Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shootout at the Moore Lodge

Game night, 2/20/14.

Not my usual night to host, but with my buddy Kenny unavailable, I took the opportunity to host a 'bonus' game for the month. Jon Mark, Terry, Greg and myself made up the crew playing for the night...

Since my hosting was short notice, I threw down a game that I always have handy: Western gunfight.  I use the fantastically easy to play and always a great time rule set, Fistful of Lead (FoL).  For those interested, it's an inexpensive set of rules that is well worth its price.  It can be found at Wargame Downloads as a PDF for well under $10.

Anyway, I have a rather large Ertl log cabin that I've been raring to use with these rules.  Too large and rustic to use in a western town scenario, the cabin/lodge/ranch works perfectly as the only or main building on the board.

Here is the initial set-up from afar.

Front door.

Back door.


Left side.

Right side.

Main corral.

The scenario was simple:  Greg's gang was in the lodge, which in this game was a trading post on the frontier.  There was something in the post that everyone in the area wanted (gold, supplies, etc), as it was the only such 'thing' for hundreds of miles.  Think the briefcase in the movie Pulp Fiction and you've got the idea.  To keep the scenario from being Greg vs. the World, I added in that certain gangs hated other gangs and extra victory points (VP) could be earned for eliminating 'hated' gang members.

From the get-go, everyone zeroed in on the building.  Greg, for his part, did what he was supposed to do...kill us!  Jon Mark's Mexican crew rushed in from the rear of the building and faced Greg's fire first, to deadly results for one amigo.  The rest kept getting pinned down, unable to move.

By that time, my Indians were sneaking in from the left, trying to use any cover available.  They were mainly armed with hand weapons, which always make me think of the saying "never bring a knife to a gun fight".  So true, so very true.

It wasn't long before I was taking fire as well.  My first casualty was the brave that rushed into the trading post with his hatchet and knife.  He engaged in melee, only to be killed by a well-placed rifle butt in his skull.  Soon after, my chief was killed hiding behind an outhouse.  How does one spin a tale of valor for a fallen leader when he dies in such a place?

Terry's Irish gang was in the mix now, attacking the front of the post.  Greg was holding his own, killing Terry's leader with his own boss.  As they fought back and forth, I moved a couple of braves over to attack Terry's flank.  A whirlwind of death ensued in the front of the building, as both Terry's and my men fell to gunfire and melee.  Greg also lost a hombre or two, but since he was inside the building, it was hard for us to tell how many were down and where his remaining men were located.

Side note - FoL usually has one area that winds up being the 'death alley' of the board.  While a little more dispersed in this scenario, for tonight's game it was the front side of the trading post. 

As our forces dwindled, the action came faster and faster.  My Indians were finally all killed; the last while he was trying to crawl away after being wounded and knocked down.  Terry's Irish crew was the next to die, leaving Jon Mark's Mexicans and Greg's gang with only a couple of guys each. 

Building front.  Note there's one Irishman on the ground and one making a brave entry into the trading post.  Neither lasted long...

Front/side. You can see Jon Mark's Mexican sidling closer to the action as Greg's preoccupied with Terry.

The inside of the trading post.  The tables and barrels were originally neatly arranged.  You can see in the bottom left doorway where my initial brave met his untimely death, followed later by the man who killed him.

A different angle.

A couple of lucky card draws and die rolls later and Greg reigned victorious with a single cowboy left standing.

The 'thing' turned out to be a cask of very good whiskey and the illustrious "Camel-Faced" Sally, known for her bedroom abilities and the only such person with said abilities to be found for many miles.

A fun night!  Thanks everyone for making it such a good time!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fortune & Glory

AAR 2/13/14:
Thursday's game offering was a board game the group has played before, but only in a competitive format.  Fortune and Glory (F&G), by Flying Frog Productions, is highly regarded by my group.  Set in the 1930's, F&G is very thematic and is reminiscent of Indiana Jones, the Mummy, Tales of the Gold Monkey and a host of other pulp adventure films and TV shows.

Without getting into too much detail, the competitive game basically pits adventurers against each other as they vie to collect artifacts from around the world and earn enough fortune to win.  Random events happen at locations that can either impede or assist the adventurers and make the game a blast to play.

Thursday's game, however, was the first time we've played F&G cooperatively.  The adventurers went against the Nazis (you can also choose to play against Mobsters), trying to stop them from collecting the artifacts for their own nefarious schemes.  We also added in all the advanced rules: Temples, villains, air flight between locations and using artifact card text and symbols to further heighten the experience.

The crew for the night included Terry and Nick...

 ...and Bill and Dave (the guy glaring at me with his hand in the bag).

Note: The beauty of being the blogger is that my mug isn't in a picture!  Ha!

We started the game learning the new rules and knocking the rust off remembering the old ones.  The cooperative game plays very similarly to the competitive version, so it did not take us long to get into the game proper.  It's fortunate for us that F&G is a relatively easy game to play.  There are a ton of bits (tokens, cards, etc), but their application is sensible and not bothersome.

In essence, the adventurers needed to earn 45 fortune points before the Nazis earned 20.  That's a pretty big disparity of numbers, but the adventurers have a lot more they can do in a turn than the Nazis.

We progressed uneventfully through the game, with only cruddy dice rolls on my part to blame for an entirely untouched temple collapsing almost immediately upon my character's arrival.  Yay, that.  One other thing to note is that we drew a card that increased our fortune goal to 47 instead of 45.  I tried my hand at sabotage and took out the Nazi zeppelin for a round and then proceeded to destroy a secret Nazi base (in Germany, no less).  Really, the things you can do in this game are fantastic and keep every player involved, which is a must for a cooperative game.

With all that in mind, late in the game we were at 39 fortune while the Nazis were at 11.  Then the 'bad' turn happened.  Two villains were able to capture artifacts, immediately bumping them perilously close to their goal.  On my turn, I was able to knock them back a few points, keeping them 'honest'.  We knew we could win on the next turn, as several of us were in positions to cash in artifacts and launch us past 47.  It all hinged on the die roll of one villain during the 'villain phase'. 

As you can see in the picture, the Nazis were in South Africa, ready to take an artifact.  The Nazis had expanded across the globe, spreading their Fascist message to the world.  The track on the right of the photo counts the Nazi's points.  At this point in the game, they only needed four points to win.  Easily attainable with one artifact!  All our hard work wasn't enough...the Nazis won!

All in all, a fun (and long) night.  I liked the advanced rules.  They added more flavor and options to the game, but didn't disrupt the 'flow' or overbalance anything.  I think a couple more plays are in order...after all, we can't let the Nazis win!

Thanks to all the attendees for a fun night of gaming and camaraderie. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

FUBAR Fantasy

I had the honor and pleasure to venture to the home of fellow gamer, Scott Newberry, and play FUBAR Fantasy.  For those of you who may not know, FUBAR is a set of free, one-page  rules found at The Game Shed.  The core set of rules is set up for sci-fi, but there have been many adaptations to encompass several genres.  To me, the game is a bit Ganesha Games Song of... series with other rules elements thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, I had never been to Scott's house and thought I'd go and have a bit of fun.  The night was originally going to be three of us playing FUBAR, but one fellow was sick and bowed out.  That left Scott and myself.

The scenario was straight-up fantasy: good guys vs bad guys.  The good guys (played by Scott) included elven archers, dwarven axemen and mounted and dismounted heavy knights.  The bad guys (played by me) were comprised of orc swordsmen, orc archers, trolls, a squad of mounted chaos knights, goblin warg riders and goblin spider riders.  Each side also had a catapult to fire upon their enemy.

The set-up was blind in that Scott placed large Risk boards upright in the middle of the table, blocking sight of the enemy's initial positions.  Then the boards were removed, the squads were positioned as decribed below (all positioning is from the bad guy's perspective):
  • Left: Goblin warg (plus leader) and spider riders vs two squads of  heavy knight cavalry (plus leader)
  • Center: Chaos knights and trolls (plus leader) vs two dwarf axe squads (one plus leader), elven archers and dismounted knights
  • Right: Orc archers and orc swordsmen vs nobody but boggy terrain
Scott's initial troops on the left/left center

I tried to move quickly on the left flank, but poor rolls inhibited my riders' speed.  I did manage to bring them up to the river's edge after a few turns.

Scott, on the other hand, didn't move his heavy cavalry until I was almost to the water's edge.

In the center, I began the fray by moving my chaos knights up to the fjord, with the trolls following closely behind.  Scott promptly picked my knights apart with elven arrow fire, leaving me with a sole knight, quivering on the bank of the river.  I also tried to fire my catapult, but it broke down!

On the right, I moved my orc archers to the riverbank and returned arrow fire on the elves.  Orc bows decimated their enemy in a matter of two turns, much to the relief of the surviving chaos knight and trolls.  At the same time, I started slogging through the bog with my orc swordsmen.  It would take them a while to break through, but I hoped to be able to turn the flank late in the game with them.

Back on the left, the heavy knights finally lumbered forward...straight into the webs of my spider riders!  I was able to 'goo' the leader and three other knights, rendering them unable to attack, defend, or run.  Score!

In the center, Scott brought forward his dwarven axemen.  I trundled my trolls forward to keep the dwarves from killing my remaining chaos knight and the fight turned bloody...for the dwarves.  A couple of rounds in saw them running as fast as their stumpy little legs would take them!

On the right, my orc swordsmen kepy making their way through the bog...

Finally, on the left, the battle was joined between one squad of heavy cavalry and the warg riders.  Having some of their squad webbed, especially the leader, helped me, as their defense was hard to beat!  I was eventually able to bring my spider riders to the flank and decimate half of the squad, while Scott's other squad failed their activation and had to watch  their brethren die.

The center saw the trolls drive off the second dwarven squad.  That, coupled with the elves being almost totally annihilated by my orcish arrows and the orc swordsmen finally breaking free of the bog and threatening the flank, made Scott capitulate.

Victory: Evil!

All in all, a grand evening.  I'd like to thank Scott for not only hosting, but for also rolling crappy dice at the perfect time for me!  FUBAR is definitely worth looking into for anyone wanting an easy, player-friendly set of sci-fi and/or fantasy rules.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tutorial: Fuel Tanks/Depot

If anyone wants to know how to make cheap, easy fuel tanks or a depot, here's my take on it.

I started with three Crystal Light containers and a CD spindle.  Research showed these types of containers are typically white.  Very white, if well maintained.  I decided early on that mine would be weathered and rusty.

For railings and ladders, I went with my trusty Granny grating (cross-stitch mesh).  It's easily used in this capacity, as well as for grated floors.  I cut out railings and ladders to fit and then hot/PVC glued them to the structures.

Here is the CD spindle with grating for an extra wide ladder and a railing.  That's an Old Glory pirate for scale purposes.  I used hot glue to pin the railing into place and then reinforced it with Aleene's Tacky Glue (absolutely my favorite white glue).

Here are the silos, again with ladders, railings and a pirate.

After that dries, I primed the whole collection with flat black spray paint.  When that dried, I over coated it with flat white spray paint to form a mottled gray.  I was sorely tempted to leave them that color, as they wouldn't stand out too much on a battlefield, yet they would look presentable.  I decided to try to whiten them further.

Here are the silos after a couple more coats of flat white spray paint.

How to weather them?  In my mind, I see rust as orange and brown.  I used orange ink first, which was a mistake.  Too bright!  I dampened that hue down quite a bit with brown ink, but it was still too bright. 

One trick I learned was to apply a semi-heavy layer in an area and then 'pull down' with my finger to create the impression of a liquid flowing and then drying out, leaving a stain on the white surface.  Thank you Bob Ross. 

I then hit the heaviest orange areas with brown paint.  This did help, but it's still pretty orange.  I consider this fuel tank to be corroding and not given maintenance.

Having learned my lesson with the fuel tank, the silos received a different treatment.  I forewent the orange altogether and stuck with brown ink.  To me, they look like they are dirty, but not quite to the really rusting stage.

A quick gloss coat of sealant later and there you have them.  A quick, easy and cheap set of fuel tank terrain.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hordes in the Trenches

I had an opportunity to enjoy an evening at the house of a fellow gamer, Mike Sanderson, on Monday night.  His group usually plays 15mm DBA, so I was pleased and surprised when they instead trundled out their new 15mm WWI figures and said they wanted to play HitT (Hordes in the Trenches). 

A little history is in order here.  DBA (short for de Bellis Antiquatatis) is a set of (mainly) 15mm ancients rules used worldwide.  Easy to understand and play, the rules have a definite rock-paper-scissors meets chess feel to it.  Later, the creator of DBA made HotT (Hordes of the Things).  This was his foray into fantasy.  Very similar to DBA, but with some definite differences, HotT is played by my group in 28mm. 

For a more concise explanation of HitT, I'll refer you to this page on the How I Wargame blog. 

All in all, we got in two games as we muddled through the rules.  Since Mr. Sanderson's group mainly plays DBA and HitT is more closely based on HotT, it made for an interesting evening 'fitting' HitT to our collective prior knowledge of the system.  We clarified a lot of questions in-game, which will make subsequent battles quicker and easier. 

Mr. Sanderson's DBA group usually throws down a couple sessions' worth of games at Recruits convention in September, so I think it'll be a great homage to the 100th anniversary of WWI's start.  Well played, fellas, well played.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ape Crazy

Our band of worthies continued their quest for Haworth's treasure.  Happy that everyone made it safely back from their encounter with the stranded sailors and 60 gold coins richer, Captain Beefheart decided to keep the captured sailors as crew on a "probationary" status.  He also warned them that if they were called to make landfall and balked, he'd personally throw them overboard.  Argh, indeed!

The ship (it has yet to be named by the Captain, although The Skidmark was jokingly bandied about as an option) made its way through ever-shifting winds and finally was able to land the crew on an island in the Northwest sector of the archipelago.
Landfall.  The islands are out of scale representations.  There's a beach out of shot, on the far side of the island.
The landing party, including two common sailors played by a couple of fine gentlemen that were guests for the night's game, saw this as they rowed toward the beach:

As the Captain was absent from the party, a courageous sailor became the de facto "leader" by vote of those in the rowboat.

As landfall was made, nothing seemed amiss.  Exploration inland opened out to a jungle glade.  In this open area was a throne on top of a rock, with a 'fancy' gorilla standing and waiting for the crew.

To the party's surprise, the gorilla, aptly named Grodd, talked!  He explained that he had been aboard a French vessel, headed to some unknown port as a creature of curiosity for the idle rich.  The ship had met with foul weather, foundered and washed onto this island.  For some reason particular to this strange archipelago, Grodd got smarter and learned to speak English and French from the remaining sailors.

I had the de facto leader (played by Ken) make an opposed Swashbuckling roll vs Grodd.  He failed.  Grodd then explained that it was a shame that he had to eat the human crew and that if our group of explorers wanted to leave the island alive, they had to sacrifice half of the landing party as payment.  Ken decided to "shoot the monkey in the face".  Thus started the combat.

Apes started pouring out of the jungle.  Grodd was taken down in a hailstorm of lead and flashing steel, but that didn't seem to faze the rest of his pack.  At first, the apes moved slowly toward the group, allowing the crew to move toward the boat and the safety of the ocean, but I did manage to move Bobo the giant gorilla in front of the rowboat.
Bobo heading off the party, backside firmly hovering over the rowboat.

Apes started moving faster toward the group and attacking with ferocity.  They managed to take down the two 'redshirt' sailors and a more 'seasoned' character played by Jon Mark.  Poor Bobo was literally shot off his feet, landing in and crushing the rowboat.  The party then peppered him with pistol fire and stabbed him with swords until he died.

With the death of Bobo, the other apes fled into the jungle.  It was a victory for the group, but a costly one.  Three party members down.  Of those, two died.  Jon Mark's character had been rendered unconscious, but was okay to fight another day.

All in all, it was a good night.  Flashing Steel is a fun system and I'm having a great time shaping it into a high adventure campaign.

The apes.  Bobo was a dollar store buy, Grodd is a Heroclix figure and the rest are D&D minis.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Get me off this island!!!

Our trusty crew of unfortunates headed east into the archipelago.  Odd, ever-shifting weather patterns made navigation difficult, but the gang finally managed to make safe harbor next to an island that featured a couple of (hopefully) dormant volcanoes.

No sooner had the rowboats landed than our lads were attacked by...sailors!  Bedraggled and sunburned, with haunted, feverish expressions on their faces, there was never a chance for parlay before they attacked.

The crew dispatched their land-locked foes, but one member of the group suffered a fierce wound and had to be carried back to the ship.  He recovered, but dealt with the wound by drinking rum...lots of rum.  So much rum that the next scenario would see him roaring drunk.

All in all, the gang captured two sailors, scavenged 60 gold from the corpses and prepared for the next island jaunt.  The sailors' tale was one of foul weather, broken ships and being trapped on an island with no chance for rescue.  Their actions were ones of desperation and they begged for the mercy of the crew.  The good Captain saw fit to spare their lives and pressed them into service.


My apologies for the lack of pictures.  This scenario occurred before I decided to blog and I'm notorious for forgetting to snap photos during games.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


My gaming group, Secondhand Lions, is big into pirates right now.  We originally were bitten by the pirate bug (would that be scurvy?) after playing in a few gigantic nautical games at Recruits presented by some most excellent fellows from Arkansas.  Their pirate blog can be found at Fist Full of Seamen.

Anyway, our group's adventures started with a Halloween game set on a boat using modified Heroquest rules.  The results of that game and the further adventures of those characters are already chronicled on my friend Ken VanPelt's blog, The Penny Whistle

I decided to start my own grand campaign.  Inspired by such high adventure tales as Sinbad, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and numerous pulp adventures, I started crafting my campaign using Flashing Steel (FS).  FS is a stand-alone gem of a rules set from Ganesha Games based on the Song of... series of miniatures skirmish-level rules.

Here's what I gave to the players, along with a scrap of a map:

The 100-Finger Archipelago.  Comprised of islands made mainly of stark, volcanic stone with dense jungle growth, they are the stuff of fantastic stories and fearsome legends.  Gleaming treasures, phantom ships, terrible creatures from the depths and other tales are murmured throughout the ale houses in the region.  What truth lies within the archipelago?  Few dare to find out and even fewer return to tell their tale.
                The Governor of Port du Lion has taken an interest in the archipelago.  The rumors of vast treasure, most notably of the dread pirate Jon “the Marked” Haworth, are too much for the Governor to ignore.  He hires you to explore the islands, map both their locations and contents and return with Haworth’s treasure.  Anything else that is found is pay for your troubles.
                Initially not interested in such a venture, you were quickly convinced to agree to the expedition at the end of bayonets and sabers.  Now, with the islands just making their way into view, you glance at the contingent of marines that are ‘military advisers’ and wonder for the thousandth time what you did to have such bad luck…

                The players are to explore the 100-Fingers archipelago for Haworth’s lost treasure trove and return it to the governor of Port du Lion.

 More on the first adventure shortly...


Welcome to my little bit of cyberspace.  After reading The Penny Whistle blog, I decided an account of the games I run as well as how I got them to the table would be an interesting experiment to undertake.  So, here you go: Conn-Man Games.

I plan on making this a multifaceted blog.  Terrain building, miniature painting, war gaming, board gaming, musings about rules and blogging about game night action.  In theory, it'll be fun and exciting.  In reality, it'll probably be intermittent.  However, I'm willing to give it the ol' college try if you're willing to read it.