Showing posts with label gong garage gamers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gong garage gamers. Show all posts

Friday, 14 September 2018

Black Powder 123

We had an evening of Black Powder Napoleonics yesterday, playing the simple six-unit 123 scenarios our group enjoys. The aim was to play a couple of games during the evening, but really I was only up for just one game - I'm still shattered from our long, long weekend away.

Caesar and I played a scenario which concerned controlling a house in the centre of the board. Our forces were nominally French (Caesar) and Russian (me), but the troop stats were identical and fairly generic. Oddly enough, however, the units seemed to mostly perform according to the figures used to depict them, which was lucky.

Caesar made the opening moves, and quickly seized the house.

I didn't mess around, and threw my three infantry units at the objective. Caesar was covering his occupying force with a second infantry unit, but they were forced into square by my lurking cavalry.

I attacked Caesar's square, hoping to remove the garrison's only current support before the main attack. Amazingly, and frustratingly, the square held on for turn after turn. However Caesar failed command rolls in order to bring up the rest of his troops, leaving his garrison isolated.

I attacked the house, making use of my unengaged units to provide as much support as possible. The French garrison found itself in a desperate, losing struggle.

Caesar finally got his cavalry into action, driving off the Russian supports, but then falling back from some infantry behind them.

Caesar's infantry square finally broke, allowing all of my infantry to assault the house. This saw the end of the French garrison as well.

Caesar now only had one unit left capable of assaulting the house, and there was a Russian line between it and the garrison. With time running out (there's a turn-limit) he conceded.

Caesar failed to get enough units around the garrison to prevent the Russians from massing their forces against it. The units that were there, and which bore the brunt of the attack, were the same ones he would have had to use to retake the objective, so when that 'opportunity' presented itself they were no longer present.

Thanks to Ralph for organising the evening and to Bryan for adjudicating our game. It's a while since I've played Black Powder, but a surprising amount of it came back to me as I played.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Medieval HOTT

Gary and I played a couple of games of HOTT last night. People have brought along their medieval DBA/HOTT armies, so that was the theme for the evening. In both games I used my Peter Pig 'classic' Arthurian army.

For the first game, Gary fielded a generic medieval setup, with a Knight lord and a small retinue, and a ton of peasant Hordes.

Gary's mob defended a hill, and I charged. I would have been rude not to.

Arthur and his trusted companions took the position of honour on the right, supported by Merlin. Merlin had a couple of goes at scaring off Gary's giant, but failed.

In the centre the lesser knights ploughed into and through the peasants. There was much slaughter.

Lancelot faces the giant.

The peasants were scattered, but Gary's lord had a seemingly endless supply of them.

(I brought Gary to the brink of defeat, then had two really bad PIP rolls and couldn't finish him off. He countered with two brilliant PIP rolls and pretty much brought back all of the Hordes he'd lost.)

Killing peasants no longer seemed a viable way of crushing Gary's army, so Merlin stepped in and, supported by some knights, took down the Lord himself for the victory.

In the second game Gary's lord decided to field no peasants, more knights and ...

... subcontracted a dragon for aerial support.

The dragon came on early. I pushed forward with my army, hoping to put pressure on Gary and make him spend PIPs on things other than moving the dragon. Merlin sat this battle out, being replaced by Galahad the Paladin.

The dragon ate one lot of knights, gobbled up Galahad and then went after Arthur himself. Arthur was having nothing of it, and lopped off the dragon's head.

Arthur and his heroes pushed forward.

Gary's Lord was pushed back almost to his stronghold, but his lesser knights came rushing to his aid. Arthur's knights found themselves pressed on all sides.

Foot soldiers cut down an other group of Camelot's finest to give Gary the win.

This was a closer game than the first. We went into what was destined to be the last round of combats with both of us 2AP away from breaking. Gary took down one of my knights, but a final combat could have seen his Behemoth recoiled off the back of the board, which would have broken his army as well, and edged me ahead by 2AP for a narrow win. Sadly I didn't manage the recoil.

Peter and Dave played DBA, using double-sized medieval armies. They used Burgundians and French. Dave picked up a win based, it appears, on Peter's appalling PIP and combat rolls.

I do like a nice game of basic 24AP HOTT.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Thomas And The Death Race

We played Gaslands once again, last night. We had planned to try a non-race scenario, but with five players and one of them new to the game, we opted for the easy Race option again. However we played with the full sponsor rules, and Audience Votes as well.

Here's the starting grid.

I ran Thomas, sponsored by Scarlett Annie
Caesar ran the ram-car Dreamline and the buggy Rhapsody In Blue, sponsored by Slime.
John ran Til Death Do Us Part and a rocket-armed car the name of which escapes me, sponsored by Rutherford.
Jason ran three buggies: Please Don't Touch, Stay On These Roads and Devil In My Car, again sponsored by Slime.
Ed ran Georgia Lee and Miss Murder, sponsored by Idris.

I kept the run to Gate 1 fairly clear and as short a distance as possible, on the hope it would reduce some of the carnage before the race opened up. It didn't.

Thomas is a big vehicle, and made for an interesting start-grid, with people trying to avoid being near him.

And away we went! Miss Murder forged ahead with nitro, whilst some of the buggies ramped up the speed and roared away to the first gate. Thomas plodded doggedly forward, assuming that things would get out of his way or get crushed. Only John hung back, hoping to escape the rush and then come back from behind. He did take the opportunity to slice up Stay On These Roads with a chainsaw though; our first casualty.

Passing space was tight at the first gate. Thomas took the first shooting damage as Miss Murder crossed the line and activated its weapons.

Chaos ensued. Thomas sliced into Miss Murder ...

... but came under fire as Caesar and John's buggies crossed the line and got guns and flamethrowers into action. Thomas ended up riddled with bullets, and on fire. Meanwhile Dreamline smashed into Georgia Lee and destroyed it.

Finally Please Don't Touch entered the fray, piling in with its ferocious spikes and setting off a chain of collisions, wrecks and finally an explosion which saw Miss Murder, Dreamline and Thomas all eliminated.

But what's this? Thomas back again? Well, yes. The Audience Votes system allows a player to respawn one vehicle from their team if they have enough votes and if they have no remaining vehicles. It keeps players in the game until the end. So weakened, but defiant, Thomas's crew got him back into action.

Briefly, anyway. John's car came in from behind, pulled up under my rear deck and unloaded rockets into me, destroying Thomas again - a respawned vehicle only has half of its starting hits.

At this point John had to go home, so his vehicles pulled out. This left four of us in the game, and we'd all been totally eliminated, so were each running one, weakened, respawned vehicle. Thomas was a wreck (under repair, it has to be said), but Dreamline, Georgia Lee and Please Don't Touch were all making a run for the next gate.

This stage of the game saw some great high-speed driving. Caesar kept himself ahead of Please Don't Touch, but suffered from a hail of grenades and small-arms fire.

As the three cars passed Gate 2, Thomas plodded slowly back into action.

I reasoned that rather than try to catch up I was better off trying to engage the leader, so turned off course. By now the three other vehicles were past Gate 3 and were in a run to the finish. I got off a harpoon shot, which didn't achieve much ...

... but he buzzsaws and small-arms proved effective in destroying other vehicles.

"What fun!" said Thomas.

Unfortunately simply destroying other vehicles doesn't cut it, since they pick up enough Audience Votes to respawn almost immediately, so were straight back into the race. Ed got Georgia Lee back in action after a slicing from Thomas, and used a spectacular slide and skid to edge the car's nose over the finish line for the win.

The game was a lot of fun; I was especially pleased with how the terrain I am putting together looked in terms of adding character to the race. We didn't encounter too many rules issues, despite using a whole range of things for the first time. The Battlehammer perk proved popular and deadly - it adds a vehicles hazards to smash attacks, making reckless drivers into deadly rammers. I also found Boarding Party useful, since it allowed me to bring my considerable firepower to bear even after a collision - and Thomas is all about collisions.

Respawning does change the nature of races, since it's not hard to keep bringing a single vehicle back. This meant that it was quite hard to take down a race-leader, and in my case it made it impossible for me to really get into a winning position from behind; if I eliminated an opposing vehicle, by the time I'd negotiated the required gates it would have respawned and moved on from where I killed it. Much of this is down to my having a vehicle not best suited to a race, though, and the point of the respawn rule is to keep everyone in the game until the end, which it certainly achieved.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Gaslands Again

I volunteered to run Gaslands at the Gong Garage Gamers last night, and ended up with five players, three of whom had never played it before and a couple of whom hadn't read the rules. But despite the novices I wanted to try a 'full' game as much as possible, so I constructed six teams of two cars each using the sponsors and perks. This gave everyone a choice.

So we ended up with ten cars on the starting grid, in a figure-of-eight race. There were a mix of types, including a buggy and a couple of pick-ups, and a range of weaponry and team-styles.

Needless to say, the start was chaos, with vehicles bumping and bashing right from the start. Actual weaponry doesn't activate until the first gate has been passed, so there was no shooting.

Things started to spread out, but it was still chaotic. However some cars were approaching the first gate. In the centre the pink Woman King was rammed head-on by the big Bulls On Parade. Both vehicles took so much damage that they limped around on their last hit for a few moves before wrecking. Woman King managed to pass the first gate even, before a minor collision finished it off.

This was the last photo I got. In the background you can see the wrecked Woman King. But the key feature is Caesar's Back In Black who passed through the first gate, activated its guns, then turned and charged headlong into the pack with weapons blazing. The car in front of him was armed with a flamethrower and highly explosive. And the one next to him was equipped with and experimental (and also highly explosive) nuclear reactor.  A disaster was in the offing.

In fact the flamethrower survived the crash. As did Back In Black, but he fell to a passing shot from the spiky buggy Please Don't Touch that you can see on the left. And exploded. Amazingly the two volatile cars survived that as well.

Also in the background you can see my speedster, Perfect Day. And for him it was. I'd survived some gunnery from Caesar as I passed through the gate, but once through I was clear to start running the course. The carnage behind me left the first gate littered with wrecks, making it tricky to navigate, so I soon built up an unassailable lead.

I had a hairy moment when the flamethrower armed The Anarchist got on my tail, flipped and exploded, but I avoided serious damage from the ensuing spectacular fireball.

Gate 1 pretty much saw the demise of six of the ten vehicles. Caesar and Jason lost both of theirs, but Gary and John had to leave, so handed their survivors over. Jason made a bold attempt to catch my speedster with the nuclear-engined Stationary Traveller, but misjudged his template choice at the final moment and failed to line up the ram attack that would have ended my dreams of victory. He had to resort to gunfire instead, but my driver deftly evaded damage to cross the finish line for the win. Only three of the original ten vehicles survived the race.

This game was chaotic, but people picked up the mechanisms pretty quickly and seemed to enjoy themselves. The carnage at or before Gate 1 means that we didn't get much in the way of shooting; most vehicles capable of doing it crashed not long after getting the opportunity. To be fair my designs were pretty random, based on what I had to hand and with little regard to any specific team tactics. Hopefully as more people get the rules and design their own vehicles and teams we'll see some more cautious and considered play.

Having played races in all of the games so far it would be interesting to try some of the other scenarios, as these allow for different styles of play. They also rely more on the Audience Votes system, which we haven't tried so far.

Friday, 3 August 2018

King And Parliament

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of gridded games, especially The Portable Wargame, and I've devoted time recently to adapting it for the English Civil War. So I was keen to play King and Parliament when it was on offer as a game yesterday. King and Parliament is the ECW adaptation of the ancients rules To The Strongest; grid-based and with relatively simple mechanisms, designed to give a quick, smooth game.

Gary set up the Montgomery 1644 scenario from the book for us and adjudicated whilst Caesar took the Parliamentarian forces and I took the Royalists.

The grid is very subtle, but easy to use. You can just see an intersection to the front-right of this unit of dashing Royalist horse.

Activation of units in King and Parliament is by playing cards. You play a card to do something with a unit; generally you need anything better than a one (Ace) at the start, but there are some modifiers. You can keep activating a unit within a turn, but each attempt needs a result higher than the score for the previous activation. Thus if you make your first activation with a 9, you're unlikely to get a second action. If a unit in a brigade fails an activation, then all activations for the brigade cease, so you have to pick the order you do things carefully.

Anyway, we started off by both getting stuck in with our cavalry. Combat also uses playing cards; the better position you are in the more cards you draw, and you need cards above a certain value to hit. The target unit then gets to save the hits, also by drawing cards.

The card draws are fast and furious.

Units generally take two or three hits. They can evaporate quickly.

Caesar got lucky early on and had foraging cavalry return on my right flank. Flank attacks are nasty - you get double the number of cards, and the enemy unit doesn't fight back.

Cavalry also pursue and have to be rallied. Our cavalry action saw about two-thirds of our horse eliminated, whilst the survivors chased around pursuing stragglers. That seemed to be a cue for the foot to get stuck in.

The game uses tokens to track ammunition (for foot and horse) and dash (which allows horse to do proper charges). These were less fiddly to use than they initially looked. For foot the ammunition is a neat mechanism; units are generally better off shooting the enemy whilst they have the ammunition to do it, hoping to disorder them. A unit with no ammunition can still shoot, but it's less effective than simply charging. So basically foot the foot engage in a firefight for a couple of turns, then switch to cold-steel and clubbed muskets.

My foot neither shot nor charged, since I failed to activate any of the units three turns in a row.

Caesar did a little better, and took out one of my foot units with a salvee charge - combined fire and attack. Very nasty. This allowed him to turn my left whilst his cavalry, returned from pursuit, turned my right.

So that was it for the Royalists. Their horse did OK, and the supporting troops put on a good show, but the main foot brigade suffered from inertia and paid the price.

We loved this game. The mechanisms were very simple to pick up and, whilst I can see from a cursory glance at the rules, we missed a few modifiers here and there, we were basically playing the game smoothly and confidently after a turn or two. The chrome isn't overwhelming, but there's enough period flavour to satisfy our group who are, it has to be said, ECW newbies for the most part. I initially had a concern that it was designed for very big battles, and I can see that it would cope with them admirably. But it looks like it will scale down quite happily to cover most popular actions.

This is a game we'll be trying again.

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