Tuesday, August 29, 2017

No Sword Like a Broadsword

As my last few posts should have made clear, I was down in Hamilton this past Saturday for Broadsword 4, put on by the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Veterans Association.  It's a one day convention with a mix of miniatures and boardgames, and some that blur the line between the two, like my friend Mike's game of Conan.

After an early start, I picked my friend Ron up along the way, he was putting on a game of his homebrew 6mm operational level WWII rules (which I played, so more below), and we had a fairly decent drive into Hamilton.  Much better than the drive home!

Getting there we hobnobbed a bit with some of the other early arrivals that we knew and ran into Robert who we'd met at Hotlead in March.  I later learned Robert had built his own 1:1 scale Dalek and I'd probably seen it at the Ottawa Comic-Con last year!

I'll start with the games I played in, which were the morning and evening sessions, before I get to the game I ran in the afternoon.

First up was a game of Might of Arms with Mike M., set in the Northern Crusades circa 1197, which the Danes coming to civilize the poor, pagan (yet heroic) Estonians.  As you can probably tell, I was an Estonian, holding the right flank with Ralph on my left.  Mike and Dan were against us.  We had a stream with a lot of woods and rough round around it to use as our defensive line, and we made use of it, only our left flank had a gap in it between the wall of our village and the stream.
 My part of our line, before we actually put our troops into position.  I had a five medium infantry units, three went to defend the river line, two on the hill as reserve.  My five or six skirmish units either went in front of the mediums to chip away at the incoming Danes, or on a wide right flanking maneuver, eventually coming at the Danish subheavy foot from the flank and rear.

 The view toward's Ralph's side of the table, again before our final set-up.

 The lines are starting to meet, with the Danish mounted knights coming up against Ralph's heavy and light horse.  Mike is bringing his infantry in behind, and Dan (the Danish left) is angling some of his infantry to the right to hit our entire line.

 Dan's subheavy foot have gotten through my skirmishers, though some are still behind, firing into them when they can, and Dan's trailing unit is about to have guys on three sides firing at him.

 The Estonian left at the end of the game.  A hole was punched into our line and the knights were a-coming in against our rear, but their right had totally fled the field and we had our whole reserve to deal with them if we hadn't called the game at the point (an Estonian win!).

My side of the battlefield at the end of the game, after the Danes had routed away.  My skirmishers nickle and diming them on their way in, plus the defensive advantages of the stream and rough ground were more than the attackers could bear.

After that game, I checked out RAFM and 6 Squared Studios, who were there as vendors.  I didn't need any bases from 6SS this time, after making that buy in May, but from RAFM I was able to pick the two packs of Crucible Crush Pulp Figures (sculpted by Pulp Figures' Bob Murch), which included a guy who looks an awful lot like Silver John, from the awesome series of stories by Manley Wade Wellman (greatest name in the history of names) and another guy who looks like he should be a night stalker in 1970s Chicago, if you know what I'm saying...  I also picked up an old west store which will be perfect for my 1885 Riel Rebellion project, it looks a lot like one of the (or the only) store in the old pictures of Batoche.

Blackfyre Productions also had a great-looking table (I think they had two) as they're part of the Ontario Hobbit Adventures society (?) / collective (?) that plays Middle Earth SBG:  Ents vs. Uruk Hai:

Jumping ahead to my evening game, I played in Ron's WWII game against Robert, this one generically representing part of Gazala in 1942.  I was the defending British, Robert was the attacking Italians (it was his choice!).  Ron's game is area-movement and card-driven, the cards letting you move and shoot, or use artillery/air power, or some special events (like engineers putting down minefields).

I only got a couple of shots of the game, here's things near the beginning:
 The town and entrenchments are under my control, I've already lost a truck to long-range fire.  The Italians are in the distance, trying to spot my weak point.

This is at or near the end of the game, as the Italians ran out of time (cards) without taking any part of the town.  They'd done a good job of swinging around my left (the red smoke markers are where their vehicles died; yellow are my dead vehicles), but a carefully placed anti-tank minefield made them take the long way, and a spoiling attack I made with my Bren carriers really distracted them.

Now back to the afternoon, where I ran a game of Song of Drums and Shakos, "Out of La Marisma".  A squad of French hussars and a full squad of French carabiniers tried to seize a crossroads and road exit from British rifles and light dragoons in 1813.  There was a lot of rough terrain on the board, which channeled things a bit, but it was also the debut of a few buildings I've bought/built/painted over the last while, including a Spanish windmill only finished the Thursday before!

Robert played in this as well, commanding the French hussars, and also on his side was Harry (with the carabiniers).  The British rifles were under the command of Dan S., and my friend Brian from KEGS had the light dragoons, who had to wait a couple of turns to saddle up before they got into action.  The French victory conditions were to either take the crossroads by clearing the mill and granary of the British, or get a certain number/type of troops off the western exits, or just drive the British off the field completely.  The British had to stop all of that from happening.

The British rifles set up with their marksman hidden in the windmill, three riflemen in the mill on the second floor, and Lieutenant Lovecraft (it was a Mythos themed convention!) and three more riflemen were around the bridge.  The light dragoons, under Sergeant Reilly were saddling up behind the granary.

The French hussars decided to ride along the small trail to the main bridge, while the carabiniers would take the southern road towards the windmill.  
 This is about where things turned really wrong for the French, the riflemen in the open had moved into the swamp (good protection against cavalry!) and the riflemen in the mill had clear targets.  Also, the French carabiniers were rolling terribly!  About four turns in a row either the officer or the group he was ordering rolled a turnover.  They barely budged and the hussars were hung out to dry.

 More from that moment, you can see the smoke coming out of the mill.  And things get worse for the French as the light dragoons are up and on their mounts.  I really wanted this shot though to show off the windmill!

Near the mid-point of the game, despite the near-destruction of the hussars (4 out of 5, including Lieutenant Tindalos), the carabiniers are opening fire on the combined light dragoons and riflemen who are still out on the field.  Everyone's trying to hide behind shrubberies!  The riflemen soon retreated to the granary, and the light dragoons behind it to regroup and await the French moving towards the road edge.  One trait I gave the light dragoons to help balance things was Individualistic, meaning they couldn't be activated as a group.  It worked pretty well (and is pretty historic), though it frustrated Brian!

 Another shot from that moment in time.  The French were still rolling some really ill-timed turnovers!  The British had a couple, but nowhere near the frequency of the French - and all pretty troops had Elan, which with an officer or NCO meant they only needed to NOT roll a 1!  I'm also showing off my new roadside cross here, from Hovels.

The end game for the French - they've gotten close, but between some fire coming from the granary and their decision to tackle the light dragoons hand to hand, their end was nigh.

And that's a wrap for me at Broadsword 4 - a lot of fun at my second time at that convention, it was good to see a lot of friends again, and make some new ones.  I think my game went well, probably one of my best jobs at GMing, and SDS seemed to be popular.  A couple of the guys in the game had really wanted to play some Ganesha Games live and this was their first chance.

A few other AARs from Broadsword have shown up already too:
and on Facebook, the KEGS page.

Friday, August 25, 2017

D-1 for Broadsword 4

Did a last playtest last night of my Song of Drums and Shakos "Out of La Marisma" scenario for Broadsword 4 tomorrow in Hamilton.  I didn't pull out my mat as I was using my small 32x32 table (everything else is packed with projects!) and so some roads and rivers don't fit on like they will at 36x36.  But it looked good with my recent terrain finishes - grain sacks, roadside cross, gravestones, and windmill (minus the sweeps - since attached).

The French tried a new tactic, and lost - running off the hussars and letting the carabiniers fight through both the British rifles and light dragoons, specially when a marksman kills your hussar lieutenant at the table edge and routs the whole force!
The French marching on the table - so orderly! 

Shot of the British set-up, guarding the crossroads at the edge of the swamp. 

Overhead view of the British - the cavalry are actually behind the (yellow) granary, I just put them on the road to avoid messing things up. 

Near the game's end, a detachment of carabiniers work to force a bridge crossing against the last of the riflemen. 

Pretty much the end for the French - three light dragoons still left vs. a couple of carabiniers and Captain Dagon.  The turn after this another carabinier was killed and the officer was about to be charged.  The guys in the river are just my dead pile!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Getting closer to Broadsword 4

Continuing to get stuff ready for Broadsword 4 on Saturday, I finished (except for sealing) the bridge, and the windmill, roadside cross, and gravestones are all nearing completion, hopefully tonight.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

6mm Espinosa de los Monteros AAR (of sorts)

In today's blitz of posts, I'm also taking a stab at working through my backlog of in-game pictures from our club games in Scarborough using the Ruse de Guerre rules our host Glenn wrote for Polemos.  The rules have been out since the winter, and for a variety of reasons, including the publication of the rules, we've been having very busy game days recently.  This is from July, and as it was a heroic French victory, and I was on the French side, I'll post it first as I catch up on AARs.  The text of the AAR (below) itself is from Glenn.

Probably about mid-game, from the Spanish end of the table, the force on the hill is Spanish and is holding the dominant hill on the table, with its artillery having double the normal firing range and being blocked by nothing. 

Same time in the game (at least according to the photo time stamp), but without arms in the way and a slightly different view, this time being able to see over that big damn hill.

The end of the game - the hill on the left has been taken by the French, with the elite Spanish division there having routed off the table.  With the other two Spanish-held hills unable to support each other, they decided to withdraw across the river, surrendering the field to the French.

Glenn's report (he was umpiring) [also note I'm Chris, Christopher is another player who's been coming out lately]:

Blake (Bruce) was informed by his rear guard commander Romana (Dave) that unless the army offered battle his force would be overrun by the French. Blake decided to make his stand at Espinosa de los Monteros. After holding a council of war with his Divisional commanders the following battle plan was agreed upon. Martinengo & Mahy (Tish) would hold the high ground on the right flank. Riquelme & Mendizabal (Jason) would control the main road into Espinosa. Figueroa & Carbajal & Reyna (Doug) would control the high ground in front of Espinosa. They would also form a Grand Battery that could fire over most of the area to their front. Romana would take his crack Division to the high ground on the left flank. Once the French approached his position he would withdraw his men back behind the stream where the Grand Battery could destroy his pursuers.

Upon receiving word that the Spanish were deploying for battle Victor (Greg) developed his plan of action. Ruffin (Greg) would seize the high ground facing the Spanish right and hold them in place. Villatte (Christopher) would attack the Spanish left from the front while Lapisse (Chris) would attack them from the flank.

Ruffin exchanged artillery fire with the Spanish and took some heavy casualties. Two battalions were forced to retire due to their losses which greatly thinned the French line. At one point Martinengo & Mahy contemplated attacking the French but Blake refused to give that order.

Both Villatte and Lapisse pushed their men forward as fast as they could which gave Romana very little time to withdraw. Although he knew his position was precarious he was confident that his crack troops could handle the French. Today, however, Villattes men were ready for a good fight. Every volley brought death and destruction to the Spanish. Coupled with the pressure from Lapisse, Romana took personal command of his lead units only to be cut down in an attack.

Romanas second in command tried to pull the Division back together but it was too late. The force was too badly shaken from the loss of their leader and the never ending firing from all sides. The Division broke and fled.

Seeing the pressure that Romana was under Blake started to ride over to him, but it was too late. He could clearly see that without his crack Division his army could not stand against the French and he immediately ordered a withdrawal.

The "Honours of War" for this battle go to Christopher for taking down Romanas Division of 10 blocks.

Bus Fleet Arrives

These have been sitting around for a couple of weeks, but recently I picked up some buses off of Ebay for 15mm gaming.  Can't remember off the top of my head if they're true 15mm (1:100) or HO now, I think HO, but they look pretty good with my standard spare figure.


They'll be used in my Monster Hunter International (Horror) project, and any modern gaming I do.  Three are airport buses, the fourth is a police one, perfect for driving around prisoners that are being busted out by their buddies, or when you need to escape the zombie apocalypse by driving over the zombies.

Works in Progress for Broadsword 4

In a week and a half I'm running a four-player game of Gamesha Games' Song of Drums and Shakos in Hamilton (Ontario) for Broadsword 4, the local one-day game con.  I'm going to try out a new scenario, based in Spain still, that at least pulls in a bit of the con's theme for this go-round:  celebrating H.P. Lovecraft's birthday with Cthulhu-themed games/scenarios. I'm not bringing the Mythos into the game, but it's set in an isolated, supposedly haunted, part of Spain, and you might recognize a few names in the scenario description:

"Out of La Marisma - Spain, July 1813. Deep in the Irati Forest of the Pyrenees Mountains, near the Roncesvalle Pass, Lieutenant Lovecraft of the Rifles and Sergeant Reilly of the Light Dragoons have been keeping a piquet astride some swampy, well-nigh impassable, trails. However, the trails were less impassable than the British believed, and after days of scouting Captain Dagon of the Carabiniers and Lieutenant Tindalos of the Hussars now lead their French forces out of the morning mist to do an end run on the British defences in Spain. Each player will control 8-15 figures in a short, sharp cinematic skirmish."

This has necessitated (and thus got me to do something) some new terrain pieces, including a stone bridge, some gravestones, and a Spanish windmill (not pictured):



All still need some/lots work still.  The bridge (old JR Miniatures) needs the side stones and gravel to be drybrushed, and then some touch-ups before a white wash is used to wear down the red stones further.  The gravestones and roadside cross (Hovels) are just primed so far.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The True Story of the Bowling Green Massacre

With a title like that, I'm guaranteed to get tons (and even tonnes) of Google hits... :-)

Anyway, this past long weekend at a family gathering I played another game of Mighty Monsters with my nephew, getting some of the buildings I've used in other games onto the table again, but this time finally glued to their sidewalk bases.  Out for the first time was a new building (the "Time Warp Movie Theatre"), my nuclear reactor cooling towers (eventually to be based), some small-scale felt roads and rivers I've had from Gamecraft for a while, my scratchbuilt forests, and a bunch of scenics and vehicles/figures from my 3mm Vietnam project.

I've also put some more thought into running MM at a convention, so I bought some cheap plastic shot glasses from a dollar store and labelled them for each monster (over 70 glasses!).  If I was smart, I would have bought clear plastic glasses so everyone could see what colours of dice each monster has, but I didn't (and I'm not relabeling 70+ glasses!).  To offset that, but also because I can see a use for them, I'm looking at Litko now about markers and tokens to get for the game.  I also have now printed and laminated my monster sheets, though I may have a few tweaks to make for some of them.

The premise for the game is that the evil and/or alien kaiju have decided to prepare Earth for invasion from space by polluting the environment, including releasing radiation.  So they've come to a certain American city to do so, while heroic monsters and the army have come out to defend the planet.  The scenario takes its basis from the Stomp City Blues scenario in the rulebook, with each building (or block) being worth just half a VP to the bad guys (I had to ban my nephew from blowing up farmhouses - the schoolhouse was the minimum!), the reactors worth one apiece, and if a third went up then the whole plant melted down and a huge swath of land become alien-friendly - an automatic major victory.  For the good guys, only a body count of bad guys could get them VPs.

A long tweet (or game convention blurb) about the subject might just look like this:  Main-stream media won't report it, but through careful digging up of alternative facts, we present you with the mostly true made-up story of the Bowling Green Massacre!  Bad monster hombres, probably coming up through Mexico or blue states have attacked Bowling Green's coal, or maybe nuclear, or one of those powers, plants, bigly!  Only Godzilla can fix things!

My nephew had Destroyah and a Ultraman monster that I call and statted up as the Avatar of the Volcano God, I had an equivalent number of points in Godzilla, Mothra (1960s version), and four tanks and an infantry platoon.

The basic table layout, the nuclear plant and its four cooling towers are in the upper left, surrounded by a 15mm wall (proper chainlink fence still coming). 

Sideview of the table, and my nephew going through the monster cards to pick who he wanted. 

Close up of Bowling Green itself, with my buildings on their new bases, and the round building to the mid-left is the the Time Warp Movie Theatre (it has classic action movie posters up on its walls).

Destroyah flew onto the board, the slower moving (Avatar of the...) Volcano God behind. Destroyah has already done a number on the only working bridge across the river with his Oxygen-Destroyah (area effect) breath.  The schoolhouse is next.

Destroyah keeps flying, for some reason still far away from the nuke plant.  Godzilla and Mothra go out to meet the monsters, the army meanwhile tries to find a good blocking point.  At the bottom you can see my monster dice cups! 

It wasn't intentional, but I really like this and the next shots of Destroyah as a silhouette in the background.  May try to sepia tone this. 

Turns out Destroyah was really on an end-run through the city, destroying buildings with his breath weapon or his fists! 

My nephew knew the Time Warp Movie Theatre was special too me, so he made sure to blow it up! (I still need to make ruined versions of the building bases, so smoke would had to do).  But Mothra has swept in behind Destroyah now!  The Volcano God is still plodding along, he's paused at the river now.

Godzilla had to do a bit of a two-step peek-a-boo game with Destroyah, but now we had him trapped!  Unfortunately on Godzilla's first radioactive breath attack  I rolled a 1, so no more juice until a reactor went up!

I was playing some kaiju music I bought off WarGame Vault or RPGNow (Bailey Records), but here I wish I had the Flight of Valkyries going! 

A close up of Destroyah at NOE height. 

Things are going to hell in a handbasket now in Bowling Green.  Godzilla and Mothra are beating on Destroyah, but the Volcano God's gotten into the city and has the nuclear plant in his (fortunately short-ranged) sights.  The army forces are trying to shoot him, but he is pretty well armoured, and one of the tanks also forgot to bring its ammunition... However, Bowling Green was saved from radioactive disaster when the Volcano God's first (and only) shot at the cooling tower missed.  And then...

Big G showed up to fight him.  Meanwhile Mothra had released a poison gas cloud that was putting some hurt on Destroyah.  For some reason in his next turn my nephew decided to try to activate the Volcano God first AND chose to roll three dice, getting three failures, so Destroyah was stuck in the poisonous cloud of moth wing dust for another turn.

At that point though real life intervened - we'd played this over two mornings, avoiding my younger (2yo) nephews and their real life monster rampages, and it was a nice weekend so we packed up and spent the rest of it outside, doing proper summery things.

All told, I hadn't killed any monsters, so no VP for me; Destroyah was Stunned, almost Wounded, but nowhere near deaded.  I'd only taken one Wound for Mothra's use of the poisonous cloud.  Theo, however, had 3 VP for all of his rampaging destruction, so a Minor Victory to him. Again!