Sunday, March 31, 2019

The debut of the war rig

Our most recent game of Gaslands had my newly completed war rig trying to get from one end of the table to the other. Spoiler alert: It did not happen. I gave my tractor-trailer combo (Shiny Happy People towing Big Money) 75 cans of equipment and upgrades, facing two teams of 50 cans each.
One of the teams was Notorious RBG, with Red Rain, Blue Monday, and Green Manalishi (with a two-prong crown), their paint jobs toned down from what they looked like straight out of the package. Each vehicle was a standard car with front-facing heavy machine gun.
On the other side of the table was Men At Work, with the heavy truck Overkill and the regular truck (Who Can It Be Now?). These vehicles had crew firing rifles and grenades or Molotovs.
No plan survives the first turn of play, and my war rig ended up spinning out after gaining too many hazard tokens--and a lot of machine gun hits from Notorious RBG. Now I was pointed to the side, instead of down the road where I wanted to go. And I drove into a work zone.
The Men At Work were in my way. There's no point in arguing about who ran into who; let's just say there was some contact between Shiny Happy People and Overkill.
Let's also just say that the piledriver attack the big rig has is fun--you push the other vehicle the length of a short range template in any direction.
And because my rig had eight crewmembers, there were plenty of bullets flying at Who Can It Be Now?, which then wrecked. And exploded, thanks to all those grenades, damaging Green Manalishi (but not the two-prong crown).
And as I drove past Overkill, I got cocky. First, I laid down a smokescreen to cover my getaway. Nice, but I couldn't leave well enough alone.
Even though I could have made my getaway, I decided to open fire (all those crewmembers with guns, remember?). And yes, I took out the vehicle. Which exploded (I want to say on a natural 6).
And since I was close enough to shoot Overkill with my handguns, I was close enough to be affected by the blast. Now the explosion didn't finish me off--I still had two hull points left--but every hit from a blast that you don't evade gives you another hazard token.
This was enough to send me into a jackknife, spinning the rig around and making me roll a four-dice attack against myself. I did four points damage, which was more than enough to kill the war rig--ending the game and giving credit for the kill to Men At Work (even though they didn't have anyone left to savor the win).
I had fun playing the war rig, and I hope to get it onto the table again soon. Meanwhile, I'm working on more vehicles. I think I'm addicted to this game.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Ambush among the animals

Our recent game of Burrows & Badgers saw us playing the second scenario in the rulebook, Ambush the Camp.I played the defenders, set up in the middle of the board.
My opponent quickly moved his figures to the center of the table and started wailing on my guys. He had some heavy hitters like a wildcat. Still, I was able to get multiple characters over to his figures, including a sparrow.
While I damaged his guys, he took out a couple of mine as well, including a new character that my warband had picked up: Linda Lou Shrew.
And it's hard in this game to get a hit on a figure with the Ferocious trait, like the wildcat. That animal was able to hold off--and take out--the rabbit leader of my warband.
With my top figure out of the way, he was able to raid my group's equipment pile in the middle of the camp, one of his objectives for the game.
Thankfully, my warband all recovered, although not intact. Rolling on the injuries table after the battle, the shrew rolled up "horrendous scars"--which gave her the Ferocious trait. Now I get to see how that works.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Fantasy Trip has arrived

My copy of The Fantasy Trip, part of a Steve Jackson Games Kickstarter, arrived this past weekend, and the box is huge! Not Ogre Designer's Edition huge, but huge nonetheless. The box contains, in addition to the role-playing rulebook, In The Labyrinth, the two pocket games that started it all: Melee and Wizard, along with the Death Test solo adventure and its sequel.
I received electronic copies of everything as part of the Kickstarter campaign, so I've had a chance to play these games recently. Still, it's nice to have the actual physical components, including fold-out-maps and counters in the smaller boxes. And the main box also has a four-panel GM screen that gives you plenty of room to put all your notes, while the landscape orientation makes it easy for you to see your players.
And there is a whole box of die-cut hex geomorphs, suitable for putting together your own labyrinth. Although I find the Heroscape tiles more aesthetically pleasing, these chipboard map parts are much more convenient to transport and assemble.
I'm glad I bought this, and I look forward to spending more time In The Labyrinth.

Monday, March 25, 2019

All dressed up with no one to show

As noted previously, my time at GaMExpo was somewhat disappointing. I hauled my game mat, terrain, and miniatures down to San Antonio for what I thought would be two sessions of Ogre using my Monopolis setup. Instead of scheduled participation games, the miniatures tables seemed more like ongoing attractions for congoers to walk by and look at. Unfortunately, since they put us all upstairs away from the main rooms of the convention, foot traffic remained light for the Saturday I was there. I had one player show up for my first scheduled game at 10 a.m. Luckily, my gaming buddy Joe, who was scheduled to run a World War II game, offered to play as well.  
The attendee remembered Ogre from its 1970s origins, but hadn't played the decade. Since we just had the one new player, I gave him a Mark V with one secret objective, and the general orders to destroy CPs and town hexes. My friend, who's played in several Monopolis games, took the defense.
The attacking Ogre quickly moved up and took out a few defending armor units, then loosed one of its missiles to attack a town hex across the river that contained the Ghódurek Lítu Jail--the random objective the Ogre had drawn. After that, the cybertank forded the waterway and rumbled through the city, overrunning infantry and GEVs and shooting at heavy tanks as well before slaughtering one of the mobile command posts that were secondary targets. By this time, the defenders had stripped the Ogre of all its weapons except a few AP guns, so the cybertank made its way out of town as the Monopolis forces ineffectually tried to slow the big beast down. No such luck, and with the Ogre taking out its objective and a mobile CP, it secured a decisive victory for the aggressors.
Despite just the two players, I enjoyed refereeing this game, and they both enjoyed playing. I was disappointed, however, that no one else expressed interest in playing the rest of the day. And I did have to spend the whole day there, because there was no entry fee discount for running a single game--you had to volunteer for 10 hours (two games, for me) in order to get in for free. I wouldn't have minded volunteering for a half-day (a single game) if I got a discounted ticket, but for this con it was all or nothing. I doubt I will go back to this convention.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

GaMExpo pix

GaMExpo was kind of a bust as far as people who wanted to play minis games. The wargaming room was upstairs, away from the rest of the convention, so foot traffic was sparse. On the bright side, I got to see some other games that people were GMing, like this setup for Sharpe Practice.
Although the rules are more aimed at an earlier period, the person running the game was using it for a Napoleonic scenario.
And the semi-historical pirates game Blood & Plunder had a nice Spanish settlement set up.
There was also a superhero game, X-Men vs. Avengers, so everyone could play the good guys.
This had nice modern-day town terrain. I think that's Nightcrawler from the X-Men on the roof.
There was also some BattleTech--more precisely, Alpha Strike, a sped-up, stripped-down version of the game that gets rid of the rivet-counting but still feels like playing giant stompy robots.
The scenario was a king of the hill-type game, where you got points for keeping near the objective markers.
I also set up my Monopolis map, but I didn't get that much use out of it. More in a later post.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Wrecked vehicles

Some quick and easy scatter terrain for Gaslands and other post-apoc vehicle combat games, made from dollar-store die-cast toys.
These Hot Wheels knockoffs came in a package, three for a buck. Some disassembly, a little carnage with the cutters, and a light dusting of black spray paint, and there you go.
These burnt-out vehicles will make nice obstacles for various Gaslands scenarios or as wrecks for when a player's car gets destroyed. Given the carnage levels in this game, I need to make quite a few more wrecks.
Of course, given how inexpensive these were, I won't have any problem finding some more cars to mangle. It's simple and fun, and looks good on the table.
Not bad for 33 cents each!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Trying out Burrows & Badgers

Burrows & Badgers is a miniatures skirmish game of anthropomorphic animal combat. Think Frostgrave crossed with Redwall. You have teams of mice, rabbits, frogs, weasels, hounds, badgers, etc. fighting each other for treasure and scenario objectives. Most actions are determined by contested rolls, with the dice you use based on your model's stat versus another models stat. For example, one figure has a Strike of d8, and rolls that die against the opponent's block stat of d6. Add in modifiers, and the highest number wins. If it's the active model, then you do damage.
The neat twist to this game is the concept of the "perfect roll"--a result of the maximum for your die roll adds seven to the total. So if you roll a 4 on a d4, you then add 7 to your total (along with any other modifiers). This means that every now and then, even one of the weaker figures has a chance to hurt a much stronger opponent. Add in weapons, actions like hiding, and magic, and you have an interesting set of rules.
Our gaming group has started using these rules, and I was able to play last week. I took five models: A rabbit leader, his second, a toad magician, and three mice warriors. Since we didn't have figures for the leader and the second, we proxied with some human minis. My in-game rationale was that the rabbit and toad were cursed by a witch and turned into humans.
The opposed rolls with their propensity for big bonuses kept the game swinging back and forth, meaning neither side could overpower the other at first. In the end, my opponent did overwhelm me, taking my leader and then one of my rank-and-file out of action. At least in this game, most of the time your figures will come back for the next scenario. And rolling for secondary objectives as part of the scenario we played gave a nice fog of war effect, as neither of us knew what the other was up to (besides trying to kill each other). In fact, in our game, both of us were able to accomplish a secondary objective--meaning both sides got experience and treasure to apply to the next game.
And that's another great thing about the rules: the campaign system. You have a chance after the battle to roll for injuries for figures that were knocked out of action and then see what kind of side adventures each of your figures gets into before the next fight. There's a chance to buy new equipment and magic, and for characters to gain additional skills or stat increases. It was a fun time, and we're playing it again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Monopolis in San Antonio

I'm taking my show on the road! I will be running games of Monpolis (Ogre minis on a big map with 3-D scenery) this Saturday morning and afternoon at the GaMExpo convention in San Antonio. The events schedule lists six players per game, but if more than that show up, I will try to fit in additional players. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Arena of Death

We played our second game of Gaslands last week: the Arena of Death scenario, complete with automated machine gun turrets. Since there were four of us playing, I had to come up with another team of vehicles. So I took a trio of Hot Wheels out of their packaging to make The Notorious RBG: Red Rain, Blue Monday, and Green Manalishi (with a two-prong crown), all with identical stats.
We also had Men At Work, with Overkill (dump truck) and Who Can It Be Now? (front loader).
Of course, we had The Blues Brothers, Jake (car) and Elwood (pickup), which I ended up playing. The one-vehicle Justice League consisted of the Batusi (renamed by my players from the Batmobile).
The Batusi had lots of marvelous toys, like nitro, a turreted machine gun, RC car bombs, and a smokescreen. Not enough to keep it from getting riddled with bullets by the Green Manalishi (does that make that vehicle the Riddler's car?).
The first turn was lots of maneuvering and shooting, but no kills. Shortly, though, we started damaging each other. Who Can It Be Now? unleased enough Molotov cocktails to set Elwood on fire (although the flames immediately went out, since the truck had no hazard tokens).
Overkill managed to live up to its name, taking out Jake for the first vehicle kill of the evening.
But the carnage was about to increase, as Notorious RBG had Men At Work in the sights of their front-mounted machine guns.