennis Barn/Expo Center to the base of the stairs of the Host proper! I don't remember the dealers opening so late on a Friday, but perhaps I've always jumped in games when I've shown up earlier. When I did get into the dealers later, they seemed to have a good steady stream of business. No one was showering the building with twenties, but everyone could afford a good drink or three in the evening.

If it were better beer, the line should have just turned around.

Friday attendance was slow and building throughout the day. It took until 7pm to have Distelfink really rocking with games. Saturday started up by 10am and was at full throttle when I left around 10pm.

There were a lot of the old stand-bys, not that it's a bad thing. For a number of games, the only difference from last Cold Wars was the location of their table. Battletech got upgraded to a better room, the HAWKS were ready to rock as always and the upstairs lobby was full of fun.

One of the unofficial themes I've noticed is the conversion of boardgames into wargames. Not that it hasn't been done before, and the reverse in fact, but if I saw one Memoir '44 game, I saw a dozen, and the hexes just don't look appealing, even compared to 6mm Napoleonics with felt terrain. At least the game using Britains gave some honesty to the whole scenario.

Memoir '44 using Britains!

Betweent the other blogs and my travels, the amount of things I consider boardgames being played as, well, boardgames increased dramatically. Zombies, Battlemasters, and a pile of Euro-esque games took up table space, if not space in the actual con book.


Despite a loud "harrumph" from the grognards, non-historical gaming took center stage. Zombies, Victorian Sci-Fi, even kids stuff overshadowed the traditional games, and even most 1812 theme games, because they looked spectacular.

Force on Force Red Dawn: Wolverines!

Rollerball in the Setting Sun

Freakin' TRON Light Cycles!

One of the Snowball Fights

Seriously boys, I know you love your 6mm Napoleonics and your World War 2, but outside of a student of that era, to the average person the games all look the same.

The All the King's Men Mega-Game: The only 1812 game I even noticed
Size does matter

Next up: Perhaps more pics, if the camera cooperates, or we may descend into GNOME MADNESS!!!! Mwhaahahahaah *cough cough wheeze cough* hahaha!

Monday, March 12, 2012

(Cold Wars) The Epic Quest for a Princess Gnome

I have survived Cold Wars, and came home to a series of stomach bugs going through small children at breakneck pace. One of them is still home from daycare recovering from the tail end of it, but I at least have time to post something.

Also, in regards to the to-the-point Friday post, just chalk it up to iPhone/Blogger incompatibility.

As I geared up the week before Cold Wars, I kept reminding my soon-to-be-three-year old daughter Maja that Daddy wouldn't be home for two nights and she was to be a good girl for Mommy. She asked a ton a questions, as little ones should, about where I was going, what I was doing, why I was going, etc.

On Friday, when I dropped the kids off at day care before heading out to Lancaster, I asked Maja what she wanted Daddy to bring back from his trip to play gnomes. I've brought back special dice and pink tape measures for her before, this should be a piece of cake.

"A Princess Gnome"
"A Mommy,Daddy, and Baby Gnomes"
"A Princess Gnome"
"A Dorothy, Tinman, and Wizard of Oz Gnomes"
"A Princess Gnome"

I think I picked up on the subtle emphasis of what she wanted...

With a full slate of Gnome Wars games, I had limited time to go to the vendor hall and try to figure out how to budget $200 off of a $2000 want list, much less systematically hunt down a Princess Gnome. There are few female figures in Gnome Wars, and none who could qualify as royalty. I remember a few fat lady opera-style female dwarves in a Warhammer boxed set years ago, but I dreaded the price they would be at the flea market for a multi-figure piece that was $25-$35 years ago and worth more now. Worse yet, since it's historical miniatures, there would be a limited supply of Reaper fantasy minis, and even fewer female figs.

I found nothing.

On the late-night drive back to Wilkes-Barre, I was exhausted and bummed that I couldn't fulfill a simple request from my daughter.

After a decent night's sleep, and my daughter waking up to another bout of the bug, I showed her the little bag of new Gnome Wars figs that I had picked up.

She picked up the first figure and squealed with glee, "Daddy, my princess, you got it, I love it!"

She was holding the new American medic for the North, a Florence Nightingale-style nurse, which if you miss the spoonful of medicine she's doling out, is a perfect representation of a princess, sans crown. I had snagged up the figures from Brigade's booth in such a rush, I had failed to check them all out.

Daddy is still beyond awesome in his little girl's eyes, and that was before I brought out the other other spoils of Cold Wars, but that's for the official AARs.

The Princess emerging from her balcony

Perhaps finding a magic wand in my bits to replace the spoon, and a requested painted scheme of pink and purple from her highness

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cold Wars Friday Update

A quick update for those who couldn't make it to Cold Wars this weekend

The best compliment for my painting was that they blended in well with the other ships and minis on the table.

Friday, March 9, 2012

(Gnome Wars) The Natives are Restless... and Hungry

As the De Fooz Polynesia Expeditionary Force paddled around the island, they made there first contact with the inhabitants. The good news for De Fooz, the island gnomes just made a defensive posture. The bad news was that their rear guard was being prepared for a feast, as the main course.
One shot from a nervous Swiss blunderbuss was all it took to scatter them. Then the leader realize the ill-thought shot wasn't the cause. It was was what was following them that made the others run:

More to come this weekend! Everyone have a good one!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Countdown to Cold Wars: The Michael Lung Gallery #11

Short of one spot of touch up on one of the ships, some flocking, and some sealing, all required projects for Cold Wars are complete (pics to come tonight). Tonight I can procede with the toughest part of the process, packing.

I did have to cancel on my friend Steve's invitation to come down to Allentown Thursday night, drink heavily, and go down to Lancaster via convoy. I wouldn't get down there to almost 10pm, plus the kids have been a handful for two parents all this week, so if I can perform damage control Thursday night and drop them off for daycare first thing Friday morning, I can still get down there right when the Tennis Barn opens up.

As another teaser, I present more of Mike Lung's work, most notably the unit De Fooz Polynesia acquiring a native boat for transportation. But where, oh where, are the natives?

Probably hiding in the next post, or after the British Marines.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

(Gnome Wars) New Releases for Cold Wars 2012

First off, I'm a wee bit pissed tonight. Kids that boycott sleeping make me grumpy. Pushing my painting time into the AM, even grumpier. Getting sniped at not one, but two eBay auctions for the first time in over a decade? Freakin' pissed!

The good news is that there will be a plethora of new Gnome Wars figures.

The bad news is (a) available product is small for all the figs except for the American medics. Don't make a day trip just to pick up the figs. It's cheaper to pay shipping once the production molds are in Lon's hands. (b) Somehow I missed the photos of the greens being posted back on February 10th on the yahoo board, and I only missed the what's coming out since the 3rd of March. I've had three different people tell me to check out the Brigade Games blog for new gnomes, yet the latest post of their's is December releases. I never even thought to double check the yahoo group. I shall be more vigilant from now on.

The good news is that there will be a plethora of new Gnome Wars figures.

The bad news is (a) available product is small for all the figs except for the American medics. Don't make a day trip just to pick up the figs. It's cheaper to pay shipping once the production molds are in Lon's hands. (b) Somehow I missed the photos of the greens being posted back on February 10th on the yahoo board, and I only missed the what's coming out since the 3rd of March. I've had three different people tell me to check out the Brigade Games blog for new gnomes, yet the latest post of their's is December releases.

Without further ado:

Southern Artillery

Southern Medic and Doctor

Northern Medic and Doctor

Northern Artillery Team

The Cannon

And the full list of items which might be available at Brigade during Cold Wars, but in limited quantities:

  • ScotSikh Sergent-Major

  • Sikh Bugler

  • Sikh Mahud

  • German rammerman

  • Suiss Artillery crew (rammerman, worm, capt w/slow match)

  • Suisse w/ powder scoop for mortar

  • Orangeman Parade Banner

  • Orangeman Bass Drum

  • Orangeman Snare Drum

  • Orangeman Bible & Crown
Some comments and opinions for this peanut gallery. Thank God the Italians took a back seat for the time being. Both American sides are now fully fleshed out, and the German/Swiss detachments have dedicated figures. The Sikhs will no longer look like an organized mob charging into death (they'll be a disciplined unit charging into death). And the Orangeman isn't just a random fig on the website.

For my Californian Imperial Guard, I'll stick with Northern troops for artillery, the Southern nurse (hell-ooooo nurse!), and the Northern doctor (who does rhinoplasty and lipo in between battles).

I'll be there Friday to snag up as much of this stuff as humanly possible. That's an extra two dozen figs I hadn't anticipated, plus my normal shopping list. I might have to add an extra bank to knock off before I get to the Host.

Hackmaster: The Journey of Mutumbo #9: Dechie

Part Nine: Dechie (or The Best Intentions are Sometimes Short-Lived)

Our remaining players:
Cecilia: Half-elf Sorority girl/Fighter/Cleric of Sif
Mutumbo: Brave Nubian Warrior with nothing to do after completing his quest
Lord Ralphus: Pixie Fairy Magic-User who thinks he's king of the world

The remaining party continued their journey, stopping earlier and earlier each night, hoping that Dalmar & Co would catch up , but to no avail. The trio trudged along a rural road through the swamp and brush.They spent a few days being chased by lizardmen, a group of deluded psychotic dwarves who thought they were knights (a plot line I never returned to) , and otherwise being miserable before entering Dechie. In Dechie they stayed at the Green Griffon Inn and participated in the civilized activities like eating cooked food, consuming alcoholic beverages, and participating in bar room brawls.

GM Note: Dechie was the evolution of the village of Eding, laid out exactly like Hommlet, and the starting point of every other campaign I've run since 1992. My last AD&D campaign had a ended with little Timmy D'Echellon as Baron of the region. Timmy was the adopted son of a beloved retainer of Echellon the Cleric, who ascended into godhood. Baron "Timoth's" reign was so successful that the village slowly turned into Dechellon, or as the locals nicknamed it, Dechie.
(see Death of Echellon for more info.)

Cecelia bought a mule, which the pixie fairy rode through town, and also acquainted themselves with Merlyn (human magic-user) and Korick (smelly human beserker).

Less than a day out, the sky darkens as a dozen pterodactyls descend onto the party (Hoo-ray Random Encounters!). Merlyn was instantly impaled by a beak, and the rest of the group scattered. Lord Ralphus took to the air to fight them, Korick stood his ground in the middle of the field, and Mutumbo scurried into the treeline with the animals. Korick went into a Beserker rage and begins slaughtering anything within reach. He single-handedly slew a most of the beasts, with Mutumbo slowly advancing into field to fight the remainder As the last creatures were slain/flew off Korick barely managed to suppress his Beserker urges, to keep from hurting his new companions, but Mutumbo had seen enough.

Quote from Mutumbo's journal entry “He’s a basarker, bad thoughts come to me. I must, I have too, I charge. I think of my Family, what they did to them those basterds!”

Mutumbo charged Korick with full force (and complete surprise) and rolled a 20!!!!Sometimes those class aversion/hatred quirks and flaws bite some players in the ass (or impale them on a pointy stick). So much for new characters And Mutumbo's PC kill extravaganza continues....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

(Gnome Wars) Michael Lung Gallery #10

Got some great news today in regards to our special surprises at Cold Wars. I'll dole them out one by one over the course of the week, but here's a teaser to leave you guessing:

A gnome struggling in the water, two unfortunates, and a Znombie with flotation device? What is going on? And why does it look like a lagoon? And what's that in the upper left hand corner?

No, it won't be a full navy of znombie with flotation devices, although there's always Historicon... What does Mike have up his sleeve now?

More hints and pics as Cold Wars nears. Time to do some eyes on some British Marines (non-Znombie)