Last night we played our second game of TooFatLardies new What a Tanker. Last week we played a Normandy period game with Canadians and Germans. We decided to try early war in a far more built-up area. I have to admit I had some doubts about this. From the comments over on the What a […]
Thursday night the Williamsburg Legati played another Spy Fi game of Crooked Dice’s 7TV. More of the miniatures are painted, and we are playing around with different scenery ideas. Our newest member Geoff brought a lot of jungle foliage by, so we decided to set the game in the jungle. We also shook things up a bit on the villainous side by replacing the Evil Mastermind with the Despotic Dictator. The Mastermind hasn’t been very successful for us and we think it is probably due to the small cast sizes we have been using. We have been playing with just 30 ratings points. The Mastermind’s star qualities are mostly based on ordering minions around and we just don’t have enough minions! We also keep going back and forth regarding the inhuman servitor and plastron. This happens more from confusion than anything else but does make a great difference in the game.
The episode we were playing was “the Race”. In this episode, both players start on opposite sides of the table and race towards a goal. An interesting twist is that the objective is about to be destroyed. We decided it was an active local volcano. Players can gain extra plot points by electing to burn two countdown cards a turn, making the danger arrive sooner. We weren’t sure what the rules meant by “Goal” so we decided to make it the McGuffin. The characters had to collect objective tokens, on doing so on any turn where they had turned two countdown cards, they rolled a dice to see if the objective was actually the McGuffin.
On set up, the three spies on the hero’s side gave them a bit of advantage, with a number of their figures beginning play right inside the complex. Their first countdown card being “set dressing” it allowed them to push a bookcase against the window that the villains were obviously planning on coming in through. The good guys made their way through the building taking objectives were they lay.
The villains followed a different strategy. Our star (Geoff and I were playing the villains again) stayed outside and sent their minions in through the windows to collect objectives and shoot at the heroes. Meanwhile, the inhuman servitor stayed off on his own (most of his star qualities are designed for that. What luck that turned out to be. One objective was outside of the complex, upon a rock formation and the inhuman servitor went to get it. That turned out to be the Mcguffin! He took it started to leave, but he is also the slowest character being unable to run. that was our undoing!
The heroes sent one of their annoying ninja out after the servitor. We had gathered the Junta and his sidekick out to support the servitor, but the ninja used two gadgets. Sleeping gas, to put the alien to sleep and then camouflage spray to make her invisible. Basically what this meant was that the Alien lost his turn and nothing could be done to the ninja standing right over him! We were also very quickly losing the firefight within the complex. When the game ended, we had lost all but our star and one costar. The good guys had only lost a ninja and one or two security guards. They also had most of objectives, but not the Mcguffin. The heroes won, but not as cleanly as they had done in the previous games and we almost won! The Dictator will be used again.
Some time ago I posted a review here, of some of the fine building kits I had purchased from Charlie Foxtrot Models. For those of you unfamiliar with Charlie Foxtrot, they are a British company that produces several ranges of some very nice MDF kits. Shortly after posting it, imagine my surprise to receive an email from Colin, owner of the company.
He asked me what games and genres I played, and if I had any ideas for further ranged or buildings he could provide. I think that is some pretty impressive customer service, to reach out in such fashion to known loyal customers.
The truth is however, I didn’t know how I could help him. The only thing that seemed obvious to me was American Colonial. My job gives me a certain advantage there. Charlie Foxtrot, however, is a British company as I mentioned. I didn’t think there would be much interest in the American War for Independence over there. As to American interest, well there is certainly some here, but MDF can be pricey to ship. I was afraid to suggest that Colin invest in hopes of American customers. I have no idea how many of us purchase from him. (I still don’t by the bye). There, I let the matter drop.
Several months later came the new edition of Sharp Practice from Too Fat Lardies. Like many others, I was swept up into the excitement. Sharp Practice 2 makes it very clear that it is not intended just for the Napoleonic period, but rather for the Age of Muskets in general. I found myself drawn to the American revolution, a period I have most avoided as a gamer. I also noticed a surprising interest in the period of the Too Fat Lardies list. Maybe interest was greater in Britain than I thought.
I also noticed a dearth of good buildings for the period. There are a handful of Very nice (and pricey) Grand Manner buildings, but most offerings far too modern, more suited to the American Civil War, or they are log cabins! I know you Brits think we were completely rustic, but by the time of the war, most of the seaboard was pretty settled. Log cabins are great for Guildford Courthouse or Kings Mountain, not so great for Yorktown or Boston. Maybe the interest would be there.
Enough of all that. This is supposed to be a review of the first of Charlie Foxtrot’s New World range, not me bragging about my involvement which was really very minute. All I did was send photos of buildings I thought would be good choices. Two of those were the Richard Charleton House and the Grissel Hay house.
Both of these are original 18th-century houses still sitting on their original foundations and footprints. Colin took these to inspire his “Tidewater Home”.
One of the first things you notice about this kit is it is large. Far more pieces than most CFM I have (Only my Georgian House is larger). Lots and lots of pieces. Many of these are designed to combat the biggest failing of MDF which is it’s inherent flatness. Colin has used many clever tricks to bring out the 3-dimensional nature of the prototype. the columns and the portico, the window sills, and may favorite, the dentil work under the eave and the pediment. This might very well have been neglected by a different manufacturer.
Of course, the footprint of the building is impressive as well. Colin told me he saw the house as a focal point of a table and it certainly could be on the 6X4 I am used to.
The house is 25 x 14cms or almost 10 x 6 inches and stands about 6 1/2 inches tall to the peak of the roof. As is typical of any CFM structure, the building comes apart into its separate floors so figures can be placed inside.
Construction of the kit is easy, with only a few parts being fiddly. Even the porch steps went together easily which hasn’t been my experience with most mdf kits! The parts that appeared fiddly were the little pieces to build the tops and bottoms of the inner columns. The instructions even mentioned to be careful cutting them out and my kit had extras. Actually however they came out rather easy.
The porch takes a bit of fiddling to get it all right, in fact, I see in this picture that the top of one of the columns needs work. Care needs to be taken to keep those little squares, well squared, and to keep the columns at the right height (they can sink into the porch foundation). The shutters are all separate pieces so they can be attached open or closed or perhaps in poor repair, and one set of the doors is seperated so they can be modeled ajar.
This is a very useful kit. While the prototype buildings are urban, there is nothing to distinguish it from several country houses all through the Colonial American South, or for that matter even into the mid-Atlantic. Suitable for more developed areas in the FIW and obviously for the AWI, but also the ACW. These two witnessed both the Revolution and the Civil War. (or I suppose anything more modern in the Eastern United States as well). It is probably also worth mentioning that the Hay house served for a time as a boarding house and the Charleton as a Tavern, so they can serve as more commercial establishments as well. The second in the line which has already been released is a kitchen, and several other out buildings are planned which can really bring this house to life and turn it into a believable home. A beautiful model, I am sure I will by another one or two to add to my village.
I also feel I should mention, even more so since I referenced the high price of shipping in the beginning of this article, that Charlie Foxtrot now offers service with a new courier. This courier works with the United Postal Service for a delivery that is easy, convenient, and less expensive that it can be. Good show!
Now to finish painting the house and shutters!
Last Sunday found the Legati again practicing with our new 7TV rules. Jeff and Chris played while I acted as director. (Actually, I was somewhere between Directing and also Starring in). Jeff and I took the minions and Chris the Spies for good. We have decided to stick with the genre and the casts for a bit so as to better learn their “Star qualities” or abilities. This is really the only difficult part of the game, and it is made far easier by the cards that list all the explanations on the back. Still, it is easy to forget what you have available to you!
This game was “episode” was simply generated randomly by the rules in the book, which is why there is so little character to the central casting characters we used.
The minions consisted of Dr. Maybe (Evil mastermind), his Faithful Lackey, a Plaston bodyguard, and some minions under the direction of their minion commander. Chris’ cast of defenders of the free world consisted of a Flamboyant Agent, his Crackpot Inventor pal, Merry, and Kerry (two neutral and very effective Ninja), and some security guards. The Episode was the “Escape”. In this episode, the defender is in the attackers base and has to get out. We decided to use the McGuffin, which in this episode, provided the Good guys with an extra gadget.
The additional gadget was, of course, unnecessary with this cast. The Crackpot Inventor provides them with all sorts of extra gadget pool abilities. Including their ever present nerve gas that was used to again make most of the minions unhelpful.
This game was far closer than the previous one, however. Early on one of the scene cards allowed the easy removal of one of the Ninja, who just sliced and diced their way through all opponents last time. The board was small ( I really need to order more Sally 4th tiles) and provided a good deal more cover than last time. The minions also experienced better dice luck which was helpful. The spies only broke through in the last turn or two available in the episode, though by that time there was really no resistance left to stop them.
Another enjoyable episode of this very enjoyable and clever game.
Christmas ended up foiling our plans for the Williamsburg Legati meetings, but we finally got together just past new year’s day for our Christmas game of 7TV. For those of you unaware, 7TV is Crooked Dice’s game for playing cult TV goodness. Our game was a Spy-Fi game to rescue Santa Claus from the grasp of Dr. Maybe and the Greater Resistance and Interdiction of Nativity and Christmas Holidays, or GRINCH. The game was played with 30 ratings a side, being limited to figures available in Chris’ two starter packs. This was only our second game, and our first Spy-fi game, so I apologize for the figures, not all being painted yet. Chris is working on it!
The game was very one sided and went very badly for GRINCH from the start. It was obvious that the minion force would benefit from close proximity to one another, thereby being able to make use of many of their star qualities. Unfortunately, it also made them very susceptible to a nerve gas bomb the good guys brought with them! This left them weakened, from which they never really recovered.
This, and very poor dice luck which made the two Lady-Ninja pretty much indestructible. They pretty much just sliced and diced their way through my minions who provided very little resistance for them. Eventually, as it was late and we couldn’t possibly win and so we conceded defeat and Santa was released to the joy of little boys and girls everywhere! Looks like Dr. Maybe is on the naughty list this year however…..