Monday, May 27, 2013

The HAWKs Expeditionary Force at Nashcon '13

A group of Gamemasters from the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers)made the long trip from Maryland to Tennessee this past weekend to attend HMGS Midsouth's gaming convention, Nashcon 2013. Don Hogge, Greg Priebe, Buck Surdu, Dave Wood, and myself, made the 13 hour drive on Thursday May 23rd arriving at the convention hotel in Franklin, TN late that night. We had a great time during our visit to the con, had a blast running over a dozen games, and met some really friendly people.   
The gang unloads the trailer. You haven't really lived until you've travel in a Subaru pulling a trailer full of lead 13 hours with 5 gamers. :-)
We were up early Friday morning to unload the trailer carrying all our gaming material, and afterwards began setting up our Friday afternoon games. For the first gaming session, from 2:00-6:00, we had scheduled Greg Priebe's "Gunga Dalek" game using the Dr Who Miniatures Game rules, Buck Surdu's "Battle of Vauchamps, 14 Feb. 1814" using Fate of Battle rules, and my "Jasper Flint Saves the Queen" using GASLIGHT rules. We were happy to have a full compliment of players sign up for all our games.
A view of my Jasper Flint GASLIGHT table
My Jasper Flint GASLIGHT game was set in a deserted Texas town in 1880, where Prussian agents have taken the Queen of England after kidnapping her during a goodwill visit to the United States.  Marshal Jasper Flint has tracked the villains to the town, where he and his posse, along with a contingent of US Marines, and British Guard troops attempt to rescue the monarch, as the Prussians await a zeppelin flying in from Mexico to take the Queen out of the county. The zeppelin arrives, and the game ends, after 12 turns.
Jasper Flint, foreground with white hat, moves up as a Prussian Krieghosen clockwork-walker peeks around the corner of a building.
The game began with the Allied forces racing into the town from three different table edges, searching for the Queen, who  the Prussians had hidden in one of the buildings on the table.  The Prussians and their hired mercenary gunslingers put up a stiff defense as the Allies began to made their way into the town.
 Prussian soldiers try to defend across a fence as Marines charge them.
  Only a couple turns had passed before the Flint's posse discovered Queen Victoria being held in the blacksmith's shop on the east side of town. The Prussians quickly began to move the now revealed monarch to a safer location.  This set the stage for the rest of the game as the chase was on with the Good Guys trying to get to the Queen before the Prussian zeppelin could arrive, and the Prussians trying to evade them
The final struggle.  Jasper Flint and Major Edleweiss battle on the outskirts of town as the squad of Marines moves to assist.
The game was really exciting, and ultimately came down to the wire, as Jasper Flint and the Prussian officer, Major Edleweiss (who was escorting the captive Monarch) engaged in a titanic hand to hand struggle that lasted several rounds.  Finally, just as a basket was being lowered from the zeppelin on turn 12, the Marshal dispatched the Prussian officer and freed the Queen.
Buck Surdu (blue shirt) running his Battle of Vauchamps 1814 game
  For the Friday night session, from 8:00 to midnight, I ran "Scouring the Goblin Scourge from Wolffang Valley" using Bear Yourselves Valiantly mass combat fantasy, ancients & medieval rules. These rules are the latest installment of the "Look, Sarge, No Charts" series of rulebooks. The game features a force of High and Wood Elves, who are trying to drive of some Goblins and Wildmen, who have begun occupying the verdant valley and setting up their settlements.  The Elves are tasked with destroying at least two of the three settlements on the table, while the Goblins need to defend their homes.
A view of the table for my  "Scouring the Goblin Scourge" game
   The Elven players chose to press hard on both the outlying settlements, while leaving their center relatively open.  Meanwhile, the Goblins braced to defend along their entire front.  The forces quickly came to blows, and while the Wood Elves on the Elven left slowly pushed the Wildmen there back, the Goblins defending on the Elven right, put of a stiff resistance and were able to blunt the Elves' attacks.
Wood Elf forces cross over a river to engage the enemy

High Elf forces advance towards their Goblin foes
   The battles seesawed back and forth, but the Elves were never able to achieve the break through they needed, thanks in part to some heroic stands by some of the Goblin commanders and their retinues on the Elven right, who more than once managed to stand their ground despite overwhelming odds. On the Elven left, though, the Elves pushed the Wildmen back until they were fighting on the outskirts of the settlement.
A Goblin commander (on Warg in center of photo) manages to blunt the attack of a unit of Elven knights
  Eventually, the Goblins were able to launch a counter attack towards the weak Elven center, which marked the end for the Elven attack.  And so, as we came to end  of our game time, the battle was declared a  major Goblin victory
Another view of the battle.
 We were up again early Saturday morning, to set up our Session Three games.Buck, Greg and I were running a 14 player Mars by GASLIGHT Extravaganza game on two of the table pushed together, while Dave was doing a WWII Battle of the Cauldron game using Look, Sarge, No Charts rules.  
A look at the Mars by GASLIGHT table before the game.
  The Mars game was great fun as a force of British (including line troops, and a legion of Female Hussars) and their Red Martian and Sandwar allies, faced off against some Prussians and their Green Martians, Cephalopod, and Sandwar allies.  Besides being a straight up battle, the British side was also tasked from rescuing Dejah Thoris from their opponents, while the Prussian side was tasked with recovering some ancient technology from a ruin on the British team's side of the table
A Sanwar Gun Beast and supporting troops
  The battle got off to a quick start as a  4-armed Green Martian mounted on  a Thoat moved against a British NCO carrying a hand held Gatling. The Martian quickly ran the officer through with his lance, but not before the Sergent was able to wound the Martian and knock him from his mount.  Soon the the Martian was felled by a volley from a nearby British squad.
Buck Surdu (leaning across table in blue shirt), Greg Priebe (pointing in blue shirt) and I GM-ed the game.
  All across the table forces maneuvered for position. And while the forces on one end of the table were slow to engage, a large melee developed in the center and the opposite end of the table.
Red Martians fire at approaching Green Martians
   On the one end of the table one of the Female Hussar armored cars moved to engage a group Green Martians, who in turn charged the armored car. The Martians pounded with their weapons on the car, as it managed to ram a couple of the martians. The Martians in turn where able knock the car so violently that they killed a hussar officer who was riding in the vehicle. Seeing their armor support in trouble, a unit of the Hussars mounted on biped lizards raced to charge the Green Martians attacking the armored car. Soon a large skirmish was underway as Green Martian, Armored Car, and Lizard mounted Hussars all thrashed away at each other. The mounted Hussars took heavy casualties but where able to all but destroy the unit of Green Martians, and the armored car came out of the engagement a battered wreck with its main gun and engine damaged.
A swirling melee of Green Martians, lizard mounted Female Hussars, and an Armored Car
In the center of the table was the other "furball" of a battle. It began with a pair of White Apes, controlled by group of Green Martians, charging towards a Sanwar cannon on the British side. As the Apes made their way towards the cannon, they were intercepted by a unit of horse mounted Hussars. As this hand-to-hand fight proceeded, the other Hussar armored car joined in on the British side, as did a unit of Green Martians in support of the White Apes. A swirling melee ensued with heavy casualties on all side, though, the White Apes seemed to be doing the most damage while taking little themselves.
Another wild engagement as White Apes, Green Martians, horse mounted Hussars, and an Armored Car fight in close quarters.
  In the end the battle was determined to be won by the Prussian side.  They were able to retain control of Dejah Thoris and recover the ancient technology.
A view of the main gaming area on Saturday afternoon.
   In the afternoon, for Session 4, I set up my second Bear Yourselves Valiantly game of the con.  Unfortunately I only had one player show up.  I gave him the choice of either going and finding another game with more players to play in, or stay and do a one-on-one tutorial game with me.  He opted to stay and do the tutorial game with me, which proved to be a lot of fun , and a nice little game. 
My second "Bear Yourselves Valiantly" game
We sectored off one end of the table and used the two fore which had been set up there, force of High Elves and an opposing force of Skeletons.  The battle went back and forth with casualties being relatively even for the first few turns, but eventually I was able to get my repeating bolt thrower into a good firing position, and it began to rack up hits of the skeletons. And, my Elven Knights got the better rolls in a cavalry engagement and found themselves ideally situated in the Skeleton's flank.  It turned out to be a fun little engagement, and it was nice being able to teach a player one on one.
Elven knights prepare to sweep around the Skeleton's flank
  With just the one player, and the reduced forces, my game ended a couple hours early; so I took the opportunity to take some photos of the other HAWKs games, and then shop the dealers around the wall of the gaming area.  The con really had a great assortment of dealers.
Greg Priebe (in blue shirt) GM's his "A Fist Full of Daleks" game
   Greg Priebe ran his "A Fist Full of Daleks,"  a Dr Who game set in the Wild West. The players seemed to be having a great time and there was lost of cheering and laughing as the game progressed.
Daleks move down the street of a Wild West town
  Dave Wood ran another "Look, Sarge, No Charts:WWII game, this one was Hell's Highway during operation Market Garden.
Dave Wood (in blue shirt) GM's his "Hell's Highway" game

Another view of the "Hells Highway" game.
Unfortunately, before the evening session began I started feeling rather ill.  I guess the 13 hour drive combined with running four back to back games, caught up to me; as I'm not the youngster I once was. Anyhow, I had to cancel my Saturday night game, because I was just not up to running it, and spent the rest of the night in bed.  My sincere apologies to anyone who I disappointed by not being able to GM the last session.
     All in all the HAWKs had a blast at Nashcon. The Organizers did a great job, and we were made to feel right at home by everyone.  We look forward to returning in a couple years to run another slate of games at Nashcon!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10mm Evil Twisted Thorny Thicket Wall

     One of the Magic Spells in our "Bear Yourselves Valiantly" mass combat fantasy, ancients, & medieval rules (currently under development), allows for magic users to place 6 inches of impassable wall on the table within a certain distance of their  location.   For my evil magic users I had the thought that I could make a neat twisted thorny thicket wall out of part of a loofa scrubber.
The finished thorn bush wall shown with a 10m Goblin Shaman
  Loofas are actually part of a plant's seed pod. So being made of natural plant material they are easy to cut and take paint well.  I cut a lengthwise section from a 6 inch loofa and glued it to a tongue depressor/craft stick, and then sprayed it with flat black spray paint.  Afterwards, I drybrushed it with a dark brown paint and then subsequent coats of lighter brown, working to light tan. When I was done painting I glued dried coffee grounds around the bottom to represent the dirt where the thicket wall erupted.
  This was a very quick and easy project and, not counting drying time, probably took me less than a half hour to complete.  Overall, I am very satisfied with the result.  I could see a whole row of these making a neat border to some desolate evil land.  And, though I plan to use it with 10mm figures, I think it would work equally well with everything from 6mm to 25mm.
(You can click any photo to see it larger)


Monday, May 13, 2013

"Pawed" Racing Game with Eureka Bear-o-planes

At last Friday's Hawks meeting, Todd Harland-White hosted a fun game of "Pawed" Racing using Eureka Bear-o-plane figures, and Jamie Davis' great Star Wars Pod Racing rules, "Future Race." The game was based loosely, very loosely, on the famous London to Cape Town airplane race of 1920. While a playtest for a future HAWKs Kids' Table game, we adults had a blast!
Pilots at the start line.  The bear pilots start of running on their feet (which stick out the bottom of the plane). When they gain enough speed, however, they go airborne and are placed on plastic stands to show they are flying.
Each player controlled two planes, and our goal was to be the first to complete the figure eight race course and cross the finish line with one of our planes..  There were many hazards along the way, including angry natives, flying monkeys, and tangled jungle bordering the race course. Attached to each plane was an "R2-Bee2" Bee Hive. The player could use these to either send groups of bees at opposing players, or twice per game drop blobs of sticky honey on the course or launch swarms of bees that created obstacles in the flight path of oncoming planes.
A scrum of bumping planes develops at the second turn as everyone cuts it close to save valuable inches.
My planes started in the poll position and were quick to gain an early lead. Unfortunately though, I misjudged the second turn, and ended up flying into the jungle a distance with one of my planes and obtained some damage. An effective bump from another player, that subsequently stalled the plane, effectively put it out of the game. My second plane flew on though, neck and neck for the lead.
An overview of the table. Half the course was bordered by angry natives who, whenever a face card was drawn, would throw a "spear" at the closest plane. Brave guard bears attempted to keep them at bay.
   Unfortunately, I screwed up  my turn into the gap between the two hills, and had to cross over the jungle strewn hill that bordered it for part of the way, luckily passing most of my pilot checks and only getting light damage. I did however manage to avoid the evil flying monkeys that guarded the gap.
Pilots head into the dreaded valley of the flying monkeys. Like the natives, whenever a face card was drawn, one of the monkeys would attack a random plane in the gap.
  In the end, a bad speed die roll, cause me to drop into second place just as we called the game due to time with only half the course completed.  I had a great time though, and look forward to another chance to play.
Heading into the final stretch.  My plane is on the right.