Monday, 28 September 2020

Return To Dinosaur Park

On Sunday we got invited to another playtest of my friend's 'in-development' Dinosaur Park game. This time it ran a lot more smoothly than before, although we didn't come anywhere near winning it.

Here's the early stages - we have a a coupe of dinosaurs and some visitors.

Players pondering. It's a co-operative game, with each person taking the role of a department, and each department trying to supprt the others.

Aside from inventions to improve the running of the park, my Science department was responsible for extracting amber from mines and then extracting DNA from the amber. Here are two of my scientists investigatig a mine we own.

More dinosaurs. We thought it would be OK to put carnivores and herbivores in the same enclosure.

That went exactly as you'd expect ...

We almost got as far as cloning one of these. But not quite.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth!

Anyway we provided lots of useful feedback and confirmed some problems the designer suspected were there. Next time there will be more changes.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

HOTT 52 - Week 39 - Ceidonians vs Prester John

I thought I'd go colourful and medieval for this week's HOTT game - the yellow and red army of the Dukedom of Ceidonia defended against the blue and white fores of Prester John.

I tried a small variant for Prester John's army, dropping the lurker and upgrading Prester John himself from a cleric general to a hero general. The rest of the army consisted of two knights, a behemoth, two blades, two shooters and two warband.

The Ceidonians fielded two knights (including the Duke of Ceidonia himself), two spears, two shooters, two blades, a behemoth, a rider and two hordes. They had a strong position with their levy hordes on a hill on the right, and their archers in a ploughed field on the left.

Prester John advanced, whilst the Ceidonians reorganised their line to better face the oncoming elephant that dominated the centre of their opponent's army.

The archers of both sides were on the same flank, but their first exchange of fire was relatively inconclusive.

On the other flank, Prester John's native allies charged up the hill into the levies, but were thrown back.

The armies were poised for the first big charge in the centre.


It saw mixed results - Prester John lost some archers, whilst the Ceidonians had some elements pushed back.

A second attack saw some Ceidonian spears ridden down.

An attack up the hill saw some of the levy lost, but the Duke's son led his swordsmen in a counter-attack ...

... and drove the warriors back. At the same time Prester John lost some of his knights to their Ceidonian counterparts.

Both lies were broken up now and the battle became a race to plug gaps and exploit overlaps.

The Ceidonias' Magyar allies tried to stem a charge by some of Prester John's knights, but were flanked by warriors who had swept away the last of the levy, and were lost.

But there's always more levy to be raised. Their appearance stabilised that flank a little.

On the other flank Prester John's foot men-at-arms finally attacked the Ceidonian archers, but failed to drive them from the fields. That was the extent of the action there.

The Ceidonians put the elephant in danger, flanking it with knights whilst sending spearmen forward into the attack.

But the feckless infantry failed to hold the mighty behemoth and fell back, subsequently being routed. We shan't talk of them again.

The Duke of Ceidonia had held himself and his bodyguard in reserve until now, but with enemy troops threatening breaking through on his right he led his men into the attack.

And fell in the first charge!

With his loss, the Ceidonian army broke.

Prester John lost two element - one of shooters and one of knights. The Ceidonians lost their general, plus two spears and a rider.

I am now three-quarters of the way through the HOTT 52 project; I'm on the home-stretch now!

Friday, 25 September 2020

Frocktober 2020

Yes, IT HAS POCKETS will once again be donning frocks throughout October in order to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. More details, and links, in the next week or so. 

Saturday Night Live

We played more Gaslands last night, and decided to run the Saturday Night Live scenario, which we'd not ever done before. Once again we limited the game to 30 Cans and 1-3 vehicles only.

We ended up with five players. Two ran Scarlett Annie vehicles, both with rams. We had one Highway Patrol pair, a Rutherford gun-machine and I ran an elegant Miyazaki hover-car.

In Saturday Night Live the players are looking to rack up Audience Votes, either through their sponsor's particular mechanism or via randomly-determined, and ever-changing spot-prizes which involve declaring particular types of attacks, selecting particular templates or being in a particular state or position. This scenario is all about entertaining the mob.

We set up a relatively open arena.

Here's my car. It's a performance car with tracks and a smoke-dropper, plus a couple of nifty Miyazaki traits.

Jason's Highway Patrol. 

I didn't keep a details log of events. We destroyed each other, respawned and came back in to be destroyed again. Each team aimed to please the crowd in the ways that worked best for them; the Scarlett vehicles rammed to get in-contact wrecks, Highway Patrol designated enemy vehicles as their target and waited for them to die, Rutherford shot at things and I just danced around being elegant.

A near-miss collision. I was able to swerve in order to avoid the Scarlett Freeway Fighter.

I was less fortunate here - I got destroyed by the other Scarlett vehicle.

More collisions ...

... and some chasing around in the centre.

A chain of collisions.

In the end, the Highway Patrol destroyed (or saw destroyed) three 'bogeys, and picked up a few points elsewhere and romped home to a fairly easy win.

This was an entertaining scenario I'd like to try again, since it isn't always simply about either racing or destroying each other. My hover-car was fun to use, although I never got to use the smoke.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020


I tried another OHW scenario using The Portable Wargame this evening, once again putting my GNW Risk figures on the table. 

I played the Counterattack scenario - the Russians hold a village and, further down the road to the north, lies a bridge that they also need to control. An advance-guard of Swedes are at the bridge. The Russians are moving to drive them off. However more Swedes are coming up and, unbeknownst to the Russians, they know about fords on both Russian flanks.

The Russians moved troops up to the bridge, and both sides volleyed across the stream.

The first Swedish units arrived, heading straight for the fords.

A cavalry fight broke out at the western ford, which saw the Russians driven back.

Swedish infantry moved east from the ford and attacked the Russians at the bridge in the flank, pushing them back.

More Russians moved up to the bridge, and there was a ferocious struggle.

The Swedish cavalry at the eastern ford had less success; it pushed across and attacked some Russian infantry, but was driven back and took no further part in the battle.

To the west the Russians rallied and in a flurry of lucky rolls, broke the Swedish horse.

At the bridge the Russians were also winning; they pushed back the Swedes and advanced to the north bank of the river.

The Swedes brought up more units, but couldn't break the Russian bridgehead.

Unable to break the Russians anywhere, the Swedish army ended up shattered, and broke.

This was a tricky one for the Swedes as the activation system, which means only about half a side's units move each turn, makes it hard to organise simultaneous attacks along the river. Meanwhile the Russians didn't have too much difficulty moving to defend each crossing. I have a note jotted in my copy of One Hour Wargames which suggests limiting the movement of the side south of the river until the counter-attackers have at least two units across the river. This would allow (in this case) the Swedes to establish something of a bridgehead before the defenders get their act together. Note that the village is an objective, so it's really a tough job for the counter-attackers.
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