Thursday, December 13, 2018

Passing the Death Test

After my gaming group's trial run playing Melee, I wanted to revisit the game system, but with more of a scenario than some unconnected arena battles. Luckily for me, The Fantasy Trip's Kickstarter campaign includes a reprint of the old preprogrammed adventure Death Test. So we all prepared characters (three fighters and a wizard created using the--wait for it--Wizard rules) and set out into the labyrinth.
It was basically one combat after another--and we got drawn into the game! We made our way through nine rooms of this Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, dealing with traps and creatures and other mercenaries along the way. We defeated foes and found treasure--gold bars, jewels, even a potion or two.
In fact we we so immersed in getting our badly wounded characters through the dungeon--we were all injured, some dangerously so--that we completely lost track of time. Four hours later, we were about to pack up and call it a night when I convinced everyone to get through one more room. After defeating the big boss, we made our way to the exit.
Everyone really had a good time playing this adventure. I don't know if we will ever get a full campaign of The Fantasy Trip, but I hope to come up with some scenarios for us to play sometime in the future.
Bonus pic: Before I got to the game store to run Death Test, the group was playing Shadows of Brimstone, a hybrid boardgame/roleplaying game in a horror/Western setting. It's pretty fun, too, although more complicated than TFT.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Monopolis 2018 report

Yes, I ran my Monopolis game at MillenniumCon back in November. It went well. I had my standard setup with eight or nine players--five attackers and four defenders--fighting over the poor beleaguered city of Monopolis. I gave each player an objective card detailing a specific goal for that person's units, like capturing a certain location by making sure no enemy units are within firing range at the end of the game.
As usual, it took a long time to set up the board. Note that the city sections are all perched atop other terrain pieces. The reason for this will become apparent later on.
The green units (defenders) could set up anywhere on the board, but they (wisely) mainly stayed within the city limits for that defensive bonus. Each side got cruise missiles, which has kind of become a tradition for these games. Below you can see the defenders' cruise missile crawlers, guarded by infantry in the warehouse and docks district.
While that's a lot of megatonnage, I do make each side wait a turn or two for clearance before they can launch their nukes. This gives the players time to maneuver and get into combat, as the two largest Ogres did.
The attacking Mark V (gray) closed on the defending Mark V (green). This ended up being bad news for the emergency response vehicles (red) nearby. I give the defender's fire trucks in this scenario a chance to "repair" a damaged town hex by removing the damage marker to simulate their firefighting ability.
This battle was exciting, as the attacker charged the defending cybertank! We had an overrun with shooting and ramming and more shooting till eventually one of the Ogres was stripped of all its weapons.
This bloodthirsty battle caused a great deal of collateral damage to the city while other firefights took place elsewhere on the map.
Eventually, both sides had clearance to launch cruise missiles. The first few were shot down without damaging anything. The attackers' final nuke, however, detonated over the city one space away from where the Ogres were slugging it out.
While the two Mark Vs were not harmed by the blast (Ogres are extremely tough!), it pretty much wiped out Monopolis. All town and forest hexes up to four spaces away were automatically turned into rubble, and those five or six hexes out were damaged. This is where putting all those rubble markers beneath the town and forest terrain paid off in time saved, since I could just pick the destroyed terrain up and the rubble was already there.
With allotted time running out, I called the game. The attackers had the edge in numbers, but since they ended up nuking most of their objectives (as well as the defenders'), I called it a draw. The players seemed to like the game, and as usual I had fun running it. Now to think about a scenario for next year ....

Friday, November 9, 2018

MillenniumCon 2018 begins

Our local historical miniature wargames convention, MillenniumCon, takes place this weekend, and once again I will be running my Monopolis setup (Ogre miniatures using the boardgame rules on a large hex mat with 3-D terrain--future history is still history, right?). I will also be playing in some other people's games as well. Hope to see some of y'all there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Scenes from a Gaslight game

I had a chance to play Gaslight (Victorian science fiction rules) with the group a few weeks back. There were three factions descending on a British outpost in Africa, with a game master.
My faction was the Martians (or more correctly, Barsoomians), complete with radium rifles and big green heroes. It also included some Venusian parrot-men.
Then there were the Germans, with lots of mechanical soldiers and a couple of steam-powered vehicles.
Finally, we had the British, including their gorilla friend.
All three forces were converging on the trading post: The Brits to relieve it, and the other two to loot it.
The Imperials, including the Postal Rifles and some Sikhs, advanced in column, supported by their own steam tank.
Meanwhile, my Green Martian led a group of Red Martians up to the outpost, and climbed through a window.
Unfortunately, when you roll up a hero in Gaslight, you can get some disadvantages as well as advantages. My guy was clumsy, and fell over when he climbed through the window.
He attracted plenty of attention from the Englishmen in the courtyard.
The Reds pulled him out and climbed in, as the Tommies began shooting into their own building.
By this time, reinforcements had arrived, so the Martians were not doing so well. On the other side of the compound (not pictured), the robo-Germans were hauling away loot.
The parrotmen kept themselves busy with a German mech, but ultimately didn't stop the German war machine in general.
I'm not used to playing VSF, and the Gaslight rules were new to me, but I had a great time as we saw the narrative emerge from play.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Return to Frostgrave

After some time playing Ghost Archipelago, our group returned to playing Frostgrave.
We started a new campaign, taking up the Hunt for the Golem from The Frostgrave Folio.
And of course there was the usual skullduggery between warbands as the four groups tried to take down the titular golem.
My large construct, Stout, proxied for the golem from the scenarios.
In the end, another wizard's group brought down the golem and earned the experience from doing so.
It's fun being back in the frozen city.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

In the arena

Steve Jackson is bringing back the old microgames Melee and Wizard, along with the compatible roleplaying rules In The Labyrinth--the whole system is known as The Fantasy Trip, and it dates back to the late 1970s. He recently did a Kickstarter to get it back into print, and I joined in. Since backers got electronic copies of the rules while we wait for the hardcopies to get printed, I decided to try out the game, repurposing my old Heroscape figures and terrain for some figure-to-figure tactical combat.

I refereed a game of two-on-two to give the other folks in the gaming group an opportunity to learn the rules. After that battle--which ended up with the advantage swinging back and forth until one side finally prevailed--we played a five warrior free-for-all. While my guy ended up fleeing the arena, the others stayed around to battle it out. We called the game when one warrior had the other on the brink of death.

It was a fun time, and my group seems willing to play it again, perhaps getting some sort of campaign going. I'm looking forward to more melees in the arena ... and later in the labyrinth.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Scenes from the Phantasmal Island Chain

This is a Ghost Archipelago game from several months back. There was a small lake with an island in the middle, where the main treasure was.
My lizardmen encountered armored skeletons, along with local wildlife. The main danger, however, was (as usual) other crews.
All of us made good tactical use of the terrain, as we each tried to abscond with as many treasures as possible.
Crew members in the water were easy prey for missile weapons, as were those of us foolish enough to stand on the island, surrounded by very shooty enemy crews.
There were also natives, including a witch doctor, that showed up.
What has everyone else been playing lately?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

One more Ogre batrep

Another look back at an Ogre game, this one from July. The green and gray force is trying to get across the river and off the opposite side of the map.
The OGREcovery vehicle also serves as an infantry transport, but the defending blue ground-pounders are dug into the city ahead.
Pro tip: If there's infantry dug into the town hex, target it directly. Once it's rubble, infantry only get double defense instead of triple.
The Ground Effect Ogre got some game time here; with the river providing a nice pathway for it.
The opposing Ogres, Big Red and Bigger Red, were attempting to stop us.
Yes, we used superheavies as well.
Below, you can see the conning tower of the Mark V as it travels along the lake bottom, trying to get to the opposite shore, with the GEO in support.
One Ogre is across the bridge, with the second right behind it but still submerged.
The Ogres ended up busting through; making it a victory for the greens and grays.
Coming soon: More Ogre.