Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pre-Cruise Post

By the time this posts, I hope to be aboard a cruise ship with the entire family, relaxing for the week as we travel down to the Bahamas and back.    I've got a healthy variety of projects, non-fiction books, books to review, games to play, and even some Savage Rifts One-Sheets to flesh/stat out.
In the my absence, blog material is going to be thinner than usual, but don't fret, I have something scheduled for each day.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

OGRE Plastic Minis All Painted Up, Plus Some General Blog Ranting

As I scurry about finishing things before I drive down to Baltimore to jump on a great big boat, a few things.  

From the latest update on the OGRE Plastic Minis Set 1 Kickstarter, yet another delay, this one pushing things back an extra six weeks.  We're into the Fall now, and six months to keep up the level of enthusiasm I have for 1/285th scale sci-fi combat is pretty hard.

Then they threw painted mock-ups at  (by Ben Williams), and I'm appeased again.  Perhaps this will be my con games for 2019?
So pretty...
While I still have some hope on Steve Jackson Games, in the waning hours of the Talislanta: The Savage Land.  I want to support Tal in anyway possible.  Since I go crazy on my monthly Apathy column when I see a company release a identical sourcebooks for two or more games, the concept of now printing TSL under FIVE systems (Original Tal, D&D 5th Edition, d6, and now Pathfinder and Savage Worlds) plus a blizzard of supplemental product that's more akin to a booth at a rock concert, I've inched my pledge down to just the pdf.

Rumors of a TORG Kickstarter continue to swirl.  Maybe it will happen by the time I return.

Episode #4 of the Pigeon God is all set to post next Tuesday.   My annoying social media blitz will commence the following Monday, immediately followed by the Episode #5 the next day.

Speaking of the Journal, I finished transcribing the entire thing into episodic blog posts.   The first ten episodes (currently of 48) are either posted or finished and waiting to be posted each Tuesday.  There are four more finished between #11-48, and ten that need significant writing  The rest simply need to be converted into a semi-readable prose style, with consistant formatting.

Projects for May (Or, How am I going to catch up on all the stuff I'm behind on...)

The Cruise:  Last time we were on a cruise, I got about 3/4 of my reading done, and none of my little projects.  Two Golden Goblin books are on the slate to be read and reviewed, some Savage Rifts conversion material, We have extra time at sea, a simply gigantic balcony, and two kids that can now kept themselves entertained.  I feel confident that something can be accomplished.    I should also have a healthy collection of podcasts to plug in and zone out.  I've got enough of the Campaign Podcast and some Arthur Conan Doyle to listen to all week.  In a perfect world, I anticipate some Rory's Story Cubes, Zombie Dice, and some Rory-influenced Savage Worlds as we chill out in the rooms.  Probably not going to happen.

Cons:  It looks like I'm available for both Fall In! and Mepacon (and don't forget the Weekend).  I'll have some discussions with the team what I'll be running at each.  As always, I forsee a poll on the blog...

Painting: Time to clean up the Spring queue.  Half-finished kid's projects (Millie is actually ahead on Maja this time!), German Gnomes, Blue Martians, and Gnomes of Unusual Size fill up my table. Once I figure a direction Con-wise, I can go further.

Fix the Car, Game Again:  One "final" repair and my commuting only car gets some range to travel finally.  I owe Steve a board game day just so he can play Scythe.  RPG status is still unknown.

Projects for June... and Beyond!
The Pulp Game:  With some role-playing sessions on the boat, I could wrap up the Lost World storyline just after Memorial Day.

Painting:  Outside of German Colonial Rifles, it's all dependant on the convention plans.  Did get a little inspiration for assembling my Kickstarter Jetbikes that to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog.

"Pigeon God":  My goal is to finish up five episodes every month.   That will get the episodes in the can up to Christmas before I start my busy season in October.

Other Games:  Looking at last years activity over the summer, outside of my games at The Weekend, I got two Burning Plastic games in, two Legions of Steel/Blue Martian games, a Gnome Wars game, and perhaps the last TIARA game we'll ever play.  Assuming a similar pattern (and getting the Lost Worlds game close to wrapped up in May) I propose the following:
2 gamed to wrap up said Lost World campaign.
3 Burning Plastic gamed (Father's Day?)
1 Gnome Wars game
1 Contemptible Little Armies game using the Samoans.

Maybe we'll get to the Mousling Fantasy campaign.  Balcony discussions with Maja and Millie will determine that next week.

Fear not, dear reader, the blog will not suffer, since I was quite prodigious and diverse in my painting and other articles for the blog.  Seventy-Four posts in June and July combined (and August was #RPGaDay, so that skews the data).



Friday, April 28, 2017

Historicon 2017 PEL is Up!

If I got anything out of reading the debates of the pro and cons of British wargaming after Salute this past weekend, it was that the PEL for Historicon 2017 is up and running!

As usual, I'm not going, but here are some "ViscountEric's Picks" to mull over.

T-155 The Hsiku Arsenal 1900 
Colonial; 10 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Cliff Brunken; Scale: 28mm; Rules: The Men who would be Kings; No. of Players: 4.
Admiral Seymour’s assault on the Chinese Arsenal. An International force of British, Americans, French and Germans attack the Imperial Chinese Army. 

T-103 Battletech- Solaris King of the Hill
SciFi; 12 PM; Length: 5 hrs; Hosted by: Mark Yingling; Scale: 1/285; Rules: Total Warfare; No. of Players: 10.
The Word of Blake Jihad has recently ended and Solaris VII is trying to recover from the devastation of the war. The King of the Hill event will bring together fighters from each of the Inner Sphere nations and the new Republic of the Sphere. They will fight to see who is the new king of Solaris Arena’s. All materials, miniatures and dice will be provided. Intermediate to experienced players and no Players under 15 years old.

T-323 Chariot Race at Circus Maximus 
Ancients; 1 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: Robert Varga; Scale: 15mm; Rules: Modified Circus Maximus and Avalon Hill; No. of Players: 12.
Recall the Chariot race from Ben Hur then you have an idea of what this game it like. You as the Charioteer predefine your chariots weight, its speed and the driver endurance. The race could involve up to twelve chariots all racing around the eight segmented lanes of the Arena Spina for three laps. You need to be ever mindful of the other chariots positions and intentions, because anything goes when it comes to winning, and you surviving to race another day. Kids 10 to 12 please have adult supervision while playing.

T-352 Something Fishy on the Yangtze – Session 1
Pulp; 1 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Joshua Mcgary; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Pulp Alley; No. of Players: 6.
The opium trade in China has given way to smuggling of all kinds. Yangtze City’s water front has become the hub of the illicit trade. Rumor has it that there is a shipment of “something big” coming through. Along with your trusty side-kick you will have to scour the docks for clues; bribe, badger or cajole the locals into giving you information. And if all else fails brute force is always an option. Collect enough information and claim the valuable cargo for yourself. Pulp Alley is fast paced skirmish game in a 1930s-pulp universe. Rules taught and easy to learn. Please no players under 14 unless with playing adult.

T-268 Action off Trezibond May 1916
World War I; 2 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Michael Mcknight; Scale: 1/2400; Rules: Fleet Action Iminent; No. of Players: 6.
Summer 1916 and the Turkish army is under pressure from Russian amphibious raids on the Black Sea. The Turkish fleet is ordered to sortie ad drive off the Russians, Led by their powerful battlecruiser Goeben which has been the most feared vessel in the theatre. Though as the Turks approach the elderly Russian pre-dreadnoughts seem prepared to fight it out. Rules taught , accompanied minors welcome

T-390 The Treasure of Makoko Mbe
Colonial; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Kim Allman; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Congo; No. of Players: 4.
In the depth of the Congo lay the ruins of the jungle kingdom of Teke. Its last ruler Makoko Mbe, buried his wealth near these ruins and legend tells it is still there guarded by fanatical warriors and the spirits of the jungle. German ethnologist Dr. Julia Hershberger has gathered an expedition to find out if the legend is true. However, other factions also covet the treasure or will fight to protect their sacred lands from desecration by invaders. This fast paced, fun easy to learn game system has that right mix of historical re-creation with a nice dash of pulp adventure. Game will be taught.

T-517 Battle at Hartebeestmund (German South-West Africa, 1905) 
Colonial; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Roy Jones; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Sword and the Flame (modified); No. of Players: 6.
Hartebeestmund, October 24, 1905: Oberstleutnant von Semmern believes he is in pursuit of retreating Nama. He is wrong – it’s an ambush! Nama riflemen have been waiting for the Germans all along. And now the Germans are trapped between the hills and the river. It’s German Mausers, machine guns and cannon against concealed Nama rifles and Nama guile, in a brutal fight at Hartebeestmund. Whether German or Nama, no one’s coming out of this fight unscathed! 

T-425 Gnome Wars: Gnomistan Blues
World War I; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Erin Crouch; Scale: 40mm; Rules: Gnome Wars by Brigade Games; Sponsor: Brigade Games; Prize: Prizes; No. of Players: 12.
The Glorious Gnoman Empire is in decline. Can you help fend the end off for a few centuries or will you help to speed it along. No need to pre-reg if you bring a 320 pt Unit from Brigade Games. Parent/Child teams encouraged. 

T-206 Operation Tremendous Walls Goes Bad
Modern; 9 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: John Hodson; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Future Wars; Sponsor: Brigade Games; No. of Players: 10.
This game is going to be great, you’ll love it, believe me. The Trump wall was supposed to secure our borders, but who knew it would be the last wall of defense against the walking dead. Mexico has fallen! the dead walk the land, rumors of the cure and gaps in the wall have shaken the foundation of our country Trump himself will lead a team to investigate the gaps in the wall. Make America great again lead your highly trained units with multiple objectives and enter the city of the dead, do you 

F-162 Congo – Exploring the Dark Continent 
Colonial; 9 AM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: Don Hogge; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Congo; No. of Players: 6.
Africa, the dark and mysterious continent; what adventures await those bold enough to venture into the vast jungle? Come and lead a column in search of fame and fortune, or to defend your homeland from bumbling European explorers. Gamers under the age of 14 are welcome with an adult. 

F-279 Attack the Heliograph! Colonial; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Nancy Ott; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Home rules based on The Sword And The Flame; No. of Players: 6.
Things are quiet at the British heliograph station deep in the Sudan ... maybe a little too quiet. A force of Dervishes has cut us off, you say? Send for help at once!

F-253 Pennsylvania Pete and the Eye of the Serpent – Tomb Adventure
Pulp; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Annemarie D’Amato; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Audacious Adventures; No. of Players: 6.
Our famous adventurer Pennsylvania Pete is at it again. He has found the entrance to the tomb that holds the precious Eye of the Serpent. But he is not the only one searching for the Eye. See if PA Pete can make his way thru all the denizens of the tomb and find the Eye of the Serpent. What chills and thrills await our hero. 

F-271 Battle of the Yellow Sea August 10 1904
Early 20th Century; 10 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Michael McKnight; Scale: 1/2400; Rules: Fleet Action Iminent Variant; No. of Players: 6.
After repairing the damage caused by the initial Japanese attack on Port Arthur and the tragic loss of their charismatic admiral Makarov the Russian admiral has decide on a breakout that will take the fleet to the secure base of Vladivastok. The Japanese are caught by surprise and a pursuit ensues. Rules taught , accompanied minors welcome

F-287 The Foreign Legion Crosses the Border (by GASLIGHT) 
Victorian Science Fiction; 1 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: Tom Vielott; Scale: 28mm; Rules: GASLIGHT modified; No. of Players: 6. It is 1873.
The long running civil war between the forces of Emperor Maximilian and President Juarez is spilling over the border. The steam mechanized French Foreign Legion is in hot pursuit of republican guerrillas and cross the US border into a small town to chase them down and destroy them. Meanwhile, the small US garrison has other problems on its hands as bandits, preachers, Frenchmen and Mexicans converge in a little spot out west. Join us for a crazy scuffle in the steamy wild west 

F-571 Panzer Kids Battle
World War II; 1 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: William Reynolds; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Panzer Kids; No. of Players: 8.
Bring the kids by for a big tank rumble in the desert. Simple fast rules will get the kids moving and shooting.

F-256 Battle at Hartebeestmund (German South-West Africa, 1905) 
Colonial; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Roy Jones; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Sword and the Flame (modified); No. of Players: 6.
It’s a trap! Jakob Morenga, son of a Herero father and a Nama mother, and his Nama riflemen have been waiting for the Germans all along. And now the Germans are trapped between the hills and the river. It’s German Mausers, machine guns and cannon against concealed Nama rifles and Jakob Morenga’s guile, in a brutal struggle at Hartebeestmund. Whether German or Nama, no one’s coming out of this fight unscathed! From the forthcoming scenario book ‘The Nama Wars’. More at: www.hererowars.com. 

F-203 Gnome Wars:.. Into the Lion’s mouth 
Fantasy; 7 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: James Stanton; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Gnome Wars; Sponsor: Miniature Building Authority; Prize: Gnomes!; No. of Players: 6.
It was a year ago in this same desert outpost that Havildar Ishar Singh and the 36th Sikhs kept the world safe by defending the local biochemical plant from any robot, alien, or zombie that desired to use the viruses and poisons created there for their evil ends. Today, scanning the sky as he has done each day since the event, Singh sees three exhaust trails heading his way. He knows his gnomes don’t need any stirring words and simply turns to them and says, Players bringing 9 figures from Brigade Games do not have to preregister. No one under 13 without playing adult with parent/ child teams encouraged.

F-295 1941: Liberation of St Pierre and Miquelon 
Pulp; 7 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Kon Gojnycz; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Dr Who Miniatures Game; Sponsor: Miniature Building Authority; No. of Players: 4.
St Pierre, last remnant of the French Colonial Empire in Canada, has a Vichy prefect. De Gaulle sends Free-French destroyers and a submarine to ‘liberate’ the islands and capture the German trade delegation. But Will the Vichy ‘loyalists’ give up without a fight? Will the Germans escape to their waiting submarine and - Hey! - Why do the Germans have an octopus on that flag?! Extra victory points for witty banter. Pretzels provided.

S-291 The Sand Pebble
Colonial; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Scott Landis; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Home Brew; No. of Players: 6.
The American ship the San Pablo is on river duty in an increasingly hostile Chinese Village. The Captain wants to get underway but there are many obstacles in his path. You choice of Sailor or Chinese Warlord and fight for your destiny or for the those of your country. 

S-201 The Wicked Witch Rules! Again!
Horror; 9 AM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Peter Panzeri; Scale: 28mm; Rules: WICKED WITCH RULES! BY PETE PANZERI; Sponsor: MILITARY BUILDING AUTHORITY (MBA); Prize: From MILITARY BUILDING AUTHORITY; No. of Players: 24. Wait!? Didn’t we like MELT that witch already? And dropped a house on her sister? Well? Just when Dorothy & the gang thought it was safe to re-decorate the Castle? A new Witch is Invading Oz with a new Army of Flying Monkeys, Spooks and Winky-Guard du Corpse! Can the Wizard’s Balloon Corps, Oz Green-Dragoons, Munchkins, all help the Lion, Tin-Man, and Scarecrow? Or is it REALLY always up to Dorothy do believe in spooks! I do believe in spooks!’ (Songs & Witch Laughs are not optional LOCATION: MBA CASTLE TABLE AREA For Pdf of CLASSIC HORROR FICTION -- WICKED WITCH RULES email peterpanzeri@yahoo. com

S-427 Something Sinister in Salamanca – Dr. Who Special 
Theme SciFi; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Brian Robinette; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Savage BBC; Sponsor: Bad Wolf Corporation; Prize: yes; No. of Players: 12.
While headed to the 2031 World Cup, The Doctor arrives in 13th Cent. Spain. Something is not right, Princess Blanca has a sinister new advisor, Ezekiel’s Wheel has been spotted, & strangely helmeted knights have been seen in the city. Will you choose to help save mankind or enslave the lesser beings inhabiting the dismal backwater. HCon 2027 theme game presented early to avoid scale creep. 

S-183 Skirmish at Schlegel’s Farm (Kids’ Game)
American Civil War; 11 AM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Eric Schlegel; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Home; No. of Players: 6.
The Yanks and the Rebs are all hungry and looking for dinner. Foraging parties from both armies arrive at Schlegel’s Farm at the same time. Who will control the farm? The winners will eat, the losers will go hungry. Adults welcome with a playing child.

S-187 Armies for Kids Giveaway; Franco Prussian War
19th Century; 1 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Duncan Adams; Scale: 15mm; Rules: Milk and Cookies Rules; No. of Players: 6.
The HAWKs annual Historicon Armies for Kids giveaway game, this time it’s Franco Prussian War. After playing this game, all the kids in the game take home two armies and some extra goodies to play with their friends. Gamers 10 and under only. The HAWKs wish to thank the gamers whose donations made this game possible and the The Miniature Building Authority for their sponsorship.

S-195 Gnome Wars: The Assault at Prince Stiofan’s... 
Fantasy; 2 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Steven Stanton; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Gnome Wars; Sponsor: MBA; Prize: MBA Swag!!! (and gnomes); No. of Players: 7.
The Germans, Russians, and Japanese launch a surprise attack on Prince Stiofan’s country estate, hoping to take the young prince captive. It is rumored that one of the four treasures of the Tuatha De Danann, the Cauldron of the Dagda, has been moved to the estate and Lon would love to get his hands on it. Luckily Stiofan was hosting a dinner for the leaders from other gnome tribes! Anyone with painted Gnomes at War unit from Brigade Games does not have to preregister. No one under 14 without a playing adult with parent/child team

S-159 Plastic Pirates Poopdeck Party 
Age of Piracy; 3 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Geoff Graff; Scale: 40mm; Rules: Plastic Pirates; No. of Players: 8.
Those Little Lego Looters are at it again! While celebrating their latest capture, a ship-rigged merchantman, ON the captured ship, a Minor fight breaks out. Was there EVER a Minor fight with these guys? Who will win the fight? Who will own the ship? The HAWKs present this game for younger players. Adults are welcome with a player kid. 

S-308 Argh!: Navies for Kids Theme 
Age of Piracy; 6 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Buck Surdu; Scale: Other; Rules: Navies for Kids Home Rules; No. of Players: 6.
This is a HAWKs Armies for Kids game, or perhaps Navies for Kids. Youngsters decorate their own pirate ships and then engage in a rousing pirate epic to rival Errol Flynn. The game features simplified house rules that cover the very basic aspects of sailing ship combat without any charts or complications. When the game is over, the kids take home four pirate ships, rules, dice, and everything they will need to introduce their buddies to gaming. Children 10 and under please. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

(Kickstarter) Button Men: Beat People Up

As a surprise for me, Cheapass Games has launched a Kickstarter for a relaunch of their legendary Button Men game.
The buttons are gone, replaced by trading cards, and the $35 Starter Set pledge level with 48 character cards has my some of my favorite words:  30 polyhedral dice!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

(Kickstarter) TerrainCrate by Mantic

After much buzz on the Internet, Mantic has finally launched their confusingly titled Terrain Crate Kickstarter campaign.

When I think "crate" I immediately go to one of the services that deliver a box of appropriate stuff to you door each month for a subscription fee.  This is not that type of service.  Rather, it's a collections of hard-wearing, plastic terrain perfect for Fantasy gaming and many other types of games.

$75US gets you one of three possible sets: Dungeon, Battlefield, or Town.  $140 nets you two sets, and the first 2,000 pledging at the $180 level get three sets of their choice (2,001+ can get the same reward for $195.)

Couple issues for me, personally.  For starters, the $75 dollar pledge level is a bargain, but it concludes right after my vacation.   Second, shipping is affordable, but not added on until after the campaign concludes.  Third, I don't want half of the stuff the each set offers. I may be interested in the higher priced individual packages of terrain being offered at my FLGS once it hits distribution channels, but that bring my final concern.

Fulfillment Date: May 2018.

Perhaps I'm a little gun-shy with some of my already overdue Kickstarters crawling to completion. Perhaps a box of Reaper Bones on my doorstep when I get home.   Perhaps my gaming needs will wildly change for the better, but waiting a year (let's be honest, a year-plus) for these crates, when I could cherry-pick the items I'm interested in, get them in metal/plastic/resin, and still end up under the pledge amounts.

Don't get me wrong.  My friends can't stop raving about the larger terrain pieces Mantic has put out previously, both for their quality and their cost.  I have not a worry in the world about the quality of the product backers will receive.    I'll just be happy to see if it piques my interest in Summer of 2018.

Edit: Forty-Five minutes into the campaign, and there's mention in the comments that the themed sets that make up the Crate sets will eventually be made available as optional extras/add-ons, if you will.Very practical, as the mine set in the Dungeon crate could see some instant demand for expansion.  Same for the fences and walls under the Battlefield crate.

Apathy of the New Releases (May '17)

My Want List 
Ninja Division Games
My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria RPG - Tokens of Friendship ............................ $ 6.95

WizKids
Deep Cuts Unpainted Miniatures:  Chests .............................................................. $ 3.99


My Money-Is-No-Option Want List
Chaosium
Call of Cthulhu: The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Mythos Magic HC ..................... $39.95


My Imaginary Store List (The Pegleg Gnome)
ArcKnight
Flat Plastic Miniatures:  Animals and Familiars ...................................................... $30.00
Flat Plastic Miniatures: Hero ................................................................................... $30.00
Flat Plastic Miniatures: Skeleton Horde .................................................................. $20.00
Flat Plastic Miniatures: Supers ................................................................................ $30.00
Spell Effects: 5e Wizard .......................................................................................... $50.00

Asmodee
Conan: Norheim Expansion .................................................................................... $59.99
Oh Captain! ............................................................................................................. $29.99

Catalyst Game Labs
Shadowrun RPG:  Toxic Alley ................................................................................ $19.99

Cheapass Games
Pairs: Deluxe Edition .............................................................................................. $17.00

Cryptozoic Entertainment
Rick and Morty:  Anatomy Park, The Game! ....................................................... $30.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary (TV Version w/ Plastic Minis) .............................. $80.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary (TV Version w/ Cardboard Standups) .................. $40.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary: Killer Within(TV Version) ................................... $35.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary: What Lies Ahead  (TV Version) .......................... $35.00

Cubicle 7
Call of Cthulhu: World War Cthulhu - Covert Actions .......................................... $24.99

Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars Armada: Hammerhead Corvette ........................................................... $39.95
Star Wars Armada: Imperial Light Carrier ............................................................ $29.95
Star Wars RPG:  Age of Rebellion - Fully Operational HC .................................. $29.95

Ferti
Taluva ................................................................................................................... $59.99

FASA Games
Fading Suns: Noble Armada ................................................................................ $39.99

Firelock Games
Firelock Games is releasing Blood and Plunder, which appears to be a 25-30+mm historical pirate wargame.  The minis look great (and historically accurate), the ships are outstanding, even the dice look fun.  Unfortunately, I have no idea as to the prices.    Oh well, next company...

Games Workshop
Okay, I take my comment about Firelock back. Not much this month.  Lots of high point value figures = $60 box sets for 5 figures.  Plus the new paint schemes for the Blood Bowl minis are like bad arena football colors.

Hawk Wargames
Dropfleet Commander: Class Cloudfliers  (6) ....................................................... $30.00
Dropfleet Commander: Echo Class Corvette (6) ................................................... $30.00
Dropfleet Commander: Nickar Class Hunter-Killer (6) ........................................ $30.00
Dropfleet Commander: Santiago Class Corvette (6) ............................................. $30.00

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG:  Pendulum Evolution Boosters

Looney Labs
Drinking Fluxx ............................................................................................... $25.00
Nanofictionary ............................................................................................... $16.00

Mantic Enterainment
Dungeon Saga:  Dungeon Critters ................................................................ $17.99
Lots of Kings of War releases.  Army Sets for $85 and full-blown Megaforces for $150 seem way too reasonable, when compared to just about every other company.  The personal favorite item in the whole solicitation this month comes from Walking Dead: All Out War:
Dale's RV ....................................................................................................... $24.99
Every game needs a Recreational Vehicle (OF DOOM!)

Modiphius
Conan (2d20) Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of ..................................... $49.99
Conan (2d20) Jeweled Thrones of the Earth .................................................. $23.99

Mongoose Publishing
Traveller RPG:  Vehicle Handbook ................................................................. $49.99

Osprey Publishing
Allied Intelligence Handbook to the German Army 1939-1945 ..................... $15.00
Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives ........................................................................... $26.00
Lost Expedition:  A Game of Survival in the Amazon .................................... $30.00
Mad Dogs with Guns - Wargaming in the Gangster Era ................................. $25.00

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder RPG: AP Ironfang Invision Part 6 - Vault of the Iron Citadel ...... $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Campaign Setting Ironfang Invasion Poster Map ............... $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip-Mat - Arcane Library ................................................... $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Player Companion - Blood of the Sea ................................. $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Pawns - Heroes and Villains Pawn Collection .................... $24.99

Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Savage Worlds RPG:  Lankhmar City of Thieves Collectors Boxed Set ....... $79.99

Pokemon USA
Pokemon TCG Battle Arena Decks Black Kyurem vs White Kyurem
Pokemon TCG:  Bewear GX Box

Prodos Games
Alien Versus Predator:  The Hunt Begins 2nd Edition ................................... $59.95
Sixty bucks?  Very Tempting.
Renegade Game Studios
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game ....................................................... $45.00

Role 4 Initiative 
Even more sets of dice on display cards.  

Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Halloween Monster Box .................................................................. $29.95
Zombie Dice: Horde Edition .............................................................................  $24.95

Troll Lord Games
Castles and Crusades:  Monsters and Treasures of Aihrde ............................... $29.95

USAopoly
Munchkin: Marvel Edition - Just Deadpool Expansion .................................... $ 9.95

Wizkids/NECA
D&D Nolzurs Marvelous Unpainted Minis....................................................... $3.99 each
The Expanse ...................................................................................................... $49.99
Fantasy Realms ................................................................................................. $19.99
Marvel Heroclix - Thor Ragnarok Gravity Feed Display
Star Trek Attack Wing Card Packs ................................................................... $ 9.99 each
Star Trek Heroclix Tactics Series IV Starter and Boosters
Pathfinder Deep Cuts Unpainted Miniatures .................................................... $ 3.99 each
Wizkids Deep Cuts Unpainted Minis:  Keg Barrels (2) .................................... $ 3.99

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #3 - The Temple of Alasku

Our active players at the onset of our episode:
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, skeevey ladies man
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger...  no longer smells like a skunk

24 HexDec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Our heroes didn't spend every moment feasting like kings each day and night after their visit to Caldwell Manor.  Rolf and Kane relegated themselves to a pick up a new hobby.  Fishing seemed combine their favorite activity of drinking without the need for drunken rowdiness at the Blue Wizard.  There would be time for fighting after the sun set.
Maloran picked up training sessions with the local militia.  His quick wit and quick blade seemed to win the men over, although his repeated advances towards Jenny, one of their leaders, brought fisticuffs he couldn't overcome.

Ashe tried to follow the route of Torm, without the years of forced hard labor.  He offered his services to anyone willing to pay.  Most caravans weren't hiring a "pointer" for guard duty, but they were less prejudiced against hiring elves to load and unload cargo.  It received little coin for his efforts, but it kept him busy,  as well as earning him first crack at any wares the merchants offered.  One such man offered a pile of torn maps and books as payment, and Ashe obliged.  Of course, he needed someone who could actually read to help him.

Enter our new adventurers.
Echelon - an odd sort, he seemed like some sage or scholar, but with a decidedly earthy smell about him.  The idea that he would leave the bar early to tend to his assortment of animal companions confused most in town, but he was spending coin on lots of animal feed, so most locals didn't mind.
People were confused as to why he used a trident as a walking stick, but no one wanted to ask him directly.
Echelon
Talis Makolin - a rakish young man who seemed to follow the same god as Maloran, if either could find a god of drinking and womanizing.  The only difference between the two was that Talis was more effective with the ladies.... and he had a much bigger hat.
Talis Makolin
Echelon and Talis ascertained that the most of the books were useless.  However, both were intrigued by an older map of Crosedes.  The capital city, Hydincall was listed, as were most rivers.  However, the village of Eding was missing, replaced by something called Alasku, miles to the south!

Velandro  -  a pious priest of Akana, overheared the name Alasku and interjected.  "Alasku was a temple to Akana, as well as the name of the nearby village, but that was during the days of the old Prythax Empire.  According to the map, it's location was in the hills just before the lizardman marshes begin."
Velandro
With Rolf and Kane preoccupied with fishing, the group decided to pick up two more individuals for their expedition:

Aiko -  a young female adventurer.  She didn't seem too eager to surround herself with lecherous, unprofessional men, but for an equal share, she would be willing to try and be tolerant.
Aiko
They rounded out the group with one of the local orphans, a seven-year old boy named Timmy.  He was already familiar with the land around Eding going out for miles, so for a few coppers and some good food, the boy was willing to weather any danger.
TIMMY!
25 HexDec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The party had spent the better part of the previous afternoon picking up spare equipment and rations and soon after the breakfast the next morning, they met outside of the Blue Wizard to leave for the ruins of Alasku.

Then Echelon showed up, leading a menagerie of animals.  Two sheep, a cow, and three mules transporting crates of... pigeons and chickens.  With no one to watch his collection, it would come with them.  For some strange reason, the party agreed to the terms.

With no true trails into the southern hills, going was quite slow, hampered even more by Echelon's animals.  Night began to fall and they still hadn't reached the temple.

Timmy did have some milk and an egg for dinner, compliments of Echelon.

26 HexDec 1069 - The Temple of Alasku
Less than an hour after breakfast, the party arrived at what remained of the ancient village of Alasku. A few foundation stones could be found if you ripped out the underbrush.

Only one notable structure was stilling standing, a small stone hovel.  Its entrance was only blocked by a small (3-foot high) boulder.

Echelon hesitated.  "Everything said temple, not dungeon!  I can't leave my animals unattended while we're down there for who only knows how long!"

"Have Timmy watch the animals."

"Timmy?  Nice kid, but he knows nothing of pigeons.  How about you guys go down there, and when you get injured, come back up and I'll heal you."

"Waitaminute, you're a cleric?  Of a pigeon god?"

"Heheh, oh no.  Pigeons are my passion, by the life is dedicated to Tshang Kai Shing, Eastern God of the Sea.  It's a long story."

Amazingly, the others agreed to the conditions, and they all descended the stairs, save Timmy.

While the above ground levels had all but vanished for the temple, It's single lower level was superior stonework throughout and quite intact.  The party first found a natural cavern with a concealed entrance from the man-made passageways. It had access to an underground stream  and had space for everyone to hide.  Leading monsters out to a veritable feast of Echelon's mobile farm was not a good plan, no matter how annoying the "cleric" was acting.

They spent the better part of the day in a harassing series of maneuvers with a troop of bugbears that appeared to have taken over  a series of rooms.   They finally vanquished them, plus a small cohort of humans until they uncovered a row of jail cells.  The humans had the keys on them.  The party opened all the cells, finding a smattering of coins, an animated skeleton, and two prisoners!    The first, a half-elf named Xambi, begged for freedom.  The party unlocked his shackles and she dashed out the of the cell, up the stairs, running right past Echelon, heading towards Eding.

The second prisoner, a man by the name of Carthon, asked for the same charity, and received it.  He carefully navigated the hallways until reaching the stairs.  When he got to the top and saw Echelon, he quietly begged for food and water.  It took awhile to win over any response from Echelon, but when he offered to tend to the animals while he and Timmy slept, the drowsy eyes of Echelon could not protest the decision.

27 HexDec 1069 - The Temple of Alasku
No one had come up from the dungeon overnight, so Echelon woke to discover Carthon having already tending to the animals, and cooking up breakfast for the cleric in gratitude for his group's rescue.

Later in the afternoon, Timmy was quietly playing, digging up rocks and stacking them further around the hovel, when he froze in terror.  Three wolves were working their way to the camp!!! Echelon quickly drank two random potions that the group had left and tried to beguile the creatures with divine blessings. One of them stopped in its tracks, glanced at the cleric, stared at the other two wolves, and decided to attack the wolves until they ran off.

The lone, almost friendly wolf, stepped slowly towards the human, circled twice and laid down at Echelon's feet.  From that moment forward, Echelon called his latest animal to his menagerie, Pathfinder.

Timmy and Carthon were most impressed and began to willingly tolerate his eccentric behavior a bit more.

Down below, the party ventured into portions of the temple which had been sealed off for years.  Mobs of undead would pour out of each opened door, but with the blades of Ashe, Maloran, and Talis, and the Turning ability of Velandro, the hordes were whittled down.   Mid-day, they began encountering rooms that had been occupied recently, with storehouses and even a kitchen with a large fireplace with fresh soot.

Things culminated with one final door.  As they fumbled between picking the lock and bashing it down, someone from the other side of door unlocked and opened it.  She was a lovely women in her early twenties, dressed in a gown better suited for a ducal court than a ghoul-infested temple.

She introduced herself as Celeste and told a strange tale.  Her father was always frightened for her safety and had locked her down here for her own protection.  The room she resided in was painted floor to ceiling in a soft pink, and all the accoutrements expected in a bedroom of a young woman from a wealthy family was in it.

She refused to be "rescued" yet she proved no threat to the group.  She even offered some of the supplies in the storerooms, if they needed them.

Confused and unable to find other rooms or levels to search, the group took they spoils and headed back up to sunlight... and their new compatriots, Carthon and Pathfinder.

DM Notes: I don't remember the actual process which created Echelon's loyal companion, Pathfinder the wolf.  It had to be something involving a Charm Animal spell with some sort of permanence effect from the mixed potions, and I think the wolf completely botched its save.  Perhaps a little wild magic was thrown into the area around the temple for effect.  

Outside of the xp for befriending the wolf, Echelon didn't earn much this game, while the others cleaned up.  

The dungeon used was the sample one provided in the 1st Edition AD&D DMG.
As for our oddball NPCs?  Carthon, Pathfinder, Timmy, and even Jenny will find a place in the campaign.  Even the odd Celeste may appear again, answering the age-old question of who does lock their child up in a tower... er, dungeon.

NEXT #4 - The Castle in the Moors

Monday, April 24, 2017

(Kickstarter) Halfling Adventurers by Midlam

Midlam Miniatures has launched a Kickstarter for a small group of halfling adventurers.

There's been a tsunami of recent crowdfunding for fantasy minis, but this one has an interesting quirk.   Each pledge level doesn't just include the appropriate halfling adventurer(s), but also include a dead/sleeping mini of the same figure!
Given how classic the late night random encounter still is in Fantasy RPGs, why not have the figures for it?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Steve the Platypus from Hasslefree

It's been a long time since a platypus graced a post on this blog, but luckily, Hasslefree Miniatures has helped me change that:

Introducing Steve:


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ogre Miniatures Set 1 Samples

The Backerit has officially closed on the Ogre Miniatures Set 1 Kickstarter, my whopping two dollars shipping has been pulled from my credit card, and now we have almost-approved samples!





The Fall can't come fast enough for these....

Friday, April 21, 2017

(Painting) Leprechauns and Halflings

Light week.  Repainted and rebased two of the Irish Wolfhounds I have for Gnome Wars.

Whipped up the two halfling archers that came with the Song of Blades: Axe and Brimstone Kickstarter
Next: Still in clean-up mode, but the German Colonial Rifles are primed, based, and mounted on bottle caps for painting.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Encyclopedia Gnometanica

Doing a little clean-up on the blog.   Gone are the handy-dandy links of miscellaneous stuff "so you don't have to search for them."   To be honest, not many people were searching for them.

Instead, I've set up a page link for the Encyclopedia Gnometanica, where I've collected all the alternate gnome history, the optional Gnomish Air Support rules, and the write-ups of individual characters in gnome history.    If I'm missing anything from this blog, or anything particularly awesome on another site, let me know.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Teddy Bears and Friends from Northumbrian Tin Soldier

With Salute coming up again, it's not surprising those companies attending are hitting my radar as they do, once a year.

Two years ago, I mentioned a Teddy Bear from Northumbrian Tin Soldier.  This year, I'm looking at the whole line, plus a few gnome-esque characters.

The Snitch

The Burglar

The Dragon Rider

The Hood

The Battle Bear
Two years ago, I compalined that they were almost $7 apiece.  Thanks to Brexit, the exchange rate has dropped them to a more palatable $4.90.

And a few new items, assuming they'll be available for Salute:



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #2 - The Secret Crypt of Caldwell Manor

Our active players at the onset of our episode:
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger... previously sprayed by a skunk.

3 Hexdec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
It took a day to find Lady Christiana and lay claim that the manor was cleared, save a peculiar trap door that refused to open.  Lady Christiana told the crew to stay put at the Blue Wizard and she would hire someone to "fix" the stuck door.

5 Hexdec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Lady Christiana finally got back to the group late on the 5th.  She was particularly grumpy since she spent considerable coin on a hedge wizard to magically unlock the manor.  It better be worth...

6 Hexdec 1069 - Caldwell Manor, Outside of Eding
Expecting a root cellar, Kane encountered a twisted dungeon basement. 

First off, upon descending the ladder from the trap door, the trap door just vanished!  But zombies came clamoring down the hall.  Rolf and Ashe went down from the small horde, and Maloran took a rusty short sword in the ribs, but he and Kane managed to finish them off.  A few quick healing potions and they were wounded but back in action.

They next room was chock full of gold and treasure, yet none of the four found it odd that the whole pile glowed a light green.  Upon two or three steps towards it, and they were all zapped to a different room, full of coffins.  The began pillaging the coffins of some gems and jewelry, but again, no one questioned where the bodies were.

Three more undead, much stronger, burst out of the covered coffins an crashed into Rolf and Ashe.  Fate was a bit kinder and they were dispatched with less injuries to the heroes. 

Bazinga!!!!
It took some time, particularly with only two heroes that could read, but they found ancient Ferasean writing detailing how to escape from the tomb.  A chant was conducted for a few minutes, and they again were magically transported to another room, filled with slimes and jellies, but also a way out. 

Clearing the basement of a few more undead, they discovered a secret door, that lead them down a passage filled with sunlight.  It seemed the secret door at the opposite end of the passage was already open to the outside!  They pushed the door further open and found themselves on the overgrown side of the manor, with a commotion near the front of the house.

Barely making through a narrow path, they arrived to find Lady Christiana fighting... another Lady Christina?

Unsure as what to do the four simply stood there, until one of the Christiana's pulled a dagger and jammed it into the other's neck.   The grievously wounded one fell to the ground and reverted back to its original form a claylike human body with no features. 

"You missing one of your pests you're supposed to get rid of?" Lady Christiana asked, sheathing the still bloody dagger in disgust.  Ashe and Maloran dumped the body into the woods off her land and when they came back, Rolf and the noblewoman were finishing a heated exchange.  Lady Christiana went back to her horse, grabbed a few small sacks and tossed their gold at their feet. 

"We're done with this cursed house.  I want no part of this land or that woman," Rolf yelled as the four walked back to town. 

The party got back late to Eding, found (individual) rooms at the Blue Wizard.

"We gambled and bought hookers." - Rolf.

23 Hexdec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Over the next week and a half (remember the local calendar has 12-day weeks), the four men lived like kings in the little town, occasionally giving Torm a taste of luxury, for hope that goodwill would deter the thief from practicing his skills.

Two surprises came up over the next two weeks:  Everyone discovered that Maloran was a former armorer, as his repaired Kane's armor.... and everyone else discovered the monk had been wearing armor underneath his robes, all along!  It was ring mail, but it began a conversation that the Easterner explained he was not a fighting monk, rather a mystical student of the elements.  Apparently Kane had saved most of his healing magic for himself.

Lady Christiana never set foot in the Blue Wizard again, although rumors spread that the ghost still roamed the halls of the manor.  It was, fortunately, the only surprise left over in Caldwell Manor.

DM Notes: Therein lies the completion of "Castle Caldwell" from module B9: Castle Caldwell and Beyond.   It's a nice starter adventure, for new players, as well as new campaigns.  Just enough loot, just enough of a variety of different problems to get everyone warmed up. 

I've also run this numerous times within the border of Crosedes.   The ghost?  A paladin from an earlier campaign where Christiana's dad, Clifton, hired that group for the same task.  The paladin died in the basement... and for numerous reasons the party left the body in the room with the coffins.

The Caldwell family will neglect their "summer cottage" again in the future, I believe.  Some things never change.

NEXT #3 - New Friends... and the Temple of Alasku

Monday, April 17, 2017

More Things From the Jungle

In addition to the temple/sacrifical offer from Things from the Basement that I previously mentioned, they have recently released three new pieces evocative of a lost civilization or a great Inca/Aztec set.

The special introductory offer for the sentinel, the watchtower, and one wall section is $60. Individual wall sections go for $15 apiece.

Friendship is Magic, But Is Magic Heresy?

I'm patiently waiting for a release date from Ninja Division to send copies of the My Little Pony RPG out to distributors and vendors.  Knowing my luck, it will be my pre-order from Miniatures Market plus my Reaper Bones 3 Kickstarter PLUS my Psi-Paladin and Techno Barbarian Kickstarters will arrive while on vacation.   Here's hoping we stay on good terms with the neighbors until then.

That aside, my biggest thought of the weekend, "Are chapter seals from Warhammer 40K no more than Space Marine Cutie Marks?



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nowhere to Go But Down

As long-time followers of my blog know, I oddly track my gaming year from October to September. Come the end of the September, I recap the things I feel were important over the previous twelve months and try to establish goals for the upcoming year, both reasonable and pipedreams.

Not going to change that anytime soon, but after coming upon Steve Jackson Games' annual Report to the Stakeholders, sometimes you need to unleash a big "YEAH!" and then try to find motivations for future projects.

This past week has been a fun one for the blog, content-wise:

  1. Episode One of the Actual Play write-up for my college 2nd Edition AD&D game, Ballad of the Pigeon God launched.  I've gotten 33 episodes transcribed from the journal to blog posts, most in need of some narrative editing and continuity checking.  The first five episodes are all finished and scheduled for Tuesday releases.
  2. The family Easter game with Gnome Wars went off without a hitch and posted to the fanfare it usually deserves.  Whether it's fun or slightly historical, my gaming world needs more Gnome Wars.
  3. With delay after delay finally behind me, I got a chance to crack open Lettow-Vorbeck 1914-18, play a solitaire game, and write a review of it.  The first mention of the game was in my Apathy column in December 2015, so I assume I picked up my copy at the FLGS by April. That's a year of the ziplock game sitting in my workbag, never even getting a second look.  I've lost the actual count of weeks I've pushed the placeholder draft for the review into the next week, lather, rinse repeat.  This monkey is finally off my back.
  4. I've finished two of my big painting projects that have been on my planning list for awhile, and less than two months on the live painting queue.  The South Pacific minis from Pulp Figures will be the big bad guys on the back end of my Lost World Pulp campaign I'm running with the girls.  Outside of maybe doing a few more "blue monkeymen,"   I'm pretty much set for the rest of the storyline.  I daresay I need to start pondering my list for Season Three of the campaign. 
I might as well retire from gaming.  I can't imagine being that productive ever again.  There's nowhere to go but down...

Ever since I snagged up a gnome themed journal for my blogging projects, I've managed to get my pie-in-the-sky plans under control (and has survived receiving the gaming journal for the Pigeon God project).  Between this successful week and trying to plan for the family cruise during the first week in May, my short-time plans has dried up to some wrap-up painting projects and my second longest blogging bugbear, a review of De Horrore Cosmico.

Over the next two and a half weeks, I anticipate a little painting (I'll be downstairs cleaning up the aftermath of the second basement flood anyway), a LOT of time dedicated to the Pigeon God, and a lot of hemming and hawing over what I should be taking on the cruise .  We have a giant balcony this time and I anticipate spending a lot of time out there, relaxing.  

And by relaxing, I mean, working on gaming:
  • Reading and reviewing Golden Goblin's Tales of the Caribbean.   
  • Writing and Statting up a series of One Sheets for Savage Rifts. 
  • Reviewing my source material for episode 2.6-2.12 of the pulp game.  
  • Run some Village on the Hill with the girls.  Dice, tokens, paper, and crayons are all getting packed up.  
  • Play a whole lotta Zombie Dice!!!
Fear not, dear reader, for I already have material posting during my week out of the country.  To be honest, episode four of the Pigeon God might be the only post of any great substance, but the first week of May is historically not substance filled.  You'll understand once the posts pop up.  

That gives me almost a full month to figure out exactly where things are going through the summer, and what projects, if any, I need to plan out for the Fall convention season.  I expect more Pulp, Gnomes, and Pigeons, with a chance of Mice and Ponies.  

Thus is the life of a gamer Dad.

Friday, April 14, 2017

(Painting) The Volcano Queen, Ape God Cultists, and a Full Polynesian Army

Put those air conditioners away and break out the plow this Easter weekend, cause it's gonna snow.  I actually completed an entire project! 

First off, the Volcano Queen  pack from Pulp Figures
Volcano Queen
Okay, the pack is missing the rather Caucasian damsel in distress, but for the current pulp game, only famed Swedish adventurer Nils Lingonberry is currently missing, and he's very male.

The Volcano Queen set are the leaders of the Cult of the Ape God, and they need some followers. Here are the Cultists of the Ape God, using two packs of Melanesian Island Warriors 3 from Pulp Figures.


Melanesian Island Warriors 3
The wood they use for their weapons is from a mystical origin.  Unless broken, the nearly whitewood never ages or discolors, even when soaked with the blood of their enemies.

I do have some touch-up to do and some of my earlier spearmen are sans spears for now, but now I have essentialy completed a Polynesian army for Colonial or maybe even Interwar/Pulp play!

All miniatuers are from Pulp Figures
Over 100 figures (over 110 if I include my Mata'alfa Elite Guard, which are really Brigade Games Nigerians)  one figure was left on my desk to the take the picture, and another is for still in the Pulp game box as a now-dead NPC guard.

Coming Soon:  After completing two different projects on the same night, I not promising a thing. In a perfect world I should be cleaning up the lingering projects before I get slammed with Reaper Bones 3 and Psi-Paladins and Techno Barbarians next.  That means finishing up the Das FleiderAffen German Gnomes for Gnome Wars, a few more Blue Martians/Goblins/Monkeymen. and some of the halfings from Ganesha's last Kickstarter.

Checking my Gnome Project Journal, I have the next big thing being some German Colonial Rifles (again, Pulp Figures).    My Polynesians do need an enemy (or in the case of Samoa, a hidden ally)....

Thursday, April 13, 2017

(Kickstarter) Aces and Eights Reloaded by Kenzer & Company

Ten years after it first came out, Kenzer & Company are releasing a 2nd Edition of their Western game Aces & Eights, by launching Aces & Eights: Reloaded on Kickstarter.
Aces & Eights had an innovative dice and card shot clock system for gunfire, and that's certainly staying.    It's the classless system that allows players focus on everything that happens in between gunfights that's a winner.

There's numerous pledge levels with lots of different aids and such available, but it boils down to following print options (S&H not included)

  • The Showdown Miniatures Rules ($25)
  • Aces and Eights Reloaded Softcover ($50)
  • Aces and Eights Reloaded Embossed Leather Hardcover ($70)
  •  Aces and Eights Limited Edition Leatherbound Hardcover, autographed and numbered ($100)

(Review) Lettow Vorbeck by Decision Games

It has been the bugbear of my blogging for months, but I'm happy to say that over this past weekend, I took some time to go over and play Lettow-Vorbeck: East Africa 1914-18, and gosh darn it, I'm disappointed in myself for not making time earlier.

Lettow-Vorbeck is a Mini-game Series game from Decision Games covering the Great War battles in East Africa from 1914 to 1918.  It's a mid-sized zip lock game with only four pages of rules, one sheet of chits and and 11" x 17" map to play on.

The rules system is from Decisions the Hand of Destiny series of rules and it looks ridiculously simple.  While the single stat on a unit's chit helps determine combat resolution, all other rules are affected by the campaign cards for each side.  Campaign cards are drawn each round an determine reinforcements, movement, and any other special situations which could completely screw up your plan of attack.

Combat focuses on two separate actions:  Tactical Advantage, then the combat resolution.  Tactical advantage is essentially an opposed die role, modified by troop status, terrain, etc.

Combat resolution is rolling a number of d6 equal to the units number.  Results of 4+ may panic some units (unable to attack if they had yet to go) or even eliminate them from the game.   As combat alternates between players one unit at a time, winning initiative allows the first player to attack with their more powerful units and knock the enemy out before they have a chance to counterattack.

With some actual time to sit back and relax, I broke out game and attempted a solitaire run through the scenario playing both the Germans, as well as the British and her Allies.  I had a little confusion as to the definition of turns (individual vs 2-player turns) and misread some pretty obvious rules, but that's player error, not writer/editor error.

In my solitaire run, halfway through the 14-turn game, the Germans were in control.  Most British units had been eliminated trying to take the coastal cities and I was wondering what went wrong.

Then the British finally drew back to back campaign cards bringing in their South African reinforcements, followed immediately by the Belgian Congo's introduction to the campaign.  By turn 12 the remaining Germans were surrounded on a mountain smack dab in the middle of the colony.

Overall I'm quite satisfied with the product.  I've never bought any Decision Games products before, and starting with a period piece I had decent familiarity with was a great way to go.

That being said, I would try other games in the Mini-games line.  There are two dozen of them, ranging in price from $9.95 to $12.95.
British reinforcements have finally arrived...
The alternative option I thought of was to use the game map to manage a miniatures campaign, moving the chits and resolving the combats with the miniatures ruleset of your choice.

I know, I'm not the first person in the world to think of that great crossover from chit-based wargames to historical miniatures, but easy to utilize maps of German East Africa aren't usually available in the same distributor catalog as Pathfinder books or Reaper minis.

Overall, in the Gaming with the Gnomies 5-Gnome Rating system, I'm going to give Lettow-Vorbeck 4.5 gnomes.
Plus a half....
Production and play value are exactly what I want in a thirteen dollar game,  My only wish is that a new generation of wargamers become editors of these lines because there are just certain things that a long-time chit wargamer just assumes as right and if I initially misinterpretted them, I worry what a gamer on an impulse buy does with them.  Yes, chit-based wargames aren't usually impulse buys at a FLGS, but $10-13 is pretty close to that demographic.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

(Gnome Wars) Return to Kisi Rushwa

With my wife working the weekend, it was time to play in our annual Easter wargame with the kids... and a return to Gnome Wars.

This year's Easter game took place on Kisi Rushwa, an island in the middle of a large river. Previously, our pulp game visited it to rescue a friend, but now a number of years had passed.  The military garrison had been abandoned and this land all but forgotten, until a gnomish flyover spotted some peculiar objects below.  It was time to send in some troops to figure it out.

14th Swiss Army (played by Maja)
Objective:  Seize the mysterious objects, for future study.

3rd MILLIE [Military Intelligence Logistics Liaison Irregular Escadrille]   (played by Millie)
Objective:  The MILLIE knew that Gnomes of Nefarious Occupations Military/Education had used the island as a satellite base for a short time, but no evidence of their work had been found.  All evidence of their work needed to be destroyed!
"It's the perfect time of year for Jelly Bean pickin'!"
Both sides decided to avoid a direct amphibious assault, although recon detected no one at the old garrison.  

This MILLIE madea mad dash out of the jungle and towards the strange devices.  They immediately went to work, with the Pie Grenadiers chucking their baked concoctions at the giant...eggs?  (Swiss Grenadiers are typically Limburger Cheese, but who am I to stop Millie's ideas?)

The pies cracked the dome of the device came to life with whizzes and buzzers and lights.  Soon, the top opened and the true vision of horror was revealed:  a giant, gnome eating-Peep!

"Chirp"
The Swiss Army surprised by the appearance of the MILLIE and the giant Peep, opened fire on the sugary confection.

...but were caught unawares that the beast had companions already roaming the island.

More Peeps were coming out of both generators now. They were very slow to act, but extremely tough to kill. Both gnome squads began taking casualities


Just as the gnomes had figured out how to handle the Peeps and start focusing on their objective, the savage blue bunny Peeps descended upon them.  The bunnies were easier to kill, but quite fast,  A few gnomes never even knew what was occuring before they were taken out by the monsters.


The bunnies were inflicting some serious casualties (both gnome and my daughters, who were eating their kills).  Fearing more sweet reinforcements, each team worked their objective on a single generator.  The Army squad quickly deactivated the orange generator, while the MILLIE had trouble landing that final hit to destroy the yellow one.  Finally, in a moment of imagination I love my children for, Millie goes, "Daddy, my puppy will find a bucket of water and douse the machine."  A few dice rolls and the yellow generator exploded, leaving few survivors.  

Solid game, the kids had fun, and we didn't even get to break out the tiny chocolate bunnies (maybe if I had let them field full companies).

Like the first visit to the island, the return was inspired by Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog , although the concepts certainly wander off in completely different directions.
Happy Easter!