Saturday, December 28, 2013

holidays and distractions

Hells. Yes.
Still sitting on a couple old batreps I need to finish writing up, after I get the pictures cleaned up and refresh my memory as to how everything went down, heh. November and December are just chock full of holidays and traveling, so everything else goes out the window.

It's exactly times like this, when I don't have time to game (or even really work on figs or terrain) that I get distracted. In the past week or so, I have been looking at getting into Bushido, working on a list for Critical Mass, reading up on Flames of War, theorizing a campaign for In Her Majesty's Name, or maybe 7ombieTV, and looking into rulesets for post-apocalypse gaming. Because it's certainly not that I don't have a jillion other projects from this year I haven't finished. Sigh. 

But really, my attention deficit isn't news, and having a wealth of gaming opportunities and a decent play group is good stuff. Add in there the time to work on my toys and the finances to pursue (limited) new opportunities, and it's a fine way to wrap up 2013. And that doesn't even mention all of you out there in internet-land, across the pond or even farther, serving up regular doses of new inspirations or reports of your own games or projects to admire. Well done! Keep doing that.

Hey, 99th post! Happy new year, everyone.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fall-In, day two (many pics)

My plan to finish up my backlog of posts before the end of the year might not happen. Hmmm.

One quick note before day two coverage. The massive historical game mentioned in day one was, in fact, a ACW game set at Fort DeRussy. For more details and some good pics, head to the Brooklyn Wargaming page here.

Registering for games before the con is always a shuffling game of seeing what I can work around what to maximize the number of things I can get in on. Unfortunately, some things either don't fit, or fill up before I sign up. One thing I didn't get in on was the Mini Mech game, so I made sure to swing by and take some pics Saturday morning. And man, I wasn't disappointed.

The terrain is spray-painted blocks on hexes, simple at first, but all put together and it's very striking, visually. (Could totally do that in a Tron-inspired minimalist deco theme, I note.) And the cute tiny mechs!

For more details on Mini Mech, go to Rothgar's Workbench here. I really, really (really) don't need another minis project, but yeah, it's tempting.

Another game drawing a crowd was the bug hunt game. Based on the classing 50's movies, it involved delving into underground tunnels to hunt giant bugs. They kept each cavern section covered until it was encountered. Pretty keen.

My first actual game of the day was an intro game to Mein Zombie. ODGW always has their own room set aside at the cons, and I am always up for learning new zombie rules.

Based off their universal rules system, Mein Zombie is almost a cross between an RPG and a minis game. You roll up some basics on your character at the beginning of the game. My character ended up being pretty lucky, but not a great shot.

The scenario was nice and basic. We stated as a group of survivors holed up in the house pictured above. We needed to break out of there, and head to two separate locations to recover the radio to call for assistance, and the generator to power it. 

Activation was by cards. I pulled the queen, so I called my character Queenie. I'm easy like that. One character had a flaw that basically meant they were kind of unprepared. He had two cards, so when his first one was drawn for activation, it was tossed. I do like the little touches like that.

The zombies had two cards of their own in the stack. Zombie activation was neat. When their card comes up, zombies within a certain radius of a living character would move closer, and lunge to attack when close enough. If your character made noise that turn (mostly firing off guns) that radius was larger, based on how much noise was made. This was easy to manage, and also lead organically to zombie herds forming, as the survivors kept moving, but attracting more attention as they went. Again, the little touches.

Myself and two survivors made a beeline for the first objective, basically never firing off a shot. (The other half of the party was nice and loud.) A couple of the rolls on hitting and damage are a little counter-intuitive, but you pick up on them straight away after a few tries.

Oh, hey, in there ODGW gallery, there's a pic of yours truly, standing on the left of the table.

Our posse makes it to the door and is working on breaking in before company arrives. Figs are 20mm plastic from the Zombies! board game. Survivors have their bases painted green. I admit, the game is pretty decent. I will likely pick up the rules at some point, even if just to incorporate some of their ideas elsewhere.

Second game of the day was "Mother Russia Rain Down." Shortly after World War III, which was set off by the Able Archer incident in 1983 going a different way, my team of Russians is converging on a gas station to liberate the fuel before the American survivors on patrol can do the same.

Rules were Iron Ivan's "Disposable Heroes: Point Blank." I was vaguely familiar with them, as I've read through their "No More Room in Hell" zombie rules.

The terrain was sparse and bleak, highly evocative.
The Soviet team consisted of myself and a father-son team. First few turns I advanced on the gas station over a hill, getting hammered by the Americans on the opposite corner. My teammates were slowly moving into the middle down the road, weaving between the burned-out cars. I felt a little left out in the cold, as they didn't seem to be getting anywhere, and the other half of the American team had sprinted up to the gas station.

Now, when we sat down to the game, the father on Team Russia had said that his son was really lucky with dice rolls. I pretty much dismissed this; it's the kind of thing a lot of parents say, and dice are dice, right? So when they finally get in position, the kid takes the Russian soldier with an RPG, pops out of cover, shoots at the American tank that was keeping me pinned down... perfect hit. Roll for damage, boom, it's gone. Huh. He proceeds to do it two more times, pops out, rolls a perfect hit, eliminated target. It was uncanny, and after that first one I was watching those rolls. Clearly the MVP.

As noted before, the other half of the Americans (skillfully played by the other half of Team Kent, Maurice's brother Shaun) had taken the objective. By now, though, they were flanked by my crew coming off the hill and the rest of the Russians dug into the road. It was a good defensive position, but they couldn't withstand the incoming barrage. Excellent game.

Maurice's fifteen minutes of fame, helping with the mic test.

The finale is the WWPD podcast. No need to wrap that up, it's all available to hear online right here. Always fun getting to see those gents ham it up in person. (If I take one thing away from this podcast, it was the tale of the Burrito Prophecy.)

Due to technical difficulties during the recording of the podcast, you don't get to hear when I sneezed really loudly. Sorry everyone! I do get a shout-out when they're recapping the board games from the night before. Team Baratheon!

And some links to other coverage, if that's your thing. First up is the inimitable Mister Nizz, covering the games he ran and the games he played. The former of those includes pics of the fantastic gnome boxing-glove boat, which is a phrase I don't get to type enough. If eye candy is your thing, Lord Ashram has more than a few pics of the tables at his blog here.

[When I first wrote this up, I had a section about an annoying little kid that vexed me a couple times during the con, but after re-reading it, I just sacked that bit. Yes, the kid was a pain. But really, bitching about annoying kids during a con report made me feel positively poisonous. Annoying kids happen. It's fine.]

Number of compliments received for my Captain Marvel t-shirt: 4.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fall-In, day one (many pics)

Last month, took the weekend to hit Fall-In up in Lancaster, PA.Good times were had. My posse opted out of having a table at Wally's (think flea market) for a change of pace, which lead to a little more gaming time, and a little less stress preparing for the con. Turned out to be a good call, IMHO. But I am getting ahead of myself.

We jetted out at early o'clock Friday morning from the DC area and headed north. No traffic situations, until we got into the building. Pre-reg was a ten-second affair, but one of our crew had to register at the show, and dear heavens, that was a mess. I was told it was a new system, or something like that, but the lines were atrocious and slow.

Once through that, we headed down to their first game of the Flames of War doubles tourney. The Kent brothers were rolling Americans, and did pretty well for themselves. Maurice wrote up the whole event for WWPD, and you can find the report here. Good reading! I took a few pics.

A wall of Russian steel, literally stretching across the board.

Later in the game, things were breaking down for the Russians. Love the windmill.

The building on the left is patterned on an actual French Foreign Legion outpost.

I had some free time before my afternoon game, so the next stop was naturally the dealers hall. One of the first tables that caught my eye was this nifty setup for a new company called The Tactical Retreat. They've working on laser-cut terrain for both 15mm and 28mm, and even mentioned 1/300th. The modular setups and the built-in streets pictured above look like they will offer a lot of opportunities for both modern and scifi gamers to put together some decent terrain for a song.

Pictured above you can see some of the different cut-out windows you'll be able to choose from. I picked up a couple small 15mm buildings to show off, and hope to get them up on the blog, uh, soonish? Gaming and hobby time has been at a premium these days. The company is too new for even a website, but definitely keep your eyes out for them. There's more than a couple lasercut terrain producers now, but I feel these guys have a good angle at a great price.

Alien Dungeon had a lovely table full of make-your-own armies for Fanticide, and this rhino covered in shields was certainly a winner, as are the zebra centaurs above.

My first game of the con was Orbital Guns of Galantros VI, run by the fine folks at WNGA. The above picture, with the spaceships? Actually at the table next to us: Bombardment of Galantros VI. See, their table was the giant spaceship fight, which included both sides dropping orbital bombardments onto our table. We were playing the ground forces trying to seize the orbital guns, and yes, occasionally firing blasts up into their space fight. I've seen this format done before, and the guys running it today did a good job, keeping the games light and moving along briskly.

The figs used on our side were repurposed 40k models, and I was specifically running the Orks. Lot of nice old-school models in there.

Here we are a couple turns in. I've run both trukks up to either bunker, and am already pouring out my boyz to take the facilities. And already taking casualties. The pieplate of a template above represents one of the shots from my friends upstairs. They scattered far and wide, but definitely kept things lively over there.

The turn or so after this, I get off a shot that apparently decimated a flank of ships, turning the tide for the space battle in our favor. I didn't know this until the end of the game.

So my basic strategy was to run up both vehicles,  dumping our a pile of orks, then using the vehicles to sit there and block shots as terrain. Worked pretty well on both sides! I got shot up badly (very badly) but they had to move around my blasted wrecks to dig me out, and that let me get off extra shots into space. At the end of the battle, I was all but wiped out, but as noted above, the shots I did get led to an ork victory in orbit. Fun times! Afterwards, the players chatted with the game runners, discussing how to make the games more fair and more fun. They were open to criticism and very communicative about their designs and thoughts, and I would gladly play with those gents again any con.

After the game, more shopping. Picked up stuff ordered before the con (Eureka, Old Glory.) Finally snagged that Otherworld Hook Horror I have had my eye on since forever. Everyone has an attachment to some ridiculous D&D creature from when they started playing dungeoncrawls, and the Hook Horror is one of mine. I even had the plastic toy from the action figure line. Man. The 80's were weird.

Other game tables spotted while wandering around (one of my favorite con activities):

Pennsylvania Pete & The Heart of Ra - GASLIGHT pulp action

A Day at the Racez - WNGA's 40k-style racing game

I have no idea what this historical game was, but it had a massive setup, covering like 18 folding tables. Lovely.

Finally it was time for my evening, game, a rollicking Doctor Who skirmish. Except I get to the room... and no game. No sign up, no nothing. Well heck. I check the game cancellation list, no luck. Sigh.

So I head over to the other game I was considering playing, the Zombie Cardio con staple. And it's also not there. OK? Maybe it was moved? Maybe I wasn't meant to play an evening game.

While looking for the second game, however, I ran across a tragically-full zombie game, "Rescue Me." Look at that setup!

Seriously, very jealous over that setup.

The end of the night, I reconvened with my crew, and we headed down to board games with the WWPD gents. First, Maurice schooled his brother and myself in Spartacus, and the less said about that, the better. I dig the game, but the beating was savage and swift. Afterwards, we got into the thick of things with Game of Thrones. I pulled team Baratheon, and true to character, I decided to start drinking. Unfortunately, the bar wasn't as close to the gaming area as I'd thought, and I inadvertently was holding up the game in my sojourns to get more cider. Ugh. I hate being a jerk and not even noticing. Will be better behaved next time.

Tune in next time for zombies, Commies, and more!

Number of compliments received for my Supernatural t-shirt: 4.