Thursday, February 15, 2018

Graveyard on Denley Moor

Jamie came over at the weekend (it was my birthday) and as well as going out for a meal we managed to get in a game of Pulp Alley on Saturday evening.

It’s been a while since we played an episode in my very slow PA campaign “The Quest for Faulkner’s Balls”. Over a year in fact! I knocked up a simple game using my new graveyard terrain module and the standard “Trail of Clues” scenario from the rule book.

Jamie played the Friends of the Reverend Featherstonehaugh and I looked after those vicious London criminals The Muswell Hill mob.

I wanted to have a go at using the vehicle rules from Gadgets, Guns and Vehicles. I gave the Rev’s Friends a Rolls Royce.  There was also a chap from the GPO working on the telegraph line that runs over the moor.  His van was a possible source of vehicular mayhem.

The main objective was to gain control of Captain Faulkner, the shell-shocked veteran of the trenches now often found wandering the moors with his dog Sergeant.

We each placed one minor Plot Point at the start of the game. Jamie placed a large earthenware pot beside the road and I put a wooden crate at the corner of the old graveyard.

Notter of the Muswell Hill Mob reached the crate and managed quickly to prize it open. Looking up from the contents he saw a Raven perched on the graveyard wall. “C’Mon Sergeant” it squawked!  (That was the next Plot Point that I placed).

Miller and Notter interrogate the raven
In the meantime the earthenware pot was proving harder to understand (I played a Peril) on Jamie’s character. As a result it took him longer to go for his second Plot Point (a hand drawn map).

A gun battle then developed between Notter on the Mob's side and The Count and PC Newthwaite on the other.

Miller, meanwhile, managed to get over the graveyard wall and persuade Faulkner of the wisdom of accompanying a man with a strategically placed automatic pistol.

One of Jamie's reward cards allowed him to extend the game to seven turns but it wasn't enough to prevent the Muswell Hill Mob making off with Faulkner and, presumably, his ancestor's mysterious journal too!

Look out for the next episode of the Quest for Faulkner's Balls - coming to a theatre near you soon! Well, eventually anyway.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Monumental Masonry

Inspired by some of terrain items I've seen decorating the tables in Dave Phipps's excellent Pulp Alley videos on Facebook, I decided to have a go at some of the bits and bobs I've had hanging around for a while.

The Renedra plastic gravestones, an old table-mat and some foamcore gave me this graveyard.

The surrounding wall is covered with brick-paper and topped with card coping stones.  The ground-cover is my usual painted-and-drybrushed tile grout covered with a new, home blended mix of fine flock and static grass.

I think the scale works well with 28mm figures...

... and looks OK with 1/72nd miniatures so this piece will probably appear in Andreivia this April.

Also newly off the painting desk is this statue.

Called die Trauernde or the Weeping One, it's from German manufacturer Zitterdes and came from Wargames Emporium.  It'll one day take its place in my planned Pavis setup for Song of Blades and Heroes.

And finally we have the couple of gargoyles I bought at the Edinburgh show in the summer.

These too are destined for Pavis.  They'll just be inanimate statues, won't they?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Vapnartak Weekend

An enjoyable trip to York today to the Vapnartak show and to catch up with various friends.  It was good to see Andy, Andy, Andy, Mark, and Mark as well as Jamie, Carl, Kenny, Will, and Annie.

I didn't take any photos this year but here's a pic of what I bought.

I've bought a second pack of Republican Roman cavalry from Curteys.  They'll form the cavalry ala of my second, Italian allied, legion.

The Tumbling Dice pack is a second set of WW1 Turkish infantry, which will give me a whole platoon (or a battalion in our bath-tubbed Andreivia campaign).

And finally, some very nice dark ages women defending their village with assorted improvised weapons - just the thing for our Lion Rampant Bacaudae games (or Argad if we decide to do some more).

I also bought some other stuff but I'm not allowed to tell you about that because it has to be wrapped up and given back to me on my birthday.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Just off the workbench - Punic War continued

Not much posted around here of late because I wanted to get these guys finished before posting pics.

First up we have some Republican Roman equites.

This ala of cavalry completes the first legion of my army.  They are Curteys Miniatures figures I bought at the Edinburgh show in August.

Having completed the first legion, I have of course started on a second.  This one will be made up of Italian allies.  First completed is this maniple of principes.

Bit of an experiment doing them all in white but I think it works OK.

I particularly like the mixture of armour styles in the Victrix Italian Allied Legion plastics set.  I really ought to have mixed and matched these guys in with the first legion.

Also completed recently was a second unit of Carthaginian citizen levy spearmen.

That's the last of those guys I'll be building for a bit; you really only need them when the Carthaginian army is "playing at home" in North Africa.

Taken together with the previous unit and the General (again mostly Victrix plastics) they make for a nice mass effect.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

More Boardgaming

I've been busy with craft knife and paper glue the past week.  As well as having a go at assembling some paper buildings I found in the bits-that-might-be-useful-for-terrain-drawer I've finally got around to putting together the counter for a Vae Victis magazine game.

The game in question is Alsace 1944 from Vae Victis issue 59.  Appropriate given my plans to build an American platoon for that campaign for Chain of Command.

The game covers the French First Army's battle to fight their way through southern Alsace to the Rhine in November 1944.  This is interesting because most of my reading so far has been about northern Alsace and the battles around the German Nordwind offensive in late December and January of 1945.

Most of the boardgames in my possession date back to the 1980s - Squad Leader, Dragon Pass and the like.  Boardgames have got a lot prettier since then:

Unfortunately I don't think any of my regular wargaming mates are going to want to put aside the time to get the hang of the rules for this game so I'll probably have to play it solo.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I've Got a Table

I spent some time over the weekend tidying the absent Jamie's bedroom and making room for a folding table we recently acquired from friends who were clearing an elderly relative's house.

Having set up the table I thought (a) this might be big enough for a small game, and (b) I could leave something set up here for weeks without it being disturbed.

So here we go.  I've dusted off (literally) Sixth Fleet and will be exploring the solo joys of 1980s-style hex-and-counter boardgaming.

Now can I remember how this works?

Update: I can now. Played the "Aircraft Carrier Operations" scenario.  Marginal victory for the Americans; they lost USS Kennedy but wreaked havoc among the Soviet convoys first.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My Gaming Review of 2017

Slightly arse-about-face here but having looked forward to 2018 how about last year?  I'll follow again the structure used by the Meeples and Miniatures guys starting with best games of 2017:

In fifth place is a board game, Tsuro.

In terms of its physical components this is the most gorgeous board game I own. It takes no time to set up, not much longer to explain and about ten minutes to play.  As such it's been brought out more than once when Saturday Afternoon Wargames have finished early.

In fourth place it's Arc of Fire.

This set of twentieth century large skirmish rules just carries on delivering for me.  It's been the game engine behind the large, multi-player Andreivian games at Crisis Point and has worked equally well for 1918 and the 1990s. This year Chris Barnes and I got in a game with his new Cold War Brits too.

In third place this year it's the X-Wing Miniatures Game.

This is another game that you can just pull out and play without too much preparation (not as quick as Tsuro though).  Although it's mostly played one-on-one with equal-point forces, I prefer to use it for scenario-based games such as the bombing run game we played this Christmas.  TIE Bombers are just so cute!

So that's X-Wing down a place from last year.  Its previous second place has been taken by Sharp Practice 2.

SP2 is a considerable improvement over the first edition. The new command-flags-based mechanism is very clever and the game seems to be slightly less prone to chance events completely screwing a player's game experience and an umpire's carefully designed scenario.  Even so it's taken me a while to appreciate that the way to go is to keep the scenario very simple and let the game mechanics drive an interesting narrative.

And in first place, again this year, it's Chain of Command.

Although it's not quite been the most played game this year (SP2 takes that crown) it does remain the game I'm most keen to keep playing. Just as, a few years back, Cold War Commander resurrected my 6mm scale moderns collection so CoC has me looking at my 1/72nd scale WW2 toys with fresh eyes.  A winter 1944/45 American platoon is now approaching the painting desk.

So now we move on to the Biggest Disappointment Category.  Here I'm afraid it's the Gripping Beast plastic Dark Age Cavalry.

Although the timing of their arrival was ideal for me, the actuality was underwhelming. Only three basic poses and all of them with those annoying short-sleeved tops....  They aren't at present demanding that I finish them.

The Favourite Models of the Year category goes to another 28mm plastics manufacturer. The Victrix ancients range has provided me with Numidians, Carthaginians, Romans and Italian allies so far and I won't be hesitating to buy their Iberian cavalry when the painting schedule allows.

So that was 2017 in gaming for me.  Boardgames aside I reckon I played and/or organised 18 games; not as many as I'd like but probably as many as I should given other commitments!