Monday, May 7, 2018

Broadsword 5

I hadn't realized it'd been so long since my last post, but I blame Twitter :-) Since I changed jobs at work in the new year, I haven't been responsible for a work Twitter account which has let me get my own personal one that I devote to hobbies (gaming and Canadian football), so my instant gratification for game reports, painting successes and mad purchases goes there.  I'll try to catch up, though I see I still have photos from conventions in 2014 that haven't made it here!

Anyway, this post is prompted by my attendance at Broadsword 5 in Hamilton last Saturday.  I had committed to host a game in the afternoon, a new scenario for Song of Drums and Shakos, and then in my enthusiasm for Toofatlardies new What a Tanker rules, I convinced my friend Mike to bring his tanks and we'd use my terrain in the evening to put on a game and learn the game ourselves.  So that left the morning for me to play in a game, more on that in a second.

First though, some photos of some of the new terrain and scenics I prepped for the SDS game, another 1812 in Russia scenario.  These are 15mm MDF sleds from Things From the Basement:
Obviously the one on the bottom left will also be used for Christmas scenarios in Fear & Faith games (Monster Hunter International), when snowmen go bad!

Next up are some Novus Design Studios 15mm pieces, two livestock pens and a rickety wooden bridge.  I did one pen for the winter (below), the other for the summer (still needs its flock), and the bridge in the middle is sort of generic, not committing itself to a season.

The night before the con all of southern Ontario was under a wicked wind storm - one brother in the eastern part of the province lost a good chunk of his roof, another in the same city had nothing happen.  My mother lost a tree (actually her neighbour did, it landed on her property though!), and another brother in the western end of the province lost a few shingles but his neighbours got hammered).  I kept my car far away from any trees till the winds blew down, and otherwise avoided any damage, though my town got beat up pretty good.  The point of this aside is my gaming buddy Ron, who was going to come with me and run his own game in the evening, lost a chunk of roof and a 40' pine tree that landed in his neighbour's driveway (not sure if cars got crushed or not), and therefore had to bail on coming.

So I had a solo drive from Peterborough to Hamilton and got there in plenty of time to kibbitz with the fellows.  I also got a good parking spot to make my haulage distance bearable.  The extra time did cost me though, as I ended up buying a couple of t-shirts on offer, one of the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society's flagship "Peace Through Superior Firepower" club shirts, and a cool faux "Drink Coca Cola" Cthulhu shirt.

For the morning session I played Dux Bellorum by Dan Mersey (Osprey Games) for the first time, one of the few rulesets of his I don't have.  Working from my 1/8th Welsh heritage, I chose to play Welsh raiders making their way back with some cattle liberated from those filthy Anglo-Saxons (possibly 1/8 to 1/4 of my other heritage though - these decisions are so complicated).  The game was set up as basically two side-by-side battles, two of us Welsh (Howard and I), with Howard facing John and me up against Alex.  It was a very congenial game, and the rules were pretty simple to pick up, though it took me a while to sort out a good use for the skirmishers.

And we'd obviously forgotten to milk the cows before we made off with them, because they were bloody slow!  I only got 2" of movement out of them on the last turn, otherwise it was 1", 1", 1", 1"...

Some of the intense early fighting as the battlelines met:

Reinforcements for the Welsh!  After about 500 messages begging for them...
Pretty fun game with good company.  Not sure I have any ready projects that I could use the rules for, at least until maybe someone makes some 3mm Dark Ages (looking at you Magister Militum).

Then it was a chicken salad sandwich and buying some MDF bases for my Anglo-Zulu Wars / The Men Who Would Be Kings project (Dan Mersey again) and possibly 3mm samurai (Chrysanthemum Throne / The Pikeman's Lament (uh, Dan Mersey) / Irregular Wars).  I wasn't sure 3mm bases would work for 3mm figures, but since this will be truly big battles, with 30-64 figures per base, when I did a test set-up later they looked ok.  I also picked up some resin craters, all from 6 Squared Studios.

After the food, I set up my Song of Drums and Shakos game, this scenario being the "Thin Sled Line", where retreating French infantry have barricaded most of the table but Russian infantry have flanked them.  Also playing a part are Cossacks and French Hussars.  I'll do another post with my last playtest game later, as I only got this one shot of my game Saturday:
Not sure why it looks snowy maybe my phone's camera was suffering from condensation, the room was getting a bit muggy.  Hopefully some of the other attendees with cameras will do a full recap for us, I'll post a link later.

The game itself went ok, it ended with a fairly quick convincing French win, which I'd never seen in playtesting.  Oddly the Russians had one returning player and the other has the rules and read them, and the newbies whipped them despite a suspect initial set-up that left potentially lots of gaps for the Cossacks if they'd been bolder.  It was only an ok game for me as GM as I had one player struggling to get the rules; I was rushed at the start and didn't bring out my "So It's Your Turn" intro guide, and I think that was a mistake.

For the evening timeslot, I'd asked my local friend Mike to bring out his HO scale-ish WWII tanks to go with my 15mm terrain for a game of the new Toofatlardies rules "What a Tanker!".  Both of us were interested in them, but other than a few solo games by me in 6mm to get myself ready for Broadsword, neither of us had played.

I set up a bigger 6x4 winter mat and brought out all of my Russian village and most of my road pieces and winter trees to fill the table.  We opened it up to another four players to sign up for, for a full game of six (all I had the tokens for).  It was a Long Ball/King of the Ring scenario, so no real objectives other than blowing the enemy up.  Mike's tanks weren't really balanced, so we started with a Pz.IVB (me!), a IVG, and a StuG III on the German side, and two T-37/76s and a Lend Lease Sherman for the communists.  As tanks died, better tanks could come up - Tigers, KV-1, SU-152.  And tanks died...

A few pictures to tell the story:
The long view of our table.  The river was fordable, didn't want to make the Russians go over that bridge! 

The side view of the table, Germans coming from the left, Soviets from the right. 

The first kill of the game, Brian in the StuG IIIG took out the Lend Lease Sherman - oddly it ended up being Brian's only kill, but then he was also the only player to survive the entire game in his original vehicle, so he claims to have been the biggest tanker. 

The line-up of Brian's shot. 

Alas, I was the second player to have his tank deaded, killed by a T-34.  I almost had a wicked shot on one of the other T-34s, but after getting to rolling my damage dice with 3 sixes out of 4 dice, I realized I'd been buttoned and didn't have enough acquisition dice to walk through the acquire-aim-shoot sequence, so I had to take all that drama back! 

I did, however, eventually get one of T-34s when I came back as a Tiger (handy trick, that), and then as the game was winding down I got a second kill on the SU-152 when it kindly decided to stop facing me off and gave me a flank.  Here's the view with my Tiger carefully concealed behind a shrubbery and the 152 in the distance.

And here's the close-up from another side of the table, just so the reporters wouldn't miss this news:

In the end, two of us had two kills, but both of us lost tanks; Brian had one kill and no losses, and Keith (the other German) had one kill and one loss.  Both Keith and I got our first kills by finishing off guys Brian had damaged, but that's the way the cookie crumbles...

With that I attempted to escape Hamilton, which was harder than usual as the bridge over the harbour was closed for construction and I had to drive through most of the city to get out.  Got back at a solid 2:30am and that wrote off most of Sunday for me...

Broadsword 6 is in August and I'll be back with at least another SDS game.  A few other things are in the near-done pile and we'll see how my focus holds up over the summer.  I'm off to CanGames in Ottawa the weekend after next, just to play games though!