Saturday, 28 May 2022

Blood On The Sands

Last night Victor and I did some playtesting for a gladiator game called 'Blood On The Sands'. This has been in development, on and (mostly) off, for around ten years now. Indeed I played a game of it at MOAB back in 2013.

Victor brought along his 54mm gladiators, for that extra spectacular feel.

Blood On The Sands basically uses the same action dice system as does What A Tanker. A gladiator has six dice which they roll at the start of each turn. Each individual score is a type of action - 1: Movement, 2: Defence, 3: Recover 4: Attack, 5: Special Attack and 6: Laurel (Wild Card). Some gladiators can convert one dice to a particular type - the hoplomachus, for example, can convert any dice to Defence.

Attacks are an opposed 2D6 roll, with a hit rolling for location and then how serious the damage is. Hits are recorded on special sheets for each gladiator type.

Anyway, we started off with a murmillo (me) against a thracian (Victor).I started off OK, but didn't manage my defences very well, took a nasty wound and got backed up against the wall. Collapsed with exhaustion in the end.

In the second game I used the murmillo again, and Victor switched to a hoplomachus. The latter can attack at a distance with his long spear, which was a pain.

However I got lucky with an initial attack, scoring a critical hit with my first strike that saw the hoplomachus drop his spear and start bleeding heavily. He recovered his weapon, and nearly tripped me when I fluffed another attack. But I kept up a sustained attack on my opponent's injured arm, and eventually injured him enough (via another critical hit) to defeat him.

Beat of three. Victor switched to a secutor and I used this heroic retiarius.

Victor attacked quickly, rushing in low and seriously injuring the retiarius.

I never recovered. I took three serious wounds and literally bled out in a couple of turns, having barely troubled my opponent.

Blood On The Sands has a fair bit of detail, and there's a few tables to consult, but it does offer plenty of decisions, and each gladiator type (the game comes with six) feels different. The activation system works very nicely, producing equal measures of frustration and triumph. It looks like it will be a good game for those people who like a bit of chrome in their games. Each bout took about 45 minutes, but we were looking up a fair amount of stuff as we played. Once familiar with the rules I can see games lasting 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

The Illawarra Plastic Modeller's Association - 2022

This past weekend saw the annual The Illawarra Plastic Modeller's Association show, and once again the Wollongong Wargamers were asked to put on a display. Both days saw various club-members demo Bolt Action. I went along on the Saturday, as a visitor rather than a participant, but took a few photos.

Peter and Caesar were playing a D-Day game with Germans attacking beleaguered US Paratroopers in and around a church.

The game plodded along nicely, and plenty of people stopped to watch and ask questions. As you can see in the first photo, they had put out various rules and some figures in other scales and from other eras to make a show of it.

As you would expect from a plastic modeller's show, there were plenty of people selling plastic models.

And, of course, plastic models on display. I was there early on the Saturday, so some of  areas looked a bit sparse; people bring in models over the course of the weekend, and I suspect that late Sunday morning, just before teh judging, is the best time to see the entirety of what's on offer.

This large model was all 3D-printed. The same guy had done a Tornado last year.

There were smaller model planes on offer.

This was one of my favourite models - I've always wondered what the inside of an A7V looked like. They don't let people inside the one we have on display in Queensland.

Something for the Glorantha crowd. Pretty sure it's not Gloranthan, but it has the vibe.

A couple of random items.

On the Sunday the game featured an 8th Army attack on some Italians. I wasn't there, though, so don't have any photos.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Bolt Action Pictures

I just popped along to wargaming to observe last night. There were a couple of games of Flames of War going on (part of a campaign, I think) as well as a game of Bolt Action to rehearse for a demo game this weekend.

I assisted with the Bolt Action game by drawing the order dice from the bag, but I also took the opportunity to try out the camera on my new phone, which from first impressions, seems to be a lot better than the old one.

The figures are mostly Caesar's 28mm 8th Army. Enjoy.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Comic Gong 2022

Back again after three years! Wollongong's very own comic and pop-culture event took place once more this past Saturday, and once again Catherine and I were there, costumed up and ready to enjoy it. It was nice to see it as busy as ever, and it's even expanded into a new location (partially so the hall with the traders/artists wasn't so packed, which makes sense in these diseased times).

Anyway, I don't have many photos to show off this year; once again Catherine and I volunteered and, once again, we spent the day registering entries for the various cosplay competitions, which kept us pretty busy. We enjoy doing it, though, as we get to so most of teh great costumes close-to, and chat to some lovely people.

We did low-key cosplay this year - Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson from 'Elementary', which has been some of our favourite viewing so far this year. Despite my love of all things Holmes it's the first time I've attempted a cosplay*, although Jonny Lee Miller's look is pretty easy to do.

Since we didn't feel our costumes would be obvious to the casual observer, even one that's seen the programme, we added a prop. Once advantage of sitting at a desk all day is that we could have a static prop that would otherwise be a pain to carry around. And here it is - Clyde the tortoise.

A lot of children asked if he was real, which makes you wonder if they've ever seen a tortoise before ...

Maya cosplayed as well. I can't remember the name of the character they did, but it's someone from the game 'Animal Crossing'.

I didn't get any other decent pictures of the other cosplayers - as I say we were pretty busy. We were thrilled to see someone doing Stede Bonnet from the pirate comedy 'Our Flag Means Death'; that's been another favourite of ours recently, and I've very much admired his glorious outfits. I suspect that the bigger events coming up in Australia over the next couple of months are going to see a few costumes from that series.

And if you haven't seen it, there's a trailer:

*I did portray The Nihilist Klopman for ten days in Switzerland back in 1991, of a society trip there. And even a brief weekend as journalist and duellist Isadora Persano back in 1992 - a name and ID that I've since repurposed ...

Monday, 16 May 2022

Ironclads In Action

I played a couple of ACW naval games using a set of rules based on Bob Corderey's 'Gridded Naval Wargame' yesterday. Aside from the fact that the version I was playing is suitable for a 3x3 grid, I'm not at liberty to tell you any more about the rules than that at present.

I picked vessels that were operating in and around Mobile Bay, partially because there were ironclads in my collection that rarely got to se the light of day an I thought that it would be interesting to try them.

In the first action two Union gunboats, the USS Metacomet and USS Port Royal faced the Confederate armoured battery CSS Tuscaloosa. The Union ships outgunned the Confederate vessel, but lacked its armour.

Opening moves saw both sides use their powerful bow-pivots. The Union gunboats used their greater speed to bring the pivots to bear whilst trying to stay outside of the ironclad's arc of fire. Even so, Metacomet took some damage.

The Union manage to get broadside on and start to batter the Tuscaloosa.

As the Tuscaloosa turned the Metacomet swung across its bows to try and evade taking fire. In doing so it took fire.

A hole below the waterline saw the Union gunboat start taking on water, and it began to sink.

In desperation the Port Royal rammed the Tuscaloosa, but neither ship took any significant damage.

Both ships fired at point-blank range, damaging each other. The damage the Tuscaloosa took was enough to sink it. Port Royal was badly damaged, but still fighting.

In the second game USS Metacomet was joined by a monitor instead of another gunboat, the USS Osage. Tuscaloosa was joined by another ironclad battery, the CSS Baltic.

In the first turn an exchange of fire between the Tuscaloosa and the Metacomet saw both ships badly damaged - the Tuscaloosa was holed and the Metacomet simply took a lucky shot to its vitals.

Tuscaloosa began to sink, and attempted to leave the action. Metacomet took another hit and also turned for home. Meanwhile the Osage began to pound the Baltic, which had both lighter guns and armour than the monitor.

The Baltic suffered a temporary steering hit which saw it steam straight at the Union ironclad.

Both ships suffered collision damage, but the Baltic came off worse and close-range firing from the monitor quickly saw it finished off.

So the Union won both fights, although the first action was a lot closer than the second. The rules played out fairly well, with only a few issues, which I am getting resolved.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Gaslands - Flag Tag

Caesar, Bailey, Ed and myself played Gaslands again yesterday evening. We rolled a scenario we hadn't played before - Flag Tag.

Basically each team had a flag located close (but not too close) to the board-edge and a decent distance from the flag of another team. The objective was to drive through another team's flag to capture it (at which point a replacement flag would be placed). The first team to capture three opposing flags wins.

I ran a Scarlett truck:

Truck - 4 x Blunderbuss, 3 x Extra Crew, Armour Plating, Boarding Party, Fenderkiss, Double-Barrelled, Battlehammer, Terrifying Lunatic, Rear Drive.

Caesar ran two Rutherford trucks, both armed with tank-cannon, Ed ran a couple of Idris racers and Bailey ran the trio of Maxxine buggies I'd used in my previous game.

The arena was fairly open. Red counters are flags.

Bailey spent a couple of turns whizzing buggies around before settling on which directions they should go. The scenario does favour splitting up a little, which doesn't help Maxxine, since it's a team that scores points by sticking close together. However it is a scenario which favours vehicles that can manuever well, so they did have that advantage.

Caesar sent his trucks in two different directions, looking to grab two flags as fast as possible (mine and Ed's). His A-Team truck met Ed's vehicles coming the other way. The tank-cannon badly damaged one in the exchange of fire.

I met the other truck, survived the cannon fire and collided with it. My crew of desperados poured fire into Caesar's truck and let it know that it had been in a fight as we went our separate ways.

Ed mad a run for Caesar's flag, whilst my slower vehicle struggled to get there first. I resigned myself to picking up the respawned flag after Ed had captured it.

One of Bailey's buggies made a bold attempt to steal my flag out from under Caesar's nose, but he couldn't quite get the necessary spins and slides to do it. Sadly the buggy was then shot to pieces.

Ed's vehicles met my pirate party-bus ...

... and in the subsequent ramming and shooting we wiped each other out - all three vehicles were wrecked. However in true Gaslands style I picked up a flag as my vehicle wrecked.

Having destroyed Bailey's buggy, Caesar picked up my flag, then slowly turned to come back and pick up the respawned flag. Having collected Ed's flag earlier, this would give Caesar the win. I resorted to cunning (gamey) tactics to stop him. Being allowed to respawn my vehicle I plonked it in the path of Caesar's truck, preventing him from immediately taking the flag. I then drove over my own flag, which basically destroys it, thus preventing Caesar from having it - although it would respawn, I could position it such that he couldn't get it.

Just to make sure, though, I destroyed his truck as well. It blew up and almost took out my vehicle.

A final shot of Ed rushing to grab Bailey's flag - Caesar's van took him out before he got there.

Time was ticking on and no-one was in a good position to pick up any more flags, so we had to call the game. We called Caesar the winner - he had two flags and looked set to pick up a third eventually. I think Ed and Bailey has, or were close to, two flags each. I had managed just one; this isn't a scenario that suits a single-vehicle team, since you really need to be in at least two places at once.

This was an entertaining game, with some quite fun tactics in play, and some varied approaches with regard to the teams. Despite not collecting many flags I was quite pleased with my vehicle's performance and plan to use this design again. I'd probably drop the Rear-Drive perk, though, and give the vehicle some more weaponry - maybe a couple of dropped weapons to improve its close-range firepower.
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