Monday, November 13, 2017

Pulp Alley on Remembrance Day

Terry hosted his annual Remembrance Day game on the weekend and he and Bruce cooperated to run a game of Pulp Alley. Six teams were pitted against one another to capture the Or of Ra (?). Details of how to do this were sketchy so solving plot points brought clues.

Below, the British team (including Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson) are approaching a sphinx statute when a giant hand appears.

I drew the Nazi faction and immediately got most of my troopers killed. Nevertheless, Captain Heinrich and his goon Stutgard managed to decipher enough hieroglyphs to figure out where to go to move the adventure along.

Our irritating Anglo-Saxon cousins were close on our heels as Captain Heinrich tickled the lion under its chin and opened a secret passage.

Various other factions helpfully gunned down the Brits while I was out of the room seeking more coffee and dodging the booby-trapped stairwell.

Stutgard was stumped by the first door in the catacombs and had to wait for Dr. Watson to open it.

Meanwhile, various evil creatures were triggered as other players secured victory points by examining various statutes of the dark gods. Below, Terry's troops are running from rats. I missed Craig's fellows being savaged by dogs.

Meanwhile, in the catacombs, there is a tussle in the entrance way which became a bottleneck. At this point, I thought I was so far behind that I mostly tried to control the activation sequence to keep the guys up top from having room to get into the catacombs.

This was mostly successful.

As figures explored, the catacombs were reveals room by room. The mummies were foughts, skeletons were dismissed, and Chen was wounded when someone got fancy with a pistol in the entrance way.

Eventually Dr. Watson tackled the mummy and they managed to knock each other out of the game.

This allowed Stutgard to grab the orb and snag enough victory points that I won (no one was more surprised than me).

Overall, it was a fun game and I think we have found the practical player limit for Pulp Alley (6). Terry's terrain was excellent and Bruce put a lot of work into the story and various behind the scenes mechanics (e.g., doors below ground opening only when tasks above ground were completed).

The incomplete information was a good mechanic and Craig proved the better man when he turned down the $20 I offered him to shoot Jonathan's gang up while Jonathan was getting coffee (do I have to do everything myself?).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Buildings and walls

In late October, I attended the model railway swap-meet that happens twice a year. There is a lot of rolling stock here but I was specifically interested in picking up a few extra buildings (ideally built and at a discount) for Gotham.

Two fellows sold me six buildings for $45 (built, significant discount). I was very happy to get a police station and a fire hall. I was also hoping for a church, a bank and city hall, but no joy. There was a cool rooming house, however. When I got home, I noticed that the one on the back right is actually N scale (the rest are HO). I would think, by replacing the doors, I could make it work as a low warehouse. The water tower is cool.

I did some minor repair work on the buildings and then sprayed them all black. Why is it that so many railroaders don't bother to paint their buildings? None of these had any paint--just a few decals

The police station turned out okay, I think. There was a bail-bond place around the back (which made me laugh) but I didn't have a bail-bond decal. I did have a guns and ammo decal. That seemed more appropriate for Gotham, anyhow. I think the metal grill on the back windows is a nice touch. Also, cool HVac arrangement on the roof.

There was also a generic building. I had to replace the door with some card. I figured a bar would be a good addition to my buildings so I decaled it as such.  Added a few of the painted adverts (from an old model train decal set) that I often see on the old warehouses downtown.

Just as I was finishing up the building, I somehow got a huge painty finger print on the other side (arse!). This totally pooched the dry brushing on the brick pattern. Rather than start over, I recalled Terry had some graffiti on one of his buildings. So I blacked out the print, then made up some graffiti. I think graffiti-ing "graffiti" is meta.

Terry also turned me on to some Xmas walls at Michael's. I bought five sets (maybe 4 feet of wall for $24). I decided to paint them (original colour was cream, which was also fine). I sprayed grey, blocked the brick, drybrushed, detailed ,and washed two sections as a test. I think this is good enough and now will go back and replicate on the other (sigh...) 14 sections.

I'm not totally sold on the balusters. Even accounting for the different scale they are intended for, they look a bit wrong. But good enough for ornamental walls for the price.

Up next: Probably some more buildings then I should get back to some 54mm AWI figures.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

25mm Star Trek and some clix

I continued to push more stalled projects off my painting bench this week. In the spring, I ordered some 25/28mm Romulans to match with some Klingons and Federation figures I had. Still looking for a fourth race with 12 figures--best bet is probably Gorn as there are a lot of lizards out there.

These are actually supposed to be ST:TMP Klingons (think black jump suits with gold vests) but I already had some ST:TNG Klingons and finding other races is tough. So I fell back on the old "paint job conversion" approach using some ST:TOS pictures I had (basically grey jump suits and silver vests).

Not great in the end but they will do. Below you can see some size comparisons. The Federation are old school 25mm while the Klingons and Romulans are more 28mm. Good enough for my purposes.

I've also been painting up some more Horrorclix figures. The sculpts on these are great, they just need some help with the paint!

I had three of these Creatures from the Black Lagoon. Left to right above is original, highlights, and highlights plus wash (so you see the whole process). Below is original versus finished (I will rebase to clear plastic discs later). The difference that 10 minutes of work makes is significant.

Up next: More Horrorclix and maybe a weekend game with Terry.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

More Fields of Despair

Bruce and I gave Fields of Despair a second play this week now that we have worked out the rules and mechanics some. We turned back the clock to the very start of the war and the Germans had to push through Belgium.

This went well, with Liege falling quickly. I then moved towards the west as fast as I could to take advantage of the Allies lack of preparation.

Bruce sought to distract me in the south with a counter offensive. Despite that, things were going well ... .

...until I decided to divert resources to capture the channel ports (thinking about my right flank). In retrospect, these resources should have been sent towards Paris.

As a result, this was basically as far as I got (not quite historical) before we ran out of time (and the resource points started to tip things towards the Allies.

Overall, some nice mechanics (especially around airplane, artillery and technological advances). We did more bluffing with dummy blocks this game and, overall, we played better. I still don't quite have a handle on the naval war mechanics in terms of an optimal strategy. And Verdun is still a beast of a fortification.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hallowe'en spooks

Happy Hallowe'en. I'd say Merry Hallowe'en but then someone might accuse me of waging a war on Hallowe'en... . Anyhow, I didn't get a Hallowe'en game organized for this year but I did do some painting towards one for next year.

These are some 28mm Horrorclix figures Scott swapped me this summer. They suggest a laboratory experiment gone wrong and would do for a Pulp Alley game. Or maybe a jail break from Arkham? I'll think on that. In the meantime, enjoy!

Amazing what some highlights, a wash and rebasing can do for the clix figures.

Up next: Some 28mm Romulans are just about dry.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fields of Despair

Bruce hosted me in a game of Fields of Despair on Tuesday. This is a WW1 operational game on the western front. The eastern front and broader political situation are abstracted using some of the tracks on the left side of the board

I played the dastardly Hun and we join the conflict after the initial invasion of Belgium. Momentum is with the Kaiser at this point so I pushed hard into northern France. I should have pushed harder towards Paris instead of towards the channel but, well, first game and all.

I managed to blow open a pretty good hole but the fortress at Verdun was a real pain in the ass. Bruce pushed back hard in southern France, which was rather distracting.

The arrival of British troops helped to shore up the northern front and Bruce managed to reform a roughly historical line while I was desperately researching poison gas and reducing Antwerp. Interesting mini-economic game is played at the beginning of each turn allowing choices.

At the end of three (or maybe four) turns, we called it for the night. It was pretty much a historical outcome with the Germans starting to stall in 1915 and the tide starting to turn towards a more even game as manpower gave out for the Germans.

Overall, pretty interesting. The first turn was slow as we worked through the mechanics. Then the game speeded up and I think you could play one turn every half hour or so. The political and economic game is nicely tied together with the battle mechanisms. We're going to give it another go this week. The full war would be probably a five-hour game and I was happy to not have to invade through Belgium on our first go (outcome is obvious).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Finally finished rebasing Star Wars!

Several years ago, I put together matching Star Wars armies, mostly using 25mm West End Games figures. I based them in groups for HoTT, played a campaign with the Imperials and then shelved them. I then used them for Memoir 44 but the grouped bases didn't work for casualty removal.

Back in the spring, I popped all 200 figures off their bases, mounted them on washers and started to flock. Then I lost interest and they became this overwhelming project sitting on the side table.

I finally finished these guys this week. It feels great to have this done--they were physically and mentally blocking my painting for months!

I just snapped some shots of a few figures. There are lots of duplicate storm troopers, Imperial naval troopers, rebel troopers, and wookies (some many damned wookies!).

I think these guys would do for a good pulp alley game one day. Maybe crossed with Star Trek so as to outrage my club mates?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fate of the Elder Gods

We had 10 guys out at the club on Tuesday. Bruce and Scott played Crusader Rex while Taylor hosted a game of Space Hulk.

With Hallowe'en approaching, Terry dug out a Cthulhu-themed game called Fate of the Elder Gods. Unlike Cthulhu Pandemic, here you are trying to summon an elder god as well as prevent rival cults from doing so while the game mechanics play the role of the pesky investigators (man, I hate those guys...)..

The putative goal is to move the little wooden piece (below left) in your lair around the circle clock-wise. Along the way, bad things happen and I think the real game is to get as far as you can and then try to cause the game to end by screwing your neighbour.

The mechanics include card draw and hand management (mostly making sets), some resource management (cultists and spells), dice rolling, and area control on the big board. There was also some memory work involved (face-down spells, curse management) and planning. It was a fair bit to take in at first but, by the end of two hours, we had mostly gotten the hang of the turn sequence and how the different mechanics interact.

In the end, Wiley lost (although that seemed a touch random since I thought he'd played well) and the rest of us compared scores (with Richard winning). Interesting game. It went on 30 minutes too long but that may reflect the learning curve--I suspect it would be faster on second play. There was a fair bit of chaos and luck mid-game that requires a flexible strategy for winning.

Up next: The end of a long rebasing project, some WW1 gaming with Bruce and some Hallowe'en minis.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More ghoulish minis

A few more things are rolling off the painting line. This building was a gift from Terry. He'd already block painted the exterior so all I had to do was assemble the two halves, wash, dull-coat, and put a roof on. A lovely little building for Gotham. Maybe needs a detail or two--a front step maybe? Or some advertising on the wall?

A rare trip to Michael's netted me some deeply discounted fencing from the Hallowe'en village section. Five sections (a gate and four walls) was $5. Each kit made 15" of wall so I bought four. This is about enough to create a graveyard.

I also painted, washed, and rebased from horrorclix zombies that Scott gave me. They turned out just fine for gaming purposes--probably be a gang in Pulp Alley.

This goes a long way towards prepping the Hallowe'en game I'll run next year! 

Up next: Terry is running a Cthulhu game at the club. I hope to make some progress on some more 28mm pulp figures as well as finishing some rebasing of some Star Wars figures.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Long Island flank march

I popped over to Bruce's to game Tuesday night and brought Commands and Colors Tricorne with me. I wanted to try the British flank march at Long Island scenario,

This scenario has an interesting deployment, with the British caught in the middle on a row of hills. Hessians to the front, Brits to the back. Oh my! Also, the American troops suck.

I think I did well holding off the Hessians at first and gaining some early banners. But this cost combat power. I also had some tough cards to manage.

Bruce eventually moved to cut off Washington's retreat line to the ferries. I like to think I played a decent insurgent-kind-of-game. The game went on long enough that we didn't have time to switch sides.

I had some narrow escapes using the retreat option to my advantage. The rallying mechanic and the reduced combat power of the dice (fewer dice and fewer infantry symbols) makes the game less deadly.

Eventually, though, Bruce got enough banners to win (he was relentless) and I had no chance to come back anyways (not enough troops). A good game, I though. I'm not sure I have ever gamed the flank march? There is also a scenario covering the pinning attack on Long Island designed to distract from the flank march.

Up next: Some more minis are done and we have club night on Tuesday. I'm not sure what else I need to attend to but I am turning my mind to a holiday themed game for December. The painting is done--I just need to read the rues and design a decent scenario.