Friday, July 27, 2012

July Update and Thoughts for August

With July running out of days, I think it's a sure thing that I'm not going to get in the next game in my Helvetica campaign this month. I'm still wrestling over whether or not Duchamp would send his entire force per the campaign rules or if it'd make more sense to send a patrol or two to probe for weak spots (maybe with CR3:FV). Sauvignon-Blanc is no longer able to recover losses after battle so they have quite a bit to lose.

I did manage to finish the 10 zouaves I posted earlier this month, but I didn't start on the remaining bunch. On the other hand, I did finish these 15mm fellows from Irregular:

For glory! For the Queen!
I love the British but the natives were covered in flash and their faces are mush. Still, they work well enough and when I get back from vacation, I can return to Jimland after 5 years away.

Finally, I got in some solo gaming, thanks to my Goldielocks skirmish campaign plus some dungeon crawl action to boot.

For the latter, I've been using a set of cards I made up, coupled with a system I'm working on to give a "themed" adventure similar to the mechanism used in Chronicles of Arax:

I admit it: I'm a dungeon crawl addict!
This is the first level of the dungeon . I thought the party was done for on the first encounter when they ran into a goblin on a dire wolf. Fortunately, I used Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying so, while they took a little bit of a beating, they had enough HP to survive and push onward to the second level which was uninhabited. 

On the third level things went south: the cleric died in an encounter with a bugbear, the fighter took heavy damage from same, and the party set off a trap that closed the corridor behind them and forced them to exit the dungeon without finding the goblin leader.
I still need to work on the room population mechanism more but using cards drawn from a randomized deck to create the dungeon worked really well for me.

For August:

  • Finish those damn palm trees! 
  • Really get to use my USMC and Japanese as I learn Nuts! 2.0. (which came today!)
  • Research uniform colors for different Russian and Swedish regiments in the Great Northern War (I have built up a very small GNW library that I've only minimally cracked into)
  • Spray paint my trash-built Sci Fi buildings
  • DM at least one non-solo D&D b/x / Labyrinth Lord session (this is a given as I'll be doing this within the week)

You'll notice no Helvetica game. Given vacation and a week of visitors later in the month, 3-4 hours to play a solo wargame may be hard to come by. So, this list qualifies as my attempt to be more realistic.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vacation Countdown - The Games!

Lady, Young Lord Shadowmoss and I (we've yet to decide my title. "Lord Shadowmoss" seems too responsible. I prefer the "Knave of Shadowmoss", but the Lady objects. I also like "The Hound of Shadowmoss" but, then, I watch too much Game of Thrones) leave in a few days for a week long beach vacation. 

There's not much to do in the evenings other than relax (which is what we'll be doing during the day for that matter), so we've got quite the line-up of games to play when the baby goes to bed:

Angry Flowers - I picked up this rpg on sale at DriveThruRPG. It's been on my wish list for ages. It's goofy but I just love the concept and the fact that it comes with a pocket-mod PDF makes it all the better. Angry Flowers is rules-light to say the least and uses the d4 a lot. Which is cool because I got a fancy one on Free RPG Day. I'm setting up a one session one shot adventure with the plan to emphasize dark humor.

D&D b/x - Lady Shadowmoss and her friend D. have expressed an interest in doing some table-top rpg-ing (they play the D&D MMO). I designed an adventure that I hope will function as something of a tutorial for D. (I don't believe he's ever played a pencil and paper rpg) while providing suitable challenge for her.

For this vacation game, it will be a low level hex exploration that covers part of her character's trip to the starting point for that adventure.

I'm using ideas taken from Loviatar, The Manor and The Welsh Piper
to design and seed the hex (or maybe a few hexes in case she decides she just wants to move on without exploring a particular hex) with interesting things for her character to interact with and maybe send her on a quest or two.

In addition to getting her some experience points and introducing her to "old school" gaming (she started gaming in the 90s) , it's a chance to continue dusting off my GM skills and id where I can improve.

I'll undoubtedly do a solo dungeon crawl (or several!) or continue my Annywyn Investigations game.

Magic: The Gathering - Lady Shadowmoss has quite a collection of older Magic decks and used to play often. I've played a handful of times with her, but that's the extent of my Magic experience. However, it's a fun way to spend an evening, so we each bought a new deck a few weeks ago and we're going to dive in. I have little desire to buy packs of cards though so my deck will probably never change.

Rory's Story Cubes - I don't know what we'll do with these exactly - maybe tell made up stories to the baby? Maybe combine them with USR or something like that? I know that Lady Shadowmoss gives me blank stares when I talk about these. Maybe I'll just use these and JF's of SoloNexus's 9Qs for a solo game. 

The long shot:
I may, if I can find the time before we leave, print and make some small paper wargame armies (the free Star Confrontations armies from JEN or perhaps some of my hundreds of downloaded fantasy figures) to battle it out with very simple home brew 1pg rules. 

She's only joined me in a wargame once (and i made up the rules on the fly), but she had fun (and kicked my ass), so I'm hopeful that she'll at least give it a shot.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dungeon Crawl Classics: My First Impression

I had a chance to play Dungeon Crawl Classics two Sundays ago with a local gaming group I found while online. This was the second time I've done this and like the first (although a different system), it was an absolute blast.

Although the DCC rules are modern compared to what I'm used to, they didn't play modern. Instead, it was like slipping on an old, comfortable sneaker.

We started out with 0 level characters, which is way more fun than you'd imagine. With 4 or less hit points (if a character had 4 hitpoints we labeled them "tanks") being creative about combat is key. And we were. 

Although I think we had an unnatural obsession with lighting things on fire.

My game record keeping is mostly bad sketching (as I am not an artist) but I have discovered that looking back at the sketches helps me remember a lot more than my chicken-scratch scribbles do. I've shared two below that I think capture some events from the game well enough to jog my memory sharply:

Ragar, my Dwarf mushroom-farmer (or does he farm dwarf mushrooms?) died in a well - note the tattered end of the cut rope on the lower left. He was the second of my characters to die and it was my idea to go down the well, so it served me right. The other characters, my own included, were right to take him out:

In the survival of the fittest, those who purposely court danger are bound to die

Here's a scene from further along in the adventure:

I started drawing before the GM finished his description and then I realized we had no sail. Hence the  crossed-out mast.

My wizard's apprentice (a chaotic and cunning character I named "Alister C.") made it as far as the big battle scene, and was the last character of our party to die. Not a bad showing for three hit points. Of course, it didn't hurt that he had looted some of his dead comrades along the way for better weapons.

Speaking of the dead, of the 12 characters who went in, 1 survived and could go on to become a 1st level something or other. Now that is awesome!

Even with the player character carnage, it was a great deal of fun for all involved - new and old schooler alike.

So, would I buy DCC

I don't know. I love the black with gold foil 70s metal skull edition but I doubt I'd have any luck getting to play this regularly - I don't sense that many people have the rule book, let alone the desire to play.

I spoke with the GM quite a bit afterwards and he seems of a similar bent as me when it comes to gaming but he has other commitments that prevent him from running any kind of campaign. 

This has me thinking about running a Labyrinth Lord or Lamentations of the Flame Princess game at some point in the future: first as one shots ,and then if enough interest, as a campaign, since both rule sets are freely available for download.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PTO Rules and a Decision

Last night, I was itching to get my U.S.M.C. on the table against my Japanese. I was somewhat rushed for time and contemplated using CR3: FV but I wanted more figures on the table. So, I broke out Paper Tigers.

Unfortunately, it left me feeling "ho hum" when I was done. I still like the rules, but something didn't fit. Maybe it was because I rushed it. Maybe it was the scenario (loosely speaking).

Still, I was dissatisfied.

After mulling it over, I think Memoir of Modern Battle is the way to go for bigger battles - Paper Tigers is good ,but I'd have to tweak it to make it suit my ideas about the Pacific Theater.

Although I have IronIvan's Disposable Heroes and Red Sun, Red Death (in print, bought on clearance!),  the rules seem overly complicated. G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. can handle the same level of game (section up to company) and, to my mind, are a great deal simpler even with the modifications I'd have to make. 

For smaller scale games, I have decided that, given my enjoyment of CR3:FV (and my recent go at a man-to-man skirmish-level campaign), that I'll put my faith in Nuts! 2.0 and War Against Japan from Two Hour Wargames and see what happens. According to info I found on various message boards and blogs, I should be able to use these rules for 1/2 squad up to a platoon with ease.

I placed the order earlier today and while I've only had a few minutes to look over the PDFs, I already like what I see!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Goldielocks Saga Continues - A Chain Reaction 3 Report

The other day I needed to get a game in (it was that kind of day) and as I'm working through what I want to do with my Helvetica campaign, it seemed a better idea to break out Chain Reaction 3: Final Version from Two Hour Wargames and play the next encounter in the continuing story of Goldielocks:

EAL: 4
Scenario: Raid

With the information Goldielocks had obtained, the Resistance had been able to take the fight to Control. Good as that was, once again, there was no one available to put on Goldielocks' crew. She'd have to go in alone. Again.

She managed to approach the transmission station undetected. One deep breath and she took off for the nearest building:

Safely inside, Goldielocks contemplated the best course of action:

She'd approach through the woods, and head straight for the objective. No sneaking around. They'd never expect it and she'd catch them napping. Or so she thought. Once in the woods she was met by the first wrench in he plan:

The trooper was fast. Goldielocks was faster. One down.
The trooper dispatched, she was sure others had been alerted by the gun fire. As she approached the edge of the woods, she caught a flash of movement in the objective bunker. A firefight ensued  until the trooper dropped stunned:

What she didn't know or count on was a second trooper moving out the back of the bunker to try to flank her. Realizing things were going to hell in a hand-basket, Goldielocks fell back Meanwhile, on her left, the control leader advanced through the settlement:

But the hounds had gotten the scent:

Trooper #8675309 got the jump on her and after a short fire fight, Goldielocks was down:

With no Star Power dice left, she was staying down
 Will Control execute her on the spot? Will she be taken prisoner to be interrogated? Will the Resistance try to rescue her?

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Too Much Text, Not Enough Eye Candy

After all of those text-only G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. posts, I wanted to put up some photos of some recent-ish arrivals and even better, some figs I finally got around to painting:

Zine-y Goodness
T&T: Dynamite!

Sacre bleu! After 5 years of waiting, could it be?

Oui! Les Zouaves! (from Minifigs USA)

on G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Bits, bobs and Wrap up

This is the last entry in my week long (OK, it may have run a little longer than planned) G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. review.

There's a few last things I wanted to touch on:

1. People debate adding a stop card to the activation deck - I swear it comes up every few months. 

The authors don't do that in their games and I believe they've even written against it in replies on the Yahoo! group (but don't hold me to that).  No matter, nothing is stopping you from doing it. 

In a solo game, I think it's especially worthwhile. They can be particularly fun with a turn limit as a victory condition. Some of the turns will race by and you'll find yourself scrambling.

Head to head and I can see why it might be annoying if your card hasn't come up yet and I'd avoid them in that situation.

2. G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T is in the old school vein I think. They don't contain rules for every eventuality. The umpire or the players need to decide things on the fly sometimes. In the words of the greats, when in doubt, let the dice decide. This to me is how rules should be. I don't want to be hamstrung by the rules. And I certainly don't want to feel like I need a lawyer to understand them.

3. Although the author's wrote the rules for 10 figure units and 4 figure vehicle crews, you're not limited to those if you think it through and you own a couple of polyhedral dice. Or just as good, you can keep your computer handy and roll using or an app on your smart phone if you have one.

  • 20 figure native units - use the d20 for morale, don't divide
    • For native units I also like using 20 figures but still using the d20 divided by 2 or a d10, as it means they can take a lot of damage before they falter.
  • Use a d10 for morale for 10 figure units instead (I've never really noticed any difference)
  • 12 figure battalions - use a d12 for morale, don't divide.
  • 6 figure cavalry squadrons - use a d12 and divide or use a d6
  • 5 figure crews - use d20, divide by 4 or a d10 divided by 2.
  • 4 figure crews - use a d4 or a d8 divided by 2 or a d12 divided by 3 or a d20 divided by 5.

You get the idea.

4. There is an active community centered around this game and if there's something you're thinking about trying, someone probably has already done it or can help you do it. Visit the Yahoo! group and the TMP forum both for Victorian Science Fiction and the G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T specific group.

The lists aren't nearly as active as say, THW's list, but certainly more active than many that I'm on.


I recommend these rules highly - clearly or I wouldn't have spent a week talking about them - I have a lot of fun whenever I use them.

That said, I suggest skipping the compendium unless you have money to burn and just get the basic G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T rules (disclaimer: I've never seen the compendium. I just can't stomach the price).

You can play a few games and then decide if Battles by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T is needed or not or if the compendium is worth the investment.

G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is available in print (several wargame shops sell it or just search for it on Amazon) or as a PDF from WargameVault.
I hope those of you who've been thinking about G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. have found something helpful here. If you're still not decided either way, I suggest joining the Yahoo! group and checking out the group on TMP and tracking down some battle reports.

Monday, July 16, 2012

on G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Another Objection - Too Generic

This was to be my last post where I wrapped this all up, but it seems I'm in a rambling mood and so that one will come later today or tomorrow. 

One common complaint leveled against G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is that it's too generic. My first thought was perhaps they mean that there is no setting, no detailed vehicles already laid out, etc. But that didn't sit right with me. After all, the authors are more than clear that this is intended to be your vision of VSF, not theirs.

So what might "too generic" mean?

I have no trouble acknowledging that the rules are, minus the vehicle rules, generic. After all, if they were not, how are so many people using the rules for eras and genres never intended by the authors and doing so with so little modification?

I think when "generic" is bandied about as an ugly word, what it means is that people want more crunch. They want more accounted for than just a Shoot and Scuffle score. Maybe they want greater granularity in their weapon choices with more variety, and detailed hit locations. Maybe they mean that the only distinguishing thing about a figure is how it looks, not how it plays.

I can agree with that - how the figure is used in game is dependent on the players playing in the spirit of what's being represented. Is it WWII or 1889? No thing in the rules will make this obvious.

This particular complaint is , I think , easily rectified.

For the colonial era, for example, troop formations aren't accounted for - a group of extras for any era might appear on the board in the same "not too regular" mass, but the players can choose to arrange them in column, line or square if that fits their conception.
More importantly, using skills (of your own creation or those normally used for main characters) as well as you own bonuses and penalties, allows you to differentiate troops even within the same army.
Your light infantry might always count as in cover, while your guard might get a morale bonus. 

More than anything, my guess is, those who complain about the rules being generic, probably want a simulation and G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is, in my opinion, unabashedly a set of rules for a game. It doesn't matter what an extra represents. It doesn't matter if an extra and a main character are not the same scale of figures to real people. It's a game, not a simulation even if you're playing out a historical encounter and even if it gives a historical result. The name says it all "Glorious Adventures in the Victorian Era Loosely Involving Generally Historical Times." 

I'm not denying that the rules are generic to a point, but I contest the claim that this should be a reason to dismiss this particular rules set.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

on G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. and the Solo Wargamer

G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. comes up fairly often as a game suitable for solo play so I won't belabor the point.

I just want to note the reasons why I believe it does:

1. Turn Sequence - G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. uses an activation deck to randomize who is going next. Each unit (vehicle crew, infantry, cavalry, artillery) and unattached main character gets 1 card in the deck, heroes and units lead by heroes get 2. Thus the non-player side may get a run of cards and trounce your troops and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

1b. Each unit can only do ONE thing on their card: move, shoot, charge or reload. This obviously is the case for multiple players as well. However, I think it goes a long way towards making the solo game interesting. Waiting for the card you want to come around can be brutal! Watch as your plans crumble before your eyes!

2. The morale results - see the last post. As a solo player I like when the rules take things out of my hands. When the King's Regiment scatters across the table, I swear under my breath and send the officers running after the men. It's an added challenge. Combined with the uncertainty of when they'll activate next, it forces the question, "How am I going to recover from this?"

3. The main characters - It seems to me solo players more so than those who game with others, tend to emphasize the narrative aspect of their games and the exploits of individual characters in particular. Having characters on the table makes it that much easier to tell a story - at least for me. Sure, you can add character figs to any rule set, but having them a part of the rules as written encourages the creation of stories - without having to fiddle with the rules.

Now, Soldier's Companion might do this better as it's a wargame written to accompany an RPG, and every TSATF write-up I've ever read includes at least a commander as a character, so this isn't unique to G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

3b. Saving rolls - This is by no means uniquely advantageous to solo play, but it does support story telling. Saving rolls add something of a pulp feel to the game - brave men and women who keep fighting long after others would have quit the field. Or perhaps it just represents that they are individuals while the extras are some nebulous quantity. Or maybe it's just that Lady Luck smiles on them. In any case, it's a small thing but being able to tell a continuing story about the same characters is something I find makes my games more enjoyable.

Next up: The wrap up including what's "wrong" and any other bits I meant to mention but didn't.

Friday, July 13, 2012

On G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: the Much Maligned Morale Mechanism

Morale in G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing.

I fall into the "love it" camp, so you can expect this portion of my G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T extravaganza to be biased in that direction.

Let's look at how it works first:

As in many other games, you test for morale when a unit loses a figure, when the army commander (if there is one) is killed, when a unit receives or wants to charge, and when a vehicle is hit (I always forget this one).

With respect to lost figures, the unit checks their morale at the start of their next activation, whereas the charge related tests occur at the time of the charge.

So far, nothing unusual right?

Except, where in Soldier's Companion, for example, and I imagine TSATF as well, the whole unit receives the same effect when morale is failed (they become frenzied, disordered, etc.), in G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T each figure in the unit can react differently. 

Yes, you read that right.

The reaction is determined by a roll of a d20 on the Morale Failure Results Chart. There are eight possible results, and, I can't stress this enough, each figure tests individually. 

You can guess why people don't like this.

If your unit of 9 remaining figures is forced to test morale and fail their roll (unlikely might I add), you have to make 9 more rolls to figure out what happens! That eats up a lot of time. As a result, a lot of people just apply one result to the whole unit (which, I believe Battles by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T does as written) to move things along.

But I play solo, so I'm less than sympathetic to that complaint. Plus, to my mind, it's not nearly as entertaining.

The chaos that results from rolling individually, in my opinion, more than makes up for the time.

First it means that the unit leader, unattached army leader, or unattached main character is going to have to move around the table and round up the members of the unit that remain if you want to involve them in the battle at all (the result of the failed check does not carry over to the next activation). So, your army commander can be of some use other than just giving bonuses and your leader characters have something to do that makes them seem, well, leader-ly.

Second, when you lose control of your unit and some start firing away, and even better, some charge the enemy no matter how insane that is, it can bring about some unexpected results to say the least.

Remember when I mentioned the T. Rex vs. a unit of French Foreign Legion?

In one encounter, the beast tore up the unit as you'd expect. The officers wisely had ordered the troops to fall back and regroup. The mighty T. Rex set to charge again. This time, the legion failed their morale check and while the officers went scurrying over the ridge and off the table, one of the extras charged into hand to hand combat! Unlikely? Sure. Hilarious? I thought so. That game was almost 5 years ago and I still remember it clearly and I still laugh about it.

To me that's worth a 30 seconds of rolling dice.

Next up: G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T and the Solo Wargamer

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Vehicles and Gadgets

One of the beauties of G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.  is that the authors don't confine you to their view of Victorian Science Fiction. There is no fluff whatsoever included in the rules.

Of course, some people like fluff - witness expensive rulebooks laden with fluff sold by GW and Privateer Press for example. And I admit, it can be nice to leave this part of gaming to someone else. World building can be exhausting!

You really don't need that much info though to stage a game. You do need to consider what level of technology you want in the game though.

So, maybe you want :
  • Only land vehicles. 
  • Only what was available historically.
  • Vehicles that can fly. 
  • Vehicles to be in the early stages of development and more than a bit temperamental 
  • Technology to be well established and reliable. 
  • Technology that is prolific.
  • Advanced technology limited to the imperial powers.
  • Advanced technology limited to the invaders of Earth.
  • To buy a few Warmachine warjack minis but don't want to invest in the rules and building a particular army, so a set of rules that can handle steam powered robots would be handy.
No problem. G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. has you covered.


Whether you want to fly around the world in 80 days, investigate the fauna 20,000 leagues under the sea or well, I can't think of any book titles obviously about steam power, the table for vehicle generation has you covered for speed values with respect to Steam, Sail or Swim power.

Vehicles and conveyances can be made more or less reliable simply by playing with the Start and Sustain values. Eliminate them entirely if you think the technology is perfectly reliable. That said, even the most modern of automobile engines run into trouble now and again, so maybe assigning a very low value to Start (and Sustain) is more realistic (that said, realism is hardly the hallmark of 

Never underestimate the immersive effect of the hatred one develops for a piece of hardware that won't start. It's quite amazing, given that, in my case at least, they are made of cast-off materials cobbled together roughly.

To represent armor, 
G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. vehicles have Save values. So maybe that steam powered robot (Ok, its not a vehicle but it has vehicle like characteristics) has incredibly thick armor (and a high Save) but the mechanical rats of Dr. Nym have poor armor with a consequently low Save.

Although the rules cover randomly generating your vehicles characteristics, assigning them on a WYSIWYG basis makes more sense, at least for weapons. I prefer to be able to look at a model and know what it has, rather than referring to a vehicle sheet. I also game under the unsupported belief that walking vehicles pivot poorly (as the technology is in its infancy), while vehicles with treads pivot easily (45 vs 90 degrees respectively) and so I assign this as well.

A similar have-it-your-way approach applies to fantastic weapons by the way - although there is no reliability or save factor. This is easily added though if such things are important o you. 
G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. doesn't break easily under the weight of house rules, in my experience at least. 

So you can add "Reliability" to your Magnetic-Hydro-blaster, to be tested each time you use it, and if you fail, figure out what awful things might happen - be sure to include everything from the likely to the hilariously improbable. G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. truly let's you realize your vision of an alternate past.

Up next: the much maligned, but terrifically fun in my opinion, G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. approach to failed morale checks

Monday, July 9, 2012

On G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Figure Counts

One of the first things I look at when considering a rule set is the intended scale of the armies and more importantly, how many figures am I going to need.

Figures in G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. are organized into 10-figure units. Usually this consists of 8 extras and 2 main characters, but you can mix it up as you wish. Heroes, a special archetype of main character, are typically not in a unit and instead are independent figures.

Main characters, heroes and otherwise, are just that - the important personalities your game is going to revolve around. Think of them as the stars of your narrative. It is these main characters that drive some of the more amusing G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. AARs around the Internet. They are an obvious hook for a campaign diary as well.

As for the extras, well, "extras" is a euphemism for "cannon fodder."

While the heroes and other main characters are clearly 1:1, it's not so cut and dried for the extras.

Read ten G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.battle reports and you'll probably find ten different treatments of the same 10-figure units. When I first began using the rules, I called them squads or sometimes platoons, but treated them as 1:1 regardless.

The benefit of 1:1 is that all the figures can become characters in the narrative. Albeit, characters that die quickly.

Most recently, I've been treating 10 figures = 1 company, or around 1:20-1:30. At this scale, the extras function as the nameless, hapless, rabble they were meant to be.

Indeed, there is nothing in the rules that gives any hint as to what the intended scale is, if anything. So, feel free to call them whatever you prefer: squad, battalion, brigade, etc You could even mount extras with multi-figs per base to get the right look at the larger game scales (but just treat each base as a figure for combat and morale).

The often recommended starting force in one 10-figure unit, one hero (a unit of one special figure) and one vehicle per side. Anyone can paint 11 figures and build a vehicle (or just use another 10-figure unit or single hero or a cavalry unit if you’re not into the vehicles). If you're a solo gamer, that's just 24 figures and two vehicles.

Heck, the vehicles are optional. As are the heroes. Until my Helvetica campaign this year, I never fielded vehicles, artillery or heroes.

For the longest time I had only 23 Foreign Legion and 30 lizard men and some toy plastic dinosaurs and this was sufficient for me to fight many enjoyable encounters in the Venusian rain forests and lost world islands. I now have another 20 lizard men painted up and 24 Prussians in the mix, plus some sad, but functional vehicles, but they were all added over 4 or so years. Their absence never hindered my fun.

As someone who didn’t enjoy painting much until recently, the modest figure requirement for good fun was a huge plus.

Some of my favorite outings involved only one T. Rex vs. one unit of French Foreign Legion. 

Doesn't sound like fun? 

Then you've never seen a single extra charging a T. Rex to engage it in hand-to-hand combat. Vive La Legion!

next up: The Heart of G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. : Vehicles, Contraptions and Crazy Science Oh my!

On G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. : The First of Several Posts in Which I Review the Game

The other day, Chris from Just Another Wargames Blog, left this comment:
You've been using G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. for this campaign, so I assume you like it. So, sell me on it. What do you like about it? How does it compare to Sword and the Flame? Do you use the compendium or GASLIGHT battles?
I replied that I'd post a review.

But then I realized, while writing said review that it was way too much for a single post. I'm already at 3 physical pages and I've not said all I'd like to. Now, to be sure, I'll edit the hell out of it to make it more succinct, and I could probably even write one in under 100 words that would suffice for 99% of the people considering G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. 

But hey, why have a blog if you can't ramble about a rule set?

So, over the course of this week, I'll be posting my thoughts on G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. I'll discuss the original rules (I don't own Battles By or the Compendium) with some reference to The Sword and the Flame (as I don't own this, any comparison will be based on what I found online) and Soldier's Companion (which I have and which I have heard is similar to TSATF) per Chris's request.

Look for the first post later today!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yet Another Monthly Goal Post

June was somewhat laid back compared to prior months. In addition to several solo games and an excessive number of posts here, I completed the following:

My goal was 14 15mm figures, and I did 13 (although several not among those I intended):

The expedition
The Russian priest, Fr. Alexi and the British explorer, Sir Harry
This guy is itching for a fight. You don't want to scratch that itch.
I was shooting for one dozen palm trees, and I finished with nine, although many of these still need paint on the leaves/fronds:
A view of several palm trees - completed and not quite.
 More 15s:
 Commander Kropotkin (one figure, many uses) leading a squad of Sepulvedan Resistance fighters.

 1/72 scale paper Shermans - I only need four and not the six I thought:

The Japanese artillery:

A camouflaged Japanese bunker:

USMC Artillery:
For July, I'm going to try to post just 10 times (so 9 more), which will put me over my goal of 100 for the year. 

I started a 10 figure French Zouave unit for G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. in June but I'm finishing those up over the next day or so and they'll count towards July. I'd like to get my Khurasan salamander unit painted, maybe the remaining Zouaves (many of them have broken bayonets which I'm not sure how to fix well) too, but if not then at the very least the 3 remaining porters and the 2 British soldiers - I'm gearing up for a return to Jimland (probably the first set of "wargame" rules I really loved).

Finally, I have a couple of paper pill boxes to finish up and then I can play the Pacific Assault game as described in Lone Warrior #172. I'm sure I'll also play out the next game in my Helvetica campaign and Goldielocks scenario, and do some solo RPGing, either with the Annwyn Investigations campaign or a pre-written dungeon crawl with Mythic to throw me curves.

And what the heck, for wishful thinking, cleaning and priming the first box of figures for the Great Northern War project.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Rear Guard Action by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. : Campaign week 9

Riesling, soundly defeated in their attempt to capture the Sauvignon-Blanc capital, withdrew towards Fort Sinn (the former S-B stronghold by the name of Candide). Major Heidegger, taking over for the fallen Dietrich, ordered 6th and 7th Kompanies to delay any Sauvignon-Blanc advance at the Hills of Cordon Bleu to allow the remainder of the force to reach the fort safely and prepare the defenses. [4 turns plus 1d6 additional turns]

For his part, Colonel Duchamp was in no rush to send his sorely depleted army chasing after Riesling. His success had come largely as the result of the fortress and fortifications in the capital. Still he needed a more comfortable buffer and could not allow Riesling to regroup and attack the capital yet again. With only 5 more weeks of good campaigning before the onset of the rainy season on Helvetica, he was sure if he could hold off Riesling until then, he'd be able to regroup and make a big push when the weather turned favorable again.

[Forces were determined by randomly drawn cards]

Duchamp ordered his steam walker crew to advance and harass the Riesling army with its artillery. The walker would be followed by reinforcements as soon as they could resupply [ a roll of 6 on 1d6 any turn after 4]. Their objective was to drive Riesling back up into the mountains [either force one or more Riesling units to rout or by destroying one or more of them].

The forces size each other up.
Major Heidegger is confident in his abilities, but he is modest about it.
The walker under command of Sgt. Deneuve seizes the initiative and opens fire on Riesling's 7th Kompanie.

The shell explodes among the ranks. 
Chaos ensues! Hauptmann Carnap and a schutze charge towards the walker!
Major Hegel regains control of his company and  by sheer force of will, manages to regroup them.
Even as they regroup, Deneuve manages to send another barrage towards 7th K.
On Riesling's left, Major Kant and Hauptmann Leibnitz lead 6th Kompanie to higher ground.
Deneuve orders his gunner to fire again and again they miss (the walker also started up the previous turn)
The walker advancing after firing before reloading and firing again. And missing. Again.

Duchamp has sent 2e Companie to reinforce the walker.
On the Riesling right, Major Hegel and Hauptmann Carnap storm the hill.
Major Bardot, formerly Colonel Baudrillard's 2nd, orders 2e Companie to advance.
2e Companie forms line.
On the other side of the table, 6th Kompanie forms a line, the black flag of anarchy waving over them.

On the right, 7th Kompanie defiantly waves the Riesling flag (a single ant in a field of wheat) at the walker.

The thin blue and white line advances.
The situation at the end of turn 10.
Heidegger has fulfilled his duty and both Riesling companies fall back in good order.