Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Goldielocks Invasion: A Chain Reaction 3 Report

The other night, I decided to turn the one-shot Chain Reaction 3 game I had played into the start of a mini - campaign just try out the CR3 campaign system. As I had been victorious, the next scenario per the rules was The Raid.

The setup:

Although their encounter with the Control Battalion had been successful, Goldielocks [Rep 5, Star] wasn't surprised when the Ursids departed with their scotch and cigars.They're mercenaries after all and they had another job lined up. [In other words, I failed the Stay or Go test for all four Ursids]

When the call came into command that a Control Battalion monitoring station had been located in a settlement in Sector IG-88, the resistance hadn't enough bodies to assemble a new team. Either they'd have to wait to go in - which meant that Control would have more time to gather intel - or Goldielocks would have to go it alone, get in, steal the data off of their monitoring system and get out. She chose to go it alone.

The Raid:

[EAL remained at 3 from the first encounter. One PEF was placed in the monitoring station and the other two were placed per the rules for PEFs. The first PEF was resolved when it moved out of the village into Goldielocks' line of sight. It ended up being a "Here They Come Result", and both groups were the same size as my party of 1. The first "group" is a rep 4 grunt, while the second group, in the village center, is the NPC star leader, REP 5]

I opted to just use dice for In Sight on the table instead of my Decluttering Players Aid
As the Control Battalion infantry [using the PEF Movement Table] rounded the corner, Goldielocks reacted quickly and opened up on the hapless grunt with her SMG:

"That was easy. Too easy." thought Goldielocks. She didn't have to wait long for it to get annoyingly difficult.

The Control Battalion leader [using the NP Force Movement Table] burst through the building between him and Goldielocks in order to get a clear shot at her through a window:

[The resulting shoot out was costly - both sides needed to spend Star Power to avoid being taken down]

After a heated exchange, Goldielocks took advantage of a brief lull to fall back to the woods.

PEF 2 Looms Menacingly in the Background
Figuring she could swing around the village and make her way to the monitoring station that way she moved through the woods. As she approached the edge of the woods, she cursed under her breath. "Damn it! More CB!"

[Resolved 2nd PEF. Another C result. Both groups ended up the same size as my party. Both were Rep 4 grunts. In Sights were rolled]

A hail of bullets later and the two grunts had been knocked out of the fight:

The markers say Knocked Down, but they were actually OOF
"Nighty night creeps!"

Realizing the enemy leader was still in the village, Goldielocks figured he'd be able to get plenty of shots off at her if she tried to run without going for some kind of cover. She checked her clip and took off running for one of the buildings in the village.

A spray of bullets riddled the door frame as she slammed the door shut. She thought to engage the enemy in a firefight but decided that she would be better off trying to make it to the monitoring station to put some distance between them.

To her surprise the monitoring station was empty [The PEF resolved as Nerves and the EAL went up to 4 - which has no effect this game, but will effect the next scenario]. She immediately set about downloading the contents of their server to her data pack.

Meanwhile, the Control Battalion leader made his way to the monitoring station.

He burst in on Goldielocks but she was waiting.

The exchange was brief:

Not to take any chances he'd get back on his feet [he was out of Star Power and could only get back to stunned], she opted to take him out:

As soon as the data finished transferring and she had replaced the contents of the server with garbage, she slipped out of the station to work her way back to base, a trail of bodies in her wake:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The One Where I Find Some People to Game With

After much "encouragement" from Lady Shadowmoss to get out of the house for a few hours once in awhile for some "baby free" time, I found myself a group of gamers on that host a wide variety of events. I promptly signed up for a game that sounded interesting and Saturday, I played in an Unknown Armies one-shot. 

It was a blast!

I was totally unfamiliar with the system, but the GM did a fantastic job explaining the rules we'd need to know. As players, we all got into our characters for the most part, in spite of all being pre-gens, and there seemed to be very little dice rolling as most of the game was driven by our interactions.

This weekend coming up, I'll be participating in a game of Fiasco and a couple of us are trying to work out scheduling to give Dungeon Crawl Classics a try soon.

Now, for the concerned among you, don't for a second think I'm giving up solo gaming. Hardly.

It just so happens that since Young Lord Shadowmoss was born I've spent a great deal of time around the house. While I've encouraged Lady Shadowmoss to go out and get away for an afternoon or evening, I've been reluctant to make requests for similar breaks myself (when one of us goes out, the other stays with the baby, except for our monthly date night when we get a sitter). Lady Shadowmoss has been trying to nudge me to take this step for months now. 

In the past, I'd have likely started or joined another band. And although I may do that at some point in the future, at this point, they require more commitment than I want to make away from my son.  A gaming group that I can attend for a few hours once or twice a month when it fits my schedule, on the other hand, seems to fit the bill perfectly.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Manor #1: A Review for Solo Gamers

I love zines - hand produced diy labors of love in print (I'm sorry,while I enjoy e-format only publications, where I'm from, zines are made with dead trees). In grad school, I even incorporated them into my final project for my advanced cataloging course. So, when I stumbled upon blogs talking about The Manor, produced by Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor, I hustled over and ordered a copy.

Some Recent Arrivals
Plenty of others have written up reviews (and mentioned the Umber Hulk poem), so you won't get that here. What I want to do is look at it from the perspective of a solo RPGer.

First off, there's nothing here that's really system specific, although it does lean towards "old school" fantasy. With little effort, you should be able to adapt the stats, when given, to whatever game you use - be it Labyrinth Lord, D&D B/X, USR, Risus, whatever. Ditto for his use of the silver standard.

The included micro adventure, "The Salt Pit", is essentially a dungeon crawl, um, in a salt pit for low level characters. As a discussion on SoloNexus brought up, there are a variety of ways to play a "module" solo.

I chose to play the role of GM, letting Mythic act as a player emulator, thus avoiding the problems having meta-game knowledge might cause. Mythic threw me a curve ball right away when the party (a 1st level Magic User and a 1st level Fighter) came up with a completely unexpected way to meet the objective. It didn't matter in the end. The adventure ended in a TPK - one of those deaths caused by falling damage.

It was a good time and took maybe 2 hours including rolling up my characters in B/X- and the characters missed most of the things they could explore (due to the aforementioned falling). Played this way it was an enjoyable evening's entertainment. In fact, I'm planning to send in another party since the problem still persists.

However, Mr. Shorts has done us solo gamers a favor, perhaps unintentionally.

He has shaded parts of the descriptions - the GM's portion - for each area. Also worked into the adventure, players will have foreknowledge of the general layout of the salt pit. As such, the map doesn't provide as much meta-game knowledge as it could. You could play this as a straight up solitaire crawl - without Mythic or similar - just by avoiding reading the grey sections until you do something that you think merits it.

Of course, it might not be as smooth as randomly generating the contents/encounters, but you can just add a test whether or not the GM's notes are accurate (an idea I've stolen borrowed from J.F. at SoloNexus and the above mentioned post) by using a d6:

1 Yes and ...

2-3 Yes but...

4-5 No but...

6 No and...

Fill in the blanks however you'd like and roll.

As would be expected, the random treasure table for this adventure is usable as is for solitaire play - within this adventure and others (although it is somewhat "specialized" shall we say?)

"20 Random Forest Encounters" could easily be modified for use in a solo hex crawl. Each encounter is sketched out and once again, GM info is in grey, making it easy to avoid reading too much before deciding on your actions. Here, too, I'd make use of the test for accuracy of the GM's info  if you're playing the role of PC and not GM.

Finally, I'll mention the three adventure hooks for the included NPC.

Any one of these hooks can be played as a solo adventure, but the first, "Bugbear Boots" seems to me to lend itself to this the best. "Bugbear Boots" contains little information that the player character couldn't know in advance. Using Mythic, Rory's Story Cubes or whatever you like, there's potential here for a short adventure for a low level party.

The other two will require more modification, as some of the information your character shouldn't have -although a Mythic interrupt or altered scene could make their info moot anyway.
If you have $3.50, I think this is absolutely worth picking up if you play solo. At the very least, you'll be supporting a creative effort that benefits the hobby. Even better, you  get at least two solitaire gaming sessions out of the material included.

For those who prefer e-publications, it's available now as a PDF as well for $2.50.

High Fantasy + CSI: An Improvised Unbelievably Simple Role-playing (USR) Adventure

The other night, Lady Shadowmoss wanted to play an RPG while she worked on a sewing project. I had nothing prepared, and so was hesitant at first. She also isn't familiar with any rule system - even those she's played games in several times, including the LARP she plays several weekends a year! After a little thought, I decided that by using Mythic to aid in the story creation and Unbelievably Simple Role-playing (USR) to handle the mechanics, it would most likely be a good time.

The more serious minded among you will probably shudder at the over the top-ness of some of what follows:

Scene: 1 Chaos: 5
Veruka Pepper* was sent by the Order of the Light (an independent, now non-religious, organization that has tasked itself with recovering and destroying evil artifacts. Think Friday the 13th TV series) to the village of Hinchcliffe where she was to meet with the friar of the village church. The friar had informed the Order that the Crystal Skull of Fizrep the Wizard had been stolen. The skull, which is rumored to have all sorts of dark and sinister powers, had been under the guardianship of the friar’s religious order for several centuries, moving from village to village under the utmost secrecy - even the Order of Light only knew of its existence but not where it could be found. It had been in its present hiding place for 25 years and was due to moved sometime within the year, upon the Bishop of Tribecca's order.

After a slow start, mostly due to difficulties of teaching someone Mythic who has a very different gaming style than I do, Friar Ashwic showed her where the skull had been hidden beneath a flagstone behind the altar of the church, and informed her of the legend that surrounded the skull (which I totally improvised to my own pleasant surprise)..

Using her innate ability to detect magic, Veruka found that she received the equivalent of magical static possibly due to the great strength of the magic present. She searched the space for clues and found wards etched into flagstone that she didn’t recognize, but which she copied down for analysis later. She also found that the skull had been placed in the hole on top of and surrounded by salt. She gathered a sample - aware that she could use a ritual to turn the salt into a sort of divining rod for the object it had once surrounded.

The ritual itself will require a candle,a non-violently coerced participation of a being of the same alignment as the object (in this case we’ll just say evil since the game has no alignments) and a rare purple flower collected by full moon light from the slopes of Mt.Snoogles in the prefect of Hawkewind.

Looks like she has her work cut out for her.

End Scene 1

*Veruka Pepper, Jr. Agent, Order of the Light
USR Stats:  Action: d6, Wits: d10, Ego: d8, HP: 9,
Specialisms: encyclopedic knowledge (think Hermione Granger crossed with Sherlock Holmes) Wits+2, defensive art (i.e. dodge) Action+2, detect magic (innate, not a spell. Either a mutation or psionics.) Wits +2

Monday, June 18, 2012

Free RPG Day

Seems like everyone is posting their loot, so who am I to resist?
The nearest store to me that participated in Free RPG Day is about an hour from my house.  So, given my questionably reliable car, with no A/C, a 9 month old and a typical Georgia humid and hot day, I opted to forgo the trip - freebies or not and never mind that with the baby, I couldn't participate in any of the gaming events at the store (the prerequisite to get freebies there). To my delight, Noble Knight Games was participating (with each $15 spent you could choose something). I went for the funky dice, but more importantly, I purchased a copy of Tunnels & Trolls 5th ed. 

I've been somewhat enamored with the game since I downloaded the freebie intro rules and Goblin Lake solitaire adventure(which I still haven't survived!). I can't wait until the rules arrive!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Post-battle Musings: Day 2 of the Battle at Guillaume Le Roy

As always, I like to take a look back over a game and reflect on it a bit to see what worked and what didn't.

What Worked:

  • Mechanics wise, the up/down dice for variable movement - Roll two dice of different colors. One is a positive modifier, one is negative. Add together. If the result is positive, it's a bonus tacked onto the base movement rate. If it's negative, it's taken off of the base movement rate. I got this idea from a document on the Yahoo! solo wargaming group.
  • I love the way G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. scatters a unit every which way when it fails morale. I know some people dislike this because it's time consuming and they just roll once for the entire unit. I had the time so I rolled per figure per the rules - which resulted in the awesome spectacle of a single trooper charging the well-defended enemy fort. Fortunately for him, I called the game soon after.

  • The Solo DBA rules work amazingly well in guiding my decisions for the non-player side. The results feel logical. While I do have to use some interpretation I'm not just duplicating what I would do in a given situation. Indeed, my opponent was more tactically astute than me.
**Edit: I almost forgot - I ruled that I had to decide on my move before rolling the up/down result. For the NPG, I rolled first and then incorporated that into the decision making process to give them a slight advantage. I think this worked well for that purpose. For getting me to perhaps play more thoughtfully, it had no impact.

What Didn't:

  • Forgetting to place the 1/2 unit native "guard"with Colonel Dietrich. I think they would have taken the hit that killed him. It's unlikely though that this was a turning point in the battle since not a single Riesling unit failed their morale test before their next activation The 1/2 unit will return as recovered troops in the next battle - combined into the other native units.

  • My strategy. I used random placement of the units. And then instead of sticking to my plan to mass my entire force against either the fort or the town depending on the non-player setup, I kept my force split the way they were dealt. The first day of the battle I used the same approach. Definitely not a method for decisive victory.
  • I misread the campaign rules (for those just joining us, I go them from Saxe-Bearstein) and allowed Sauvignon-Blanc to roll for recovered troops after the first day. As they have been pushed back to their capital, this is not allowed. They should have started day two with only the two imperial units + the steam walker.

    As it was, I don't think their native units had much of an impact - yes they took out a number of Riesling native troops, but certainly the rifle armed troops in the fort would have had a bit of a duck hunt waiting for the melee weapon only Riesling native force to reach them. I assume too that the Sauvignon-Blanc riflemen would have all targeted the artillery straight away and so its complete failure to effect the battle would not have been improved any. Still, I will not roll for Sauvignon-Blanc again before the next battle.

For next time:

  • Riesling gets a new unit in addition to the troops they recovered (I rolled this already). They're getting a 2nd unit of artillery. Whether or not it will see action in the next clash, I don't know. I'm thinking of a rear guard delaying action with Major Heidegger planning to engage Sauvignon-Blanc in full two campaign moves from now, at Fort Sinn (formerly Fort Candide).
  • I also may use the Solo DBA rules to run both sides just to see what happens. Maybe I'll learn something about tactics!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Trouncing by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. on Helvetica

Finally, as promised,Day 2 of the battle at Port Guillaume Le Roy:

Bolstered by newly arrived artillery, the Riesling left prepared to advance towards the woods to their front, intent on bombarding the Sauvignon-Blanc fortress:

On Sauvignon-Blanc's left, Guillaume Le Roy provided protection for 1er Guam. The town itself was protected by the Sauvignon-Blanc steam walker and 1er Companie.

From his vantage point in the town, Colonel Duchamp surveyed his forces:

As Oberst Dietrich ordered his troops to advance, shots from 1er Companie rang out and drew first blood from Riesling's 13th Kompanie:

At the end of turn 1, Sauvignon-Blanc lizard skirmishers of 3e Guam had left the protection of the fort as 2e Companie advanced to occupy it, while the Riesling right  (6th K.and 7th K.) advanced towards the woods:

In spite of taking damage the previous turn, 13th K. pressed forward, along with the artillery and 12th K.. Again shots rang out from 1er Companie and an isolated Dietrich was killed by what can only be called a lucky shot:

Morale markers ended up on all units as a result of the army commander's death. Fortunately, Riesling resolve permeates all ranks.

As turn 2 ended, Riesling's forces had reached the woods on both sides:

1er Companie had reached the fort:

1er Guam swung out of Guillaume Le Roy to their left:

On the Riesling right, Sauvignon-Blanc left, both sides moved into position for a fire fight. Ominously, the cannon armed steam walker finally started:

Riesling sent its left most unit, 12th K., to storm the fort only to be met by fire from those elements of 2e Companie already inside:

On turn 4, all hell broke lose.

Withering gun fire from 1er Companie in Guillaume Le Roy and the Walkers devastating artillery barrage took out half of 7th K. Having sensed the futility of this frontal assault, 6th K. fell back in cover and out of range:

On the left, Riesling artillery proved completely ineffective, 12th K. failed their morale test and scattered to the wind (you just have to love G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.'s morale mechanism), and Sauvignon-Blanc's 3e G. charged home. The ensuing melee is best described as sheer chaos - the death toll high on both sides:

The melee and carnage continued into the next turn (Turn 5):

Although some elements of 12th K. rallied, on the right, things went from bad to worse for Riesling as 7th K. broke:

At this point, with Dietrich dead, Major Heidegger ordered the remaining Riesling forces to fall back and regroup.

A cheer went up from the Sauvignon-Blanc troops.

An unquestionably clear victory for Sauvignon-Blanc!

Has the tide of the campaign changed or is this too little, too late? Stay tuned.

I'll share my thoughts on the game in another post, but I would like to point out that I was soundly thrashed by a set of solo Non-player General Rules called "Solo DBA." I still can't figure out where I found them but I believe they might be from the Solo DBA Development Yahoo! Group. They do indicate that they are based on "De Bellis Solitarius" by Chad La Mons.

Goldielocks and Her Four Bears on Patrol

I had some time tonight and decided to play a quick game of Chain Reaction 3: Final Version.

I played the patrol scenario.

My "guys":

Goldielocks (Rep 5, Star, Leader, smg)
Ice (Polar bear, Rep 5, assault rifle)
Blackie (Black bear, Rep 4,assault rifle)
Brownie (Brown bear, Rep 4, assault rifle)
Asia (Asiatic Black bear, Rep 4, assault rifle)

Goldielocks and her team were sent to patrol Sector: Ben 1-9:

Enemy Activity Level was at a 3.

The first Possible Enemy Force (PEF) was just a case of nerves.

"It's OK fellas, Ben 1-9 is a sketchy place. But I'll protect ya'" teased Goldielocks.

Expecting an attack from woods to the north or the hill to the west, Goldielocks ordered the squad to fan out into position to defend from both directions.

The next PEF made its way towards Goldielocks and company:

A squad of three Control Battalion troopers (all Rep 4, all armed with assault rifles) out on patrol for resistance elements rumored to be in Ben 1-9 appeared at the wood's edge:

in-sights taken all around except Goldielocks who doesn't have LOS
Brownie locked on the trooper opposite him and blasted away.

"OD baby," growled the brown Ursid, partly boasting partly just stating fact.

Ice accepted the challenge and fired on the middle trooper, knocking him out of the fight:

Blackie and the remaining trooper engaged in a back and forth firefight that lasted quite awhile with neither side gaining the edge. Finally, Blackie scored a hit that dropped the trooper (out of fight)

Unfortunately, the trooper kept his cool during the hail of gun fire and caught Blackie looking:

Goldielocks moved on to scout the next section while the rest of the squad took out the two knocked down troopers.

The third and final PEF entered the woods and turned out to be nothing.

Goldielocks and the bears finished their patrol - victory for the resistance!

"Brothers Grimm, this is Goldielocks. The porridge is just right but we've got a bed that's too soft"

"Roger that Goldielocks. The Pumpkin Coach is on its way with a fairy godmother for the bed."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And the winner is...

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Chris at Just Another Wargames Blog - he's the winner of the Tabletop Diversions / Two Hour Wargames give-away.

Thanks to everyone who entered (either by leaving a comment or by virtue of being a follower of this blog).

and special thanks to Ed at THW for making this give-away possible.

Young Lord Shadowmoss Reacting to the Announcement

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Map of Helvetica

The other day I decided to make a map of Helvetica - the imaginary setting for my imaginations conflict - for no particular reason (my campaign isn't map based after all). It doesn't look like much - I have neither cartographic skill nor a flair for imaginary geography. Still, it was a total blast to create and it makes the campaign feel all the more in the tradition of Bath, Featherstone, Morschauser and the like. If you're doing a campaign and you haven't made a map, do it! It only adds to the fun. Who cares what it looks like! 

Hmm. Colors need some touching up for sure.
Now to finish writing up the last battle so I can prepare for the next one.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

D&D B/X: The Annwyn Investigations - Session 4

I know that logically this post should be the write-up of the battle described in yesterday's post, but this past Saturday, I ran another session of my D & D b/x / Mythic GME game (I'm hesitant to call it a campaign yet), The Annwyn Investigations and I wanted to jot down my summary. In light of JF's comment on the last entry, I've gone ahead and tried to show where I'm using Mythic using italics and parentheses:

My Saturday Night Table
(Scene 7, Chaos: 9)

Vandal was in pretty bad shape after the encounter with the thieves in the sage's shop, so the party (are 2 characters really a party?) decided to head back to The Sleeping Beggar to regroup and rest up.

(Mythic: Interrupted Scene, pc positive, extravagance, portal)

As they passed by Abbaj's Palace of Pleasure, Bertio, a regular at the Beggar's bar waved them over, invited them in and procured for them some libations. Vandal, naturally paranoid, assumed the worst and stared hesitantly at the goblet. McDougal, on the other hand, though a priest,is also a staunch believer that one should never turn down a gift, especially a drink, tossed it back and felt worlds better after (the drink had the effect of a healing potion and restored 5 HP). This convinced Vandal who was rewarded for his hesitation with virtually no noticeable effect (1 HP).

There they discussed their options, reviewed the facts thus far and concluded it wasn't Jorix staying at The Grey Hand after all but Lady Bana herself, and that's likely where the book thief had gone.

(Scene 8, Chaos: 8)

They'd head there and try to intercept the thief and get the book.

(Mythic: Altered Scene)

As luck would have it, as they approached The Grey Hand, the thief came out and headed towards the seedier part of town. After some discussion (amusingly, I somehow managed to duplicate in solo play, the kinds of time consuming discussions that happen during multi-player sessions), they tailed him.

McDougal grew increasingly concerned that they would be noticed (he's a Cleric after all, Vandal is the thief and better at hiding in shadows and such). The thief disappeared inside The Ruddy Knave Grogshop.

(Me: Does he turn into an alley/bar/tavern/strip club/something? 50/50, Mythic: yes. Created a quick table and rolled "Bar", found an online tavern name generator and used that for the name)

Vandal went in alone, while McDougal took up a position at a conveniently located shrine across the street from the bar.

(I asked Mythic if there was somewhere McDougal could hide unnoticed and got a yes result - I suppose the shrine came to me as a way to make atonement for any drunken behavior easier for the bar's patrons).
(arguably, going inside the bar could have and should have been treated as a new scene)

Inside,Vandal lost site of thief until he pressed himself into the crowd.

(Mythic must have sensed this was really a new scene, so when I asked Mythic if I could see him from my new vantage point I rolled doubles with a digits less than the chaos factor to get a yes and an interrupted scene, pc negative, inform environment ) 

Just as Vandal found him, a burly fellow demanded the admission fee plus the purchase of a drink "to go to the back room" and ushered Vandal towards a rather large ogre employed as a bouncer/money collector/ticket dispenser. In no condition to argue with a burly fellow and an ogre, Vandal paid his 5sp, went in to find bleachers surrounding a squared off area of saw dust covered floor, but no thief.

He turned to go out and through a serious of misunderstandings (D&D reaction table used here) was shoved into the wall by the ogre - whereupon he was knocked down to 1 HP remaining. It was time for him to head to the Beggar no matter what.

(Scene 9, Chaos: 9)

McDougal, however, from his seat at the conveniently located shrine, saw the thief leave The Ruddy Knave and attempted to tail him by himself

(Mythic: Altered Scene)

 He lost site of him for a moment only to have the thief leap out to attack him from behind - but missed. McDougal (won the initiative) tried to negotiate

(The dialog was facilitated by questions posted to Mythic and, thanks to rolling doubles, ended in a random event: npc negative, agree, anger)

The thief angrily revealed he'd been stiffed by Lady Bana on their agreed upon fee, and he was willing to sing but only for a fee. McDougal's offers were insufficient and the thief tired of the discussions, pretended to accept an offer of 5 gp and took the occasion of McDougal retrieving the agreed upon amount (Me: Does the thief attack him? 50/50 Mythic: Yes) to attack.

The fight was something of an embarrassment for the thief who in a moment of fury injured his own arm which was followed with a second attack with an even more absurd result . Although the details are a blur, he managed to smash his own head into a wall and finished lying face down,unconscious, in his own drool.
(For both attacks the thief rolled a 1, which for as long as I can remember has been a fumble - even though in b/x it's not specifically written in the rules. I used this table from Gothridge Manor for the results) 

McDougal bound the unconscious, and apparently, supremely klutzy, thief and dragged him into an alley way for some friendly questioning.


Total time including setup and snacking: 2 hours for 3 scenes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Battle at Port Guillaume Le Roy, Day 2: The Setup

To my surprise, I had time last night to set up and play out the 2nd day of the Battle at Port Guillaume Le Roy (part of my ongoing imagi-nations campaign).

Sauvignon-Blanc would have to defend their capital on Helvetica once more against the Riesling steam-roller.

I did my best to set up the table identical to last time as far as terrain and scenery, but troops would differ. I rolled for losses recovered for both sides,and as the victor, Riesling received a reinforcement unit: a medium gun with 4 crew. The gun was chosen, rather than returning all units to full strength due to the loss of the steam tractor - see here and here

 As the loser, Sauvignon-Blanc had the morale of one of its units reduced, while Riseling enjoyed an increase of morale for one unit. Both sides consolidated their under strength native units to form 2 full strength units. Riesling had 4 remaining natives - a half company - I decided they would be assigned as a guard to the army leader, Oberst Dietrich, and then promptly forgot them when I set up the armies.

The weather held - but I decided that I would use a simple up/down modifier generated by rolling 1 green die (up) and 1 red die (down), adding them together to yield values from -5 inches to the base movement rate up to +5 inches to account for patches of soggy ground and very very dry ground (most rolls fell between -2 and +2 inches). I ruled that I would have to issue my order to a unit before the roll, whereas for the Non Player General, I would roll first before evaluating the available options.

For the supply roll, I ruled a -1 adjustment as neither side would have time to truly resupply. Supplies for Sauvignon-Blanc, as could be expected for a force fighting in and around its capital was adequately supplied, but Riesling supply lines, stretched thin as it was, could not meet the needs of the troops on the front. A unit was chosen to suffer a morale penalty.

Once again, I played Riesling and the Solo DBA rules (I think they're a later re-edit of these) guided Sauvignon-Blanc.

Speaking of, I rolled for Colonel Duchamp's disposition this battle and got "Aggressive." This was counter to how I would have imagined,but I remained committed to play it as I rolled it.

I laid out my force as desired but using blinds - 1 card for each unit, plus 1/2 as many blanks.   In this way, my troops might not be where I wanted them to be. Per the solo DBA rules, I rolled for the placement of cards for Suavignon-Blanc (1 card per unit and 1/2 as many blanks -1).  When all were set, I flipped them over and placed troops on the table.

Here's how the table looked prior to the first turn:

Dawn looms over Guillaume Le Roy as the two sides prepare for battle.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

THW Contest Update

For those awaiting an update:

A name has been chosen.

The winner contacted. 

Awaiting reply (I'm pretty sure most people don't check their email as often as I do, so I'm going to give them a few days).

Thanks again are due to Two Hour Wargames for making this give-away possible!

And completely unrelated:
Pumpkin casts Shield to block the Philios's claw/claw/bite attack!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Obligatory Monthly Goals Post

In less than 30 days the year will be half over, so what do I hope to get done this month?

If you've set any goals for the year (I know not everyone does - it's a hobby after all!), now is he time to evaluate your 2012 goals and make some potentially tough decisions.

I'm on target with my three main goals.

While the Pacific Island Assault game is almost ready to go, realistically, I may not get all of the figures painted for my Morschauser/Great Northern War project. I've also made a change to that (again) - I'm going to individually base the figures and use movement trays to play by Morschauser's rules. I think the individual basing will give me more flexibility over all.

My  biggest concern is that I've already painted more figures this year than I ever have and I don't want to burn out. So, this month, rather than rushing ahead to the first box of GNW infantry, I'm going to make a tiny dent in my 15mm lead pile. They paint fast and are for the most part support for figures I already have, so I can game with them immediately.

So, without further ado, I present my June 2012 goals:

  • 10 posts to blog
  • The next Helvetica campaign game (probably G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.)
  • At least 1 session of The Annwyn Investigations
  • 1 doz. paper palm trees
  • 6 Sherman M4A2 paper flats
  • 2 105mm howitzer paper flats
  • 1 log bunker (print and fold)
  • 2 pill boxes (print and fold)
  • 2 Japanese artillery pieces (paper flats again)
  • 4 15mm Khurasan Sepulvedan Resistance
  • 3 15mm Irregular porters
  • 5 15mm Irregular askari
  • 2 15mm Irregular British soldiers

Are you making the progress you hoped? Were you a touch unrealistic? What would give you a satisfying 2012 hobby-wise?

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Chain Reaction 3: Final Version Helvetica Campaign Side-game

I decided that the last campaign battle was merely the end of the day since Sauvignon-Blanc held both their fort and the town with nearly two full strength imperial units and their mechanized steam walker providing artillery support.

When night had fallen, the Riesling steam tractor was abandoned on the field. Dietrich, rather than allow the technology fall into enemy hands, ordered that a squad, under cover of darkness (which was difficult given the full moon and fires blazing around the battle field and town - a narrative justification for forgetting to implement any limits on LOS), make their way to the steam tractor and destroy it.
A team was assembled, consisting of 2 soldiers - Pvt. Otto (Rep 5), 2nd Lt. Neuman, (Leader, Rep 5), 2 lizard warriors (Rep 3 and Rep 5), Engineer (Rep 4). The Pvt has a rifle, the 2nd lt and Engineer each have pistols, and the lizard warriors are armed w/melee weapons.

Objective: Reach the tractor, set up explosives (it takes two turns), blow up the tractor (it goes off two turns after the explosives are set) and get out.

I decided I would run the Sauvignon-Blanc side using the Possible Enemy Force (PEF) rules.

I rolled an Enemy Activity Level (EAL) of 4 and diced for PEF placement.

Arrows are my friends.
The figures in the above picture show the initial PEF placement, while the arrows show the overall direction of movement for the PEFs and my Riesling squad. 

The first PEF to resolve was the one coming through the woods in the middle of the board. I rolled against the EAL and ended up facing a force the same size as my own - only they were four REP 4s and one REP 5. I had been worried about the REP 3 lizard warrior being a weak spot, and I was right. He was dead after in-sights had been resolved.

Fortunately, my REP 5 leader, REP 5 Pvt. and REP 5 lizard man made fast work of the enemy - 2 out of fight, 1 OD and 2 run aways resulting from failed cohesion tests resulting from their leader's Out of Fight.

I won activation on the next turn, and sent my team dashing across the gap between the wooded areas which forced a LOS resolution of the next PEF. Once again, party equal to mine in size - which resulted in four REP 4s on the table.

The dash across the gap - exposing my squad like a naked flesh eating man on the side of a freeway.
The in-sights resolved favorably for Sauvignon-Blanc - two of the three with LOS would resolve before my first would.

In the open, without an ounce of cover, even fast moving targets are easy kills:

Remember kids, if you gamble, you can lose.

The second shooter knocked down my leader! (stunned thankfully):

Reaper=of-His-Enemies-Souls just shakes his head and thinks "Seriously guys?" (roughly translated from lizard speak)

This was not going how I planned.

I finished the engineer's activation with him setting the first charge.

The enemy activated and I used the NP Force Movement Table. Since they don't quite yet outnumber my side 2-to-1, I roll on the Otherwise column and get "Remain in cover or move to nearest cover. May fire at enemy if in range after reaching cover." Interesting choice, but I dutifully moved them towards the woods.

The next activation, they rolled a 6 - which meant they were going to stand still. My lizard warrior made the dash across the gap to join the engineer, who set the 2nd charge.

Those silvery things are to show that two explosive charges have been set and not that the tractor has laid eggs.
I rolled activation again and they got another 6! The engineer and lizard warrior took off running and the 2nd Lt. got up and started moving too.

Rolling again, I won activation 3 to 2, and I sent my guys running towards their base edge entry point. The Sauvignon-Blanc squad rolled again on the NP Force Movement table, and scored the same result as before. They advanced through the cover, but they didn't make it all the way out when on the next turn:

How very Batman.

Objective accomplished!

In addition to removing the disabled steam tractor from the battlefield,  the results of this encounter will cause Sauvignon-Blanc to lose one figure from one of their two imperial units (I'm planning on using G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. for the next big battle).

All statuses, in-sight scores, and reactions forced by in-sight were tracked using my custom CR3:FV player aid (seen at the bottom of this post) with the help of some counters I downloaded from the THW Yahoo! group.

From start to finish this game took an hour - primarily because I had to read the PEF rules as I went, and I had to re-read how to do melee. I think next time it will go faster - provided I play before I forget the PEF rules again.

The only issue I had was deciding which cover was nearer to the 2nd Sauvignon-Blanc group. At the time, I didn't think of the tractor as cover properly speaking, and so chose the woods.  Had they moved to the tractor, the second roll that indicated they would move to nearest cover or stay in cover might have either left them right next to the exploding tractor or at best maybe getting off a shot at the running Riesling squad before being hit by debris.

Overall, a fun game and totally appropriate to post it today - the last day to enter the Two Hour Wargames Give-Away Contest!