Saturday, June 30, 2012

NYC CoC #10: Suffer Little Children

Friday, October 5th, 1923.

The Yonkers Train Station was an important stop on the Hudson Line. It could be argued that it was the last stop for civilization before the trains began their lazy journey up the east side of the Hudson River. It was also a focal point for trolleys, as well as commuter and regional trains, avoiding the ruckus of Grand Central or Penn Station and still getting into the city. Friday afternoon volume were for those commuting north of the city, a few "leaf-watchers" spending the weekend in the wild, and one very special passenger car attached to the rear of the 5:15 northbound.

Advertisements had been in the city papers for a chance to "Experience the Supernatural" for a weekend in a certified haunted house upstate. These saw print from time to time, and most people were hoodwinked out of their money by charlatans. Those charlatans however, never charged the outrageous sum of $50, nor did they ever promise a guarantee of a supernatural encounter.

Still, only five people responded:

JP Carson (played by Phil)- former railroad investigator, now independantly plying his trade in New York City. He had bought two tickets for a suprise anniversary present to his wife...

Jessica Carson (played by Jess)- Jessica was a school teacher from northeastern Pennsylvania. She had only moved to the city a year ago when "Phil" (JP) and her got hitched at City Hall. She was a fan of ghost stories, so it was a perfect, if strange gift.

Matthew Drozdowski (played by Scott)- Currently a Civic Engineer for the City of New York. Matthew was a brilliant man in a tarnished body, an accident with a horse team crippling his one leg. He had bought two tickets for himself and his lady friend...

Meredith Sizemore (NPC) - was the young lady Matthew was courting. Unfortunately, she decided to break off the relationship the night before the trip. Matthew has decided to go anyway.

Cecelia Peters (NPC) - young dilettante with a teenaged fascination with the ocult.

Of course, there were those who were invited to this excursion:

Paul LeMond (NPC) - "famed" spirtual medium. He will be conducting the spirit summonings.

Herb Whitefield (NPC) - Paul's manager. Shadier than a grove of trees.

Robert Carrington (NPC) - Owner of the house. He wanted to make sure that sights he had witnessed at the old family house were true spirits and just some hallucinations.

Martha (NPC) - short, overweight cook for the weekend.

Brian Nichols (played by Brian)- crooked bookkeeper and assistant to rising author Dr. Nathanial Millheim. Dr. Millheim is a close associate of Paul through the Belvidere Club. Paul had invited the good doctor up for the weekend, but meetings prevented him from making an appearance. He sent Nichols in his place to make sure that Paul was as legit as Herb claimed he was. It was nice to know the players from the fakes at the Belvidere.

The paying customers, plus Nichols, met Herb on the train platform. Jess was quite excited that her husband had picked such an exotic anniversary gift. They were escorted to the special car at the end of the 5:15 northbound train.

Herb Whitefield filled in the basic details of the house. To contact Jenny Carrington, the elder sister of Robert who had passed away when he was a young boy.

From the rural station, taken by a small motor coach to the house and finally met Martha the cook. The group claimed rooms for the weekend and did a very cursory once-over of the house before dinner. The group lightly picked Paul's brain during dinner, with Herb's heavy handed moderartion until it was time for the seance to begin.

Using an item from Jenny's past (a Jack in the Box found in the house) Paul attempted to contact her. Suddenly the room became freezing cold and Paul began acting in the speech and mannerisms of a young girl!

This was enough to convince Robert Carrington of Paul's authenticity, but something was going wrong. The spirit began to panic about something coming, Paul's body began to writhe and something was heard outside the room. Suddenly, the doorknob began to turn. Paul dispatched the spirit of Jenny and JP ran to the door. He saw the image of a woman dressed in colonial clothing, although the rest saw nothing. He followed her to an empty room, where everything was covered with a solid sheet of frost, Paul started an unscheduled seance.

This new spirit communed through Paul, stating " I am the Guardian of the House, I am here to protect against the Spawn of the Devil..". And as quickly as she arrived, she disappeared.

Overnight, Nichols and JP were awakened separately by the sounds of a crying child. Nichols was the first to investigate, and his movements downstairs nearly forced a worried JP to chuck a chair at him. They found the crying down the cellar stairs with a flickering light. Then a gust of wind extinguished the light and shut the door, with a scream downstairs. After a few worrisome seconds Matthew and Jessica came down with light and the group found a terrified Martha in the cellar. She too had heard the crying and had gone downstairs.

This being the first time in the cellar, the group grabbed brighter light sources and investigated. The one troubling area was the odd brick wall that didn't match the rough hewn of the other walls. It took the efforts of three of them, the they managed to open a door. They discovered piles of rubble and a few wooden supports for the house. On one of the supports they found a single wet nail, dripping blood. After being taken aback, they spent considerable time experimenting with this never-ending bleeding nail, ultimately taking numerous whacks of a hammer to knock it off the support, where it finally stopped.

Saturday, the group went over notes and tried to figure out what was going one. There was some debate whether or not the woman was a friendly guardian or evil spirit, Nichols investigated the library with little success, Matthew went into town and met disdain and little help from the local church leaders. However, in some old church records they had discovered that back in the 17th Century, Quentin and Katherine Tannerhill adopted the baby boy of a convicted witch (Witches, in New York, no less!)

The attic with Jess and JP, found correspondence between Robert's parents. It seemed that his mother was progressively getting more agitated with his sister with constant requests for his father to return home and deal with her "wickedness.". They also found receipts of payments to an asylum for the care of his mother, starting soon after the death of Jenny. According to Robert, he had been always told that his mother spent her last few years fighting a terrible illness. These new details made him very unsettled.
The group had also discovered the old Tannerhill Family Bible hidden in the house, and noticed entries dated during the Carrington family's residence, simply stating "the wicked one has returned!"

Saturday evening... Paul summoned Jenny again, and the group got more specific. She knew of the "bad lady" even when she was little, as well of a third spirit of a little boy. The group quickly decided that this "Guardian of the House" was malevolent and needed to be removed to let let Jenny and possibly the third spirit rest.
They begin a third attempt for Paul to contact this spirit, and with the help of the guests "exorcise" it from the house. Unlike the attempts, Paul could not even find this spirit. The group expended more and more Magic Points for Paul's effort but it was all for naught. It was like the spirit was already occupying someone else's body.
Upon that realization, Martha the unsuspecting cook comes flying out of the kitchen with a large kitchen knife, heading straight for Paul! The stunned investigators could only watch in horror as Jessica did what every mild mannered school teacher would do in this situation: take the silk scarves around her neck, wrap them around the deranged cook's neck, and chocking her to unconsciousness. Apparently, she had secrets not even her PI husband knew about, like why her Garrote skill was over 70%!

Paul quickly restart the ritual, and the very eager PCs in the circle gave as many magic points as necessary to cast the evil spirit away from the house, and with that all traces of spirit activity vanished.

On the trip back home, the group alternated between long, profound periods of silence and short flurries of  conversation.  Herb was ecstatic over Paul's performance, Robert was eternally grateful to the investigators, and Cecelia Peters was getting awfully cozy with Paul.  All could agree that it had been a most eventful and unusual weekend.

Suffer Little Children is the first scenario in one of the CoC mega-campaigns.  I do have grandiose visions of one day playing all the campaigns on my bookshelf, but this one starts subtle enough that I can slowly work in other events, or even drop this particular campaign idea altogether.  It was a nice CoC refresher for Phil, a good introduction for Jess, and a plausible connection for them to work with the relocated "Coal Crackers" in New York City. Scott is my wild card, the only current player that does not play the 20's version of themselves.  He's competently filled in the roles of Marcus Trenton in Dead Man Stomp, when he announced that he could game three hours before game start. It's a similar situation here, except that the player for the inspiration for Matthew dropped out at the last second, and Scott filled in impressively.

This was played last year, and its write up has been on the back burner for all this time.  This weekend, I have the ambitious plan to run sessions #11-14 for a large and diverse group of players.  I can't imagine how long it will take to write those up.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Apathy of New Releases (July 2012)

The new GTM is out, and as usual, I'm disappointed. The end of June solicitations should be the tail end of the GenCon glut, mixed with some hopeful attempts to diversify during the upcoming back-to-school doldrums of game retail.  I see very little to give the retailer hope in those regards.  While there is plenty of potential product, the majority of it  from small scale press looks like crap.  Seriously, a mermaid RPG with artwork worse than a dollar store board book that my three year old didn't like?  If you're going to go down that road, just get two or three decent sketches and use pastel cardstock.  August into September is going to suck for brick and mortar stores.

My Must Have List:  Nothing, nada, squat.

My Money is No Object List:  Mantic is releasing  Abyssal Dwarf figs, and although I haven't seen them, the thought of Chaos Dwarfs stirs my painting.

The Store List:

Atlas Games
Over the Edge 20th Anniversary HC $75.00  -  A lot has happened  in twenty years.  There even a few things back then that I wish came back in full.  Over the Edge is not one of them.  Still, people like fancy books.

Cryptozoic Games

Fantasy Flight Games
Netrunner  is making a comeback! ($39.99)  The follow up question is why. Of course, it has its adherents, but I would put it in the same category as Over the Edge

Green Ronin

Games Workshop
Just got an update from Alliance in regards to late solicitations. Worst kept secret in sci-fi gaming:  40k Rulebook, $70+.

Margaret Weis








Rifts Northern Gun 2             $20.95

The Bones line continues to roll out and the prognosis is good.  It's nice to have a single bugbear at $2.49, rather than seven bucks.  The one thing that stood out to me is a listing for DDYOM Mouseling  $8.99. For nine bucks, better be one kickass mouseling.

Axis and Allies 1941           $30.00
Axis and Allies 1942           $65.00
I'm still content with the original boardgame.  But if it sells, then it should be ordered.
D&D Dungeon Command - Heart of Cormyr/Sting of Loth sets.   Looks like warband boxed sets using a system that takes away some dice-chucking.  Someone will buy them for the minis, but this will be over as soon as 5e gets out of  playtesting, if not sooner.  $39.99 for each set
D&D Vaults of the Underdark Map Pack $11.99

Pathfinder Battles:  Rise of the Runelords  - no price given per box
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Board Game.  A Hobbit board game using clix?  Best of both worlds.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Black Hat Releases Goblin Lorry

Recently I mentioned here that Black Hat Minis in the UK had taken over production of WWI Goblins dressed as Germans. While I didn't get any requests for an unofficial play sheet, I did find that they have released a goblin lorry (truck for us Americans) with crew.

The lorry is a resin and metal kit that appears to come with three metal figs.  The model is £18.00 (please do conversion at your leisure.  Check out Black Hat for more info.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Jaarl are here!

TMP has been a bit quiet as of late, but an announcement by ZombieSmith today, coupled with word of a gaming day in the near horizon has made things groovy. ZombieSmith announced the release of a skirmish of The Jaarl, one of the many races they produce for 28mm.

For starters, these guys are adorably vicious, perfect for a savage gnome opponent.  They are 22mm, which is goblin sized in 28mm, Big Bugbear sized in 15mm, and Where the Wild Things Are furry behemoths in 6mm.  $15.00 for the pack of six.

While doing some quick browsing, I also fell upon this little gem for 28mm:

This vehicle, listed as Kryst: Sothwyr Wagon, looks perfect for gnome action. In fact, despite its sizeable appearance, I can picture a giant key sticking out of somewhere, making it one heck of a bicycle tank.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cthulhu, the Specialist Character, and other Myths

I'm working on some pregaming to start up our Call of Cthulhu campaign again.  The players have spread out to the four winds, but I can get a couple of them together at a time and still keep the theme of the game.  To do this, I'm reviewing multiple scenarios to cover most of the contingencies this fractured group has.

My biggest concern is involving each Investigator in the appropriate scenario.  No reason to get the absent minded professor involved with the mob and send the PI and his Moll to an Egyptian dig.  Some of the investigators are experienced, while others just got their feet wet.  Getting the newbies up to speed and keeping the Old Guard sane for a little while longer is in all the players' interests, including my own. I've been reviewing the potential scenarios for skill use, SAN loss, SAN recovery, as well as any potential Cthulhu Mythos gains.

Just off the top of my head, I also pondered two CoC myths: a) it's just a game where Investigators either go insane or kill themselves before they do so, and b) a specialized Academic with a high SAN and good Library Use is of utmost importance, if he can stay sane.

For the most part, A) is an over-exaggeration of the truth.  Statistically speaking, Investigators'  SAN scores are destined to go into a downward spiral.  In most scenarios, the potential SAN loss greatly exceeds the potential SAN reward.  In published campaigns, you might not see SAN rewards for multiple sessions, all the while the accumulated horrors of the Mythos are bringing the Investigator closer and closer to the brink of madness.

For the second part, that specialized Egyptologist who speaks multiple languages, high combat skills, and a Library Use of  75%+ is great for research, but becomes a very minor character once the scenario gets moving.  The three most referenced skills in the scenarios I've analyzed?  Spot Hidden, Persuade, Fast Talk.  One is very limited in their information if they only get it from books.

I was pleasantly surprised as to how varied "required" skills were in the game.  Odd languages were expected, but not Chemisty and Physics.

I present to you, the skills required, SAN loss/reward, and possible Cthulhu Mythos gain in each scenario out of the CoC 6.5 core rulebook.  I'm not posting these as a cheat sheet for players, rather a tool to ensure Keepers have a scenario that might fit the pacifist guru, mute bodyguard, illiterate flapper, and alcoholic dentist your players have presented to you.

A couple disclaimers with the data interpretation.  These skills are the ones mentioned in the scenario itself. Any smart player will try to find a legit way to work in an Accounting roll, or find use for his Pilot: Dirigible.  Of course the Keeper might require a Jump or such to get the investigators an out in a bad situation    This also doesn't take into consideration the use of any combat skill, unless the big baddy specifically wants a duel or a knife fight.

The potential SAN loss was calculated adding the low and high ranges for each SAN loss mentioned.    Consider the low number to be the lowest SAN loss if everything goes wrong and all SAN checks are successful.  The upper end only consists of max SAN losses, and does not include things like graphic combat scenes, or SAN losses during side treks.

The Haunting 
Credit Rating x2
Fast Talk x2
Library Use x3

2-20 Potential SAN loss
1-6   Potential SAN reward
+9 Cthulhu Mythos

Edge of Darkness
Credit Rating
Cthulhu Mythos*
Fast Talk
Library Use x3
Listen x2
Natural History
Spot Hidden x2

9-45 Potential SAN loss
3-23 Potential SAN gain
+1 Cthulhu Mythos

The Madman
Credit Rating x2
Fast Talk
Spot Hidden

1-112 Potential SAN loss
1-16   Potential SAN gain
0  Cthulhu Mythos

Dead Man Stomp
Cthulhu Mythos
Credit Rating x3
Drive Auto
Fast Talk  x3
Listen x2
Psychology x2
Spot Hidden x7

5-58 Potential SAN loss
0-16 Potential SAN gain
0   Cthulhu Mythos

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Ultimate Gamer Man Cave

A friend on Facebook posted this link to what I would consider the Ultimate D&D Gamer's Lair:

Acaeum forum link

Now, without a doubt in my mind, this is awesome. There is a part of me that questions a number things within the room.

1. He's not a collector, he's a hoarder. Seriously, who needs multiple copies of each of the original 1st edition rulebooks? And if there are copies of each printing, there is a fine line between exquisite collector and obsessive compulsive. Plus, I can say with absolute certainty that no one needs TWO Glantri boxed sets.

2. The Dungeons and Dragons movie might be ridiculed a bit too much. I remember our group went to go see it in the theatres and everyone enjoyed themselves. That being said, having multiple props from the movie is again, freakish. Maybe something from Krull? Perhaps Gladiator or 300 would be an interesting change of pace.

3. All that money towards fake walls and mood lighting, yet that table looks a bit small for my tastes.

4. Let's sell off those duplicates on eBay buy up some Dwarven Forge, some base terrain hills akin to the old Geo Hex and a prominent place for some nice minis

Let's take a look at a few gaming lairs that have caught my eye and discuss their merits and flaws
The  first, which I'll call beautiful mess has the gaming table double as the painting table, which is cool, but at 4'x4', it's a bit small.  The mish-mash of books, models, random comics above the doorways, and a  stormtrooper helmet just sitting there means a) this room is a heavily used geek temple, and b) the influence of the temple does not extend beyond its doors. I love the pegboard hoarding the recent purchases.

The massive room is the envy of most.  A simply giant room, above ground no less, so no basements.  Huge table.  Classy shelves, and enough friends to empty those Jack Daniels bottles without personally needing a kidney transplant.

 The room I first described as spartan looking is definitely a misnomer.  By spartan I believe I'm directed towards the mass of lead hidden behind organization.  The game table built upon cabinets is genius.  The CD cases shrink the large room's look, but hide so... much.... stuff.

The wargamer in me prefers something more utilitarian in use, practical in reference, and sparsely yet tastefully decorated.

My preferred gaming lair would be larger than the first room I posted. In fact, I would want it spread out throughout the house.
A). I want a full sized pool table. Not one of those pool hall sized ones. A giant one robber barons would own. I would have giant piece of plywood double sided in felt to lay on top of it. This should be able to cover both role playing and war gaming needs.
B) a multi purpose bar, close enough to get to, but not the focal. Long enough to covet drinks and spread out any ordered take out food. The wall decorations can be a subtle mix of gaming (original KODT art), mixed with sports memorabilia and antique beer knock- knacks.
C) a painting area. Perhaps a 2x2 area within the house workshop. A safer place to store Dremels and x-acto blades with little ones running around.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Feathers Fly at Rorke's Drift

Saturday had my wife working, so I had a full day with the kids. After coloring, puzzles, and Play-Doh, we proceeded to the next logical step for a three year old. 

We played Rorke's Drift.

Well, not quite. While I do have an interest in the Zulu Wars, it would require me to hit a couple of banks to get started, so I did the next best thing: I present to you the GNOMES of Rorke's Drift.
Amelia, Maja, and the Swiss defenders

No, it's not a proper historical representation, but I wanted to do something more fun than realistic.  Plastic Easter eggs over mealie bags.   Plus, the only British gnomes available are of a maritime variety.

In the Gnome Wars universe, the pointy hatted Swiss and the picklehaub-wearing Germans are the central powers, so colonial forays into the untamed wilderness which is Deepest Darkest Gnomish Africa would be expected.  My friend Michael Lung has already composed an excellent write-up for Bore Wars (spelling intentional).  It explained the use of Swiss, German, Australian, and even British gnome in a new environment.  It also allowed ins to use Eureka frogs, turtles, and teddy bear zulus.  Heck Mike even put in data to use Brigade "Gnomans", Eureka teddy bear Romans, and even the old Heritage frog Romans!

After this masterwork, I have to cobble together something for the Zulu Wars.   I embrace Mike's all-inclusive approach, but I have neither the collection, nor the funds and time to assemble one right now.o

I did, however, have a nearby Michael's, a pile of coupons that even work on clearance items, and some time to shop after Easter.

I present to all, the most dangerous enemy to gnomes settling Africa, the Chicka Zulu

For rules, I based them off of what I remember from Uncle Duke's Isandlwanda/Rorke's Drift game that I played at Historicon 2010.  It was simple and didn't require the purchase of thousands of Zulus.  The hashed  together recollections of rules worked well for my daughter as well.

Chicka Zulus
Move: 6 inches per turn
Once a stand of  9 chicks is reduced down to 3, it is removed off the board.  Once the army loses over 50% of its stands(in this case 6), the Zulus immediately retreat to form the next wave.  If three waves are stopped by the gnomes, the Zulus give up.
They also wield primitive firearms.  At the end of the 1st round, each unit with at least 5 chicks will make one roll to represent ineffective firepower.  A 6 on 1d6 per unit hits.  During the 2nd round this improves to 5-6.  It is assumed that by subsequent rounds, the chicks have engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand.

The Gnomes
The Gnomes follow their rules per nationality.  The Swiss have rifles, but also a large number of  pickaxes.  No use for firing, but definitely devastating in close combat.
Medics:  In Gnome Wars, the medics have a phase after each turn to run around and revive the fallen.  To recreate a more accurate situation, I didn't allow a medic phase until the Swiss dispatched one of the Zulu waves. If they still controlled the hospital (the large MBA Customs House) they had a 50% chance (4-6 on d6) of  healing each one.  If the Zulu occupied it, it dropped to 5-6, and if Zulus successfully torched it, it dropped to just 6.

The First Wave
I gave Maja no pointers on how to move the Chicka Zulu, simply that they had to kick the gnomes out of  their "farm" and capture the golden egg hidden inside.  Immediately she sent her flanks around to the undefended side walls, a perfect application of the "Feet of the Chicken" tactic.  She also put the pink (unmarried) chicks in the center of the battlefield in a column formation, but that's okay.  I'm not asking her to conquer Russia (yet.)

Of course, to preoccupy a three-year old, she also rolled all the dice for the Swiss.  Her rolls rang true and two units had been whittle down to five.  Her Zulu firing rolls were just as effective.  Five Swiss lay on the ground from Zulu rifles.  This did not bode well for the gnomes.
Technically, the "Feet of the Chicken"  should have a unit or two in reserve, but I'm not being picky today.

The Zulus continued their charge, but the Swiss spread out of absorb as much as possible.  Swiss rifles removed two units from the table, but the charging chicks hit the eggshell thin walls.

Melee combat was a work in progress from the first die roll.  I  wanted to ensure that the gnomes got maximum protection, but also allow the Zulus a chance to inflict painful casualties.  Modifiers were changed for defense, troop ratio, and leadership, sometimes between figures in a mass combat.  Even with this evolving status, the gnome center took significant hits.  

First Wave:  The green square represents where units were removed from play.  Amelia is in the background demanding blood... or more animal crackers

The pink Chicka Zulu on the flank did manage to work around the Swiss gnomes and came within millimeters of entering the hospital, but the main attack fizzled when the Swiss eliminated enough units from the center attack to force a withdrawal and the start of the second wave.

First Wave:  Oh, so close...

The Chicka Zulus set again and the Swiss rolled for casualties.  My daughter's dice rolling continue shine as only four out of twelve down Swiss were pronounced dead.

The Second Wave
The Chicka Zulu seemed to move faster this time, or perhaps it was the Swiss guns failing.  The Swiss consolidated their forces and was hit by the full speed of a three claw attack.

The flank begins to falter, Amelia sees a squirrel 

Both units of Swiss took tremendous casualties, but all Zulu unit were respectfully bloodied as well.  
Second Wave:  The dice behind the unit represented how many figures were left

The flanks collapsed.  One unit of yellow Chicka Zulus managed to avoid contact and seize the golden egg.  Some pinks had seized the hospital and set it ablaze. Another two pink units jumped the walls and slaughtered Swiss with a chriping glee.
Second Wave:  Things look bleak

If not for the courage of Captain Boris (named by my daughter), the Swiss would have been killed to the man during this wave.  He single-handedly held off two units of weakened Chicka Zulu, forcing them to withdrawal.  Not bad for a figure who started the battle on the second floor of the hospital ("He's still tired, Daddy!")
Captain Boris staves off utter annihilation, as the hospital burns

With the hospital in flames, and few men left to put it out, the medic phase was a complete failure.The last seven Swiss: (two officers, the alphorn player, three rifles, and two pick axes) fortified the ruined building as a redoubt and waited for the final onslaught.

Third  Wave
The few Swiss rifles shot true, and two entire units fell before the Chicka Zulu reached the redoubt.  I had some difficulty finding a proper defensive modifier for the redoubt, particularly since the majority of the remaining Swiss had developed good, balanced bonuses from the earlier fighting.  The Chicka Zulu took out the majority of the enlisted, and with afternoon naps pending, I declared the Chicka Zulu escorted the two Swiss officers, the Alphorn (essentially a flag bearer), and one rifleman to the Zulu border, with honors.
The Survivors of Rorke's Drift, honored by the Chicks, vilified by the Swiss press

It took some number crunching, and a TV break between the first and second waves, but the battle was completed successfully.  There will be subsequent playtests with more "mature" players, different nationalities of gnomes, and a more accurate set-up for the mission station, but for a first go it worked spectacularly.  

Best of all, my daughter Maja wants to play another game with the chicks.  No worries, I have until Junior High to make sure she knows that these battles were fought with humans and not armies of angry chickens.

As an added bonus, we caught that last hour of the third Chronicles of Narnia movie, so she's completely enthralled by the "Pirates and the Dragon".   My geek-dad street cred is rising.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Iron Brigade Gnomes Released by Brigade Games!

Again, this real life stuff is getting in the way of the important stuff, like announcing Brigade Games new releases!  I apologize for being behind on the times.  I also apologize for the picture quality.

With this wave, we're looking at the Iron Brigade, the badass special unit a large Union/Northern American Gnome army can field:

Lon also released two special characters, the completely insane Two Shot Hodson and Southerner Brennan Stuart on a Shetland Pony.   This is the first release of a "named" character since the Pirates, and gives me hope of an "Eric the Plaid" figure to lead the imaginary Nordic/Viking army.

All Iron Brigade figs are $4.00, as well as Two Shot.   Brennan Stuart, being cav, is $8.50.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hunting for Wizard of Oz Minis

As a surprise for my three-year old, Maja, I found the soundtrack for The Wizard of Oz on Spotify and we've been grooving ever since.

With a pile of Maja-related projects, she actually brought up playing games in Oz.  So the research of the day? How to do basic movie-Oz in 25-30mm.

Lucky for me, I'm not the first person to think of this idea. Trying to consolidate my figure purchasing is going to be another story.

Dorothy may be my downfall.  I've seen lots of references to out-of-business cottage businesses, or even using old west figures, but nothing that makes me want to tackle a blue and white plaid paint job.  I can get seven different Alice (in Wonderland) figs, but no Dorothys.  Suggestions are certainly welcome.

Toto, I already have Toto.  The terrier from the Gnome War British Dog Handler is a bit big, but given the fact that Toto is the best fighter in the party, a larger fig would represent the combat monster that he is.

The Witches  I defer over to a great blog post at Wargaming With Barks.  The wicked witch is Reaper's Selmarina (2682) and the good witch is Princess Elena (2029 - out of distribution but still available direct from Reaper).  I do like how Barks made a "hot" witch more traditional, although the cupcake confuses me.  I may even have Princess Elena fig hiding in a box, back when she was $2.25.
The Munchkins  Any old halflings should do, although I have delusions of painting up a Gnome Wars Swiss unit like the Munchkinland Guard.
The dude in the upper left here is a Guardsman.  I may need some Eureka Pandours, as their uniforms match very well.
The Scarecrow  RAFM has a small Scarecrow line, and this fella (sans knife perhaps) looks the most appropriate.
The Tin Woodsman  Another one I'm having a problem locating.  Not much of a demand for Tin Man, although if I find something close, I'll just paint the whole thing silver.

The Cowardly Lion  With another surprise, the "Lion Men" are either non-existent or have an inconsistent scale.  I will use a post-movie version, from Reaper
Obviously,medals do make a difference!

The Flying Monkeys It's sad to think that in recreating a beloved fantasy world, the easiest minis to acquire would be Flying Monkeys.  Eureka has plenty of these bad boys, in both feathery and bat wing varieties.

As with the witches, this pic was admiringly stolen from Wargaming with Barks, simply because they are that awesome. Not the particular figures out of the line I would use, but certainly the best paint job.

The Winkies  These fellows (The Witch Guard) create the biggest debate.  Many people claim to use Siberia troops, or even Cossack, however each figure linked is holding a rifle!  That's a lot of extra modelling to remove those.  The Winkies wielded those big-ass halberds, so I would prefer to sacrifice the greatcoats and fuzzy hats for those polearms. The best choice for that would be Voyuk Infantry with Halberds from the Vlad the Impaler range from Old Glory.  Not perfect, as they are old school 25mm versus the larger scales for the other figs, but a) I can imagine these guys with green faces and b) I can get 30 of these bad boys for $35.00!  The Wicked Witch's castle is stocked!

Old Glory's website, with the direct link the Voynuk

Honorable Mention  I'm pondering these from Studio Miniatures in Great Britain, but I can justify $25.00 US plus shipping just for a usable Tin Man. Nice  post-apoc zombie survivors.  I absolutely LOVE the lion mascot!

Update 11/30/12: A new post if up here, covering some new discoveries that I found