Monday, 31 March 2014

A Paper Church

In odd moments over the last couple of evenings I have been working on a design for a church to go with my skinny village buildings for 'Maurice'. I printed it off and assembled it tonight.

Here it is in a larger village (two base-widths by four, or 50mm x 100mm)

Here's the layout in Word. Once again the windows, doors and so forth are taken from buildings available on Junior General.

It does take up more space than I thought it would, but I can't see a way of making the design smaller. I think I'll make another, but stick to the smaller footprint clock-towers  for my other tall buildings.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Olustee At Gong-Con

This weekend saw the annual Gong-Con at the University of Wollongong. Once again we put on a game for it.

We decided to do an ACW game - originally using 'Longstreet', but then switching to 'Black Powder' for technical reasons - and chose the 1864 Battle of Olustee. We kept the scenario fairly simple so we could play it with minimum fuss on the day despite limited 'rehearsal' opportunities.

Here's the terrain set up. We had plenty of people to play the game, including a friend of my son's, Marco, who was invited to take part for a bit and stayed for the whole game.

The battle started with two brigades facing each other across a clearing. Both sides could roll to bring on their other brigades at various points along their board edge, with the roll being easier as they took more casualties, representing reinforcements being rushed to the battle.

With a wide table, and plenty of random reinforcements, the game developed into a complex series of flanking manuevers, especially as the Union centre collapsed early on.

Marco was certainly pleased with the performance of his troops.

My brigade became rather spread out, although it did see off some Confederates. Its failing was an inability to get its artillery into action.

Ralph showed a lack of ability with his artillery as well. To lose one limbered battery to charging Confederates is unfortunate. To lose two smacks of carelessness.

A Confederate general got lost behind the Union lines.

I got given some cavalry and, against expectations, dismounted it to form what turned out to be a robust firing line.

Ralph redeemed himself by capturing an unlimbered Confederate battery.

My line came under increasing pressure from Confederate reinforcements.

Marco finished off the Union troops on his side of the field and marched across the table to assist in the attack on my troops

At that point we called the game, as the Union position was untenable. Marco claimed the whole victory for himself and decided to run for president. He'll go far.

Meanwhile John and Peter flew the HOTT flag for the group, with a 24AP, then 48AP game using John's Middle Earth armies.

Afterwards I joined my daughter in the boardgames room for a couple of games of Fluxx and one of Uno. My fortunes were mixed.

I believe that some members of our group ran something on the Sunday as well. I was otherwise engaged (acting as a tour guide in Sydney), but if I can find a report I'll post a link to it.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Fere Champenoise

France 1814.

Napoleon is not feeling so clever now, as enemy troops march all over his country. But there are still battles to be had. And there's still Black Powder to fight them with.

Last night's game involved an outnumbered French column trying to get its heavy artillery along a road to the safety of a village, pressed on two sides by hordes of Russian cavalry and infantry

Here's the village, with the French in front of it - cavalry close to, and some untested infantry escorting the guns. That's Russian cavalry (commanded by me, naturally) on the baseline.

A column of massed Russian infantry comes from the other direction, with only a thin blue line to stop them.

The thin blue line.

The French form square ...

.. as the Russian cavalry advances.

The Russians thunder across the table into the French cavalry. Elite French cavalry. Elite French heavy cavalry.

The Russian cavalry thunders back the other way.

Meanwhile the Russian infantry commander ponders his situation.

He has infantry ...

... but his only cavalry are some very dodgy looking Cossacks.

The Russian cavalry put on a fine display of formation retreating. So fine that they convince their own heavy cavalry, over on the road, to retreat in sympathy. The Russian heavies (unpictured and now erased from history) did nothing but advance slowly along the road, before turning and fleeing back to their baseline and then refusing to move.

The Russian horse-artillery pounds some French infantry who, disordered, becomes cut off from the rest of its force.

The artillery can't quite finish them off, though.

The other flank is now a big mess as, emboldened by their success against the Russian cavalry, the French organise an attack.

No more pictures.

The French slowly dragged their guns towards the village, hampered by mud and broken axles, but unhindered by anything that looked like enemy troops. When they got there they discovered that (i) the village was full of Russians and (ii) Napoleon had abdicated. So they dumped the guns in a swamp, and the game was over.

This was not a good night to be the Russian cavalry commander.

Update: Ralph's report is stronger on historical context and detail.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

More Maurice Real-Estate

A few people following my project to produce built-up areas suitable for Maurice (and other games) commented that the buildings would look better on a cobblestone base. So I produced a prototype this evening. I say 'prototype' actually I printed off a square of paper featuring a slightly edited version of this texture from Flickr user Gerald Menzel.

Here it is with some buildings on it, and some unpainted cavalry (the painted units weren't to hand when I took the photos).

And here it is in its 'garrisoned' configuration - minus the garrison.

I shall probably keep the buildings on their own small grey bases, just to provide some contrast, although I may experiment with them on cobblestones as well.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Devious Device Of Doctor Doom

I played another game of Clobberin' Time last night, and took lots of photos. This was mostly because I realised that, despite the name of the rules, I hadn't featured a game involving the Fantastic Four on this blog yet.

I played a variant of the bomb scenario from the other day. At the far end of the board from the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom had an awesome and terrible device, which needed to be disabled. The roll to do this was set such that it would be very hard. However the difficulty could be reduced by solving one or more 'clues' elsewhere on the board. meanwhile, of course, Doom and his minions would be trying to stop the Fantastic Four. There was no ticking clock; the Fantastic Four had all the time they needed to stop the device, but Doom and friends would be whittling them down as they tried.

Here are the stats I used. I still don't have a Human Torch figure, so I used Firestar instead. One day I will find and acquire a Human Torch figure ...

The Fantastic Four

Mister Fantastic - Level 3, Gadgets, Science!, Range (M), Superleap
Invisible Girl - Level 3, Block, Invisibility, Hinder (M)
The Thing - Level 3, Superstrength, Invulnerability
Firestar - Level 3, Flight +3", Power Blast (M), Rage (on Power Blast)

('Science!' is a new ability I was testing, which allows the character an extra dice when trying to solve clues. Firestar's 'rage' represents the Nova Blast)

Doom And His Minions

Doctor Doom - Level 4, Flight, Power Blast (M), Invulnerability, Rage, Leader
Puppet Master - Level 3, Mind Control (L)
Doom-Troopers X 5 - Level 1, Range (M), Rapid Fire

(The Doom-Trooper's 'Rapid Fire' represents them having machine-guns.)

Here are the Fantastic Four.

And here's Doom and his minions.

The playing area. the red counters across the middle are the clues, whilst the blue ... thing ... at the top of the picture is the Devious Device.

Firestar zoomed over to investigate one clue. Out of shot Mr Fantastic went for the one in the middle.

The Thing and the Invisible Girl moved to investigate the clue on their left. In the distance the Puppet Master was moving into position.

Firestar was engaged by the squad of Doom-Troopers, who inflicted a hit on her.

Mr Fantastic investigated his clue, but even his Science! ability seemed unequal to the task of solving it (Translation: He rolled like a complete novice. Two turns in a row.)

Firestar set about solving her clue with more success, whilst the Doom-Troopers kept up a steady fire.

Doom himself stepped in, and Firestar took another hit.

The Invisible Girl reached her clue, and solved it with no problems. Whilst invisible.

Firestar was in trouble - under fire from Doom-Troopers, and under attack by the man himself. But she kept on at the clue.

Some of the Doom-Troopers moved over to engage the Invisible Girl.

And what of The Thing? He was wandering aimlessly, under the mental control of the Puppet Master.

With her clue solved, the Invisible Girl turned her attention to the Puppet Master, distracting him with her force-fields.

Despairing of solving his clue, Mr Fantastic decided that making a run to deactivate the Devious Device was a better plan. On the way he knocked out a Doom-Trooper.

Free of the Puppet master's mental control, The Thing took out another.

The Puppet Master retreated to the cover of some rubble.

Firestar solved her clue. Doom had moved away to protect the Devious Device.

She then flew over to the clue Reed Richards had abandoned, and started work on it with more success than he had managed.

The Thing clobbered another Doom-Trooper.

Under the Puppet Master's influence, Mr Fantastic rushed over to Doctor Doom and came under attack.

The Thing moved towards the Devious Device.

Mr Fantastic evaded Doom and the Puppet Master, and also moved towards the Devious Device.

The Thing now came under the Puppet Master's mental control, and moved towards Mr Fantastic in a menacing fashion.

The Invisible Girl continued to try and distract the Puppet Master.

Doctor Doom attacked Mr Fantastic ...

... and knocked him out.

Firestar zoomed over to the Devious device.

And the Invisible Girl continued her attack on the Puppet Master.

Firestar partially deactivated the Devious Device.

Before Doom ...

... took her out.

The two surviving Doom-Troopers were moving back into the fight, taking The Thing under fire.

But shrugging off the bullets he climbed up to the Devious Device, and finished deactivating it, thwarting Doom's plans.

The surviving heroes.

Doom swears veangeance!

Doom's forces were an experiment in mixing levels of power in one team. The Doom-Troopers were an annoyance, and if there had been a ticking clock they could have been more dangerous, as whilst they weren't dangerous in themselves they could hamper and delay other characters. Doctor Doom was tough in combat, but is still limited to one action a turn. I'm not likely to change that, but it does make him less dangerous than you might think. He does slowly whittle down a Level 3 character, though, and is hard to break away from. There's plenty of scope for tweaking abilities in both teams for future games, but I was pleased with the basic flow of the scenario.

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