Monday, November 25, 2013

Fall In Convention

Due to scheduling, my attendance at Fall In 2013 was sporadic. Fortunately, I live only about 40 minutes away from the Lancaster Host so I commuted for Friday and part of Saturday. First, some general observations, as some other folks mentioned, attendance seemed to be light, especially on Friday. I noticed lots of games cancelled and at least two GM said they cancelled because they didn't have any players. I normally run big games with 10-12 players but this time I was lucky to have 6 players in the game I ran on Saturday afternoon. Despite that, I had a very good time, it was a good convention, and everyone else I talked to felt the same.

The game I ran was my weird science Roman game, Res Mechanica, that I had run at Historicon. The scenario took place at the end of the Year of the Four Emperors but in a world in which the Romans developed high technology. Vespasian's brother and his son and their retinues barricade themselves onto the Capitoline Hill after a failed attempt to get the rival Emperor Vitellius to abdicate. As the Capitoline is being assaulted by Vitellian die-hards, the Flavian relief forces, consisting of a strong cavalry force, including steam cavalry with the allied Sarmatian Ruritanii as well as the air and land ship elements of the Roman Fleet.

At Historicon, the Flavians prevailed through a slow advance that wore down the Vitellian defenders to break through. At Fall In, the Roman Fleet player pushed past the Briton and Amazon defenders and got into the city very early. There they met disaster. First a unit of Praetorians disembarked at a wine shop. Then Balteus (an ancestor of Blackadder's Baldrick) used his "cunning plan" ability to toss a augury chicken into the Archimedean heat ray of the landship, causing a grease fire that stopped the ship. The Vitellian Trojan Horse came up behind and set further fire to it. This caused a neighboring insula to catch fire that ultimately caused the destruction of the airship. On the other side of the board, the Flavian cavalry was chewed up but did get its big steam car into the city in time to break up the final Vitellian assault on the Capotiline. In the city itself, the Vitellians tried repeated to storm the Hill but were beaten back each time but it was a very close run thing. The big winner turned out to be Nigerapis (Blackadder) who abandoned the Vitellian side and ran off with Vitellius treasure and Mrs. Vitellius.

I ended up receiving an award for best game in my time slot.

The only other game I had chance to play in was Howard Whitehouse's Chainmail Bikini. As expected it was a great time. Four player leading teams of adventurers entered d a dungeon from four directions, hoping to rescue a prisoner being held in the dungeon. The rest of us players ran the barbarians and other things that were defending the dungeon. I got to play Nostril the Necromancer, the main villain who amazingly survived to retire, along with a withc from one of the other player teams, to run an Orange Smoothie stand in Boca Rotan, FLA. It was that kind of game.

Chainmail Bikini is the fantasy version of Howard's Astounding Tales!. He's added some really great features to CB, tactic cards, to enhance the hand-to-hand fighting rules. The rules should be published in the near future.

These are pictures of the "other City of Rome" game, Cy Taylor's Gangs of Rome. I was disappointed that I could fit this game in my schedule, it looked like great fun.

There was another anachronistic tech game, this based on the ideas of Leonardo Da Vinci:

Here's some other games that caught my eye:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Touch of Evil Boardgame

I had picked up the Flying Frog Production's boardgame A Touch of Evil a few months ago but finally got a chance to play it recently.

A Touch of Evil is essentially a programed RPG with a Gothic Horror theme. It is clearly inspired by the movie Sleepy Hollow and is set in that generic 18th century world that the old Hammer Studio movies seems to relish. The object of the game is to save the town of Shadowbrook from one of four types of monsters: a vampire, a werewolf, a spectral horseman, or an animated scarecrow. The players take the role of one of eight pre-generated characters who are investigating the strange events in the town. The game is played by wandering around the town and its surroundings gathering up Investigation chits. The Investigation chits are used to buy equipment as well as information about the town's six Elders who may help the heroes or end up joining the Villain. Once enough chits are gathered, the characters can buy a card giving them the whereabouts of the Villian's lair where they can fight the final showdown with the Villian. In the meantime, the Villian can send various minions against the characters and begin to take over the town.

Here's a picture of the board. It is an area movement game. Most of the action is driven by various decks of cards that generate events. There is a general Event deck (mostly good events)and a Mystery deck (mostly bad events). The plot really is driven by investigating the four "corner" locations each of which has its own event deck: The Manor, the Abandoned Keep, the Old Woods, and the Windmill. Below is a picture of the suggested layout:

It is a fun, quick moving game with simple mechanics, definitely good for a one night session. It comes with eight unpainted plastic playing pieces, roughly about 28mm, for the heroes. While painting them up, I got the idea about trying to do the whole game as a tabletop miniatures game. It worked out pretty well. Here's what the "board" ended up looking like:

Most of the buildings were decorative pieces I picked up in gift shops on sale rather than gaming items. They are slightly underscale which works fine for a "board game" setting.

Town Center

Here are the critical four corners:

The hero pieces that came with the game.

For the other game pieces, I used figures already in my collection, mostly Old Glory and West Wind with some Brigade,Foundry, and a few other companies thrown in.

The Town Elders:

The Town Militia:

Various other allies the heroes came gain through some of the card draws:

For this game, we used the vampire and minions of bats, wolves, walking dead, and succubi.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Terror on the Moscow Road - Forces of Darkness

Here's some pictures of the tormentors of the Grande Armee for my Retreat from Moscow horror game. The more conventional pursuers will be Cossacks. Most of these figures are either Foundry or Old Glory. I know these are designed for the 17th-18th century period but, as I had a lot of these already, I figured I could consider them some of the more irregular bands of Cossacks rather than the uniformed ones.

A fearsome leadership

A Sled gun. The gun is an old Flagship naval gun and the carriage is scratch-built out of wood and cardboard. The crew are slightly coverted 17th century Polish artillerymen from Old Glory.

Perry Opolchenie Cavalry, to represent more regular forces. I got them mostly for the impressive hats.

Children of the Night - Wampyri

Erszbet Batory, the Blood Countess

Wolves - the werewolves are West Wind, the dire wolves are Blue Moon and the ordinary wolves are some very old ones, Ral Partha maybe?

Vive L'Empereur?