Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hotleading Part Two

Here's the set-up for my second four-player Song of Drums and Shakos scenario, Troubles with the Ladies of Spain.  An escort of French Voltigeurs guarding their General has to hold off squads of the 95th Rifles and British Lights until French Dragoons can (hopefully) ride to their rescue.
The British get to choose which side they come in on, then the Dragoons are random arrivals.

I just have to pack everything back up tonight then I'm ready to go to Stratford tomorrow.  Guess I should stop in at the bank machine as well, the shopping list was the first thing I packed!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Hotlead 2017 is only two days away and while I'm still three years behind on posting pictures from past Hotleads, here's a scoop on my games for this year's convention.  I have two game sessions planned, one Friday night, one Sunday morning, and this is the first time I'm running games at Hotlead.

First up Friday is a set of scenarios using the Silent Death space fighter rules in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens setting.  The ship designs are in their own little universe here, not balanced with the classic period SW ship designs I've had done for years (just waiting for me to finish painting the bleeping ships).  

The ships themselves are Titanium Black Series prepainted "diecasts" (if diescast = largely plastic) plus a couple of Hot Wheels ones thrown in.  A Rogue One ship slipped in, as before the movie came out I just thought it was a background SW:TFA ship, as did The Ghost from one of the animated series.

Here's a group shot of most ships (more TIEs have been added since):
Below are the Hot Wheels additions after a wash to dirty them up and a starry paint job on their bases.  The Corellian Corvette is actually going to be used in the classic period, I have a newfangled type I bought off Shapeways ages ago that will work better as a modern incarnation of the Corvette - once I paint the thing up!  The Y-Wing is too big to fit in with my classic-era Y-Wings from Studio Bergstrom, so it's here for the first scenario I'll be running Friday - Last of the Red Hot Y-Wings.  The granddaughter of the one surviving Y-Wing pilot from the attack on the first Death Star escapes from the First Order with grandpa's ship (and her boyfriend in the back), and X-Wings and TIE/sf ships get to fight over her.
Next, a shot partway through a playtest game of the second scenario, Knives to a Gunfight, that I played with my 6yo nephew last month.  I learned a few things (even the new First Order TIEs need help against X-Wings) as my nephew cleaned my clock!
The third scenario Friday, if we have time to get to it, will see the Resistance trying to shoot down Kylo Ren's shuttle as he escapes a planet after another fruitless search for clues as to Luke Skywalker's whereabouts.  It's entitled Fly Kylo Fly!

Then Sunday I'm going to run some 4-player Song of Drums and Shakos Napoleonics skirmish scenarios.  Learning from KEGSCon, I'm just putting on two scenarios, upscaled variants of The Last Pig in Russia and Troubles with the Ladies of Spain.

I cut off the top of the playing area, but here's the 3'x3' version of The Last Pig in Russia:
And I gamed it out one last time as I was packing it up, using the "set everything up and pack it up straight away" approach to making sure I didn't forget anything.
I'm free to game Saturday, so I hope to get into a 6mm I Ain't Been Shot Mum game, maybe some ancients, and then I have a plethora of options Saturday night, including more ancients, samurai with rules I really want to try, and a game of The Pikeman's Lament, for which I already have a project planned and purchased!

I also hope to pick up some more 15mm 4Ground terrain and vehicles and bits and pieces for 20mm Chain of Command.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dollar Store 3D Landmarks - Completed

Well I spent an hour or so last night putting together the 3D puzzles from the dollar store (see previous post) that I wanted for my own kaiju gaming:
They went together pretty well, except for the Petronas Twin Towers, which are going to require some gluing because of the way they are packaged (the tall towers are folded in half in the packaging and come out...a bit limp).

The rest work, most are closer to 1/1200or smaller (way smaller in the case of Petronas and the other tower), but a couple are probably near spot-on 1/600 (or 3mm).

So I got 10 models out of the deal, my nephew will get 10 for his gaming.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dollar Store Find - Cheap 3D Landmarks

I was in a local dollar store (Dollarama in Canada) searching for some cheap plastic hand soap dishes to use as the top cover for an underground giant monster prison (that makes perfect sense to me!), when I came across a rack of cheap (pack of 2 for $1) 3D puzzles of famous landmarks.  I bought them all - really, every one, even the doubles - right away!

Here they are spread out:
It's hard to tell what scale they are until I put them together, but I'm guessing most range somewhere along the 1/300 (6mm) to 1/600 (3mm) to 1/900-1/1200 (2mm/aeronef) continuum, though the windmill seems like it may be large.

They are definitely at the low-end of the 3D puzzle (never mind wargames terrain) quality scale, but I see two uses for them;

1) A quick and dirty way to add a landmark to a city for kaiju (giant monster) gaming.  I have Tokyo, New York, Toronto, and a generic Monster City layouts in development using higher end 3D puzzles and other trinkets as landmarks and cardstock buildings for the rest, but by dropping one of these on a table with some generic buildings gives me Moscow, Barcelona, Istanbul, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, etc.  Great for a worldwide kaiju campaign (or recreating Destroy All Monsters or Final Wars)!

2) Giving away to my nephew for his kaiju gaming/playing.  He has a city board I made of foamboard and spare foam cutouts, and now I'll give him whatever doesn't work for me (he's scale immune - action figures and 3" Godzillas on the same table are fair game) and all of the doubles I picked up.

And ironically, I couldn't find the soap dishes!  I did find some crystalline space monsters and a space station disguised as Xmas decorations though, as well as the big find above.

FYI, there isn't any brand name on the puzzles, just Made in China and $1!

Monday, November 7, 2016

"Fayre Winds and Foul Tides" now out!

As you'll recall (maybe) from March, I was playtesting a supplement for Ganesha Games' great Galleys & Galleons age of sail/pirate rules by Nic Wright, and those rules are now out!

And available here:

The blurb covers what's in the book at a high level, I'll mainly be using it to make my voodoo and ghost pirate factions more spooky, and give the good guys some options to fight them.

It also comes with a ton (or tonne) of newly rated ships as well (don't think the blurb mentions that) - over 20 pages worth!  It gets the game into some new periods or genres too, so all those unpainted Uncharted Seas ships I have sitting in a box could be used with these rules, though Wessex's Strange Tydes was originally slated for them.  I think you could even do fast and furious ACW Ironclads rules with them, though the purists will probably freak out.

Friday, September 30, 2016


KEGSCon is a small, local (to them, not me!) convention hosted by the Kent-Essex Gaming Society (KEGS - see what they did there?) in Chatham, a town in south-western Ontario. I've played in several games at Hotlead hosted by KEGS members over the years and gotten to know a few of them pretty well, even went down to the USAF's National Museum this summer with some of them.

I've been invited to KEGSCon a few times, but it's about five hours away and in the fall I often have conflicts with work or football on weekends, but this year it all worked out and not only did I make the trip, but (holy of holies) I even volunteered to run some Song of Drums and Shakos games during one of the sessions.

As I've posted, I had six scenarios ready to go, and I figured I'd run two games of two players each concurrently, bouncing back and forth to help them play, while also setting up the next scenario as they rotated around through the three boards (each with two potential scenarios).

Turns out that would probably have been a bad idea, I had two players sign up and getting them started took all my time; having another game beside theirs with the same level of help needed would have swamped me and probably ruined the experience for all involved.  I think now that a four-player game would have been a better approach, maybe on a 3'x3' board, and had maybe just 2-3 scenarios ready (which would have saved my sanity leading up to the Con).

I also had created a large (and large-print) QRS on an easel, and while it works for me, it doesn't really work for newbies.  A paper QRS (which I had on hand for them too) and a simpler big QRS would have been better, I think, the big QRS just having a few questions and answers for them.

Something like:
It's Your Turn!

Who Do You Want to Activate?

How Many Dice Do You Want to Roll (1, 2, 3)?

What Do You Want to Do? 
(with a list of potential actions and costs)

That would have covered the basics and their common questions/issues as they got in synch with the game.

Anyway, as I ponder what to do for the next time I run a game, here a couple of photos of my games in mid-action, and the wrap-up game for the convention - a 20+ player wild west shootout in 28mm!

Find The Maps in mid-game (an eventual French victory)

Stop Shooting Those Cannons At Me! in mid-game

Some of the final bloodbath in a Russian victory over the French

The Wild West free-for-all, my guy is on the porch of the red building in the bottom left

Song of Drums and Shakos Boards

I showed one of these off last week, but here's the full set of six boards I had ready Song of Drums and Shakos scenarios at KEGSCon last week (I'll report on that in my next post).  I had three basic mats - snow, grass, urban - and two scenarios set for each.

Stop Shooting Those Cannons At Me!

The Last Pig in Russia

Find the Maps

Troubles With The Ladies Of Spain

Take The Streets

Klepakhov's Heroes

As it turns out, we only got two of the tables (Cannons and Maps) into action, but I'll talk about why that was probably a good thing in my next post.  But I'm now all set up for lots of SDS gaming, with these maps/scenarios and more in development.  A pile of terrain was finished in the last two months once I had the hard target of KEGSCon to work towards.