Posts Tagged With: Review

Shoot Out at Hildago Creek!

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This last weekend brought Williamsburg Muster, a local convention, to town again.  I was registered to run two games, a Pulp Alley Game on Friday evening, and a Gunfighter’s Ball Game on Saturday night.

Friday turned into a bit of a disappointment.  One, because I had no takers for the Pulp Alley game ( not an unusual situation for a Friday at these local cons I am afraid, and two because I would like to have played the Lion Rampant game that was going on right next to me!  I wish this convention had a more automated system of game registration, more like what Marscon did.  They used Warhorn.  This is far from a perfect system as it appears to be more for organizing campaigns for roleplaying games, but it allowed me to see what games had already been registered in almost real time.  Pretty cool to be able to re-plan what you want to do around what others are doing without waiting for a PEL!  even more important when you consider that Williamsburg Muster’s PEL only became public about a week previous to the event!  Second, it allowed players to register online for games.  This allowed me to know what to expect and freed me to cancel unpopular games if I saw fit, rather than arriving, spending all the time to set up a table, only to have no one play.

Because of these circumstances, I have taken to run fewer games and to choose games for the local conventions at least, that are less set up intensive.  Saturday nights game was a great example.

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Gunfighter’s Ball is a great example.  This is Knuckleduster’s new wild west skirmish game which apparently was playtested through years of convention play.

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Wild West games are perfect in that a pleasant table can be created very quickly.  Roll out a mat, the one in the pictures is a Hotz Western mat, but I have a desert mat I have used as well as grasslands one, and Knuckle duster makes a nice neoprene one.  Throw on some western buildings.  These ones are Gamecraft miniatures but nowadays there are lots of options, many with their own interiors which are certainly preferable for western skirmish.  Lastly, a few pieces of scatter terrain, mostly in the form of Pegasus Cactuses in the pictures.  My Gamecraft buildings are the original ones, they now have the capability, though limited, to be made to allow gameplay inside them.

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The “Characters” are very simple, with really only one stat, their Action Number.  This is the number missing from Bronco O’Neill’s card there, but it would usually be a number from 1 to 3 which would be placed on the red poker chip in the lower right corner.  This number equals the number of activations the character will have in the turn.  These activations are chosen by the drawing of a card, using a normal poker deck. There are various attribute you can take as well, but the optional “Pistoleer Deck” provide a very enjoyable a quick way to determine random attributes, quirks or disadvantages and is just the thing for effortless and enjoyable character creation for a convention game!

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On each Activation, two actions may be taken including all the obvious ones like moving, shooting. drawing weapons, throwing dynamite, etc.  An interesting feature is your card in the hole.  This allows a non-active player to respond to an attack by borrowing from his next activation.  Damage is determined in the rules by rolling hit location, which then tells you how many chips you must cash in. (Most characters began the game with three red and six white chips representing their current health.  The red chips show when a character has bled into a mortal wound).  A very enjoyable alternative, however, is to use a random draw from the optional ‘Black Deck”.

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The Ball I ran was intended to be one of the more advanced ones from the book, but due to scheduling issues we got a late start, and since two of the players were younger I went for a simpler shoot out scenario.

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The game is short, quick and bloody!  The picture above is just in the second turn (second complete rotations of all activations).  We started at about seven, and by 10:30 I had run two games with four players each, all with no experience in this game at all.

I have played a number of cowboy games, and I do so mostly at conventions.  Of all the shoot out games I have tried this one pleases me the most.  I have been looking for this game for years.  Good job Knuckle Duster!

 

Until next time

Cheers,

Ron

 

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Categories: Convention, Gunfighter's Ball, Hotz Mats, Wargaming, Wild West | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lion Rampant

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Last Thursday we decided to give Lion Rampant a try.  Since I have a number of figures from my Sharp Practice II variant, we decided to make use of them.  While Sharp Practice is intended for much later periods, Lion Rampant is intended for just prior, but a set of alterations and new unit types is available on Boardgame Geek, and they were used for this game.

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We rolled for terrain, using another online chart, and for the scenario as per the rulebook.  The rolled the tax collection scenario.  In this scenario, it is tax collection day for the defenders, the people have conveniently left their taxes in 6 piles about the village.  The caches are represented by tokens each representing different amounts hidden from the players.  Unfortunately for the defenders, their enemies have learned of this and come to steal away the goodies.

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After setting up the table and placing tokens we rolled for are parts in this play.  The Lancasters were the defenders and the Yorkists were the thieving raiders.

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The Yorkists arrived first but as the battle began, they were moving only piecemeal towards the village, their commanding knight was having difficulting activating his force forward.  the Lancasters however came on strong marching straight into the center of the village.

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Then fortune waved her fickle finger and matters reversed themselves.  The Lancasters held a strong position with the Shire Billmen in the road supported by Men at Arms and Dismounted knights in their rear, and the Shire Archers defending their flank.  The Yorkist positioned their own German Pikemen into Schiltron and awaited the worst.  It never came.

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A withering fire from the better train Welsh Archers of the Yorkist command whittled away at the poor billmen and the Lancaster commander was unable to activate anything for at least 5 turns!  the Yorkists used this time well, to steal gold, to successfully challenge and kill the Lancaster leader and many of his knights.

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The most common issue I have heard mentioned with these rules is the challenge of failing to activate.  In my previous battles, I have enjoyed this feature, but this extreme version was NOT fun!  I have read a suggestion online of giving all leaders the commanding skill, which allows a reroll of an activation, plus one additional random skill.  Peter mentioned that someone he has played with house ruled free missile fire of any unactivated units.  Next time I play I will try the free commanding skill option.  I do enjoy this game, but would rather not have either myself or my opponent suffer in such fashion as we did that night!

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Thanks to Sir Geoffrey Hummel of the House of York for his fine pictures.

Until next time,

Cheers,

Ron

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Categories: Lion Rampant, Review, War of the Roses, Wargaming | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What a Tanker at the Club

Tonight we tried The Too Fat Lardies newest game, WHAT A TANKER. What a Tanker is a fun, quick paced game of tank to tank combat in World War Two. It is designed for any models ranging from 10mm up to 1:48, which was the scale we chose. We had five players, and after far too […]

via What A Tanker! — Williamsburg Legati

Categories: Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, What a Tanker, Williamsburg Legati, World War II | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington Slept Here

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.

 

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Me at Work…

 

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.

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Dentil Moulding on the upper floor

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.

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I apologize for my Napoleonic miniatures, my Queen’s Rangers aren’t ready yet!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

more later!

Ron

Categories: American Revolution, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Review, Sharp Practice, Terrain, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dead Men Tell No Tales

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So, on Wednesday I received the long-awaited Kickstarter from Firelock Games, Blood and Plunder.  This was a very successful Kickstarter, which in my opinion is a great example of what a Kickstarter campaign should be.

From the very start, the images on their page were beautiful and attractive.  The tabletop they made to display their models was just stunning.  The Caribbean waters of their little board attracted me to the game and it wasn’t available to me!

Furthermore, the folks at Firelock added interesting well-made videos showing not just their models but describing gameplay.  Their communication during the actual campaign and throughout their fulfillment has been very good and open.

I wish that I had the money to buy more when I joined, but the level I supported at provided me with the rules, all of the game aids for play, one faction, and one ship.  Fortunately, my pal Chris with the Williamsburg Legati was also participating in the Kickstarter and would purchase an opponent force.  I chose the Guarda Costa as my faction and the basic sloop as my vessel.  I am beginning to regret that I didn’t upgrade to the Frigate, and suspect I will be ordering one of those soon!  Chris went for the obvious British Buccaneers.

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So what was in my box?  I received a beautiful hardback copy of the rule book with a QRS sheet and some further clarifications of the artillery rules placed inside of it.  While there are templates printed in the back of the book it would have been nice to have a cardstock copy of that to simply cut out.  There were two little burlap bags that contained the game dice, several custom D10s and the marker dice (d6s marked to represent various game statuses).  A nationality specific deck of cards to activate the models (a regular playing deck can be used).  All the cards that describe the abilities of all the different models.  The Guarda Costra miniatures, 25 prebased figures to make up my force. Of course the plastic resin sloop. Addons I received included a number of different leader and hero miniatures, a second set of heavy guns for the sloop, and some detailing accessories for the boat.

All of the components are very well made, but the sloop deserves special notice.

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The casting is very clean, I just need to trim off a small amount of flash in the gun ports.  Having actually sailed late 16th century vessels, I was pleased to see how much of spars and masts are actually represented.

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In this scale it would not be to great a challenge to increase the detail if interested, by adding dead eyes and fife rails and such.  With the sloop being fore and aft rig, I don’t expect that this will clutter gameplay to much, that might be less true on the other vessels however,

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At least one of my friends participated in this Kickstarter at a lower lever just to gain ships for his Sharp Practice 2 game.  Not a bad idea, and I already know that this sloop will find itself in such a circumstance as well.  Have to decide how to keep my flags interchangeable!

If you missed this Kickstarter you are not out of luck.  I noticed that they are offering pre-ordered offers on their webpage already.  this is presently limited to U.S. costumers but I imagine that will change later.

Very well done Firelock Games!

 

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: Blood and Plunder, Firelock Games, Review, Sharp Practice, Uncategorized, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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